Miracle – Part II

Miracle Admist the Rubble – part 2 (continued from August 10th)

By Kristin Witt  

Jeff Scarborough readily admits that if, on that fateful September 11th, he had not been privy to that particular piece of information it would not have occurred to him that this was a terrorist attack and that Al-Qaeda was about to succeed in bringing the World Trade Center to the ground.  In a matter of seconds the scenario flashed through his mind, and he made the decision to pull away from the caravan.  With his reporter cursing him for ruining their chance at getting in before the police tape barred them from the scene, Jeff radioed his command center at NBC telling them to set up the live feed truck 500 feet behind his location and to keep reporters behind that line of demarcation.  When a reporting team is the first one in on site in a crisis they become the “boss” as it were, trusted with decision making for every reporter that will enter the scene.  In this case, though the reporter should have been in charge, Jeff trusted his instinct and overrode Morrison’s desire to pursue.  Though he insists that he was just doing his job, Jeff Scarborough is credited with saving the lives of many reporters on that day, including Morrison’s.   

      Jeff stepped out of his vehicle and began filming the devastated towers as a crew prepared the live feed.  The tight shots he was able to capture were the most gut wrenching he had ever taken, a couple holding hands and crossing themselves just before they jumped, film that he chose not to release out of respect.   When Scarborough and a new reporter began a live feed to the station the reporter’s back was to the scene as he tried to explain the chaos of two planes embedded in the upper stories of the Twin Towers.  In the midst of the broadcast Jeff motioned to the reporter to turn around.  The South Tower was beginning its descent, the first of the two towers to come down.  The reporter dropped his microphone and took off, while Jeff, instinctively carrying his camera literally ran for his life towards the van that housed the live feed equipment and his co-worker, Eddie Alonzo.   Scarborough actually pulled Eddie from the van and told him to run as far from the towers as he could, as fast as he could, but Eddie hesitated.  Scarborough was already exhausted from his sprint, and didn’t look like he had much more in him, but Jeff assured his friend that he would take shelter behind a nearby building, and urged him to run for his life.  Reluctantly, Eddie took off like a track star, while Jeff moved behind a building just as the impenetrable cloud of dust raced down the street, flinging deadly debris in every direction.  When Jeff emerged, covered in gray dust from behind the “shelter” building he had no idea that the car he had been driving just 1500 feet in front of him was now partially hidden under the wheel of a Boeing 767.  

      Staggered, Jeff emerged, carrying on his shoulder a $50,000 piece of equipment, not counting the attached mega- lens.  His camera allowed him to focus on the North Tower, which was still standing, though in flames and missing a good portion of several floors.  Knowing the incident wasn’t over, Jeff instinctively started to film, thinking that his might be the only camera getting the footage that would record for the world the events of the catastrophic day and he was right.  Scarborough’s footage is what all of us have seen time and again, our understanding of September 11th.  His are the tight-in shots of the steel beams in the upper stories literally beginning to melt.   Seeing this, he realized that the thing nobody thought possible was about to happen for a second time that day as the North Tower began to come down on itself.   The cloud of dust that had not completely settled from the South Tower was now growing at an enormous rate, as Jeff once again took shelter behind the building he now thought of as his safe harbor.  

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