Local Man Recalls Escaping Twin Towers 12 Years Ago

Don Basco was on the 57th floor of the north tower when the first plane hit the World Trade Center, about 40 floors above.

World Trade Center

Photo: Flickr/Wallyg

The Twin Towers from Hoboken.

The 12th anniversary of 9-11 stirs up emotional memories for an Indiana man who survived the attacks.

Don Basco was on a business trip to New York, and was on the 57th floor of the north tower when the first plane hit the World Trade Center, about 40 floors above.

The jolt of the impact knocked him off his feet. Basco recalls a calm, orderly trudge down the stairs to leave the building.

“It did take me approximately 45 minutes to find a stairwell and start going down,” Basco says. “There were people coming down from above already from higher floors. It was not chaotic; no one knew what was going on. We had heard rumors in the stairwell that it was an accident. Nobody knew at the time that we were under attack.”

The second plane hit the south tower while Basco and others were still in the stairwell.

Basco says he got back to his hotel about five minutes before the ground shook with the collapse of the south tower. Basco had nightmares about falling from the building in the aftermath of the attacks.

Today, he serves on the Lake Central School Board, and speaks to schools and community groups about the attacks, including this year‘s anniversary observance in Indianapolis.

Basco says he’s returned to New York once since the attacks, for the fifth anniversary of 9-11.

“And the memorial was not built at that time, but I was able to stand on the sacred ground known as Ground Zero and I was able to go down to the footprints of the towers, the north and south towers, and put a flower, a rose at the north tower,” he says.

He says his teenage son, who was two at the time, has told him he wants to tell the story for him when Basco‘s no longer able.

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