HARROWING, unseen 9/11 pics showing the devastation at New York’s World Trade Center have been released by one of the first doctors at the scene.
After seeing the Twin Towers burning on September 11 2001 while walking his dog, Dr Emil Chynn, now 50, put on his roller blades and rushed to see what was going on.
The terrorist attacks involved hijacked airplanes crashing into the center, the Pentagon outside Washington, DC, and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people died.
The collapse of the trade center’s iconic Twin Towers produced thick dust clouds, and fires burned for months in the rubble.
Dr Chynn said that he realised that physically being at Ground Zero would be of more help to victims, as opposed to waiting to treat them at hospital.
He rapidly got to work setting up what he claims to be the first triage centre on site.
The doctor has now released the photographs he took during the week he volunteered at the scene to demonstrate the kindness of strangers during such a heartbreaking and horrific time.
Dr Chynn said: “When I saw the plumes of smoke coming from downtown I knew I had to go and see what was going on.
“Having worked in a hospital during a previous terror attack scare, I knew that I would be more use at the scene if people were injured, so I put on my rollerblades and headed down.
“As soon as I arrived I was surrounded by smoke, debris and paper inches deep but I had to go and find the buildings.
“Along the way I met other volunteers and after about 30 minutes of looking we found the remains of the Twin Towers, which were only about three stories high.”
He described the scene as “awful, people were trying to clear debris and body parts from all over the place.
“I quickly did what I could to help and – as [one of the first doctors] on the scene – set up the first triage centre.
“I was on the scene volunteering for about a week and captured these photos while I was there.
“They were captured on a film camera, so took me a while to get them developed, but as soon as I got the physical photos back I knew I had to share them.
“As distressing as the time was and the photos are, they show the pure compassion that people have for other strangers.
“Everyone looks back on what happened in dismay at the human race instead of how a city came together to risk their lives and help people they didn’t even know.”
As a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks, firefighters, police and others have died or fell ill after exposure to toxins unleashed in the wreckage.
Many rescue and recovery workers later developed respiratory and digestive system ailments potentially linked to inhaled and swallowed dust.
Some were diagnosed with other illnesses, including cancer.
When was 9/11?
On September 11, 2001, a group of al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airliners.
Two planes – American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 75 – crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.
Another was flown into the Pentagon in Washington DC and the fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after a struggle between the hijackers and passengers.
Of the 2,996 who died on 9/11, including the 19 hijackers, 2,606 were killed at the World Trade Center and the surrounding area.
Both towers collapsed following the impact, with debris causing more deaths and injury on the streets below.
Many people including the emergency response teams lost their lives trying to save others.
It was the worst loss of life due to a terrorist incident on US soil.
What is Ground Zero?
Ground Zero originated as a term to describe the site of a nuclear explosion and later was used to refer to the point of any dramatic or violent event.
New Yorkers started calling the World Trade Center site Ground Zero shortly after suicide hijackers destroyed the Twin Towers and killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City on September 11, 2001.
They were part of a complex of seven buildings, all of which were destroyed when the skyscrapers collapsed.
Ground Zero is a 14.6-acre area in Lower Manhattan in New York City.
The site is bounded by Vesey Street to the north, the West Side Highway to the west, Liberty Street to the south, and Church Street to the east.