Surviving The 81St
Floor Of World Trade Tower Two
Editor's note: This story is
meant as a powerful demonstration of the power of prayer and
is in no way meant to imply that those who were killed did
not have a relationship with God or did not fervently pray.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the many thousands of people
who are missing a friend, a father or mother, sister or brother,
son or daughter.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began like
any other day for Bethel Assembly of God deacon and Sunday
school superintendent Stanley Praimnath of Elmont, Long Island.
He got up early, took a shower, prayed, got ready and headed
for work. The drive was uneventful. The train ride was the
"For some particular reason, I gave
the Lord a little extra of myself that morning [during prayer],"
Stanley arrived at World Trade Center Tower Two, he took the
elevator up to his office on the 81st floor. "I work
for the Fuji Bank Limited," he said. "I'm an assistant
vice president in the Loans Operations Department. The company
is located on the 79th through 82nd floors."
Stanley greeted Delise, a young lady who
had arrived before him. After talking briefly, he headed over
to his desk and picked up his phone to retrieve his messages.
"As I'm standing there retrieving
my messages, I'm looking out at the next building, One World
Trade, and I saw fire falling through from the roof,"
Stanley said. "Now, this entire building is surrounded
by glass, and you can stand up and from there you can see
all the buildings, planes and everything flying at the same
As Stanley saw "fire balls"
coming down, his first reaction was to think of his boss who
works in that building. He decided to try to call him to see
if he was okay. "I'm dialing his number, and getting
no response. So, I say to Delise, the temp, 'Go, go, go --
let's get out."
Delise and Stanley got on the elevator
and went down to the 78th floor. Some other people were there.
The company's president, the CEO, the human resources director
and two other gentlemen joined the group and headed down to
the concourse level of Two World Trade Center.
If they had continued on and exited the
building, all of their lives would have been spared. As it
was, that's not the way it happened.
"As soon as we reached the concourse
level, the security guard stopped us and said, 'Where are
Stanley explained about seeing the fire
in Tower One. According to Stanley, the guard said, "Oh,
that was just an accident. Two World Trade is secured. Go
back to your office."
That turned out to be fatal advice --
aside from Stanley, Delise was the only one of that group
"We were joking, and I told [Human
Resources Director] Brian Thompson, 'This is a good time to
think of relocating this building -- it's not safe anymore.'
" Stanley headed back to his office, but before he got
there, he told Delise, that with the events of the day, she
should go home and relax.
Thompson went to the 82nd floor, the president
and CEO went to the 79th floor and Stanley got out on the
81st floor. When Stanley got to his office, his phone was
ringing. "It was someone from Chicago calling to find
out if I'm watching the news," he said. He told the caller
everything "was fine."
But everything wasn't fine -- far from
it. As Stanley was talking, he
looked up and saw American Airlines Flight 11 heading straight
"All I can see is this big gray plane,
with red letters on the wing and on the tail, bearing down
on me," said Stanley. "But this thing is happening
in slow motion. The plane appeared to be like 100 yards away,
I said 'Lord, you take control, I can't help myself here.'
Stanley then dove under his desk. As he
curled into a fetal position under his desk, the plane tore
into the side of the building and exploded.
Miraculously, Stanley was unhurt. However,
he could see a flaming wing of the plane in the doorway of
his department. He knew he needed to get out of his office
and the building fast. But, he was trapped under debris up
to his shoulders.
Stanley's office resembled a battle zone
-- walls flattened into dusty heaps, office equipment strewn
violently, flames flickering about and rubble everywhere.
"Everything I'm trying to climb on [to get out] is collapsing
and I'm going down," he said. "I'm getting cuts
and bruises, but I'm saying, 'Lord, I have to go home to my
loved ones, I have to make it, You have to help me.' "
Suddenly Stanley saw the light of a flashlight.
For a moment, it stunned him. "What were the chances
of someone bringing a flashlight to this floor?," he
thought. "My first gut reaction was, 'This is my guardian
angel -- "
Stanley began screaming, "I see the
light, I see the light." But after clawing his way through
the debris, he realized that he couldn't get out -- all the
exits were blocked and his "guardian angel" couldn't
get to him -- a wall was between him and the staircase.
"He can't get to me and I can't get
to him, and by this time I can't breathe," Stanley said.
"I don't know if it was sulfur or what [burning jet fuel,
perhaps], but I can smell this thing. I got down on my knees
and said, "Lord, you've got to help me. You've brought
me this far, help me to get to the staircase."
But then Stanley did something surprising.
While praying on his knees, Stanley called out to the man
behind the wall, "There's one thing I got to know, do
you know Jesus?" The man replied he went to church every
Sunday. Then they prayed together to enable them to break
"I got up, and I felt as if a power
came over me," said Stanley. "I felt goose bumps
all over my body and I'm trembling". Moments later, he
punched his way through the wall and, with the help of the
man on the other side, was able to squirm his way through
the hole in the wall. "The guy held me and embraced me
and he gave me a kiss and he said, 'From today, you're my
brother for life.' "
But the danger wasn't over. The man on
the other side of the wall, who introduced himself as Brian,
was an older gentleman and they still had 81 floors to walk
down, with the building on fire and, unknown to them, in danger
of collapse. "We hobbled our way down, and at every floor
we stopped to see if anybody was there, but nobody was...,
but a man was on the floor, and his back was gone, and he
was covered in blood."
Stanley asked to be allowed to carry the
man out, but a security guard told him it would be better
to send somebody up. When they finally made it down to the
concourse, only firefighters were there. "They were saying,
'Run! Run! Run!', they were
telling us to run out, but they were not concerned about themselves,"
Stanley and Brian would have ran from
the building, but now the concourse was surrounded with fire.
Wetting themselves under the building's sprinkler system,
they held hands and ran through the flames to safety to Trinity
Church about two blocks away. "I wanted to go to the
church to thank God," Stanley explained, "As soon
as I held onto the gate of that church, the building [World
Trade Center Tower Two] collapsed."
Stanley and Brian made there way safely
out of the danger area. Before they parted, Stanley gave his
business card to Brian in hopes of contact at a later time,
and said, "If I don't see you, I'll see you in heaven."
Cut and bloodied, with clothes tattered
and wearing a borrowed shirt, Stanley finally made it home
hours later to his wife Jennifer and his two girls, Stephanie
(age 8) and Caitlin (age 4). "I held my wife and my two
children and we cried and thanked God for sparing my life."
-- Dan Van Veen
& Thoughts About the Tragedy
For "Senseless" Tragedies
Solution to Prevent Hijackings
to Stop Funding Osama bin Laden? Stop Drinking Soda
to Table of Contents #256