The September 11th emergency response tapes were released today downtown. For $13, any accredited reporter could pick up a set of CDs containing 130 edited messages. The recordings were excerpted, because the city decided that they didn't want to release recordings of any voices they couldn't identify. More than twenty callers were identified, and those two-way conversations were also released this week. All of the city newspapers are busy preparing transcripts, which we'll link to as they are published online. The Times is the first to publish, with a dozen or so messages. Here's one:
What is your emergency? O.K. one second, sir. One second. What floor are you on, sir? You're on 105th floor. Wow. Any injuries? Just hold on one second, sir. Hold on. I hear the fire alarm. They're coming. They're on their way. They're working on it. My God, this, don't worry, God is there. God is there. God is, don't worry about it. God is . . . Don't worry. They're on their way, sir. E.M.S. is there and . . . O.K. . . . E.M.S. Hold on. I'm going to connect you to E.M.S. Hold on one second, sir."
It's hard to listen to this stuff. Even without the callers' voices, it's clear they were terrified, and the operators had little idea of what was going on, and no way to help them. Almost no one was told to try to leave the building. Hopefully studying these tapes will allow the city to improve their disaster response plans in the future.
The New York Times analyzes the tapes
NY1 is putting up the audio in Real format
1010WINS has clips in Flash player format
WNBC is putting up the calls as MP3s
The AP has a good summary article
Newsweek is putting up full text transcripts and Flash audio
Newsday also has transcripts and a story on what has been edited out of the tapes
The story is everywhere now, from the Washington Post and the BBC to the the Daily News and CNN