A remarkable video capturing the events of 9/11 has surfaced two decades after the tragic terrorist attacks. Kevin Westley recently shared this astonishingly clear footage on YouTube, providing a new perspective on the attack.
The video, nearly nine minutes long, is the first new moving image that captures the attack from an unprecedented angle.
In the years following the events of September 11, 2001, thousands of pictures and videos depicting the day’s horrors circulated, serving as grim reminders of the nearly 3,000 lives lost.
For 20 years, the world had grown accustomed to a seemingly exhaustive collection of images and footage from that fateful day. However, Westley’s video offers a fresh viewpoint.
The footage, shot 17 minutes after American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower, captures the second plane hitting the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Filmed from a boat amidst a crowd of stunned onlookers, the camera initially focuses on the fire in the North Tower. It zooms in on sheets of paper swirling in the updraft created by the flames.
Approximately two minutes into the video, the camera pans to capture the second plane approaching over the water before colliding with the South Tower. In the background, screams of horror from the crowd can be heard.
In a post accompanying the video, uploader Kevin Westley explained why he chose to share the footage now, stating that he had mistakenly kept it private for several years.
Kevin shared his thoughts about witnessing the 9/11 attack and also spoke about his subsequent tour of duty in the 2003 Iraq War as an aircraft commander conducting combat missions.
He said: “In an instant, I saw 2,763 die, 25,000 injured. As I was caught in the dust cloud of the collapse, I remember seeing a picture of a child (and am now wondering) if I was looking at an orphan.”
Reflecting on his time during the Iraq War, which was declared by the US in response to the 9/11 attacks, Kevin stated: “When I flew the rotator into Iraq, the guy that sat next to me died in a mortar attack the next day. That was my welcome to Iraq.
“Some days my sleep was interrupted by incoming mortar fire, with one time gravel spraying against my tent woke me up. As one of the officers, I would often draw funerary details.
“As they wheeled the coffins into or out of the aircraft, I would wonder, did they have a wife? Kids? Have their parents been notified yet? In war, a piece of our soul is lost on the battlefield, and it can never be replaced in this life.”
Among the hundreds of iconic images that emerged in the aftermath of the tragedy, many conveyed deeply personal stories and captured the world’s hearts in the ensuing decades.
One such story was that of firefighter Mike Kehoe, who was photographed on the front page of The Mirror as he ascended the North Tower of the World Trade Center while others fled. His courage symbolized the bravery of all the 9/11 emergency responders.
Although many were astonished to learn that Mike survived, a total of 343 of his colleagues lost their lives due to the terrorist attacks. Several friends also succumbed to illnesses contracted from working in the ash of the towers.
In 2021, when asked why he still chose to be a firefighter after all he had experienced, Mike simply replied, “I just love it. I’ve never been back to Ground Zero since my time there in the weeks after 9/11.”
Mike recalled people wishing them well as they climbed the stairs, saying, “Our job was to get up to the floor where the plane hit to reach people there. That’s what we were determined to do. As we were going up, people kept saying, ‘Good luck,’ ‘lots of luck.’ But I must admit that even at that stage, I was frightened. Then over the radio [my boss], Roy said everybody evacuate the building now.
“We all turned around immediately. It was frightening. We managed to get into the lobby; it was like Beirut, there was rubble everywhere.”
Fortunately, all six members of Mike’s Engine 28 company—Roy Chelsen, Brian Becker, Frank Compagna, Bob Salvador, Jim Ippolito, and Mike—escaped the North Tower.