Casualties of the September 11 attacks
The September 11 attacks resulted in 2,996 immediate (attack time) deaths: 2,977 victims and the 19 hijackers. A total of 372 people with non-U.S. citizenship (excluding the 19 perpetrators) perished in the attacks, representing just over 12% of the total. The immediate deaths include 246 victims on the four planes (from which there were no survivors), 2,606 in New York City in the World Trade Center and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. About 292 people were killed at street level by burning debris and falling bodies of those who had jumped or fallen from the World Trade Center's windows. All the deaths in the attacks were civilians except for 55 military personnel killed at the Pentagon. Some immediate victims were not added to the list until years later.
More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Most of those who died were U.S. citizens. The other countries with the highest losses are the United Kingdom (including the British overseas territory of Bermuda) with 67, the Dominican Republic with 47, and India with 41.
In 2007, the New York City medical examiner's office began to add people to the official death toll who died of illnesses caused by exposure to dust from the site. The first such victim was a woman who had died in February 2002 from a lung condition. In 2009, a man who died in 2008 was added, and in 2011 a man who died in 2010. So far, 2,999 people are listed as having died due to the attacks.
Additionally 1,140 responders and people who worked, lived or studied in Lower Manhattan at the time have since been diagnosed with cancer. Over 1400 9/11 rescue workers have died since the 9/11 attacks. They were responding to the scene in the months after the attacks. It is also known that there were eleven unborn babies who died on 9/11.
At the time of the attacks, media reports suggested that tens of thousands might have been killed, as on any given day upwards of 100,000 people could be inside the towers. Estimates of the number of people in the Twin Towers when attacked on September 11, 2001 range between 14,000 and 19,000. NIST estimated that approximately 17,400 civilians were in the World Trade Center complex at the time of the attacks. Turnstile counts from the Port Authority indicate that the number of people typically in the Twin Towers by 10:30 am was 14,154.
In the moments after Flight 11 struck the North Tower, the roughly 8,000 people on the floors below the point of impact (the 93rd to 99th floors) were faced with a harrowing scenario. The towers of the World Trade Center complex had not been designed to facilitate a mass evacuation of everybody in the buildings, and in each tower there were only three narrow stairwells descending to the ground level. Many people began to evacuate via the stairs on their own, while others chose to wait for instructions from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Another hindrance to the evacuation of the World Trade Center was that as the planes struck, the force of the impact caused the buildings to shift enough to jam doors in their frames, trapping dozens of people throughout the building, mostly on the floors closer to the impact zone. As evacuees descended down the staircases in the North Tower, they were directed to descend to the concourse level beneath the World Trade Center complex, where the mall was located.
Within moments of Flight 11's impact, the Port Authority issued a complete evacuation of the North Tower. Meanwhile, in the South Tower, many people saw what had happened in the North Tower and chose to evacuate as a precaution. However, the major hindrance to this process was that for the seventeen minutes between the impacts of Flight 11 and Flight 175, it had not yet been determined that a terrorist attack was unfolding, and as a result the Port Authority in the South Tower spread the word via the building's intercom system and security guards for workers in the South Tower to remain in their offices.
This was done in order to avoid overcrowding on the plaza and concourse levels, which was feared would slow the evacuation and rescue operations in the North Tower. Regardless, thousands of people continued to evacuate the South Tower anyway. For example, in the uppermost section of the South Tower between the 78th Floor Sky Lobby and the Observation Deck on the 107th and 110th Floors, there were an estimated 2,000 employees on those floors, including 1,100 on the floors occupied by AON Insurance, those being the 92nd, and 98th-105th. One of AON's executives, Eric Eisenberg, initiated the evacuation of their floors within moments of the impact of Flight 11.
A similar evacuation was carried out on the floors occupied by Fiduciary Trust, on the 90th, 94th-97th floors, as well as in the offices of Fuji Bank (on floors 79-82) and Euro Brokers on floor 84, which occupied the floors directly above the 78th Floor Sky Lobby. Executives such as Eisenberg instructed their employees to take the stairs down to the 78th floor Sky Lobby, where they could take an express elevator to the ground level and exit the building. Within a window of roughly 17 minutes, between 8:46 AM and 9:03 AM, an estimated 1,400 people successfully evacuated the upper floors of the South Tower, while roughly 600 people did not. At the moment of the impact of Flight 175, an estimated 200 people had packed into the Sky Lobby on the 78th Floor and were waiting for the express elevators. Almost all of these people then died, as the lobby was in the lower section of Flight 175's impact zone.
Once both towers had been struck, the order to evacuate the North Tower quickly spread to encompass not only the entire World Trade Center complex, but most high rise buildings in Lower Manhattan and surrounding areas as well. The evacuation of employees from the North and South towers continued past the plaza and through the concourse. Evacuees from the North Tower were directed across the full length of the concourse to 5 World Trade Center, from where they exited the complex onto Church Street. Evacuees from the South Tower were provided with a separate route in order to deter congestion, with theirs leading them to 4 World Trade Center and exiting onto Liberty Street.
Only 14 people escaped from the impact zone of the South Tower (floors 77 to 85) after it was hit and only four people from the floors above it. Individuals escaped from as high up on the South Tower as the 84th floor after initial impact. They escaped via stairwell A (which was in the northwest corner), the only stairwell which had been left intact after the impact. It is speculated that stairwell A in the South Tower was not only intact after the impact of United Airlines Flight 175, but that it was also passable until the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 am. Because of communication between 911 operators (FDNY and NYPD responders were disorganized), most individuals who were trapped were unaware of the passable status of stairwell A and were instead told to wait for assistance by rescue personnel.
After the collapse of the towers, only 23 survivors who were in or below the towers escaped from the debris, including 15 rescue workers. The last survivor to be removed alive from the WTC collapse debris was removed from the ruins of the North Tower 27 hours after its collapse. The search for survivors did find others who had survived for days under the pile of rubble. These people were found with life detector listening equipment. With this special equipment, their voices could be heard. Rescuers at the surface told them, "If you can hear me, tap on a pipe" and metallic taps were heard in response. But a path through the debris could not be cleared quickly enough to get to them before they succumbed to their injuries. A total of 6,294 people were reported to have been treated in area hospitals for injuries related to the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
World Trade Center
Before the Twin Towers collapsed, an estimated 200 people fell to their deaths from the burning towers, landing on the streets and rooftops of adjacent buildings hundreds of feet below. To witnesses watching, a few of the people falling from the towers seemed to have jumped, including the person whose photograph became known as the Falling Man. The NIST report describes the deaths of 104 jumpers, but states that it likely understates the total number. The sight and sound of "one, two, three, four [jumpers], smashing like eggs on the ground" horrified and traumatized firefighter and police witnesses. The jumpers' death certificates, like most other victims', states the cause of death as homicide from "blunt trauma".
Some of the occupants of each tower above its point of impact made their way upward toward the roof in hope of helicopter rescue, only to find the roof access doors locked. Port Authority officers attempted to unlock the doors but control systems would not let them; in any case, thick smoke and intense heat would have prevented rescue helicopters from landing.
Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., an investment bank on the 101st–105th floors of One World Trade Center, lost 658 employees, considerably more than any other employer. Marsh Inc., located immediately below Cantor Fitzgerald on floors 93–100 (the location of Flight 11's impact), lost 295 employees and 63 consultants. Risk Waters was holding a conference in Windows on the World at the time, with 81 people in attendance.
John P. O'Neill was a former assistant director of the FBI who assisted in the capture of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and was the head of security at the World Trade Center when he was killed trying to rescue people from the North Tower. An additional 24 people remain listed as missing.
The average age of the dead in New York City was 40. The dead included eight children: five on American Airlines Flight 77 ranging in age from 3 to 11, three on United Airlines Flight 175 ages 2, 3, and 4. The youngest victim was a 2-1/2-year-old child on Flight 175, the oldest was an 85 year-old passenger on Flight 11. In the buildings, the youngest victim was 18 and the oldest was 79.
By the numbers
2,977 fatalities included the following:
- 246 aboard the four hijacked planes. This number includes the 19 hijackers; 76 passengers and 11 crew members aboard American Airlines Flight 11; 51 passengers and 9 crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 175; 53 passengers and 6 crew members aboard American Airlines Flight 77; and 33 passengers and 7 crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93.
- 2,606 in New York City in the towers and on the ground:
- This number includes 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters, one of whom was the FDNY fire chaplain, Franciscan Fr. Mychal Judge,; 23 New York City Police Department officers; and 37 Port Authority Police Department officers. In addition, 15 EMTs and 3 court officers were casualties of the attacks and approximately 2,000 first responders were injured.
- 1,366 people at or above the floors of impact in the North Tower (1 WTC). According to the Commission Report, hundreds were killed instantly by the impact while the rest were trapped and died after the tower collapsed. Although a few people were pulled from the rubble, none of them were from above the impact zone.
- As many as 600 people at or above the floors of impact in the South Tower (2 WTC). Only 18 or so people managed to escape using staircase A before the South Tower collapsed.
- 110 people below the impact zone were among those killed in the attacks. The 9/11 Commission notes that this fact strongly indicates that evacuation below the impact zones was a success, allowing most to safely evacuate before the collapse of the World Trade Center.
- A USA Today report estimated that approximately 200 people perished inside the elevators, while only 21 escaped the elevators. Many elevators did not plunge, but were destroyed due to the crash and subsequent fires, or were stranded in the shafts. A locking mechanism prevented escapees and rescuers, except on one elevator, from opening the doors on stranded elevators.
- A bomb sniffing dog named Sirius (not included in above total).
- 125 in the Pentagon
The following list details the number of casualties reported by companies in business premises at the World Trade Center. The list includes WTC tenants (all buildings), vendors, visitors, independent emergency responders, and some hijacked passenger-related firms.
Excluding the 19 perpetrators, 373 foreign nationals representing more than 12% of the total number of deaths in the attacks, the majority being British, Dominican, Indian, and South Korean. Without accounting for some cases of dual citizenship, here is a list of their nationalities:
As of September 11th, 2012, 2,753 death certificates were filed relating to the attacks. Of these, 1,588 (58%) were forensically identified from recovered physical remains. The Associated Press reported that the medical examiner's office possesses "about 10,000 unidentified bone and tissue fragments that cannot be matched to the list of the dead." Bone fragments were still being found in 2006 as workers prepared the damaged Deutsche Bank Building for demolition.
On April 17, 2013, five possible remains were recovered after being sifted at Fresh Kills on Staten Island. The medical examiner said evidence of a possible victim of the attacks was recovered as well two days later.
On June 21, 2013, the medical examiner's office matched its 1,637th victim, a 43-year-old woman, to its list of victims as a result of DNA testing of debris collected from the site. By family request, her name was not released.
On July 5, 2013, the medical examiner's office identified the remains of FDNY firefighter Lt. Jeffrey P. Walz, 37, after they were retested. His remains were recovered just months after the attack and is now the 1,638th victim recorded.