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4/01/2006

New York Releases 9/11 Emergency Calls

Operators on 9/11 facing the onslaught of calls

(New York) New York City officials reluctantly released nine hours of recorded remarks made by emergency dispatchers during 130 phone calls in the early moments of 9/11.

The tapes provide insight into the chaos and human tragedy of the day that al-Qaeda operatives attacked the World Trade Center with fuel-laden airliners.

""Jesus Christ!" yelled one emergency operator. "I broke a nail. I can't believe this day; I just spent $50 on a custom nail job with Alejandra."

The rapidly growing number of incoming calls began to take its toll on operators.

"Hold please, sir...(sound of click)...That's like the 10th call this shift, Jackie, and I just started at 8," said one operator to a coworker. "You know, $16 an hour ain't worth all of this crap...(sound of click)..okay, go ahead sir."

Many operators were clearly frustrated with the lack of information.

Lost sandwiches, late coworkers added to 9/11 stress

“I’ve got a guy on the 106th floor and he wants to know how to deal with a hundred people. He wants some directions. I don’t know,” said another operator. "What do I look like - Information? Yeah, and where the hell is my tuna on wheat? I ordered it 45 minutes ago!"

The day's stress seemed to push one technician close to the edge.

"Sammy, Sammy, when the fuck you gonna get here?" said the man to a coworker's voicemail. "I was supposed to be off at noon, and I can't leave until your lazy ass gets here. And you better not give me any bullshit about getting stuck in traffic. Bastard." Mary Winkler

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