A Swiss journalist working in one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York managed to escape before the building collapsed. She was on the 52nd floor when a passenger aircraft smashed into the South tower.
Laura Lapreta Wicki, 33, was working in the offices of the economic press agency, AFX, when the attack occurred.
Still in shock, she told the news agency, Associated Press, how she narrowly escaped death by fleeing down an emergency staircase.
"I had been in our office on the 52nd floor of the South tower when the plane crashed into the building," she said. "There was an explosion, and a violent shock as if it was an earthquake.
"Objects were flying in all directions and I froze. And then my only thought was run, run, run!"
A colleague who was aware of emergency procedures then led Lapreta and another person towards the emergency staircase. "There had never been any emergency drills," Lapreta said. "It took us close to an hour to get out of the building."
Meanwhile, firemen were working their way up the stairs with difficulty. "It's terrible to think of those people who remained trapped in the elevators," she added.
On the street, Lapreta became aware of the magnitude of the destruction. "People were jumping out of windows, and there was debris everywhere."
Ten minutes later, the South Tower collapsed.
swissinfo with agencies