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In Spite of Collapse, WTC Was One of Best Engineered Building in the World

The BBC is carrying a story that says: "The design of the World Trade Center saved thousands of lives by standing for well over an hour after the planes crashed into its twin towers, say structural engineers." This article is similar to articles that have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and other newspapers.

When the first terrorist attack occured on the World Trade Center in 1993, it was clear that the plan was to cause an explosion in the sub-basement of one tower that would topple it, and either knock down the second tower or undermine it so that it could not be used. This week's attack was obviously planned with the previous failure in mind.

As time passes since the attack, the enormity and diabolical nature of the plan is settling in. Consider these facts:

  • at least 20 people were involved in the series of hijackings as members of hijacking teams,
  • more than four of the hijackers must have been trained pilots, capable of flying either Boeing 757s or 767s,
  • all flights were chosen based on the airplanes that the airlines were planning to fly, so that the hijack pilots could fly them,
  • all flights were chosen for their planned length, so that the hijacked planes would be full of fuel,
  • crashes into the WTC towers were staggered, permitting TV to cover the second crash live,
  • passengers in the hijacked planes were encouraged to call their families, increasing the terroristic effect.

No one could have assumed that both strikes on the World Trade Center would be successful, considering the complexity of the events. This is undoubtedly the most daring kamakaze attack in world history, and possibly the biggest tragedy in American history.

Kudos to Ed Anuff for pointing this story out.

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