Woman in tower just before crash shares jubilation

Sally Benson walked out of the south tower of the World Trade Center through debris from the north tower, which had just been struck by a hijacked jetliner the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

New Jersey native Sally Benson reveled Monday evening in the knowledge that the man who drove her from her home on the East Coast to western Colorado was finally dead.

Benson was in the south tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, unaware that a jet had slammed into the north tower and that another soon would crash into the building in which she was climbing,  hoping to conquer her fear of heights — a malady that forced her to get out of an elevator on the fourth floor and go back down.

Outside, debris from the north tower was raining down, as was the body of a person who had jumped from a floor above the flames, Benson said.

The friend who accompanied her that day has since died of a lung cancer Benson attributes to the dust from the collapse of the towers.

“I wish she was here to see what happened,” Benson said during a celebratory rally at Teller Arms, 2401 North Ave., Monday evening.

“I never got this happy about anybody’s death, but I’m happy now,” Benson said, referring to the killing of Osama bin-Laden by Navy SEALs. “I’m still on Cloud 9.”

The memories of bin-Laden’s plot still haunts her, Benson said, but “This is the first time since 9-11 that I haven’t broken down.”


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