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Wings Over America
Wings Over America
(2013 Remaster)

2001-Nov-13: "I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

Last evening, Sir Paul had more to say about the New York air disaster he witnessed from the Concorde window.  As he saw the black smoke billowing from the wreckage, he cried:
"Oh Christ, not again.  You thought bloody hell. It's a nightmare again. I'm out here to get behind this move to help America recover - that's what Freedom is all about. I'd gone out to do radio promotion for a couple of days.  But coming in to land and looking out of the left hand side of the plane we could see masses of smoke rising up. They rushed everyone off the plane straight away and into the arrivals hall which was empty apart from FBI officers.

 "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I looked out of the window as we taxied in and saw this giant plume of black smoke billowing everywhere.   My first thought was it might be burning oil or some pollution thing. But then I quickly realized it was something more serious.  It was like seeing the World Trade Center towers ablaze again. Terrible."

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson was a fellow passenger on this Concorde flight.  Sir Paul and Heather had been at an awards ceremony in New York City with the Duchess of York on September 10   (see September 10 below) the day before the terrorists attacks.  She is in New York to promote Wedgewood, for which she is the U.S. spokeswoman. Sir Paul said:
"I turned to Sarah when we were told it was another plane crash and just said: 'How weird is this? The last time I saw you was September 10 in New York, now this?'  She was just like me - just kind of stunned at how it had happened again."
The Duchess of York added in her account of the tragedy:
"It was like some appalling Groundhog Day.  It was another clear blue sky in New York and all I could see from Concorde was this black smoke everywhere over the city again. I was with Paul and Heather on the plane and we realized the shocking coincidence of being together again around another terrible event so soon after the last one.
Speaking from his new York apartment, Sir Paul said:
"It's just awful to think of so many people dying. My heart goes out to their poor families at this tragic time.  We had had a really good flight and it felt great being back on Concorde again.  Then I saw the smoke. We must have been one of the first planes to land after the crash, literally a minute later or something. I looked out to my left and saw it coming from the Queens area and I turned to Heather and a few other passengers who were looking and said: 'Do you think this something we should be worried about?'  Obviously, in the current climate, the immediate concern was that it might be another disaster.  We didn't really get worried until we got through to customs and found nobody there to check our passports or anything.  We just stood there chatting for about 20 minutes wondering what the hell was happening until Heather overheard these two FBI guys saying the airport had been closed. Then we knew something big was going down.  We began asking questions and airport staff eventually said another plane had crashed.  We just stood there with Sarah and Hugh Grant, all of us just shaking our heads.  To be honest we were keeping our fingers crossed, hoping and praying that it was not another terrorist attack by bin Laden.  Obviously it was another terrible tragedy and many people had died.  But it would be easier for everyone to know it was an accident and not a bomb."
Sir Paul is in New York city to promote his charity recording Freedom:
 "This city needs our help. It needs some serious morale boosting. I hope I can do my bit to raise money for those who died and those who are fighting for our freedom right now.  America helped us in World War Two. They came to our aid against Hitler when we needed them.  Now they need us.

"We have to get on with our lives, otherwise the terrorists will have won.  This is another terrible shock, and another terrible blow to New York. But the city will recover, and we've got to help them."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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