This photo took my breath away the first time I saw it. I remember hearing about the plane hitting the tower while I was on my way to work at a law office and immediately we all got online to check for information. My boss was a very cool lawyer so basically that whole day was spent watching the news and the hysteria that was growing.
When we were watching the live news, hearing the reactions of the bystanders as they realized people were actually jumping from the towers, all we could do was look at each other -you know, the open-mouthed “what?” that we all get when something is happening that our brain just cannot process.
All I can really remember thinking is how I prayed that no one’s family could actually recognize a falling person as their husband, wife, child.
here is an excerpt from the article from this morning about the man who actually captured the photos:
The 110-story buildings looked like a pair of giant smokestacks spewing plumes of black soot into the crystal blue sky. He began shooting, focusing on the topmost floors. It wasn’t long before he realized that some of the people trapped inside — as many as 200 of them, it was later estimated — had decided that plunging thousands of feet to their deaths was preferable to burning alive.
“There’s one. There’s another one,” he said, recalling the horrific scene with a detached ease. “I just started photographing people as they were falling.”
One of those people would come to be known as the Falling Man. Though his identity remains unconfirmed, some believe he was Jonathan Briley, a 43-year-old sound engineer who worked in a restaurant on the top floor of the North Tower. The man fell at 9:41, and Drew caught about a dozen frames of his fatal descent. In one of them, the subject soars earthward in a graceful vertical dive — arms at his sides; left leg bent at the knee.