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[ 2007-09-29 11:40 ]
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (C) and New York Governor George Pataki (R) thank volunteer tour guide Tania Head.[time.com]
Tania Head's story, as shared over the years with reporters, students, friends and hundreds of visitors to Ground Zero, was a remarkable account of both life and death.

She had, she said, survived the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre despite having been badly burned when the plane crashed into the upper floors of the south tower.

Crawling through the chaos andcarnage on the 78th floor that morning, she said, she encountered a dying man who handed her his inscribed wedding ring, which she later returned to his widow.

Her life was saved by a selfless volunteer who put out the flames on her burning clothes before she was helped down the stairs. It was a journey she said she had the strength to make because she kept thinking of a beautiful white dress she was to wear at her coming marriage ceremony to a man named Dave.

But later she would discover that Dave, her fiancé, and in some versions, her husband, had perished in the north tower.

As a matter of history, Ms Head's account made her one of only 19 survivors who had been at or above the point of impact when the planes hit.

As a matter of emotion, her story moved audiences like students to whom she spoke and visitors at Ground Zero, where she has long led tours for the Tribute WTC Visitor Centre, including ones for the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the former New York state governor George Pataki.

"What I witnessed there I will never forget," Ms Head told a gathering at Baruch College, New York, at a memorial event in 2006.

Her account was posted on the website of the World Trade Centre Survivors' Network, a nonprofit organization for which she served as president and collected corporate donations.

But no part of her story can be verified.

The family and friends of the man to whom she claimed to be engaged say they have never heard of Tania Head. A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch, where she told people she worked, said the company had no record of employing a Tania Head.

And few people who embraced her account ever asked the name of the man whose ring she had returned, or that of the hospital where she was treated.

"She never shared those details," said Alison Crowther, the mother of Welles Remy Crowther, a man who died on 9/11 and is credited with rescuing several people, including Ms Head - by her own account.

In recent weeks, Ms Head has been sought for interview about her experiences on 11 September, 2001. But she cancelled three interviews, citing her privacy and emotional turmoil, and declined to provide details to corroborate her story.

No-one has suggested that Ms Head did anything to profit from her position as an officer with the World Trade Centre Survivors' Network.

The board of the organisation voted this week to remove her as president and as a director of the group. "Tania Head is no longer associated with the World Trade Centre Survivors' Network," its acting president, Richard Zimbler, said.

Officials of the Tribute Centre said that Ms Head would no longer do volunteer work for it as a tour guide.

Her work with the Survivors' Network appears to have begun in 2004, when Gerry Bogacz, one of its founders, said he learned through word of mouth that a woman named Tania Head had developed an internet group for survivors.

"We had a long e-mail conversation over a two-month period before we met," Mr Bogacz, who escaped from the north tower, said in an interview. "The constellation of her experiencing the plane crash personally on the 78th floor and her fiancé's being in the other tower and getting killed was just amazing."

Jefferson Crowther, Welles Crowther's father, said that with the help of another Tribute Centre tour guide, he and his wife met Ms Head early last year.

"During the dinner she said she still had her burned clothing and was going to send us a piece of it on a plaque since it was one of the last things our son had touched," he recalled. "She explained that her clothes were on fire and that our son took a jacket and put out the flames. She told us that she said, 'Don't leave me,' and he replied, 'I won't. Don't worry. I'll get you down'.

"She seemed so heartfelt and genuine about what she said to us," Mr Crowther said.



Ground Zero:美国世贸中心遗址

carnage:(在战场上的)残杀, 大屠杀,此处指尸体遍布

inscribed wedding ring:(刻了名字的)结婚戒指


(英语点津 Celene 编辑)

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