Firefighter Said Black Boxes Were Found at Ground Zero
By Bryan Sacks and Nicholas Levis
Pulitzer Prize winner William Bunch uses an account from the book, “Behind-the-Scenes: Ground Zero,” as one source for the claim that three black boxes from the aircraft that crashed into the World Trade Center were discovered by authorities during the recovery efforts in 2001-2002. This is contrary to the official story. (Philadelphia Daily News, Thursday, 10/28/04 – a longer version was published on his “Campaign Extra” weblog.)
We hope other newspapers – and broadcasters – will follow this important lead and endeavor to investigate other potential cover-ups relevant to the 9/11 investigation.
Update, Oct. 29: This breakthrough story has been picked up at OpEd News, Scoop Media, Yahoo PR Newswire and many other outlets.
Amid the enormous detail of loss, sorrow and recovery conveyed in “Behind-the-Scenes: Ground Zero,” a New York City firefighter reveals that at least three of the four black boxes from Flights 11 and 175 were found by “Federal Agents” at the former World Trade Center site, during the clean-up efforts from September 2001 to March 2002.
At the time of the disaster, Nicholas DeMasi was a firefighter at Engine Company 261 in Queens. (The firehouse was shut down in 2003, after a century of operation.) In the weeks that followed 9/11, he joined an all-terrain vehicle crew (ATV Unit) at Ground Zero.
In “Behind-the-Scenes,” he describes his experience as follows:
“If you needed anything, go ask the ATV Guy, they’re the gopher guys.”
On page 108 comes the revelation:
“At one point I was assigned to take Federal Agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes. We were getting ready to go out. My ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance area. We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV. When we got into the ATV to take off, the agent accidentally pushed me forward. The ATV was already in reverse, and my foot went down on the gas pedal. We went down the stairs in reverse.
Fortunately, everything was okay. There were a total of four black boxes. We found three.
“DeMasi’s statement was committed to print in August 2003 and concerns an event that likely happened before January 2002. It has gone unnoticed by the media until now, and is flatly contradicted by the Kean Commission’s supposedly exhaustive findings.
The only statement on the status of the Ground Zero black boxes in the 9/11 Commission Report is buried in footnote 76 to Chapter 1, but it is definitive: “The CVRs and FDRs from American 11 and United 175 were not found…” As if to leave no doubt about what is meant – that not even a trace of the total of four cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders from the two aircraft remained – the same sentence adds:
“…and the CVR from American Flight 77 was badly burned and not recoverable.”
DeMasi did not return phone messages to a number of investigators who reached out to him, and has not spoken out beyond his comments in “Behind-the-Scenes.” He is obviously not seeking attention – why else drop his bombshell in this off-hand way, in a passage that almost no one has noticed? – and we have no interest in putting him on the spot. Given his commitment to the recovery effort at Ground Zero and the detail he provides, his account has an immediate, prima facie credibility.
This story was originally posted at summeroftruth.org. based on an account found in the book:
“Behind-the-Scenes: Ground Zero”
Behind-the-Scenes: Ground Zero
A Collection of Personal Accounts
Written By Gail Swanson
With Honorary Firefighter Mike Bellone and Retired Firefighter Robert Barrett
A heartbreaking, inspirational collection of first-hand stories from the recovery effort at Ground Zero, along with a startling claim that the black boxes from Flights 11 and 175 were found.
When Flights 11 and 175 hit the World Trade Center on September 11, the tragedy for Lower Manhattan had only just begun. In this heart-rending collection of first-hand accounts, the aftermath of the attacks is conveyed in chilling detail, from the terrifying moments just after the collapses to the powerful feelings of common cause arising from the cooperation of strangers.
Tiny distances meant the difference between life and death. Rescue workers, disoriented by the force of the collapse and choking on asbestos and air-borne debris, crawled blindly in the midday darkness to what they hoped was safety. Told in the first person, these are some of their stories–of recovery, of loss, of the hope that fueled them, and of the powerful sense of togetherness and fellowship that began that morning and grew over the next several months.
The book is dedicated to the memory of the 343 firefighters who died that day, and to all of those who perished at Ground Zero. As the authors note, that toll includes 37 Port Authority Police Officers, 23 NYPD Officers, six Emergency Medical staff, three court officers, one Secret Service agent and one FBI agent.
See Related Article:
Did the Bush Administration Lie to Congress and the 9/11 Commission?
Black Boxes Update