Twenty years ago today, 2,977 people woke up on what was just a normal Tuesday in 2001. None of them went home.

September 11th was just another day of the year twenty years ago, but now it is synonymous with horror. Regarded in many parts of the world as the darkest day in modern history.

It's now been two decades since that infamous day, and yet it still feels so recent and raw to so, so many of us. It was a day that shook the world to its core and changed the world utterly.

While September 11 2001 will go down as a day of complete tragedy, many stories did emerge from that day of heroism and bravery.

This is the story of Pasquale Buzzelli and it's one of the most remarkable stories from the darkest hours in American history.


Buzzelli had just arrived to work and was travelling up to the 64th floor of the North Tower in an elevator when the first plane hit. Speaking to 60 Minutes Australia, the structural engineer for the Port Authority said the lights inside the lift flickered and they dropped about one foot.

Buzzelli said that he and the others in the lift had no idea what had happened so they simply stayed inside the lift and waited. They had no idea that American Airlines Flight 11 had just crashed into the building 29 floors above.

He went onto explain:

So I called [my wife] and I said, 'Louise', I said, 'Don't be alarmed, I'm okay, everything's fine, just, can you put the television on, and tell me what you see', and she goes, 'Oh my god', she goes, 'a plane hit your building'.

Those who were trapped inside the lift with Buzzelli all managed to get out, however they still had no idea that another plane had hit the South Tower. It was then that Buzzelli called his wife again who urged him to get out of the building immediately.

Buzzelli had no idea the severity of the situation, insisting to his wife that he was fine, however he eventually realised that he had to get out.

Speaking to 60 Minutes, he said:

And we said, you know, what the F? 'What are we still doing here' OK lets get out of here'. We gathered everything, uh flashlight, we wet down some towels and stuff, and we started our way down the stairs. And then, we went down maybe couple more flights, and it was, on the 22nd floor that all of a sudden, you know, everything started to shake.
I heard screaming, you know, people behind me screaming, and then, just everything went dark.
The building started to shake violently. I heard all the, the loud rumbling from above, I dove into a corner, and I got into a foetal position, and just buried myself up against a corner, so if anything large or heavy was falling, at least I had two sides that could protect me.

I felt the wall that I was laying next to, just crack and the floor give away, and I stayed tucked in the foetal position with my eyes closed.
I felt this, this wind rush, as I was falling and, you know, this abrasive, sandblaster type feeling, and I just stayed tucked in, I was being knocked around. I saw, you know, a few flashes of light from being knocked in the head.

I just remember saying, you know, 'I can't believe this is how, my god, I can't believe this is how I'm gonna die.'

Uh, you know, I thought about my wife, my unborn child ... and, you know, I said, 'Please just God please take care of them and make it a quick death.'

But Buzzelli didn't die and he was one of just sixteen people who was rescued alive from the rubble. He's believed to be one of just two who fell with the towers and survived...

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, our thoughts go out to all those who were affected by the horrific events that marked that day forever in the history books.