The following is a mock up of MSNBC page carrying a Newsweek article about 9-11 featuring an interview with Leslie E. Robertson.
- Note: I've constructed this page because when links to evidence are placed on this site, sometimes the page disappears.
- MSNBC, still has an archive without images. http://www.newsweek.com/id/75780
- Painful and Horrible The engineer behind the World Trade Center speaks about the structures The south tower, built with its twin in 1973, collapses on Tuesday
Back To The Scenario
By Katherine Stroup Newsweek Web Exclusive
Sept. 13 - Leslie Robertson, one of two engineers who designed the World Trade Center, was in Hong Kong when he first learned of Tuesdays terrorist attacks. Before the second plane even hit, he was on his way to the airport.
FORTY-EIGHT HOURS LATER, Robertson, founder and owner of Leslie E. Robertson Associates in New York, has only gotten as far as Tokyo. Hes still struggling to get home to his family in Manhattan, and the project he spent 10 years designing and perfecting.
Beyond the reaction that any citizen hasthe sadness that we all feelyou have to understand, I worked long hours, seven days a week on this project back when I was young and energetic, says the 73-year-old, his voice breaking with emotion. It was just terrible to watch, painful and horrible.
Still, Robertson, whose firm is responsible for three of the six tallest buildings in the world, feels a sense of pride that the massive towers, supported by a steel-tube exoskeleton and a reinforced concrete core, held up as well as they didmanaging to stand for over an hour despite direct hits from two massive commercial jetliners.
If they had fallen down immediately, the death counts would have been unimaginable, he says. The World Trade Center has performed admirably, and everyone involved in the project should be proud.
Says engineer Robertson, 'If they had fallen down immediately, the death counts would have been unimaginable'
The buildings were designed specifically to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707the largest plane flying in 1966, the year they broke ground on the projectand Robertson says it could have survived even the larger 767s that crashed into the towers on Tuesday morning. But the thousands of gallons of burning jet fuel finally brought down the noble structures. As the fire raged it got hotter and hotter and the steel got weaker and weaker, he says, adding that building a skyscraper able to handle such a blaze would not have been viable, financially and functionally. You could always prepare for more and more extreme events, but there has to be a risk analysis of whats reasonable.
As for the 1993 bombing, Robertson says I felt like we had taken their best shot. For now, hes not ready to even contemplate rebuilding but hopes our collective sense of security returns soon. We just have to hope that this country doesnt turn into a fortress in order to deal with people like this.
© 2003 Newsweek, Inc.
© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.