World Trade Center survivor recounts 9/11
Most people remember where they were and what they were doing on 9/11. For Sunel Merchant it's a day he'll definitely never forget. He was in one of the World Trade center towers when it was hit.
Sunel Merchent says he's living the American dream; living in a small town, owning two restaurants. But it's a stark contrast to where he was 10 years ago.
"I was on the 49th floor, that's where I used to work, and I turned, I looked and I saw a plane coming in," said Merchant.
On September 11th 2001, Merchant was working for a bank in tower one of the World Trade Center.
He hadn't been at work long when the building was struck by the passenger plane.
"All of a sudden, someone shouted it's a bomb and let's evacuate the building," said Merchant.
That's when he and hundreds of others hit the stairwell going down 48 flights of stairs.
"When I reached the thirty second floor, which was about 15 minutes from the time I had started. There was a loud boom noise that came from below the stairwell," Merchant.
That noise was the sound of the plane hitting the second tower, but for the people in first tower it sounded like an explosion beneath them. They had to make a decision on whether or not to continue to the bottom.
"We were scared, there was a panic attack moment because, we knew something had happened at the top, now something has happened at the bottom," said Merchant.
The group continued and made it to the ground floor, but were redirected by emergency crews shielding them from the horrors they were dealing with.
"I remember, hearing loud thud sounds. As if something was falling from the top. Something was falling on the sidewalk. Later on I came to know, that was the people that were jumping," said Merchant.
Every year merchant says he can't help, but to think about the emergency responders, many of which gave up their lives to help others that day.
"Whenever there is a fire, we run away from the building and they are running toward the building and these people are in real flesh and blood, but how many times have you stopped to say thank you," said Merchant.
Merchant plans to say thank you to emergency responders at his restaurant, the Philly Connection. He'll be giving out free sandwiches to any emergency personnel members; firefighters, police officers, EMTS, armed services on Sept. 13th at the Albany store in the Wal-Mart shopping center on Ledo road from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.