In her first interview with a UK newspaper, Susan Rescorla has told the emotional story of how her husband, Rick, died a hero in the World Trade Centre.
15 years ago today Rick, originally from Hayle in Cornwall, was one of almost 3,000 people to die when two planes ploughed into the Twin Towers.
In an in-depth interview with The Sun, Susan has revealed how Rick died while evacuating his colleagues from the South Tower to safety.
Rick, a former U.S army officer, was the security chief at Morgan Stanley and is credited with saving the lives of almost 2,700 people.
However, he has also become known as ‘the man who predicted 9/11’. He warned his bosses that planes could hit the premises, urging the company to move.
Unfortunately, Rick’s recommendations were ignored – but he devised an evacuation plan which he put into action just moments after the first plane hit.
Susan had already received several frantic phone calls from friends when Rick called her to say he was evacuating everyone from his building.
Susan told The Sun:
He told me not to cry but then the phone went dead. I had the television on and saw Rick’s tower collapse.
I ran screaming into the street. I’m not sure why, I just ran outside.
Reports from survivors emerged revealing that Rick ignored orders to keep people in the building following the initial attack, instead telling everyone to get out.
Acting with incredible bravery, he remained inside, heading back up the stairs to round up stragglers. It was then that the South Tower plane hit.
Survivors told Susan that Rick used a megaphone to sing America The Beautiful and Cornish folk songs to keep everyone’s spirits up and experts said his actions were the main reason 2,700 people escaped with their lives.
I think he knew what was about to happen. We talked about it and he told his bosses the World Trade Centre was vulnerable.
He worried about planes hitting. He was very focused on what could happen, even to the point of talking to me about where he wanted his memorial.
Sadly Rick’s remains were never found, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of people from paying their respects.
When the 9/11 Memorial Museum opened so many of Rick’s friends wanted to attend that officials organised a special tour.
We had commemorative coins made from the steel at Ground Zero and two of Rick’s friends were allowed to go to the top before it was finished. They embedded a coin up there for Rick.
To mark the 15th anniversary of the tragedy, Susan says she will get phone calls and emails from Rick’s friends all over the world.
“It’s a wonderful tribute and it makes me happy people have not forgotten him,” she said. “I treasure every single moment I had with him.”
I’m sure Rick’s brave actions will never be forgotten.