Robin Lamprecht of Saanich was on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Centre south tower when the first hijacked plane struck Manhatten
15-years after 9/11, the memories are still thick for Saanich resident Robin Lamprecht.
“You remember more, kind of odd little details of different people that were involved, the police, the fire department and so on.”
Lamprecht was on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Centre’s South tower, about to speak in a meeting with colleagues from the international insurance brokerage firm AON, with a clear view on a picture perfect day over Manhatten.
“I saw the plane coming low over building number-1 and I thought, my god, that’s a plane,” says Lambrecht.
“10 seconds later, the plane went right into the building.”
“The flame leapt out, huge flame.”
“Leapt right out of the building and then sucked right back in.”
Lamprecht and his colleagues decided it was time to go, despite security saying the South tower is secure.
And the choice was to go by stairs, or elevator.
“They were huge, so you’d be in that elevator with about 50 people.”
“And so I thought ‘no, I’m not going to take the elevator.”
Lamprecht made good time down the stairs.
But when he got to the 40th floor, United Airlines flight 175 slammed into the South tower.
“It’s like an earthquake, feeling of an earthquake when the building shakes and I think oh my god this is an earthquake,”
Meanwhile, watching from home is Lamprecht’s wife, Liz, who had called their two daughters in Vancouver and a son in Chicago, who worked by the famed Sears tower.
“I don’t know, but if anybody will get out, it’ll be your dad,” said Liz.
“He just burst out crying and then he said mom, I have to go cause they’re evacuating our building.”
Lamprecht couldn’t call home, leaving Liz agonizing over her husband’s safety.
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I didn’t know where he was and I’ve got to tell you, pretty angry at God.”
She added “what were you thinking?”
On his way down the stairs, Lamprecht slipped on coffee and was held up by a firefighter going the other way.
“He said you’ll be ok sir, don’t worry just keep walking and you’ll get out of here.”
Lamprecht added, “but he wouldn’t have got out cause he was going up.”
Lamprecht made it to safety, not long before the South tower fell.
Once at an office, he finally called home.
Not lost in the tragedy surrounding him was his humour.
“I phoned Liz and I said to her don’t spend your life insurance money cause I got out.”
Liz recalls, “first of all you said oh lovey, then you made the insurance joke and I said to Dan it’s Robin he’s ok.”
Lamprecht retired shortly after and the couple moved to their Saanich cottage.
They were one of the lucky families in New York and next year the Lamprecht’s will celebrate their 50th.