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THE ELECTRONIC LIVEIBIZA

Weekly Edition 029: Saturday 15th September 2001

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Local News
by Louise Wright

 

This week, all local news seems rather unimportant after the multiple terrorist attacks on the United States.

Since Tuesday 11th September 2001, a day that will forever be remembered by the American people, the Ibicencan newspapers have each dedicated more than 20 pages of print every day to the New York City and Washington DC tragedies.

On Tuesday morning, thousands of people on holiday in Ibiza gathered in bars and cafes to listen to the live reports coming in about the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Four young Ibicencans witnessed the terrorist attacks first hand. Vanessa Colomar, Marco Marcos, Carlos Perez and Nuria Garcia were all present when the attacks began.

Vanessa Colomar, daughter of the president of Fomento de Turismo (Tourist Board) JosÚ Colomar, was getting out of the train that takes her to her office in Wall Street, 200 metres from the World Trade Center, when the American Airlines plane crashed into the second of the Twin Towers. Vanessa's first reaction was to run in the opposite direction. "At first I thought it was a bomb because from my position I could not see the Twin Towers", said a nervous Vanessa after realising the devastating effects of the terrorist attacks. "Manhattan is in chaos. People are running everywhere".

Marco Marcos, a 31-year-old basketball coach for the Ibicencan team Sa Graduada, was watching the television with his wife in their Washington apartment when they heard an explosion. "I thought it was a car bomb in the Capitol but when I looked out the window I could see the Pentagon burning". Marco had planned to catch a flight the same day at six o'clock Eastern time to Madrid so that he would be home on the island for the start of the new basketball season on Sunday. "All flights have been cancelled. Only the presidentĺs plane is allowed to fly. I don't know when I will be able to get out of here".

A 25-year-old Santa EulÓria resident, Carlos Perez, watched in amazement as the two World Trade Center buildings collapsed into a mountain of rubble. "I am at home in Queens and I have just seen the Twin Towers fall", screamed a frightened Carlos down the phone to his family in Ibiza. "They are telling us not to go out or turn on the air-conditioning because the bombs may contain chemicals. We are very scared". Later, Carlos like many others discovered the horrifying truth that not bombs but aeroplanes had caused the explosions.

Nuria Garcia, another Ibiza resident who works in a medical centre in Washington DC close to the White House said: "We have had hundreds of people coming to the centre for treatment after the attack on the Pentagon, also thousands willing to donate blood. Two women travelling on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center had appointments at our medical centre on Wednesday 12th September", said Nuria.

Nuria Garcia decided to spend a years work experience in America instead of Pakistan because her parents considered that the United States was a safer place for their daughter.

As the news came in, Americans that live on the island and Americans here on holiday could not believe what they were seeing. "It's like something out of a Hollywood horror movie. I can't believe how my country has been turned into a disaster area in a matter of minutes", said one American tourist watching the events unfold.

Travel agencies said that only a small number of Ibicencans are in America at this time of year "most wait until the end of the tourist season before travelling. October and November are the months when people from the island travel to the United States but we have had numerous requests from Americans wishing to purchase tickets to return home to be with their family and loved ones", confirmed a local travel agent.

The board of directors of Aena (Airports and Air Navigation) in Ibiza and the director of the Spanish Administration of Airports, Marienna Sanchez-Jauregui, confirmed that special security precautions have been implemented at all of Spain's airports and ports. Even though no direct flights join America to Ibiza, officers of the Cuerpo Nacional de Policia (National Police) and the Guardia Civil (Civil Guards) will be on full alert until further notice.

The director of the Autoridad Portuaria (Port Authority), Jorge Martin, allayed the worries of some residents by confirming that the American Navy Ship that was visiting Ibiza last weekend has left Ibicencan waters.  

Ibiza, like most other parts of the world, has discovered this week that events perpetrated by a small number of people thousands of miles away can affect our peaceful existence and change our way of life.

 
Louise Wright
louisewright@liveibiza.com
 

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