Imagine turning up to work one morning to find the windows of your office building shattered by angry balls of flame. Imagine being the first on call for a disaster that will make headlines across the globe. 2016 marks 15 years since New York’s greatest tragedy that saw an entire nation descend into mourning and sent shockwaves of grief around the whole world. On this landmark anniversary National Geographic Channel presents a special day and a half of programming dedicated entirely to giving remarkable real life accounts that will allow viewers complete insight into the events that took place in the run up to and in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
We begin our coverage at 6pm on September 10th with Seconds From Disaster: 9/11 which focusses on two key theatres of action at play during 9/11 - Air Traffic Control and the U.S. Air Force. This programme deconstructs, second-by-second, the tragic events and security lapses that led to the worst attacks on American soil since Pearl Harbour.
On at 7pm is 90s: The Decade That Connected Us which discusses pre-millennium tension and the spectre of a new age of terror, followed by the UK Premiere of 9/11: The Longest War. This two-hour special shows extended excerpts from National Geographic Channel’s best reporting since this world-changing tragedy first took place.
At 10pm we meet the man who gave the unprecedented order to ground all commercial US air traffic, the Pentagon Staff Sergeant who repeatedly raced back into burning wreckage to pull people out, and the paramedic who was called to a smouldering field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania only to find that there was no one to be rescued in 9/11: I Was There. 9/11 Rescue Cops is on at 11pm and tells the previously untold story of the Emergency Service Unit (ESU), the team that played a vital role in the aftermath of 9/11. 9/11 Firehouse is at 12am and we discover how the firefighters of Ten House earned their status today as New York’s most iconic band of brothers. At 1am The 2000’s Biggest Tragedies looks back at the series of tragedies that took place between 2000 and 2009 from the destruction of the Twin Towers in 2001, to the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the death of Michael Jackson in 2009.
9/11 programming continues at 8am on September 11th with the first of two chances to watch Inside 9/11, a four-part series that takes a look at the run up to the attacks on America’s most famous city one hour at a time. From 12pm there is a second opportunity to watch 9/11: I Was There, Seconds From Disaster: 9/11 and Inside 9/11. 6pm offers a third and final chance to see 9/11: I Was There before we present two programmes brand new to the UK that give in depth insight into the largely side-lined attacks on the Pentagon. Many innocent people lost their lives at the Pentagon yet this is a fact that is fading from our collective memory. Showing at 8pm, 9/11: The Plane That Hit The Pentagon is a special episode of Air Crash Investigation that reconstructs exactly what happened inside American Airlines Flight 77, Air Traffic Control and outside the Pentagon as the reality of the situation begins to dawn on the nation. This is followed by the UK Premiere of 9/11: Inside The Pentagon at 9pm where survivors and first responders, for whom evacuation was not an option, share their raw and vivid recollections of the day that forever changed the world. Drama-documentary 9/11 Voices From The Air is on at 10pm giving access to previously unreleased recordings made between Air Traffic Control, the Federal Aviation Authority, the Military and the Hijackers. At 11pm we uncover exactly how the terrorist attack on the twin towers was an out and out decimation of the American Dream in 9/11: The World’s Fallen. We round off the day with repeats of Pentagon specials 9/11: The Plane That Hit The Pentagon and Inside The Pentagon from 12am.