Two More WTC Workers Claim Bombs In North Tower Basement

Greg Szymanski | July 13 2005

Two more WTC workers have come forward with eye-witness testimony that a huge explosion ripped apart the lower levels of the north tower at about the same time a jetliner rammed into the top floors.

The pair not only reported hearing an underground blast, but were both injured, one suffering severe burns to the face, arms and hands and the other cuts and bruises after being trapped in a stalled basement elevator.

Burn victim, Felipe David, employed by Aramark Co. and Salvatore Giambanco, a WTC office painter trapped in a basement elevator, were both unavailable for comment, but made their explosive testimony – never before released in America – to a Colombian television station in 2002 on the first anniversary of 9/11.

Their comments eventually aired in Colombia in Spanish on the Red Continental De Noticias (RNC) as a part of an in depth 9/11 documentary after the foreign station spent a month in New York in 2002 shooting the project.

A copy of the original interview tapes with RCN reporter Claudia Gurisatti questioning the WTC workers was made available this week by WTC maintenance worker William Rodriguez, the first eye-witness to go public about the north tower basement explosions.

Recently, Rodriguez, declared a national hero for helping save numerous lives on the morning of 9/11, including David and Giambanco, said he heard a massive basement explosion seconds before the jetliner struck the top floors when he, along with 14 other co-workers, were huddled in a sub-level 1 office.

Besides the trio, the taped statements of Jose Sanchez, another WTC maintenance worker, recently came forward, saying he heard an underground explosion at the same time the others reported it while working in a small sub-level 4 workshop.

“What really upsets me is that we have all these people coming forward with credible testimony about explosions and we have been completely ignored by the 9/11 Commission and the major media,” said Rodriguez in a telephone conversation from his New Jersey apartment about what he calls an obvious media and government blackout on any information contrary to the official story that only jet fuel brought down the towers, a theory adopted by the 9/11 Commission.

“They concluded jet fuel brought down the towers without even considering the testimony of people like David, Giambanco and Sanchez. Why would they do that unless they are covering up something?

“And, concerning the American press, they have locked their doors on all of us, never allowing our stories to surface or even trying to investigate why the 9/11 Commission didn’t bother to include out statements in the final report. Here we have a Colombian station in 2002 doing their work and three years later our story only has appeared in South America in Spanish. What does that tell you?”

In the 2002 Colombian television taped interviews where Rodriguez also adds his 9/11 account, both David and Giambanco, located in different basement locations, tell gut-wrenching and heart breaking stories of survival from what they both thought to be from a massive underground explosion, not an airplane strike 90 floors above.

David’s Story

Standing in front of a freight elevator on sub level 1 near the office where Rodriguez and 14 others were huddled together when the explosion erupted below, David said in the taped interview:

“That day I was in the basement in sub-level 1 sometime after 8:30am. Everything happened so fast, everything moved so fast. The building started shaking after I heard the explosion below, dust was flying everywhere and all of a sudden it got real hot.

“I threw myself onto the floor, covered my face because I felt like I was burned. I sat there for a couple of seconds on the floor and felt like I was going to die, saying to myself ‘God, please give me strength.’”

Although severely burned on his face, arms and hands with skin hanging from his body like pieces of cloth, David picked himself up, running for help to the office were Rodriguez and others were gathered.

“When I went in, I told them it was an explosion,” said David, who was then helped out of the WTC by Rodriguez and eventually taken by ambulance to New York Hospital. “When people looked at me with my skin hanging, they started crying but I heard others say ‘OK, good, good, you made it alive.”

Giambanco’s Story

At the same time David, Rodriguez and the others heard the basement explosion, Giambanco was in a completely different location on the opposite side of sub level 1 by another elevator.

In the taped interview, Giambanco told Gurisatti, the Colombian reporter:

“We heard the explosion and the smoke all of a sudden came from all over. There was an incredible force of wind that also swept everything away. I remember hearing a scream of a woman, but I couldn’t see her. I had just gotten off the elevator and I was standing by it with another man but didn’t know his name.

“The doors of the elevator were still open and, I don’t know why we did, but we both jumped back in maybe because of the wind whipping everything around in the hallway. “Then, suddenly, the elevator doors closed in front of us and we started going down. It all of a sudden stopped and I could see through the cracks we were between B-2 and B-3. We were both screaming and afraid. I remember seeing through the slot of the elevator and seeing other people running and screaming.

“Then water started gushing in the elevator and I remember saying, ‘God, please help us.’ At that point, I was resigned to the fact I was going to die”

But like a miracle, Giambanco’s plea to God was answered as all of a sudden he heard someone yelling from above, “How many people are down there?”

The miracle above turned out to be Rodriguez who had returned into the WTC after helping David to safety in order to help others after disobeying police orders to remain outside.

“I remember rushing past police, telling them to go to hell as I was going back to help my friends no matter what,” recalls Rodriguez about his basement search for survivors before eventually only making his way to the 39th floor before being turned back in a desperate attempt to reach the top floors.

In the basement, Rodriguez managed to find a construction ladder, miraculously lowering it into the elevator after courageously entering the darkened shaft and opening the top hatch on the elevator where Giambanco and the other unidentified man now were standing thigh-deep in water from the broken or activated sprinkler system spewing water into the elevator shaft.

“I don’t know he did it, but I felt him just pick me up and pull me out,” said Giambanco about Rodriguez’s rescue efforts. “I didn’t know who he was then, but I do now and he definitely saved my life. If it wasn’t for William Rodriguez, I wouldn’t be here today.”

For me, William is like my brother. He single handedly saved my life.

After Rodriguez brought him to safety, Giambanco remembers being taken to an ambulance and rushed to a hospital where in his hospital room, he received news reports that both towers collapsed.

“I threw myself on the hospital floor in tears and I finally had to get an injection to calm me down,” said Giambanco. “For a long time after, every time I would try to go to sleep I would get nightmares about being trapped in the elevator”

Reflecting back on his 9/11 near death experience, he added:

“I remember riding in the ambulance that morning and looking back, thinking it had to be a bomb.

“Later they told me it was an airplane that hit the towers, but how could it just be an airplane? I know all the newspapers were saying that, but it was just too incredible to believe if you heard and experienced what I did. It had to be a bomb.”

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