World Trade Center 9/11 Photos: A Fresh But Painful Look at Sept. 11 Tragedy

Twelve images newly released by the government of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists' attacks on the World Trade Center provide a fresh look at the tragedy and its impact on New York City.

The photographs obtained by ABC News show, among other things, tugboats and commuter ferries that raced to the shoreline near the burning twin towers. Aerial images depict the extent of dust and debris plume engulfing lower Manhattan. Others offer new perspectives on the blanket of white ash that covered the ground.

VIDEO: New Unseen Photos of 9/11
ABC News Obtains Newly Released 9/11 Photos of Ground Zero

The latest release follows Monday's publication of other newly released photos first obtained by ABC News from the federal agency investigating the buildings' collapse.

The extensive collection of photos and some videos collected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows the horrific aftermath of two commercial jetliners hitting the towers, leaving 2,750 dead.

While many of the pictures are similar to images the public has seen before, some are from different vantage points or angles.

Aerial Photos of WTC Aftermath

They include hundreds of shots taken from New York Police Department helicopters, showing the vast clouds of dust and debris when the towers fell.

"I almost didn't realize what I was seeing that day," ex-NYPD Aviation Unit Detective Greg Semendinger told AP of the photos he contributed to the collection. "Looking at it now, it's amazing I took those pictures. The images are... stunning."

The vast image collection was released following a Freedom of Information Act request filed by ABC News last year.

In August 2009, NIST printed a notice in the Federal Register asking photographers for permission to make public images collected during the agency's investigation into the towers' collapse.

9/11 World Trade Center Aerials

After seeing the notice, ABC News sought to obtain the volumes of pictures and video that NIST had collected and studied during its inquiry into the World Trade Center towers' structural failures.

The Institute fulfilled the request nearly six months later, providing pictures on nine CDs. There were 2,779 pictures on the discs.

It's a "phenomenal body of work," Jan Ramirez, chief curator of the planned Sept. 11 museum, told AP. The photos are "absolutely core to understanding the visual phenomena of what was happening."

ABC News has asked for permission to publish more of the images, the rights to which are still retained by the organizations or private individuals who originally took them.

ABC News' Pierre Thomas, Jack Cloherty, Lisa Jones and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
Lisa Kudrow
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library | Getty Images
PHOTO: Salvager Eric Schmitt was combing through the wreckage of a convoy of Spanish ships that sank off the coast of Florida in 1715 when he discovered a missing piece from a gold Pyx.
Courtesy 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC
PHOTO: Motorists were startled when an axe from a dump truck in front of them flew at their windshield.
Massachusetts State Police/Facebook