An officer who was rescued from the World Trade Center after it collapsed finally goes home. A Muslim woman says her airport strip-search was discrimination. The Hart Senate Building's reopening is delayed.
Last Man Saved From WTC Goes Home
W E S T H A V E R S T R A W, N.Y., Jan. 17 — With his 4-year-old daughter curled up in his lap, a police officer who was the last person pulled alive from the World Trade Center went home from the hospital today after ticking off the "miracles" that saved him.
"How did we survive the collapse of two buildings on top of us?" Port Authority Sgt. John McLoughlin asked. "How did a Marine somehow find us in the debris field? How did the rescuers dig us out? How did the doctors get my legs working?"
McLoughlin, 48, whose legs were crushed in the catastrophe, rolled into the news conference at Helen Hayes Hospital in a wheelchair. He wore a Port Authority Police Department cap and daughter Erin wore a shirt that read, "Never forget." He was joined by his wife, Donna, and their three other children.
McLoughlin had hurried to the trade center after the first hijacked plane hit the north tower Sept. 11. He said he was in an underground concourse when one building collapsed, and soon found himself buried under 30 feet of debris, pinned from his hips to his feet in a tiny cavern "the size of a body."
He could talk to a buried colleague, Officer William Jimeno, and their cries were eventually heard. Both were saved, but it took rescue crews 22 hours to pull McLoughlin out.
Deputy Chief Robert Caron said the sergeant was the last survivor pulled from the rubble.
During his underground ordeal, McLoughlin said, "there was a point of acceptance of dying." But when he thought of his family, "I had to get out for them."
He vowed "to be walking as I used to and get back to work and back to my precinct." He also said he was looking forward to his wife's eggplant parmigiana and a Boy Scout meeting with his son.
Asked what lesson he had learned, he said, "Don't give up. There is always hope."
— The Associated Press
Muslim Woman Charges Discrimination in Strip-Search
C H I C A G O, Jan. 17 — A Muslim woman and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing the Illinois National Guard and airport security officers following a strip-search that they said amounted to discrimination.
It is the ACLU's first lawsuit in what it claims have been about 100 cases of airport discrimination against Muslims since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Samar Kaukab of Columbus, Ohio, alleges she was strip-searched at O'Hare International Airport before a Nov. 7 flight simply because she was wearing a Muslim head scarf.
Kaukab, a 22-year-old U.S. citizen who was born in this country to Pakistani parents, claims the black scarf — which covers her hair, shoulders and chest, but not her face — led a guardsman to instruct Argenbright Security guards to take her aside for a thorough-search even though she tripped no metal detectors.
The lawsuit seeks a federal injunction forcing airport security firms to provide training so guards will not base searches solely on a person's religion or ethnicity.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from the National Guard and Argenbright.