March 7, 2011 — -- A newly released video shot from a New York Police Department helicopter during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, posted online today, shows a 360-degree view of the smoking towers before they fell and the terrified reaction of the officers when the buildings collapsed.
Framed by the passenger seat window, the 16-minute video shows the scene surrounding the smoking towers both from the ground and from almost directly above one of the towers. The video does not show the collapse of the first tower, but it does record the officers' reaction immediately afterwards.
"It's gone, the whole tower," one officer yells. "Holy crap! They knocked the whole freakin' thing down."
CLICK HERE to see an edited version of the video.
The officer repeats the words in horror as the video shows dark clouds of smoke spreading out over the city for miles, concealing most of lower Manhattan.
"We got out of there just at the right time," one officer tells another.
Later, the helicopter lands on the ground out of the blast radius but keeps rolling on the Manhattan skyline. Then it catches the audio from a police radio transmission: "All personnel be advised, the North tower is down."
With the second tower's collapse, one officer says, "That's it. That's the biggest disaster in the world, right there."
The video was obtained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology from the NYPD before it was posted online. In February 2010, NIST released several never-before-seen photos from the day of the attack.
The newly released video is similar to past videos made available by the NYPD from helicopters during the attack.
This September marks the 10th anniversary of the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.