‘It sounded like a fist going through a cardboard box’: Local survivor recalls 9/11 terror attacks

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Twenty years later, the horrific events of 9/11 changed our way of life.

Nearly 3,000 people were murdered on American soil in one of the darkest days in U.S. history. One survivor of the World Trade Center attack shared his story.

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Srinath Jinadasa now lives in St. Johns County, but 20 years ago Jinadasa was an engineer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, working out of the 74th floor of the north tower at the World Trade Center.

Jinadasa went in to work at 8:15 a.m. on Sept. 11; but roughly 30 minutes later, everything changed.

At first, Jinadasa didn’t know what was happening, thinking it was an earthquake and then a small explosion.

After taking a phone call from his wife and finding out that two planes hit the towers, he got out as quickly as he could.

“It sounded like a fist going through a cardboard box, (that was) the sound I heard and then the building swayed. When the second building was hit, it was time to go,” Jinadasa said.

Pictures in Jinadasa’s home show him walking the streets of New York as he barely escaped, covered in debris and dust.

“I grabbed a jacket, I grabbed a flashlight, I grabbed a pair of binoculars and some ripped towels,” he explained, “The south tower collapsed maybe 50 yards, maybe less, than where we were. The debris from the south tower fell a little away from us, not directly on us. If it fell directly on us that would have been it.”

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Jinadasa said there was moments of panic and confusion during the attack.

“You just react when you’re in there, you don’t know what’s going on,” he said.

After reconnecting with his wife and making it back home safely, the now 79-year old said looking back 20 years later still brings flashbacks.

“I’m thankful I was able to make it, but then sad for all the people who didn’t make it,” Jinadasa said.

Jinadasa says every year he watches the memorials for 9/11. He said he lost coworkers and friends and knows just how lucky he is to be alive, saying that day changed life forever.