Laser Eye Surgery Ruins Man’s Life

A former pharmacist has told how laser eye surgery left him suffering from pain so horrific he felt suicidal.

Sohaib Ashraf underwent the surgery nine years ago and life has never been the same again.

The now 36-year-old dad-of-one had to give up his job as a pharmacist and lives in constant, excruciating pain.

For a long time doctors couldn’t work out what was wrong with him, but he was eventually diagnosed with recurrent corneal erosion syndrome, dry eye and neuropathic pain.

He says he’s spent tens of thousands of pounds towards treatments and medication in a bid to ease the suffering, but to little avail, reports Manchester Evening News.

Having worn glasses since childhood, Sohaib had always dreamed of having 20/20 vision and at the age of 26 he started thinking about laser eye surgery.

“I did a bit of research into the surgery and saved up a bit of money for the first time in my life,” he said. “And what better to spend your money on than something that would improve you?”

In 2013 he underwent the surgery at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and apart from some slight discomfort afterwards everything seemed fine.

But just a few weeks later, Sohaib woke with an excruciating stabbing sensation in his eyes. He also had “halos” and glare – as though he was looking at the world through a “dirty car windscreen”.

Sohaib, who lives with his wife and young son in Preston, was working as a pharmacist at the time but his agony became so debilitating, he was forced to give up his job and a career he’d spent years studying towards.

“The pain was just unrelenting,” he said. “I was suicidal. I was forced to look for a new career where I could work around my eye pain. That was the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life. I had to study and find a new career while I was in so much pain.”

Nine years on, the terrible side effects remain. Sohaib still struggles with pain every day and says he’s now “just surviving”.

What particularly frustrates him is that he chose to do the operation.

“The worst thing is blaming yourself and realising that I did this to myself and I chose to do this,” he said. “I do more research when I go to buy a TV, looking at all the specs and using comparison websites. But with this – I suspended my judgement.”

Sohaib was treated with LASEK surgery, a procedure where a cutting laser is used to change the shape of the dome-shaped clear tissue at the front of the eye (cornea) to improve vision.

Once he began experiencing side-effects from the surgery, he visited his clinic month after month for help, but his doctor struggled to find the root of the cause – telling him he was suffering from dry eyes.

“This went on for years, me constantly going back to the doctor,” Sohaib added. “He was getting sick of me. He couldn’t see the cause of the pain. To him, I was wasting his time.”

Eventually, doctors diagnosed Sohaib with recurrent corneal erosion syndrome, which is when the cornea’s outermost layer of cells fail to attach to the underlying basement membrane. He was also diagnosed with dry eye and neuropathic pain – the latter is caused by damaged nerves.

Sohaib’s conditions see him wake up every hour to put drops in his eyes – meaning he hasn’t had a full night’s sleep in nine years.

Every year, around 100,000 people in the UK undergo refractive eye surgery, ranging at a cost of £1,200 to £2,700 per eye.

There are a number of different procedures, including the well-known surgery LASIK, where a flap is cut in the cornea and a deeper layer of the eyeball shaped. There is also LASEK, the type Sohaib had, which reshapes the eye’s surface.

One of the biggest laser eye surgery stories to hit headlines was in 2018 when US meteorologist Jessica Starr committed suicide after having LASIK. The 35-year-old took her own life just weeks before Christmas after struggling with side effects from the procedure.

The Fox 2 Detroit weather presenter was forced to take a month off work because of the pain and vision problems she was experiencing. At the time of her death, she had two young children aged five and three.

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), where Sohaib previously worked, a haze effect is one of the most common complications seen across laser eye surgery patients. Across different types of treatment, 0-31% of eyes treated with PRK were affected, 0-25% of eyes treated with LASEK were affected and 0-2% of eyes treated with LASIK were affected.

Other problems included difficulty seeing in dim light and seeing ‘halos’ of light around things at night. The NHS says common side effects of laser eye surgery include mild and gritty discomfort and visual disturbances including glare from oncoming headlights when driving at night.

According to the United States’ National Library of Medicine, around 1 in 900 people were found to suffer from Neuropathic Corneal Pain, one of the most severe complications. The damaged nerves can cause sensations such as burning, stinging and eye ache.

But Sohaib says more people need to be warned about the possible side effects – and has made it his mission to properly inform those considering having the surgery. He helps run a Facebook group called LASIK Complications Support Group, which almost has 8,000 members.

“As a pharmacist, I had people come in saying things cause cancer. I would close my eyes and shake my head and say, ‘If these things were dangerous, the doctor would tell you about it,’” he said.

“These procedures been around for decades. The issue I have is if they’ve been around for 20 years, where is the long-term safety data? It’s not like there are a lack of patients, they just haven’t collected it because they don’t want to. It shows it’s not as safe as they claim.”

A spokesperson for Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We understand Mr. Ashraf’s complaint was dealt with directly by the doctor who undertook this procedure on a private basis. Mr. Ashraf can still contact our dedicated Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) if he would like to raise any further concerns with the Trust.”

Original Article

Three Dead After Plane Crashes into Home, Sleeping Residents Spared by Inches

 In a deadly and miraculous incident, a small airplane crashed into a northern Minnesota home while the occupants of the house were sleeping at night. Unfortunately, the crash resulted in the death of the three flyers on the plane. Two men and a woman, all in their 30s, were killed after the aircraft crashed into the Hermantown, Minnesota home, police said.

Duluth International Airport reported to the police that Cessna 172 had disappeared from radar shortly before midnight on October 1 and later, authorities were able to locate the wreckage after the small aircraft hit the second floor of a home. The occupants of the house reportedly said they were sleeping inches away from the crash and luckily were unharmed in the accident.

A large hole was left in the roof and side of the building and the plane eventually crashed in the backyard of their home, according to reports. The victims were identified as Tyler Fretland, 32, and siblings Alyssa Schmidt, 32, and Matthew Schmidt, 31. Fretland was the pilot of the plane, reported officials. The residents of the home said they are shocked and are still coming to grips with the incident. “I don’t think we’ve come to grips with it just yet,” said homeowner Jason Hoffman. “It kind of comes and goes, a little bit of shock,” he added.

Aftermath of crash

Hoffman further said that the plane crashed into his backyard, missing him and his wife, who were sleeping, by a few inches. “Every time I think about the folks that passed away, it’s gut-wrenching,” he said.

“Thinking about all the ‘what if’ can drive you mad,” Hoffman added. “So, my wife and I, we just have to accept what happened, and we’re fortunate.” Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the scene of the crash.

Original Article

Alligator and Snakes Spotted in Florida’s Floodwaters – WATCH VIDEOS

Hurricane Ian has caused widespread damage and flooding in Florida, leaving much of the state drowning in several feet of water as it continues its trek up the East Coast. With floodwaters still raging, officials have warned residents to stay indoors and avoid going into it at all costs — and dangerous wildlife is a big reason why. 

“Flood water is dangerous,” the Collier County government tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “We’ve received reports of sewage, alligators and snakes in flood water in our community. Please stay away.” 

While those reports have not been confirmed by CBS News, there has been video footage circulating that demonstrates these risks. A local NBC affiliate reporter posted a video on Thursday showing an alligator swimming through floodwaters in Lake County, saying it looked like it was “about 9, 10 feet.” The local fire chief had earlier warned about animals in the floodwaters, she said, adding that the creatures normally wouldn’t like to “come out of the swamps.” 

One viral video shows a mystery creature swimming through a flooded neighborhood in Fort Myers on Wednesday morning. Many suspect the animal – which appears to have fins – was a small shark. Though CBS has not confirmed the authenticity of the video, video licensing agency Storyful said it confirmed the video’s authenticity and spoke to local marine and wildlife specialists, who were more skeptical that the creature was a shark. 

One expert from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said staff couldn’t identify the animal. Marine scientist Rick Bartleson was also unsure, Storyful said, but said that based on the shape of the animal’s dorsal fin, he doubts it was a shark or sawfish. 

But one thing is known for sure – it’s just one more reason to avoid the floodwaters. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said Tuesday that “major storms cause wildlife to become more active.” 

“You may be more likely to see alligators, snakes and bears, so remember to stay alert and give them space,” the department said in a Facebook post. It advised anyone who comes across wild animals to report it to the department. 

Much of the state saw significant flooding, and some areas expected record-breaking water levels, even inland. 

“The amount of water that’s been rising, and will likely continue to rise today even as the storm is passing, is basically a 500-year flood event,” Governor Ron DeSantis said Thursday morning. “…Some of the flooding you’re gonna see in areas hundreds of miles from where this made landfall are gonna set records.” 

Floodwaters can increase the risk of drowning, and Florida’s Division of Emergency Management has warned that the water can be contaminated and be filled with dangerous debris. Underground or fallen power lines, which have been reported throughout the state in Ian’s wake, can electrically charge the water — a potentially fatal hazard.

Emergency officials also urged people to not drive through flooded roadways, noting that “nearly half of all people killed in floods are those who try driving through flooded areas.” Don’t drive around barricades, and if your vehicle stalls, they recommend leaving it immediately. 

For areas hardest-hit by storm damage and flooding, the division’s director Kevin Guthrie has repeatedly warned that it could be difficult for first responders to get to the scene of an emergency, depending on the level of destruction. 

“Please keep in mind that first responders may not be able to immediately enter impacted areas to assist you due to the safety hazards,” he said Wednesday evening. 

Original Article

Seven Women Plummet into a Pit as Backyard Ground Collapses – VIDEO

These seven dancing ladies are fortunate to have only escaped with only minor scrapes after they fell into a pit in the backyard of a home in the northeastern Brazilian city of Alagoinhas.

Footage of the frightening accident shows the women forming a small circle with their arms wrapped around each other as they danced to a song at a birthday party on Saturday. 

The concrete pavement suddenly cracked and sent them crashing into a hole.

Gabriela Carvalho, 38, told Brazilian news outlet G1 that they felt the ground shake at her grandmother’s home, but didn’t pay it too much attention as they continued to dance. 

‘Then when we really fell for good, that’s when I realized the seriousness of the situation,’ she said. 

Carvalho felt for a quick second that they were going to drop further into the pit.

‘It was horrible. I thought we weren’t going to come back,’ she said. ‘We really dived. I even thought that it was going to stop at another place as we went down.’

A separate video showed several male attendees at the party reaching to help the victims crawl out of the pit.

One of the women who had fallen into the hole can be seen covered in debris and helping one of her dancing partners climb out.

Carvalho’s 15-year-old daughter Laura Oliveira was standing near her and recorded the scary fall. She shared the video on one of her social media accounts without knowing that it would go viral.

‘I actually posted it … because something much worse could have happened,’ Oliveira said.

The accident didn’t dampen their mood as the dancers, cleaned up, changed clothes and gathered for a group photo and continued the party.

Carvalho’ s grandmother is already working on covering up the cracked pavement to make sure the area will be safe enough for the celebration of another party in October.

Original Article

Woman Dies After Falling 50 Feet from Hawaii Waterfall

A woman died after falling around 50 feet from a waterfall in Honolulu, Hawaii earlier this week.

Officials shared in a statement that the woman, who was in her 30s, fell from Luakaha Falls in Nuuanu on Thursday, Sept 22. Crews with Honolulu Emergency Medical Services and Honolulu Fire Department responded to a call that a hiker was injured at 12:13 PM. They arrived on the scene, just off Nuuanu Pali Drive, only 13 minutes later.

A total of five units responded to the accident. Several units attended to the victim while one established a landing zone for an incoming helicopter. When rescuers arrived, they found the woman unconscious and bystanders performing CPR.

Paramedics took over the woman’s care and eventually airlifted her to a landing zone at a nearby water pumping station. And from there, an ambulance transported her to a local hospital.

The victim reached the ER at 12:35 alive but still unconscious. Doctors were not able to resuscitate her and later pronounced her dead.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the woman as 27-year-old Christyn Fragas of Kapolei.

Fragas died after falling approximately 40 to 50 feet from Luakaha Falls in Nuuanau on Thursday, Sept. 22. The official cause and manner of her death is still pending, the ME’s office said.

Originally, the statement said that the woman had fallen from Lulumahi Falls, but they later corrected their statement.

Laukaha Falls is located in the Honolulu Forest Watershed. The area is restricted under the DLNR Forestry and Wildlife Division, which means hikers need a permit to enter.

The Death Was the Second to Happen at the Hawaii Waterfall in Five Years

Sadly, Thursday’s death was the second to happen at the popular Hawaii waterfall in recent years. In 2017, a 32-year-old woman died after falling from the same location.

Firefighters responded to a call that the victim had plunged nearly 50 feet from the waterfall on Luakahu Falls Trail at about 12:40 PM on Thursday, April 14. Rescuers arrived on the scene at 12:47 PM, and within 10 mins they found her unconscious at the base of the falls. She also had no pulse and was not breathing.

EMS airlifted the woman to Nuuanu Reservoir where an ambulance was waiting to transfer her to a Hawaii hospital. The victim was alive when she arrived, but she later succumbed to her injuries.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner later identified the woman as Jennifer Allen of Honolulu. Police investigated the incident as an unattended death and later determined that Allen was hiking along the trail and had tripped and fallen into a pool of water below.

Original Article

Trapeze Artist Falls to the Ground in Front of Horrified Spectators – WATCH VIDEO

Horror footage shows the appalling moment a 26-year-old trapeze artist fell into the circus ring during a new act in front of hundreds of children and their parents. 

Tatyana Zolotukhina was performing with her husband Sergey Zolotukhin, 34, when she failed to catch his hand and plunged 16ft crashing on the ground  during a show in Russia.

There were screams and then silence in the Omsk circus as her husband rushed to her aid and checked her condition before carrying her from the arena with other worried staff. 

The audience applauded as she was carried from the ring.

The high wire star appeared conscious after the fall, and was later rushed to hospital where she underwent an MRI.

She broke a wrist and there were fears of a fractured spine.

The wounded artist is a member of the travelling Filatov circus, run by a dynasty going back 180 years and reputed to be the oldest in Russia.

Tatyana – who describes herself as a “ballet artist” –  and her husband were performing an act called “Flame” in the “Belts” style with no safety netting. 

Eight weeks ago, she had posted about the new high-risk act saying it was in preparation for two years and she had suffered “scars, bruises, fear and much more behind the scenes” during its preparation.

She explained: “I worked, I tried. I was on my way to my goal, and now I’m flying. I made it.”

Edgard Zapashny, general director of the Great Moscow State Circus, said Tatyana “fell from the height of five metres while performing a complicated and dangerous trick”.

He said: “She has a wrist fracture, and possibly a compression fracture of the spine…. The circus director is at the hospital with her. The artist is conscious and is moving around independently.”

The Filatov circus said: “The health of the performer is now not in danger and she will soon return to the arena.”

Tatyana is the mother of a young son.

Original Article

Woman Fights Off Tiger with Bare Hands to Save Her Young Son

Archana Chaudhary, 25, and her 15-month-old son were in a field in India when the tiger sprang out of bushes and attacked them.

The big cat sank its powerful jaws around little Rajveer’s head but his mom rushed into action.

She began punching and kicking the tiger, ignoring the mauling she was getting from the animal, the Times of India reports.

Despite the tiger’s claws puncturing her lungs she kept fighting for two minutes until her screams were heard by villagers.

Her husband Bhola Chaudhary described what happened during the terrifying attack.

“Rajveer was sitting, and Archana was standing nearby,” he said

“Suddenly, a tiger emerged, picked Rajveer and started walking away.

“Archana ran after the tiger for about 5 meters, hitting the tiger with her hands to save her son. The tiger left the child and attacked Archana.”

After villagers used sticks to drive off the tiger, it eventually slinked back into the woods.

Both Archana and her son were rushed to hospital, where they are being treated for their wounds in the intensive care unit.

As well as a punctured lung, she also suffered injuries to her back, hands and abdomen.

A search is underway to find the tiger in order to drive it further back into its natural habitat in the forest tiger reserve.

Rajveer with his father Bolha at the hospital

Original Article

Couple Returns from Caribbean Vacation with Unwanted Guests

A young Canadian couple, Katie Stephens and Eddie Zytner, returned from a relaxing Caribbean vacation to find that they both had very itchy feet.

They went to two different doctors, but neither was able to diagnose them. Finally, a third doctor figured out what was wrong: They both had parasitic hookworms called cutaneous larva migrans.

Once Katie and Eddie were diagnosed, they turned to Facebook to warn others about the dangers lurking on the beach.

Katie wrote:

To anybody traveling somewhere tropical, please be careful when in the sand and wear shoes! My boyfriend and I recently got back from Punta Cana to discover that we both have larva migrans, in other terms worms in our feet.

If your feet become incredibly itchy please get it checked out right away since we simply thought it was just bug bites and it became worse as each day passed.

The resort we stayed at was IFA Villas Bavaro Resort and Spa. Also, this injury has nothing to do with coverage or travel insurance, I was back in my home country when I was first treated and don’t need travel coverage for what I have. 

beach-umbrella

Also, to top it off health Canada denied our request to receive the medicine (ivermectin) we needed to treat our infection and were forced to get medicine from the states. Thank you Canada for your lovely health care you provide for us!

Progression of Katie’s feet as the days passed

Katie’s post was shared over 53,000 times in less than a week.

It also racked up over 10,000 reactions. People were absolutely shocked by what Katie had shared.

Cutaneous larva migrans, also known as creeping eruption or larva migrans, is a term used to describe twisting linear skin lesions caused by the burrowing of larvae.

People who are exposed to soil and sand are most likely to be infected.

The feet, hands, buttocks, and genitalia are most commonly affected. These lesions may itch, sting and eventually cause pain.

Eddie also shared his version of the events on Facebook, writing:

*Larva Migrans from Punta Cana* (Warning: photos may be disturbing)

I feel obligated to make this post for anyone travelling to the Caribbean. 

My girlfriend and I returned from the IFA Villas Bavaro Resort in Punta Cana last week to find our feet very itchy.

On the Saturday (20th of January) my feet were itchy and swollen so I went to the hospital.

At first they thought it was sand fleas, wrapped me up, told me to come back for a check up tomorrow and sent me on my way.

When I went back to the hospital Monday we were very, very fortunate the doctor in the ER had seen this before – 10 years ago and from a tourist returning from Thailand.

Tuesday, the condition had reached extreme levels. And thankfully my girlfriend and I were able to begin our treatment and are on the path back to being healthy.

I wanted to make this post because most doctors have never seen Larva Migrans before. 3 out of the 4 doctors we saw have never heard of this hookworm.

And if your feet begin to have an itch, swell or blister or look like mine, get those hooves checked out! It may not be what your doctor thinks.

All this just from walking barefoot on the beach. So, anyone travelling.. check with your resort and see if the beaches around you are cleaned regularly. And it’s best to wear shoes on the beach as much as possible!

The treatment is Ivermectin and Antibiotics.

According to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, the best way to avoid cutaneous larva migrans while on the beach is to wear shoes while walking in sandy areas.

If you’re going to spend time lying on the beach, make sure to avoid areas of dry sand.

Instead, sit on sand recently washed by the tide.

Original Article

Final 9/11 Survivor was Pulled from the World Trade Center after 27 Hours – Here’s Her Story

The last 9/11 survivor to be pulled from the wreckage of the Twin Towers says her life was completely transformed during the 27 hours she spent alone and afraid buried beneath the rubble.

Genelle Guzman-McMillan, now 51, was working on the 64th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower on the morning of September 11, 2001, when she felt the building shake.

Mistaking the fierce rumble for an earthquake, she raced over to a window to look down at the street below but glanced out to see a thick plume of smoke emanating from a higher floor and burning paper and other debris raining down from above.

Less than 20 minutes later the building shook again, but this time Genelle felt it physically sway under the strain of an unknown force.

Concerned, she decided to call her cousin to inform her something had happened at work although she wasn’t yet quite sure what.

Two planes had hit the Twin Towers, her cousin frantically told her through tears, and she needed to get out immediately.

Genelle and a group of around 15 colleagues then decided to attempt to escape the building via an emergency stairwell, counting the floors aloud together as they descended.

Holding the hand of her friend Rosa, Genelle got all the way down to the 13th floor when she stopped to take her shoes off, unable to bear walking in her heels any longer.

She was still bending down when all 110 stories of the North Tower collapsed around her at 10.28am.

In the flash of an eye, Genelle was separated from her colleagues and plunged into darkness.

Trapped in a concrete sarcophagus and pinned down unable to move or even scream, Genelle stared out in the surrounding blackness and readied herself for death.

“I was preparing myself to die because I just wanted to fall asleep and no longer feel any pain,” Genelle told The U.S. Sun.

“I knew the building had just collapsed – all 110 stories – and with the magnitude of what had just happened, I didn’t think anyone was going to find me under there before it was too late.

“But as I was preparing myself to die, I started thinking about my life, my mom, and my daughter, and I realized I wasn’t ready to go.

“That is when I started praying to God, begging for a second chance.

“I told him I wanted to live, to see my daughter, I was begging and pleading, promising to change my ways and my lifestyle.

“Then someone grabbed me by the hand.”

‘A PLANE HAS HIT THE BUILDING’

Genelle moved to New York City from her native Trinidad and Tobago in 1999 in pursuit of the American Dream, hoping, she says, to seize the spotlight and make it as an actress or model.

A 30-year-old mom of one and self-described party girl by the time the late summer of 2001 rolled around, Genelle supplemented her lifestyle by working as an office temp for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.

“The reason I came to the US is really to have a bright future, a glamorous life … I just wanted to live that American dream,” she said.

“Before 9/11 I was living a party life. It was fun. I loved to party, hang out, and go drinking in clubs and bars.

“I was just enjoying life, being young and innocent, and I was having a great time.”

My life was changed under that rubble. It impacted my life in a very positive way and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Genelle Guzman-McMillan9/11 survivor

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Genelle remembers being excited as she headed to work.

It was a beautiful, warm and clear sunny day, and she was only a few weeks away from jetting off to Miami with a group of her girlfriends.

She got into the office just after 8am, set up her computer, and had been chatting with her co-worker at her desk when American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the north side of the building 29 floors above them at 8.46am.

Genelle and her friend stared at one another in silence as the building shook. Her friend eventually broke the deadlock to ask, “what the hell was that?”

Seeking to investigate the source of the unsettling rumble, Genelle walked over to her boss’s office to look out of the window.

There she saw smoke and debris floating in the sky before her – but still she had no idea what was going on.

‘YOU’VE GOT TO GET OUT’

Eventually, she decided to call her cousin back in Trinidad to alert her that something strange had happened at her work.

By chance, Genelle’s cousin happened to be watching the news as she picked up the phone. Though she knew Genelle worked in Manhattan she had no idea she worked at the World Trade Center.

“I told her something had happened but I didn’t know what it was, but I couldn’t really get her attention, I could tell she was distracted by something on the television and she wasn’t listening to what I was saying,” remembered Genelle.

“I said I think I have to leave and she was on the other end repeating, ‘oh my gosh’ and ‘oh my god’ over and over.

“I kept asking her ‘what’s happened? What’s happened?’, and finally she told me a plane has hit the World Trade Center.

“I then told her I’m in the building, I work there, and she started to scream and cry, telling me to get out.

“So I said okay, I told them I loved them and promised I’d make it out and be okay.

“At the same time, someone came over to us to say a plane had hit the building and we needed to evacuate.

“That’s when my heart really started racing and my life kind of flashed before my eyes.

“I just started thinking the worst; a plane had hit the building, how am I going to get out?”

Debris rains down on lower Manhattan moments after the South Tower is impacted
Debris rains down on lower Manhattan moments after the South Tower is impactedCredit: Getty

FATEFUL ESCAPE ATTEMPT

Ginelle and 15 of her colleagues gathered in the center of their floor to discuss their best course of action.

They held a vote to determine whether they should leave immediately or wait for emergency responders to come and rescue them.

Most of the group voted to leave immediately; the rest voted to stay, sure that help was just around the corner.

Then the building shook for a second time.

The reason, they’d soon learn, was because another plane – United Airlines Flight 175 – had crashed into floors 75-85 of the World Trade Center’s neighboring South Tower.

The North Tower swayed under the force of the blast, Genelle says, sending her and her colleagues into a state of quiet panic.

“We felt the whole building actually sway, and though everyone was trying to stay calm it was hard not to panic,” she remembered.

“Someone decided to turn on a TV and put on the news.

“I remember the broadcaster speaking and she said the words that it was ‘possibly a terror attack’ – and with that my heart just sunk.

“Everyone was crying and we realized nobody was coming to get us, so we had to try and get ourselves out.

“But unfortunately we didn’t make it out in time.”

27 HOURS TRAPPED

Genelle and her co-workers began their slow descent on foot through an emergency exit staircase in a long procession.

She held her friend Rosa’s hand as they made their way down, comforting themselves by counting out the number of a floor each time they made it passed another.

When they reached the 30th floor, Genelle says she was hit with a wave of relief when she saw a group of firefighters racing up the staircase to help others that might’ve been trapped.

The group had made it down to the 13th floor when Genelle stopped to take her heels off, something she’d debated doing several flights earlier.

The decision would end up saving her life.

Genelle recounted: “I held on to my friend’s shoulder as I bent down to take my shoes off, and then before I can even get back to a standing position I just heard this deafening rumble and felt the walls cave in.

“Everything was crashing and slamming to the ground. My friend Rosa pulled away or was pulled away from me and I never saw her again.

“It all went quiet, dark, and dusty.

“Honestly it happened so fast and then it was dead silent.”

Ginelle Guzman was hospitalized for three months after the attacks
Ginelle Guzman was hospitalized for three months after the attacksCredit: AP

The North Tower was hit first but was the second to collapse.

By 10.28am, both of the Twin Towers had fallen and Genelle was trapped between blocks of concrete and rubble.

She was laying on her right side, with her right arm and leg pinned underneath her, and a large slab of concrete pressed against her head.

Her right leg had been crushed and her face had been burned but remarkably she was still alive and conscious.

She began feeling around with her left hand to see if there was a way to free herself but she was completely trapped.

This had to be a dream, Genelle told herself. She thought she was going to wake up any minute and be back in the office as if nothing had happened.

“But I knew I was a wake and I realized this was not a dream, I’m actually stuck, I can’t move, and I couldn’t do anything,” said Genelle.

“I then heard someone calling out for help in a very faint voice but I couldn’t even speak to call out back to them.

“All I could do was think, think about my life, my boyfriend, my daughter, and then I decided to pray.”

REINVENTION IN THE RUBBLE

For 27 agonizing hours, Genelle lay alone in the darkness, certain that she was never going to be found.

But desperate to live, she started praying in her mind, begging to live to see her 12-year-old daughter again, and pleading for a miracle.

“My parents were religious but I had kind of rejected that lifestyle up until that time,” she said.

“But I just started to have a conversation and begged for a second chance.

“I promised I would change my ways and my lifestyle completely if he just pulled me out of the rubble.”

I just started thinking the worst; a plane had hit the building, how am I going to get out?

Genelle Guzman-McMillan

Genelle had all but given up hope, believing nobody was coming to get her, when she says she heard someone call out to her and grab her by the hand.

“My name is Paul,” the man told her. “Just hang on. I’ve got you. They’re going to get you out of there.

“He told me I was going to be fine and that he wasn’t going to let me go,” added Genelle.

Moments later, a rescue team pulled her from the rubble and she was hospitalized for the next three months.

Tragically, none of Genelle’s colleagues survived.

A ‘GUARDIAN ANGEL’

One of the first things Genelle did after arriving at hospital was instructing her boyfriend to write down the name of her rescuer, Paul, who she was determined to meet once she was back on her feet.

But in the 21 years since 9/11, she’s never been able to find him.

She says the rescue team that pulled her out from the wreck also assured her that there was “definitely” nobody called Paul in their crew.

It’s Genell’s belief that Paul was a guardian angel, sent by a divine force to save her and remind her of her faith.

In keeping with the promises she made in her prayers, in the months after the attacks, Genelle got baptized, stopped partying, and started going to church.

Less than a month after she was discharged from the hospital, she also decided to marry her boyfriend, Roger.

They married at New York City Hall on November 7, started a family, and moved out to Long Island where they still reside today.

9/11 is the deadliest ever terror attack on US soil
9/11 is the deadliest ever terror attack on US soilCredit: Getty

Though acknowledging her experience during 9/11 was nothing short of a nightmare, Genelle also says it’s also one that she wouldn’t change.

“It truly was a blessing,” she said. “I wouldn’t wish this one anyone but this was my wake-up call.

“If I’d gotten out of the building without being trapped for as long as I was I would’ve still been the same person, I would’ve been chasing that dream of becoming famous and I have no idea where I would’ve ended up.

“But my life was changed under that rubble,” added Genelle.

“It impacted my life in a very positive way and I wouldn’t change it for the world, despite the injuries I suffered. I wouldn’t change it for who am I today.”

“I found Jesus under there and I was willing, ready, and able to start living a new life from September 12, 2001.”

A SECOND CHANCE

Each year, when the anniversary of the attacks rolls around, Genelle thinks about her friend Rosa, who would’ve been the same age as her today had she survived.

In memory of Rosa and the 2,900 others who perished in the attacks that fateful day, Genelle has vowed to never take her second chance at life for granted.

“God has given me 21 years of extension on my life and that’s amazing.

“I’m still here and I’m very blessed but I wish my other workers were here as well.

“At first I really struggled with survivors guilty because they didn’t make it out with me.

“I wish that everyone who was there would’ve survived and were fortunate enough to be given a second chance like me.

“I don’t know why it was me that was saved but I just try to do what is right and encourage people in order to try to move forward despite the adversity in life.”

Five Dead After Whale Surfaces Under Boat and Flips it Over

A boat has capsized after a whale surfaced under it, killing five in a horror incident off the coast of New Zealand.

The vessel had 11 people on board when the whale is believed to have come up underneath it, flipping it over.

A major rescue operation was launched close to Kaikoura, off New Zealand’s South Island.

Two passengers were pronounced dead earlier this morning, with three still missing.

The missing passengers are now confirmed to have also died.

Those on board were believed to have been a group of women over the age of 50 who were bird enthusiasts, New Zealand news organization Stuff reported.

The six surviving passengers were taken back to shore following the horror incident near Goose Bay.

Police confirmed the 8.5m boat capsized following the collision and were still investigating exactly what happened.

The vessel involved is understood to belong to a local fishing charter business Fish Kaikoura.

It hosts a variety of fishing tours and the skipper was very experienced, according to the company’s website.

“This is an unprecedented event that has occurred,” Kaikoura Police Sergeant Matt Boyce said.

He added that there had been a “significant response of emergency services and members of the public, and Kaikōura maritime community”.

The police chief went on: “This has been a tragic event and the police are providing support to those involved at this very difficult time.”

Kaikoura’s mayor Craig Mackle appeared emotional as he described Saturday’s incident as a “tragic event that affects us all”.

He said that the sea conditions were “really, really” good at the time and that there had been several large whale sightings recently.

Pilot Daniel Stevenson who was one of the first on the scene told Stuff: “We saw an upturned boat with a fella sitting on top of it and the coastguard arrived shortly afterwards.

“We basically went down to have a look and make sure, if there was anybody floating in the water, that we could keep an eye on them until they were able to get a boat alongside and be rescued out of the water.

“The coastguard boat was there pretty quickly after we arrived – about a minute or so afterwards.”

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