media release

Workers Watched in Horror

A number of Akzo Nobel employees who live and work in New York witnessed the catastrophic collapse of the World Trade Center.

Shocked Akzo Nobel employees in New York have been describing how they witnessed the horrific collapse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers.

The company’s assistant general counsel in the United States, John Behan, lives just 15 blocks from where the towers once stood and watched in horror from his kitchen as both buildings collapsed following the devastating attack.

Another Akzo Nobel employee, Mike Kahrer, vice-president of human resources at Organon’s West Orange site in New Jersey, was left equally stunned by Tuesday’s events.

“Some of our employees have lost family members who were in the building at the time,” he said. "We have been doing what we can to help and many employees have donated food, supplies and money to the relief efforts.

“I actually grew up across the river from the World Trade Center and watched the buildings go up as a child. To see them come down like that was quite an emotional experience. It’s a very chilling sight right now."

Relatives of the employees have also been taking part in the rescue effort. Alan Aaronson, who works for Functional Chemicals in Dobbs Ferry, New York, has a son who is a recruit in the New York Police Academy. He was pressed into service to relieve senior police officers.

Akzo Nobel’s Chairman of the Board of Management, Cees van Lede, was quick to express his feelings following the dramatic events of September 11: “We all share the grief and emotions of the families of the victims and extend our deepest sympathies to all the people effected,” he said.

“I call on all our employees worldwide in this difficult hour to squarely stand behind our American colleagues and give them comfort wherever possible.”

Both the West Orange and Dobbs Ferry sites are located within 20 miles of Lower Manhattan, where the World Trade Center now lies in ruins.

(Released: September 13, 2001)

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