A physician who roller-bladed to the scene of 9/11 as the Twin Towers burned has published never-before-seen photos from the recovery effort at Ground Zero, as America prepares to mark the 18th anniversary of the attacks tomorrow.
After seeing the towers ablaze on September 11, 2001, Dr Emil Chynn, who had been walking his dog, rushed to the site to see what was happening.
When he arrived he was surrounded by debris and smoke but rapidly got to work setting up what he claims to be the first triage center on site.
Over the following days, thousands of construction workers, first responders and volunteers gathered at Ground Zero to search for survivors and begin the long road to cleaning up the site, fires still raging and clouds of dust swirling in the air.
Eighteen people were freed alive from the rubble, one of them as late as 12.30pm on September 12, but thousands more were trapped. The death toll was 2,977 including the attack on the Pentagon and the fourth plane which was brought down by heroic passengers in Pennsylvania.
Wreckage: Volunteers in hard hats and emergency workers in high-vis jackets climb over the debris that was all that was left of the World Trade Center, an American flag flying in the foreground, in the aftermath of 9/11. Both of New York’s iconic Twin Towers were reduced to dust after they were hit by hijacked airplanes on the morning of September 11, 2001
The long clean-up begins: A yellow digger starts to pick up the debris as thousands of construction workers, first responders and volunteers gather at Ground Zero to search for survivors. Eighteen people were freed alive from the rubble, one of them as late as 12.30pm on September 12, but thousands more were trapped
Wall of despair: A pizza restaurant in New York City is plastered with pictures of missing people, with thousands of families fearing the worst and waiting desperately for news after their loved ones went missing on 9/11
Night-time recovery: The clean-up and desperate search for survivors continued after darkness fell at Ground Zero with the grisly wreckage of the World Trade Center still scattered all over the ground
Reduced to rubble: New York City buildings which had once stood in the shadow of the World Trade Center were left towering over its remains (left), while emergency workers did their best to manage the recovery in the streets (right)
This year the 9/11 Memorial was expanded to honor the firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill months or even years later, after exposure to toxins unleashed in the wreckage.
Debris covered the ground, bodies and body parts hidden among it, fires still raging after the jet fuel from the two airplanes exploded on the Twin Towers.
The al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked commercial planes in a devastating co-ordinated attack and used them as missiles, both towers coming down within less than two hours after they were hit.
The collapse of the World Trade Center produced thick dust clouds, and fires burned for months in the rubble.
More than 51,000 people have applied to a victim compensation fund that makes payments to people with illnesses potentially related to 9/11.
Now 50, the physician has released the photographs he took during the week he volunteered at the scene to demonstrate the kindness of strangers in America’s darkest hour.
Vvolunteers including ironworkers and members of the demolition and construction trades also arrived at the site to support the rescue efforts, while the FBI searched for airplane parts and black boxes.
Emergency response: A New York City Fire Department vehicle on the scene at Ground Zero where numerous cars have been burned out by the blaze, after the airplanes loaded with jet fuel exploded into both towers of the World Trade Center
Burned out: A man wearing a jacket and a gas mask points to a blackened, burned-out car at Ground Zero. As well as taking nearly 3,000 lives, the attacks caused at least $10billion in damage to property and infrastructure
Recovery: People wear protective gear at Ground Zero, dressed in hard hats and white overalls, with drips and cardboard boxes all around them as they help to clear up the grisly remains of the World Trade Center
Protection: Officers wearing gas masks work on the night shift at Ground Zero, where a message behind them warns them to watch for falling glass from the wrecked buildings. Hundreds of emergency workers died on 9/11
Physician Dr Emil Chynn, seen above with the last standing remains of the World Trade Center behind him, was early on the scene on 9/11 after seeing the Twin Towers burning while he was walking his dog
Mr Chynn said: ‘When I saw the plumes of smoke coming from downtown I knew I had to go down and see what was going on.
‘As soon as I arrived I was surrounded by smoke, debris and paper inches deep but I had to go and find the buildings.
‘Along the way I met other volunteers and after about 30 minutes of looking we found the remains of the Twin Towers, which were only about three stories high. The scene was awful, people were trying to clear debris and body parts from all over the place.
‘I quickly did what I could to help and – as the first physician on the scene – set up the first triage center. ‘I was on the scene volunteering for about a week and captured these photos whilst I was there.
‘As distressing as the time was and the photos are, they show the pure compassion that people have for other strangers.
‘Everyone looks back on what happened in dismay at the human race instead of how a city came together to risk their lives and help people they didn’t even know.’
Burning wreckage: A fire is still raging and tearing apart the roof of a nearby building, with debris scattered across the ground, after the collapse of the World Trade Center caused severe damage to surrounding buildings
All-day task: The last remaining stories of the World Trade Center’s chassis are seen at night with dozens of people searching for bodies and wreckage (left) while emergency workers are seen right in the week after the 9/11 attacks
Saved from the rubble: A rescuer holds a dog and smiles for the camera as volunteers and emergency workers search through the debris. The doctor has shared the images to show how the city came together in the aftermath of the attacks
Two fire officers at Ground Zero where a ravaged building is still standing behind them but the others have been reduced to rubble. In the days after 9/11 authorities worked to remove crushed cars to help emergency services access the site
Three men and their dogs: Three first responders wearing hard hats pose with their canine companions at Ground Zero, where thousands came to help but some were exposed to toxins in the wreckage and fell ill months or even years later