9/11 survivor shares his story - KPTV - FOX 12

9/11 survivor shares his story

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GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

As the 10 year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 nears, a local man is opening up about his experiences that fateful day.

Retired United State Air Force Colonel Jim Bumgardner was working as a consultant in the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77, hijacked by terrorists, slammed into the building.

Complete Coverage: 9/11 Anniversary

He remembers the day vividly.

"About 9:38 it said on my watch, and we heard a very faint rumble and then just a big boom coming from somewhere," Bumgardner said. 

The plane hit the first floor of the Pentagon's west side, directly below where Bumgardner was working.

He was on the 5th floor.

"It was as if someone had taken this room that we were in and lifted it up about six to eight inches and dropped it back down," he said.

He and his coworkers had been watching reports of the attacks at the World Trade Center earlier in the morning.

When they heard and felt the explosions, he knew they were under attack.

"All of us knew that we'd been hit, but we didn't know whether it was a bomb or an airplane like had hit the (World) Trade Centers or what.  We just knew we'd been hit," he said.

He said the scene was surreal.

"There were a lot of people that were very upset. I saw a lot of mostly ladies collapse, some people helping them along. Some fainted and a lot (were) just sobbing and carrying on," he said.

Bumgardner and some of his coworkers evacuated through smoke filled hallways and made their way outside.

He said he passed right by the point of impact.

"I asked a young man that looked like a workman that was in the parking lot, I said, ‘What happened?' And, he said, ‘We were working right out here and we saw an American Airlines plane crash right into the building.'"

125 people who were inside the Pentagon on Sept. 11 were killed in the attack, along with 64 aboard Flight 77.

Bumgardner escaped unharmed.

He says he plans to spend Sunday, the 10 year anniversary of Sept. 11, with his friends and family.

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