28-year-old bank worker

Photo Of The Day

Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images. This photo shows Marcy Borders covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York City. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area.

Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images.
This photo shows Marcy Borders covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York City. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area.

“The Woman Who was Covered in Dust

Who Didn’t Know What To Do”

Her ghostly image is one of the most enduring from 9/11, though Marcy Borders, then a 28-year-old bank worker, does not even recall it being taken. Around the world, “the dust lady” was seen as the face of survival and escape from the hell of the Twin Towers. But that was the last thing that Miss Borders felt as the trauma plunged her into a downward spiral of depression, drugs and drink. “I did not feel like a survivor, I was a victim,” she says. “I felt like I had lost my life that day.”

Marcy Borders, from New Jersey, had started work just four weeks earlier on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower and was standing at the photocopier at 8.47am when the first hijacked plane smashed into the building a few storeys higher, knocking her off her feet.

She ignored a supervisor’s message to staff to wait for fire marshals and joined the stream of workers fleeing down the stairwell.

Three minutes after she got out of the building, the South Tower fell. “The smoke caught me and threw me on all fours,”

I breathed in and my mouth was coated. It was so quiet, like everyone in the world was checking to see if they were still alive. I couldn’t see my hand in front of me.

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