Survivor family reaction

Thursday, September 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Thousands of Americans await word on the safety of friends and loved ones in the Pentagon or World Trade Center.

For one Tulsa family, the news is good. Tim Veldstra is one of six Tulsa employees of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in New York for training at the World Trade Center. The News on Six's Glenda Silvey talked with his relieved wife. Andrea Veldstra heard from husband Tim for the second day after the attack. He said he was advised not to give media interviews, but she could tell the story of how he was in the second tower when the plane burst into it. "He was on the 61st floor when the plane hit the first building. They told him to evacuate when he was on the 21st floor going down the stairwell, he felt the whole building shake and they thought, '"We're going to die.'"

Veldstra said she waited in terror for two hours for word on her husband of more than 20 years. Morgan Stanley's Tulsa office called to say all six local employees were safe, and then Tim called an hour later with the news she'd prayed for. "I'm OK." Tim described his frightening evacuation with hundreds of others. "They said the people were really getting excited, but then somebody came over the intercom and said 'This building is secure,' and some people went back up, which they don't think made it out."

Andrea says as he escaped the building with co-workers, Tim saw two people fall from the Tower, and that has bothered him most. Like others, he describes New York as eerie and ghost-like. "There was no cabs running, no subways of course, no cars. They walked two hours to get to their hotel and they were 15 minutes away by vehicle." Andrea credits the support of friends, her church, and prayer, for getting her through the crisis. She's focusing her energy on prayer for the nation. And waiting for Tim to come home. "I'm just really happy that he's alive.”

Andrea says Tim is calm and in good spirits, and grateful to be safe. He is scheduled to leave New Jersey by train Thursday, rent a car from another destination, and head for Tulsa.