What were you doing on September 11, 2001 at 3:00 p.m.? That day and at that time thousands of families had lunch sitting in front of the television watching the newsletter of Matías Prats in Antena 3. The news of the Gescartera case, the return to school and the previous one of Roma – Real Madrid of the Champions League occupied the summary of that edition, but only one news item was reported. An event that would change the course of history: the 9/11 attacks. “Right away we went fully into the morning’s chronicle, but first we have to speak with our correspondent in the United States (Ricardo Ortega). Apparently a plane has just crashed in New York against the well-known Twin Towers“said the journalist that day.
“It just happened a few minutes ago. We can provide little information. A plane has crashed into the section from floors 80 to 107 of one of the Twin Towers. They are buildings that are 107 stories high. They are the tallest in the world. I can See how the dome of the tower is shrouded in smoke. Tongues of fire are coming out of many windows. It is not known if there are wounded. It is a financial area. They are offices. There must be victims in sight of the magnitude. At this time it is unknown if it was an accident or a terrorist act“Ricardo Ortega assured in his first speech before seeing the first live images of the attack.
From here, the newscast rundown fell completely. The broadcast focused exclusively on the images that came from New York and on the narration of Matías Prats and Ricardo Ortega (this on the phone) of what was happening. “He was like me. He was observing the direct image from his apartment room,” said the presenter in the special for the 30th anniversary of Antena 3.
A few seconds after establishing this connection, Matías Prats observed in the images a strong explosion in the area. Ricardo could not explain why it was until the live connections of the American televisions confirmed the terrorist intent of the events: a second plane had crashed into the second building. “The other tower, Ricardo. It has hit the other tower. And in an even lower area. Dear God”said the presenter.
“It seems that it has been another plane. If this circumstance is confirmed it is not by chance, of course,” Ortega said. “Nerd. This is already a voluntary act. First in one tower and then in the other, but we are waiting to receive information because this is tremendous. It has been able to produce a terrible amount of human losses “, Prats replied from the Madrid set.
After confirming that two commercial passenger planes collided with the buildings, Prats and Ortega continued their narration of what had happened in New York until broke the news of a third attack on the Pentagon. “We remember that President Bush is not in the federal capital,” said Ricardo Ortega.
Amid the logical confusion of the moment, It only took several minutes for the South Tower to completely collapse, moment that coincided with the incorporation to the broadcast of Ernesto Sáenz de Buruaga, director of the information services of Antena 3 at that time: “It is impressive, overwhelming, shocking … We are really facing an unprecedented attack in history. It had never happened, and more so in the safest country in the world.”
It had already passed 4:00 p.m. in Spain and only one tower was still standing. The magnitude of the events had not only knocked down the newscast, but also the regular programming of Antena 3, since the broadcast lasted throughout the afternoon, also picking up the collapse of the North Tower just 35 minutes later: “I can not believe it. The other one has collapsed too“.
“So right now the Twin Towers no longer exist,” Prats told Ortega after the second collapse occurred. “It gives the impression that no,” replied the then United States correspondent for Antena 3 in this broadcast, which was also attended by Jesús Hermida, a great connoisseur of the idiosyncrasies of the United States: “This is an apocalypse. The 21st century already has that day when we will ask ourselves where we were and what we were doing. Put all the quotes you want, but this is war. ”
Almost 19 years after this moment that changed the world, in January 2020, Matías Prats spoke about how he lived those moments live in the Antena 3 Noticias newsroom in the special for the 30th anniversary of the Atresmedia Televisión network: “General astonishment, extraordinary amazement, disbelief …“.
“And suddenly, first one collapses and then the other. None of us who had intervened or any teletypewriter or expert had told us about the possibility that they would collapse,” said the journalist in this special, adding that there had never been any sense so clothed: “Everyone was passing me information. Everyone was around me. From the first to the last, including Susanna Griso“” I remember giving Matías teletypes with the feeling that the situation was overtaking us, “said the presenter of ‘Espejo Público’.