This week, all local news seems rather unimportant after the
multiple terrorist attacks on the United States.
Since Tuesday 11th September 2001, a day
that will forever be remembered by the American people, the
Ibicencan newspapers have each dedicated more than 20 pages
of print every day to the New York City and Washington DC
On Tuesday morning, thousands of people
on holiday in Ibiza gathered in bars and cafes to listen to
the live reports coming in about the World Trade Center and
Four young Ibicencans witnessed the terrorist
attacks first hand. Vanessa Colomar, Marco Marcos, Carlos
Perez and Nuria Garcia were all present when the attacks began.
Vanessa Colomar, daughter of the president
of Fomento de Turismo (Tourist Board) José Colomar,
was getting out of the train that takes her to her office
in Wall Street, 200 metres from the World Trade Center, when
the American Airlines plane crashed into the second of the
Twin Towers. Vanessa's first reaction was to run in the opposite
direction. "At first I thought it was a bomb because
from my position I could not see the Twin Towers", said
a nervous Vanessa after realising the devastating effects
of the terrorist attacks. "Manhattan is in chaos. People
are running everywhere".
Marco Marcos, a 31-year-old basketball coach
for the Ibicencan team Sa Graduada, was watching the television
with his wife in their Washington apartment when they heard
an explosion. "I thought it was a car bomb in the Capitol
but when I looked out the window I could see the Pentagon
burning". Marco had planned to catch a flight the same
day at six o'clock Eastern time to Madrid so that he would
be home on the island for the start of the new basketball
season on Sunday. "All flights have been cancelled. Only
the president's plane is allowed to fly. I don't know when
I will be able to get out of here".
A 25-year-old Santa Eulària resident,
Carlos Perez, watched in amazement as the two World Trade
Center buildings collapsed into a mountain of rubble. "I
am at home in Queens and I have just seen the Twin Towers
fall", screamed a frightened Carlos down the phone to
his family in Ibiza. "They are telling us not to go out
or turn on the air-conditioning because the bombs may contain
chemicals. We are very scared". Later, Carlos like many
others discovered the horrifying truth that not bombs but
aeroplanes had caused the explosions.
Nuria Garcia, another Ibiza resident who
works in a medical centre in Washington DC close to the White
House said: "We have had hundreds of people coming to
the centre for treatment after the attack on the Pentagon,
also thousands willing to donate blood. Two women travelling
on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center
had appointments at our medical centre on Wednesday 12th September",
Nuria Garcia decided to spend a years work
experience in America instead of Pakistan because her parents
considered that the United States was a safer place for their
As the news came in, Americans that live
on the island and Americans here on holiday could not believe
what they were seeing. "It's like something out of a
Hollywood horror movie. I can't believe how my country has
been turned into a disaster area in a matter of minutes",
said one American tourist watching the events unfold.
Travel agencies said that only a small number
of Ibicencans are in America at this time of year "most
wait until the end of the tourist season before travelling.
October and November are the months when people from the island
travel to the United States but we have had numerous requests
from Americans wishing to purchase tickets to return home
to be with their family and loved ones", confirmed a
local travel agent.
The board of directors of Aena (Airports
and Air Navigation) in Ibiza and the director of the Spanish
Administration of Airports, Marienna Sanchez-Jauregui, confirmed
that special security precautions have been implemented at
all of Spain's airports and ports. Even though no direct flights
join America to Ibiza, officers of the Cuerpo Nacional de
Policia (National Police) and the Guardia Civil (Civil Guards)
will be on full alert until further notice.
The director of the Autoridad Portuaria
(Port Authority), Jorge Martin, allayed the worries of some
residents by confirming that the American Navy Ship that was
visiting Ibiza last weekend has left Ibicencan waters.
Ibiza, like most other parts of the world,
has discovered this week that events perpetrated by a small
number of people thousands of miles away can affect our peaceful
existence and change our way of life.