Fliers plead for information on victims of plane attacks
By MICHAEL SANDLER and SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN
© St. Petersburg Times,
NEW YORK -- On Tuesday morning, insurance broker Roger Mark Rasweiler left a message for a friend, confirming plans to meet later that day.
It was 8:45 a.m., and Rasweiler was on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center, unaware of what was heading his way.
"He never comes to the office on Tuesday," said Caryn Wiley, one of his daughters. "He came only to meet his friend for lunch."
Within minutes of Rasweiler's call, the first of two passenger jets slammed into the Trade Center, not far from his office. Rasweiler, 53, has not been seen or heard from since.
On Wednesday evening, Wiley, her husband and her brother were canvassing Manhattan, handing out fliers that said "MISSING" in big red letters. Below was a color photo of a smiling, white-bearded Rasweiler and three phone numbers to call with any news of his whereabouts.
"We were putting 300 up, and as soon as we run out, were going to run home and get another 500," said Rasweiler's son-in-law, Michael. "We're going to find him -- if that's not determination, I don't know what is."
With thousands of people still unaccounted for in America's deadliest terrorist attack, many families are going directly to the public for help in finding their missing loved ones. Fliers are being taped and tacked to every conceivable eye-level surface.
"Were looking for Kevin M. Williams," says of one of several fliers on a lamppost at Sixth Avenue and 11th Street, in the heart of Greenwich Village. It shows a photo, apparently taken at a wedding, of a handsome, clean-cut young man wearing a tuxedo.
On a mailbox across the street is a flier giving two New Jersey numbers to call for information on Jack Aron, pictured cuddling a puppy. And on a nearby police barricade, Sean Lugan, 5 foot 9 and 165 pounds, smiles out from a flier noting that he was last seen on the 80th floor.
With no word in more than 24 hours, friends of Nurul Miah were passing out fliers Wednesday along Sixth Avenue. The Bangladesh native, who made corporate videos from an office on the 93rd floor, had survived the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
"He cracked jokes like, "What if they come back for me?' " recalled a friend, Kamal Choudhury. "He was talking about working somewhere else."
A year and a half ago, Miah got married, and his bride also went to work at the Trade Center. Now, both are missing, and Choudhury fears the worst.
"He's the nicest guy you could ever meet -- he would let everybody get out before he did."
A man standing nearby spoke up.
"We heard the people from the 93rd floor got out okay," he said, encouragingly.
It was the son-in-law of Rasweiler who, as fate would have it, worked for the same company, albeit on a different floor. Since Tuesday's attack, Rasweiler's relatives have visited hospitals and police stations, in addition to posting fliers.
"According to one of his coworkers, they have no news of anyone getting off the 100th floor alive," said Rasweiler's wife, Susan.
However, family members were heartened Wednesday when they got a fax from an acquaintance with the National Guard, saying that a John Doe matching Rasweiler's description had been taken to Jefferson Hospital with serious burns. But when they tried to find Jefferson, they discovered that the nearest hospital with that name was in Philadelphia and didn't have a burn unit.
Late Wednesday night, after an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live, Rasweiler's family grew cautiously optimistic again. Dozens of Canadian viewers called in to say that some Trade Center victims had been transferred to a burn unit in that country.
"We don't know what's real and what's not," sighed Rasweiler's daughter, Lindsey, after several unsuccessful attempts to contact the Canadian center. "We are just trying to sort through it and see which information is accurate."
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From the Times wire desk
From the AP