It is July 28th, 1945..
In the last days of World War 2. Until the World Trade Center opens, the Empire State is the tallest building on Earth.
102 floors filled with 21,000 workers.
20 year-old Betty Lou Oliver is one of them. Betty Lou was the elevator operator, this
nice, sweet lady, you know about my age, teenager, and she was working there
At 9:30, Betty Lou takes a coffee break, high on the 80th floor.
it was so foggy, just like pea soup. I never saw it that bad before.
Less than a mile away, flying a B-25 bomber, Army Air Corps Pilot William Smith is lost
in the fog and growing desperate. Come in, come in. I can’t see it. I can’t
see anything. Bank left, bank left! The bomber flies straight into the 79th floor.
One story below Betty Lou. A burning engine rips through the core of
the building. As on 9/11, the greatest danger is burning,
high-octane aviation fuel. Everybody was frantic, nobody knew what was
happening. despite a 20 foot hole in the building, remarkably,
it stays standing. Of the 1,000 people working there, only
14 die. And miraculously, among the survivors… is
Betty Lou. Only two days later, the Empire State Building
re- opens for business.