A woman who was captured in an iconic 9/11 dust-covered photo had the same photographer at her wedding 17 years on.
Joanne ‘Jojo’ Capestro managed to escape the World Trade Center’s North Tower just moments before it collapsed on September 11 2001.
She had no idea acclaimed photographer Phil Penman had captured the poignant moment she and a shell shocked colleague – coated in thick white dust – staggered away from Ground Zero.
But the pair finally met after Penman’s harrowing photos were displayed inside the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
And last month, 17 years after they were first linked by the worst attack on US soil, he took the photos as she married the love of her life Robert Vasquez.
She said: “Phil was with me on the best day of my life and the worst day of my life.”
Joanne, then an assistant secretary for the May Davis Group, had been working on the 87th floor when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 plunged into the high rise six floors above.
“That was a regular day for me, when I woke up in the morning I didn’t feel well, but I still went to work,” recalled Joanne. “And I was standing at my desk with one of my co-workers because we were going to go downstairs. But the phone rang and he answered, then the plane hit five or six floors above us.
“The impact was so strong and the building was shaking until all of a sudden it stopped.”
They soon found two of the three stairwell exits were “melting” and unusable from the crash. Fortunately, a third was passable.
She was forced to flee down 87 flights of stairs to escape – all within 22 minutes.
She was only a few steps outside the tower when it began to collapse, causing Joanne and her colleagues to run for their lives screaming “God help me”.
At some point while trying to escape from the horrific scene, she was unknowingly photographed by Penman. In the gripping image she is barefoot, carrying her heels and handbag in a street plastered with toxic dust.
The photographer and his subject were finally introduced three years ago by staff at the museum who recognised Joanne in the picture.
“When we met, he came into my office and just looked at me and I looked at him and just started crying,” she said.
“That’s how it all started and we stayed in touch for all of these years. Now here we are today and six weeks ago, on August 11th, he was the photographer at my wedding.”
The September 11th terrorist attacks left 2,996 people dead and more than 6,000 injured.
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