Families relieved loved ones are safe

September 11, 2001 11:00 pm
New Yorkers flee Manhattan on foot Tuesday morning. Baker City councilor Beverly Calders brother, Derek Potts, was among them. (From The Associated Press).
New Yorkers flee Manhattan on foot Tuesday morning. Baker City councilor Beverly Calders brother, Derek Potts, was among them. (From The Associated Press).

By JAYSON JACOBY

Of the Baker City Herald

F.B. and Zona Clarke of Baker City were airborne over the Great Plains Tuesday morning when news of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., forced their airliner, and dozens of others, to land.

The Clarkes, who had been visiting F.B.s sister in Illinois, were scheduled to fly from St. Louis to Phoenix, then to Boise, said their son, Tabor, who owns a Baker City jewelry store.

Instead, their plane was diverted to Wichita, Kan.

Tabor Clarke said he and his brother, Nelson, were very relieved when their father, safe on the ground in Wichita, phoned about 10 a.m.

We just didnt know where they were for a few hours there, Tabor Clarke said. We knew they were well away from New York, but just the unknown always bothers you.

Nelson Clarke said he spoke only briefly with his father Tuesday, and did not know whether the pilot told passengers why they were being diverted to Wichita.

Son-in-law was at the Pentagon

A Baker City couples son-in-law was working in the Pentagon Tuesday morning when a hijacked jetliner crashed into the huge building near his office.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Paul Phillips, whose wife, Ann, is the daughter of Jim and Carolyn Simmons of Baker City, was not hurt, Carolyn Simmons said this morning.

He said it was pretty terrifying, she said. He was pretty shook up when he called.

Simmons said her son-in-law called her from his cell phone not long after the plane slammed into the massive five-sided building that is the headquarters of the U.S. military.

The plane hit the side where Phillips office is.

Although he wasnt hurt, the subsequent fire destroyed Phillips office, Jim Simmons said this morning.

Although Tuesdays call was brief, the Simmonses learned that both Paul and Ann Phillips, and their two daughters, ages 10 and 5, were safe.

Carolyn Simmons said she and her husband tried repeatedly to call their daughter at her home in Springfield, Md., but all long-distance circuits were busy throughout Tuesday evening.

Jim Simmons said they finally got through to their daughter about 8:30 this morning.

The Phillipses home is about a 20-minute drive from Washington, D.C. Ann Phillips, who is a 1980 graduate of Baker High School, teaches at an elementary school in Springfield, Carolyn Simmons said.

She said Phillips, who has been in the Army for 19 years, has worked at the Pentagon for the past two years.

Brother saw the plane crash

Baker City Councilor Beverly Calders brother watched from 20 blocks away Tuesday as the second airliner slammed into the World Trade Center.

Calder said her brother, Derek Potts, 33, was part of a crew painting the interior of an apartment when he heard the explosion from the first plane crash.

He ran outside and, about 15 minutes later, saw the second plane slam into the other tower.

Calder said her brother spent the summer in Baker City and returned to New York just last week. He lives in Brooklyn.

Calder said that after the second plane crashed, her brother joined the throngs of people who walked out of Manhattan.

She said her brother was surprised that despite the frightening situation, few people panicked.

Everybody was being kind and helping people get out safely, he said, Calder said.

Calder said that after trying for six hours to get a call through, her brother reached their mother, Kay Barnett, who lives in Seattle.

Calder spoke with him this morning and learned he walked 30 blocks before debris in air cleared up enough to permit any visibility.

En route to a friends house, David crossed Central Park.

He found the normally bustling green space was deserted, Calder said.