He saw the horror very closely. September 11th 2001, in New York, Christian Blanc, then president of the French subsidiary of the investment bank Merill Lynch, was in a hotel within the complex of the Word Trade Center. But the Frenchman had his life saved because he had left the hotel to smoke a cigar before a professional meeting. And it is from another tower that he will witness the catastrophe which was to change the face of the world. Invited Sunday by Jean-Pierre Elkabbach, he returned to this day at the microphone of Europe 1.
TO TO LISTEN – Relive the day of September 11, 2001 through our archives
That day, Christian Blanc had an appointment with the global boss of his bank. For the occasion, he was staying in a hotel nestled between the two twin towers. “We ate breakfast with my assistant,” he recalls. “The weather was beautiful, the sky azure, and the two towers seemed to meet endlessly.”
“I see kerosene fumes”
Ahead of the schedule for his meeting, Christian Blanc then decides to go smoke at the bottom of the towers, smoking being prohibited in the hotel. Then he crosses the street and enters Merill Lynch’s tower. It was when he entered the elevator that the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center. “I hear nothing, I go up the 25 floors, and the secretary tells me that a small passenger plane has just crashed into the north tower,” said the businessman. But, as a former CEO of Air France, he co …