Manitoba

Tourist from Winnipeg recalls close call on 9/11

As people around the world remember the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks today, a Winnipeg man is recalling how fate kept him away from the World Trade Center that morning.

Evan Kuz says he was supposed to be at World Trade Center on morning of Sept. 11, 2001

Tourist from Winnipeg recalls close call on 9/11

CBC News: Winnipeg at 6:00

7 years ago
2:00
Evan Kuz of Winnipeg recalls how fate kept him away from the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. 2:00

As people around the world remember the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks today, a Winnipeg man is recalling how fate kept him away from the World Trade Center that morning.

Evan Kuz says he was visiting New York 13 years ago this week. It was his first trip to the city.

"Friends of mine from Germany had moved to the Jersey side, so I had this great opportunity to go visit and explore a city that, you know, is so popular on TV and movies and culture," he told CBC News on Thursday.

The day before the 9/11 attacks, he visited the World Trade Center with a woman from eastern Europe named Kamila, whom he had befriended in his travels.

Kuz said he never imagined he'd be among the last people to see the WTC's south tower. He still has the ticket from that visit.

His ticket from his visit to the World Trade Center that evening. (Evan Kuz)

"It really wasn't a night where you'd want to be up there because the views weren't spectacular or anything … just lots of clouds and rain. But we had the place nearly to ourselves," he recalled.

Evan Kuz took this photograph of the New York skyline during a storm on the afternoon of Sept. 10, 2001. (Evan Kuz)
The two arranged to meet back at the towers at 8:30 a.m. the next day to take some better photographs.

But on the morning of Sept. 11, Kuz said a friend in New Jersey asked him to go on a run with him, and as a result he missed his scheduled "date" at the Twin Towers.

"I remember thinking that, you know, here I am in New York, the city I've wanted to be in for so long, and I could go for a run almost any day," Kuz said.

"But for some reason, which I still don't know why, I made the decision — I went for the run."

Kuz said he didn't even know about the 9/11 attacks when he returned to his friend's house from the run.

Evan Kuz standing at the top floor of the World Trade Center in New York on the evening of Sept. 10, 2001. (Evan Kuz)
​"There was a call for me from my sister back here in Winnipeg, just trying to find me, just to make sure I was OK," he said.

Thirteen years after that fateful day, Kuz said he will always have a special place in his heart for New York.

"I never really feel like a visitor. I always feel like I'm coming back, almost like coming home in a way," he said.

"I think that's what I take away from all this is that through bizarre circumstance that I now have this lifelong connection with New York."

So what happened to Kamila, the woman he was supposed to meet on Sept. 11? As it turned out, she had slept in and missed the date as well, he said.


Hear the full interview between CBC Information Radio host Marcy Markusa and Evan Kuz by clicking the audio link at the top left of this page.

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