ColombiaOne.comCrimeThe Colombians Who Died in the 9/11 Attacks in the US

The Colombians Who Died in the 9/11 Attacks in the US


Colombians 9/11 attacks
19 Colombians died in the 9/11 attacks in the US – Credit: Michael Foran / CC BY 2.0

Every September 11th, the world remembers the attacks suffered by the United States. They were the worst attacks on the United States in decades. The memory also lingers of the nearly 3,000 people, including at least 19 Colombians, who lost their lives in those September 11 attacks when two planes crashed into New York City’s iconic skyscrapers, the World Trade Center (WTC).

In total, there were four coordinated suicide attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda cells against the United States. Just a few days ago, 22 years after the crime, two more victims were identified; the identities of some of those who lost their lives that day are still unknown.

Lives Cut Short 22 Years Ago

Each victim of those attacks had their own life story. In the case of the 19 Colombians who died on September 11, they were stories of overcoming, of people who left their home country, or were the children of Colombian migrants who went to the United States in search of a better life.

In some cases, they were individuals who were fleeing violence in Colombia. Ironically, destiny arranged for the very violence that pushed them to leave their homeland to end their dreams one Tuesday morning.

Workers at the Twin Towers

One of the victims was 31-year-old Luis Eduardo Torres. He had arrived in the United States as a teenager in the late 1980s. A professional in the stock market, he had started a new job the day before as a broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, located in one of the Twin Towers.

Milton Bustillo, 37 years old, also worked at Cantor Fitzgerald as a computer technician. He died three months after getting married and with a seven-month-old daughter. Cantor Fitzgerald had its offices on various floors of the South Tower.

Another Colombian working at a restaurant in the Twin Towers, Wilder Alfredo Gómez, 38 years old, had been a bartender at the establishment since 1996. A native of Cali, he left behind four children.

Jorge Luis Morón, 39 years old, a native of Barranquilla, Colombia, also perished in the attacks. He had left Colombia 8 years earlier and worked as a security guard in one of the Twin Towers. He was about to become a father and obtain U.S. citizenship.

Sonia Ortiz left Colombia 30 years before and began working as a cleaner at the World Trade Center in 1973. Sonia lived in Queens with her daughter.

Carlos Cortes Rodríguez, 58 years old, arrived in the city of skyscrapers in 1967 to study civil engineering at New York University. On the day of the attacks, he was in his office at Washington Group International on the 91st floor of the South Tower.

Fleeing Violence in Colombia

Another Colombian whose life ended on September 11 was Victor Hugo Paz, 43 years old, from Cali. He arrived in New York in the mid-1990s, fleeing violence in his homeland and after the kidnapping of his brother.

He worked as a pastry chef in a renowned restaurant located on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center.

The Youngest Colombian Victim

Anny Correa was the youngest Colombian victim to die that day. She was 25 years old and was about to graduate as an accountant from Berkeley College. Two months earlier, she had started working in the accounting department of the Marsh & McLennan firm, whose office was on the 98th floor of the South Tower.

A Colombian on American Airlines Flight 11

The case of Antonio Montoya is also tragic. This 46-year-old Colombian lived in Boston, where he had settled with his wife and son in 1981. His two younger daughters were born there. He had been working at the Boston Harbor Hotel for more than a decade. Tragedy struck this Colombian, who ended up as a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11 due to an error with his reservation.

Antonio Montoya was on his way to California to visit a sister he hadn’t seen in years. He ended up as a passenger on the plane that the terrorists crashed between the 93rd and 99th floors of the North Tower, the first of the impacts the Twin Towers suffered that morning.

Colombians 9/11 attacks
Body recovery workers, 18 days after the attack – Credit: Andrea Booher / Public Domain

Other Colombians Who Died That Day

Completing the tragic list of Colombians who died that day in the United States, these are the names of those whose lives were also abruptly halted by the criminal act.

Aracelly Castillo, 49 years old; a young woman named Adriana, 32 years old; Alejandro Castaño, 35 years old; Pedro Francisco Checho, also 35 years old; Sharon Cristina Millan, 33 years old; Rafael Humberto Santos, 42 years old; Hernando Salas, 71 years old; Gloria Nieves, 48 years old; Carlos Mario Muñoz, 43 years old; and César Augusto Murillo, 32 years old.

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