The following is a statement by cameraman Patrick Drury regarding the recovery of Ladder 4 at the World Trade Center Site.
After the attacks on September 11th at the World Trade Center I was hired by FEMA to document the recovery effort after FEMA's video units were removed from New York City. Our job was to walk the site as often as FEMA deemed necessary in order to document the changes at the site for release to various news agencies and for archival purposes.
The evening that Ladder 4 was discovered was very cold and rainy. We had already been walking the pit for a few hours documenting the work that was going on and the changes that had occurred since our last visit when we made our way towards the South East corner of the site. At first, I was hesitant to approach the area not knowing exactly why so many firemen had converged at this location. I could only assume that they had found another body, presumably one of their own. We kept our distance for a while as one of our FEMA escorts broke away from our group to find out what was happening. After a few minutes I was told that a ladder truck had been found and that the firemen were trying to recover the driver's body from the cab. The gentleman from our group returned and told me that the firemen were OK with me shooting them as they searched for their colleague. I later learned from the firemen that they were very upset about the cutbacks that Mayor Giuliani had just made decreasing the number of firefighters allowed to work and search the site. They were happy to let me shoot this recovery because they wanted people to see that they were still finding their brothers and that their time was well spent and necessary. With this in mind, I stood in the rain and the trade center muck with the firemen and we all looked on as a few of their own dug with their hands and small tools in order to get to the truck's cab. After fifteen minutes they got into the cab and we all watched hoping that they would find the driver. A glove was pulled out and then a few scraps of cloth that looked as if they might have once been a pair of pants or a jacket. Shortly there after a fireman on the other side of the cab popped his head up over the vehicle and said that there were no remains to be found. The mood was very somber and I could feel the strain on the men around me. The group around Ladder 4 began to disperse and everyone returned to their section of the disaster to continue working.
Months later when I heard of the controversy surrounding this event I was shocked. I could not believe that someone had reported that jeans from the Gap had been found in the cab of Ladder 4 or that they had been strewn about for several days for all to see. If this had been the case I would have had one of the biggest stories to come out of the World Trade Center since it's destruction. As a cameraman it is my job to absorb and capture all the details of whatever I am shooting. There is to be no bias or censoring of what I shoot. If there had been Gap Jeans in the cab of Ladder 4 and all round it as it laid 6 stories below street level I would have gladly shot them. If there are any doubts of these facts all one has to do is review the FEMA footage.