Diary of Disaster; September 11 Changed BBC New York Reporter Stephen Evans' Life Forever. He Was on the Spot and since Then He Has Put His Thoughts and Feelings into a Video Diary. Ds out More
Byline: Liz Davies
O FLAEN DY LYGAID (Sub-titles) S4C/Saturday
DEATH and disaster have a way of pulling people up short and making them look at themselves, their lives and relationships in a new way. It's a time to focus on what's important and realising what is valuable and what is not.
Certainly, the events of September 11 did that to a great many people, even if they weren't in New York. And for one Welshman, the BBC's North America business reporter, Stephen Evans, that day changed his attitude to many things, professional and personal.
Stephen was in the foyer of World Trade Center 2 that morning, waiting to conduct an interview about the economy.
"I heard a noise like a skip full of concrete falling down from high. I saw the smoke in the piazza between the two buildings. The crowd was standing completely still, looking up in the air, without any feeling of danger, " he says.
Within seconds he was inside the nearest newsagent's shop, reporting back to the BBC in London on what was happening.
"Then the second plane struck and the newsagent suddenly got frightened. I was on air when he said, 'You've got to go now.' Then I went to a nearby hotel and got a room with a view of the towers and continued to broadcast from there. When the tower collapsed, the phone lines went dead."
Back in the London studio, the voice calmly said: "We seem to have lost Stephen Evans in New York, " but in fact it turned out that they thought he was dead. It was an hour-and-a-half before he managed to contact them again.
"When I heard my wife's voice at Broadcasting House, I started crying, " says Stephen poignantly, realising that so many people were worried about him.
Professionalism and training remained in charge. "I went out looking for a TV camera so I could do a report, " he says. "And while doing that with a local TV network, the second building fell."
That night, on the main BBC news, he admitted that only then was the day sinking in, that even being so close to it he hadn't realised how serious it was.
It was only in the weeks that followed that Stephen began to put his own thoughts into some kind of order. He bravely embarked on a video diary, on which this programme is based, in which he speaks frankly and movingly about his feelings. He also tells about his marriage break-up and subsequent separation from his wife.
He works hard, getting up at 4.30am in order to be on the spot at 9. …