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Embargoed until 4 p.m. ET January 10, 2002
Contact: Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC)
National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control

Fact Sheet

Rapid assessment of physical injuries related to the attack on the World Trade Center — New York City, September 11, 2001

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) killed and injured more people than any previous attack on a civilian target in United States history. This study reveals the type and severity of injuries among a sample of WTC survivors who received emergency care at five New York City hospitals during the first 48 hours after the attack.

  • Among 790 injured survivors, emergency departments treated and released 606 (77%) survivors; 139 (18%) were hospitalized for further management.

  • Inhalation injuries were the most common injuries in this group (49%) followed by eye injuries (26%), lacerations (14%), and sprains and strains (14%).

  • More than half of survivors (56%) were treated for inhalation injuries, eye injuries, or both without other injuries. Most of these injuries were caused by smoke, dust, debris or fumes.

  • Fractures (6%), burns (5%), and closed head injuries (2%) were less common, but most survivors with these injuries required further hospitalization for treatment.

  • The arrival of survivors at nearby hospitals peaked 2 to 3 hours after the first plane hit the WTC. Half of survivors received medical care within 7 hours of the attack. Approximately one-quarter (282) of survivors arrived at hospitals by emergency medical transport.

  • Twenty-nine percent (320) of survivors treated were rescue workers—firefighters, police officers, emergency medical services personnel, and other disaster-related personnel.

  • Rescue workers sustained more significantly more eye injuries than other survivors (39% vs. 19%) but fewer burns (2% vs. 6%).

  • The average age of WTC survivors in this study was 39 years and 66% were male.

For more information about injuries, visit the CDC's website at

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This page last reviewed January 11, 2002

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