The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 6, 2007

Stoystown man’s 9/11 photo on display in NYC

STOYSTOWN — Most hobbies go quietly under the radar, unnoticed. A few years back, amateur photographer David Escherich of Stoystown snapped a photo that went global within hours.

Today, his photograph is part of a New York City exhibit that will run through 2010.

In September, Escherich and a few friends boarded a bus and traveled to see his photo on display at the Tribute World Trade Center 9/11 Visitor Center at ground zero.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Escherich snapped the picture of downed Flight 93 and captured international attention following the click of his 35-mm camera’s shutter.

“I was going through Friedens when I saw a huge plume of smoke, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before,” Escherich said.

It wasn’t long before an announcer on the Meyersdale radio station broke in to report a downed plane in Somerset County. Escherich continued on with his day and stopped at the Stoystown post office. He was aware of the devastation at the World Trade Center.

At the Stoystown post office, a friend encouraged him to investigate what had happened. With his camera in his car, Escherich decided he would.

Not long after the crash, Escherich was on the scene. Emergency personnel were only just arriving. Undetected, he grabbed his camera and set up his tripod and fired off 10 shots before being asked to leave.

“I was about 150 yards away from where the plane hit,” he said. “But then I did as they said. I packed up and left.”

Escherich knew the images he just captured were important, so he immediately had them processed.

Within 90 minutes of the crash, he shared his historic photo with a local newspaper and it was printed the next day. The following day, The Associated Press sent the Shanksville photo around the world. It is believed that Escherich captured the first images of the crash site.

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