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Toronto man gets voice-mail from man in rubble

September 13, 2001

A local businessman received an eerie voice-mail message from a person claiming to be trapped under the rubble of a fallen building in New York City.

Authorities were investigating Thursday whether the message on Pat Probert's pager came from inside the World Trade Center or was simply a cruel hoax.

The brief message said: ``We are trapped under the rubble. I'm ... we're still alive.''

The man's voice sounded ``very calm, cool, collected,'' Probert told CNN.

``Kind of seems like maybe he's in a good protected area.''

Probert called Toronto police shortly after retrieving the message Wednesday night.

``I got through to a sergeant at headquarters. He listened to it. Others listened to it,'' he said.

An officer then came to his Toronto home to review the message.

``He was on the phone immediately with AT&T in the United States to try and track the phone number.''

One scenario is that the man may have inadvertently punched in the wrong area code on his cellphone.

Toronto's area code is 416. The area code for Manhattan is 516 and upper state New York is 716.

Authorities hoped someone would recognize the man's voice from television or radio and call with a cellphone number.

There have been no reports of survivors being found at the World Trade Center since mid-day Wednesday.

The message left Probert shaken.

``You know it was obviously very, very distressful. It's been a long, long night for me.''


From Canadian Press, Copyright © 1996-2001. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited.


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