Through The Eyes Of An Affected Russian

Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001 - 12:00 AM ET

WATERTOWN, Mass. --David Filipov lived a nightmare. The Boston Globe's Moscow's bureau chief, watched his father's jet, American Airlines Flight 11, crash into World Trade Center on Russian TV.

Now, he can't even get back to his family in Boston. The Early Show interviews him on Thursday, two days after that dreadful day.

Filipov's father Alexander, whom he calls Al, was a passenger on American Airlines, Flight 11, which was the first jet that crashed into the towers. In an ironic twist of fate, he was supposed to be on a Delta flight to Los Angeles but switched to American at the last minute.

The last contact Alexander Filipov had with his family was when he called his wife from American Airline's Admiral's lounge at Boston's Logan Airport at 7:45 a.m. He was flying to L.A. on an engineering business trip. A consultant for a California company, he worked at home and traveled to Los Angeles a couple times a month.

David Filipov remembers his father as a very funny guy. "He had the gift of gab. He would always crack people up because he knew how to say 'Can you get Chinese take-out anywhere around here' in 17 different languages."

Now the family is trying hard to cope with their loss. David Filipov says he is stuck in Moscow and his brother is stuck in Houston.

"I first saw the footage on Russian TV and they kept showing the second plane going into the second tower," says David Filipov, "It was my worst nightmare, I was watching my farther die on TV. I found out that he was on that plane when my mom sent me an email. She couldn't reach me by phone."

He knows thousands of people are going through the exact same thing. "It's frightening, but also fascinating," he says. "The coverage is amazing. I'm crushed and miserable at the same time, because I couldn't say goodbye to my Father and I'm stuck here in Russia."

As a Russian, affected by the tragedy, he says he has encountered a sense of sympathy among other Russians. Not alien to terrorist attacks because of the war in Chechnya, Filipov says he saw a big sign in Russian hung on the American Embassy: "U.S. we are with you." He says Russians are surprised that America was so vulnerable to an attack like this.

When asked about his impressions as to the way our government is handling the attack he says, "I would hope that all the anger will not amount to a response that is huge and aimed at the wrong people. I've seen a lot of innocent people get killed by air attacks in Chechnya."