It was 9.03 AM on 11th September, 2001 in New York City and Alicia Esteve Head said she was working in the South Tower on the 78th floor of the World Trade Centre when the tower was hit by the second airplane during the terrorist attack.
She had been waiting at an elevator and the force of the explosion caused her clothes to burn and her arm was almost severed. As she crawled through the smoke to find the way out, she passed a dying man, who gave her his wedding ring, asking her to find his widow and pass it to her.
She passed out and woke up as Welles Crowther was smothering her burning clothes, she begged him not to leave her there, and he promised that he wouldn’t before she lost consciousness again.
She woke up in hospital on September 7th.
Alicia, also known as Tania, had a powerful story, she lost her fiancé as well that day, he was working in the North tower and they were due to get married the following month.
Head was interviewed by the media, invited to speak at university conferences and was chosen to lead tours for the Tribute WTC Visitor Centre, where she recounted her stories to Ground Zero tour groups. She started an online survivor’s group and when the President of the World Trade Centre Survivor’s Network heard about this, they merged and Tania became the co-president.
A story of pain, survival and triumph was soon to be unveiled as a lie.
Tania wasn’t in the World Trade Centre when the planes hit, she wasn’t even in New York, she was in a class at EADE Business School in Barcelona.
She claimed that she worked for Merrill Lynch, a division of Bank of America, but they claimed they had no record of her being employed there, nor did they have offices in the South Tower.
Another questionable element was her engagement to “Big Dave”, whom sometimes she referred to as her fiancé and sometimes her husband, but this man’s family reported they had never heard of her.
The scars and marks on her arm were caused by a high-speed crash. She used to say that they had to look for the arm and reattach it.
The man she claimed rescued her was Welles Crowther, whose heroic actions were widely reported in the media and who unfortunately lost his own life whilst saving the lives of up to 18 other people.
In 2012, a book and feature film documentary both titled, The Woman Who Wasn’t There was released.
After her fraud was exposed, Head declined all interviews and quickly left New York.