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Bank boss mourns Pentagon friends

THE boss of a Chester-based American company has spoken about losing former colleagues in last week's terrorist attacks.

THE boss of a Chester-based American company has spoken about losing former colleagues in last week's terrorist attacks.

General Charles Krulak, chairman and chief executive of MBNA Europe, used to be commandant of the US marine Corps and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He knows people who perished in the Pentagon after a suicidal pilot crashed into its west wing, creating a huge fireball.

Speaking at the end of last week while visiting Delaware, USA, he said: "I have several friends that are missing right now. I am pretty sure they are probably not going to survive. The aircraft was full of aviation fuel and that was one hell of an intense heat which was generated.

"That was what caused the problems in New York. It was the intense heat which weakened the structure of the buildings."

The General, who used to work alongside Presidents Reagan and Bush Snr, also knew people working in the World Trade Center when the planes smashed into the twin towers.

He added:"I knew some people who got out. I didn¹t know anybody currently unaccounted for. One person made it down 82 floors! Apparently there was absolutely no panic and no running down the stairs. Some women broke their heels in moving down, but it was very orderly."

The General said MBNA had offices in New York but everyone was safe.

A highly experienced military man, he is in no doubt who is responsible for the atrocities.

"I think there are very few groups that would have the capability of putting together such a co-ordinated, sophisticated attack such as this. They would have to have the finances to do it.

"The finger is obviously pointed at bin Laden and Hamas. These are some of the organisations that have that sort of clout. That¹s who I think we are looking at."

The General said the first task was to get some kind of normality restored to US life, because disruption was exactly what the terrorists aimed to achieve.

Then it was necessary to get political backing from as many nations as possible before launching a strike against the perpetrators.

"The only way we can get to these people is to literally hit them and hit them hard."

The MBNA boss, who lives in Chester with his wife Zandi, but is originally from Virginia, USA, does not believe the unrest will trigger a stock market crash or world recession.

"If we allow that to happen, they have won. We cannot allow that to happen," said the General, who is father of David, 33, a naval flight surgeon and Todd, 33, a Theology student.

He acknowledged that 'precautions' had been taken at all MBNA¹s offices to ensure security for staff, including more than 3,000 employees at Chester Business Park.

"We are a very resilient country and this is not going to take us down.

"The reality is this is not just a US issue. This is an issue for all of us."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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