Michael Jackson and Sarah Ferguson among stars who narrowly escaped 9/11 attack

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The tragic terrorist attacks that took place in New York on September, 11, 2001 left a terrifying mark on the world we live in today.

The unimaginable event accumulated a death toll of nearly 3,000 people, while several others were left with life-long health conditions from the incident.

In the largest onslaught of our time, 19 men seized four planes that were heading for the West Coast of America.

Two aircrafts flew directly into the Twin Towers located in the heart of New York. The third was flown into the Pentagon while the fourth plane crashed prematurely in Pennsylvania.

Although more than 2,750 innocent civilians passed away in the World Trade Centre attacks, some people narrowly escaped the assaults due to last minute decisions and unexpected encounters.

Certain celebrities also dodged death too – and some helped others avoid being in the building on the day.

Daily Star Online has looked into the celebrities who narrowly managed to avoid stepping foot into the building on that day.

Michael Jackson

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Late singer Michael Jackson was set to be in the building when the Twin Towers were hit but he was saved by his mum after staying up late talking.

The Thriller singer had plans to attend a meeting at one of the sky-scrapers that very morning, but overslept due to staying up late the night before to talk to his mum, Katherine, and sister Rebbie.

Speaking about the incident Michael's older brother Jermaine Jackson wrote in his biography, You Are Not Alone: Michael: Through a Brother's Eyes.

He penned: "Thankfully, none of us had had a clue that Michael was due at a meeting that morning at the top of one of the Twin Towers.

"We only discovered this when mother phoned his hotel to make sure he was okay. She, Rebbie [Jackson] and a few others had left him there around 3am.

"'Mother, I’m okay, thanks to you,'" he told her. 'You kept me up talking so late that I overslept and missed my appointment.'"

Gwyneth Paltrow

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Shallow Hal actress Gwyneth Paltrow unexpectedly saved an office worker's life on the morning the horrendous incident occurred.

While sitting in her silver Mercedes SUV, starstruck fan Lara Lundstrom Clarke roller-bladed in front of Gwyneth's vehicle and couldn't believe who she was seeing in the car.

But Lara's startled reaction caused her to miss her train that was heading to the World Trade Centre.

Lara's brief encounter with the Sliding Doors star made her late for work which was located in one of the towers. So instead of being sat at her desk she was coming off the train when the crash took place.

A decade later, Gwyneth admitted that the short occurrence still gave her "chills".

She said: "I can’t quite believe how many other people changed the course of strangers' lives that day."

Sarah Ferguson

  • Unseen September 11 photos show fire ripping through towers and horror at Ground Zero

Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson had a busy schedule ahead of her and had several meetings to attend in New York.

The mother-of-two's day started with an interview with news anchor Matt Lauer at the NBC Studios.

But later on, Sarah was due to attend a meeting with her charity Chances for Children – with offices located on the 101st floor of the north tower of the World Trade Centre.

Despite the planned arrangement after departing from NBC studios she got caught up in heavy traffic.

The delay meant that The Duchess would have been 20 minutes late for her meeting but as as result the unexpected delay ended up saving her life.

The first plane hit the tower at 08:46am, but Sarah had not reached the premises yet.

Talking about her experience to Hello Magazine, the royal expressed: "I take every minute as a blessing, I really do, and I really work hard at it.

"Because the minute you look too far forward, then you're missing now. The minute you look back, you can't go back. Hindsight is a wonderful thing."

Mark Wahlberg

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Musician turned actor Mark Wahlberg had planned to fly on American Airlines Flight 11 from his home city to Los Angeles on September, 11, 2001.

But at the very last minute, he and his friends decided to charter a plane to a film festival in Toronto, Canada instead.

But the Ted actor later came under fire by fans after he claimed he would have overpowered the terrorists if he'd been on the flight.

Speaking to Men's Journal Mark said: "If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn’t have went down like it did.

"There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, 'OK, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry.'"

But later the star was forced to apologise for his previous remark.

He explained: "To speculate about such a situation is ridiculous to begin with, and to suggest I would have done anything differently than the passengers on that plane was irresponsible.

"I deeply apologize to the families of the victims that my answer came off as insensitive, it was certainly not my intention."

Seth MacFarlane

  • Brit artist on North Tower's 91st floor survived 9/11 after incredible twist of fate

Creator of Family Guy Seth MacFarlane also planned to go on the same flight that day too however, due to a hangover and a mix up with his booking, he wasn't able to board the flight.

Seth's travel agent told him the 7.45am flight was due to leave at 8.15am, but when he arrived at the airport, boarding was already closed.

The star was then forced to wait for the next available flight and, after failing to board the plan he had gone to the passenger lounge to sleep.

Awakening from his sleep an hour, Seth was horrified about the news he heard about the aircraft crashing into the building and killing all those on board.

Speaking about his experience his said: "I was booked on that flight and I was drinking the night before and hung over and I missed the plane by about 10 minutes. It was a very close call for me."

Rob Lowe

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The West Wing actor Rob Lowe was involved in a dummy run for the attacks only 11 days before the real thing took place.

The star said nothing appeared to be unusual or suspicious when he caught his usual flight from Washington DC to Los Angeles following his shoot with The West Wing.

But not long after Rob discovered he'd flown alongside the terrorists and was called to give evidence against attacker Zacarias Moussaoui.

Speaking about the incident, the actor explained: "I flew with the 911 hijackers on the dry run, without realising. I was shooting The West Wing in DC at the time and I always took the flight that leaves Dulles to Los Angeles that they eventually put into the Pentagon.

"I made the flight a lot and I didn’t think anything of it. I got on the flight and it was packed, small plane.

"Looked around the cabin, don't remember anything in particular, nobody looked scary, nobody looked like a terrorist. It looked like an absolutely normal flight."

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  • Michael Jackson
  • September 11

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