In the ashes of The Pentagon, thriller writer David Gilman found inspiration.

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In the ashes of The Pentagon, thriller author David Gilman found inspiration.

THE 911 carnage could have been so much worse, according to thriller writer David Gilman, who was given a private tour of the iconic US defense HQ by a fan.

It was a solemn, deeply moving moment.

Author David Gilman was standing at the site where hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 ploughed into the heart of US military might on 911 during a private tour of the Pentagon.

At 530 mph, it slammed into the west side of the building, destroying five floors from the ground up and killing 189 people.

“My host explained the carnage, the collapsing floors, the intense fireball, and where some of his personal acquaintances had perished,” Gilman recalls today.

“I was standing in the corridor where the tailplane had crashed.

It was impossible to take everything in at once.

We stood in silence for a few minutes without being asked.”

The damage has since been repaired (this was in 2018), but it was impossible to avoid being impacted.

The insider leading Gilman’s tour of the high-security defense headquarters then revealed a shocking fact: the death toll would have been at least ten times higher if it hadn’t been for a fluke of timing.

“The area where the plane hit had just been renovated,” the author explains.

“Many people had not yet returned to their offices.”

If that had been the case, the death toll would have been in the thousands, rather than the 125 people who died in the building.”

The highly unusual offer to visit one of the world’s most secret sites came after an American fan of Gilman’s books contacted him and they discovered they had similar backgrounds: both had served in the military and had worked as firefighters.

“He invited me to come to the Pentagon, where he works.”

I assumed he was a security guard who could help me gain access to the back door.

He turned out to be a retired US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, and he set up a tour,” David explains.

“I went through security, and my host escorted me up the escalator to the mezzanine, which looked like a mini-mall with a couple of restaurants; there are about 24,000 people who work there.”

Then we came to the power corridors, which were wide enough for a small four-wheel vehicle to travel through.

“News from the Brinkwire.”

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