9/11 survival story: Blind man tells how he escaped 78th floor of WTC

HUNTING VALLEY, Ohio-- Michael Hingson was 78 stories up when the plane slammed into the first tower at the World Trade Center on 9/11, standing with his business colleague and his guide dog.

Hingson is blind-- an attribute he said may have helped him survive that day and may also teach a valuable lesson.

"Don't let your sight get in the way of your vision," he said.

Hingson said, on Sept. 11, people who could see were terrified by what they saw: flames and debris out the windows of the Twin Towers.

Meantime, he and his guide dog were not paralyzed by that fear, and instead, walked to the staircase, then down 78 flights to safety.

Hingson said the point is to focus on what you can do, not what you can't, in any situation you confront.

"You are defined by how you use the gifts God has given you in order to live your life," he said.

Hingson said he had gotten a safe distance away when the towers fell and spewed a huge cloud of smoke across the lower part of Manhattan.

"For me, with every breath I took, I could feel the dust going down my throat and settling into my lungs," he said.

He wrote a best-selling book based on his experiences and was a guest lecturer at University School on Friday.

The lecture series is named for George Spencer. A 1969 graduate, Spencer is the only known alumnus of University School to perish on 9/11.

More on 9/11 here.

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