There are certain events in life where you remember exactly where you were and what you were dong when they took place.

Many people probably have a Princess Diana story. Or a Michael Jackson story. For me, I’ll always remember sitting in the car and hearing on the radio that Steve Irwin had been killed by a sting ray.

For veteran news anchor Sandra Sully, that one moment that has stuck with her forever is the September 11 attacks on the world trade centre in New York, 2001.

And that’s not only because it was such a profoundly shocking and tragic event, but because she was behind the news desk doing a live broadcast when the first plane hit.

This year Sandra Sully is celebrating 30-years at Channel 10 and throughout her three decades behind that news desk, nothing has ever quite compared to that day.

Speaking about it on the Kyle and Jackie O Show this morning Sully told us that she could “remember it so vividly”, especially because Australia was so deeply connected to the attack at the time.

“Our Prime Minister was in Washington at the time and a plane had gone into the Pentagon,” Sandra recalled.


“John Howard,” Kyle remembered.

“Exactly. Our PM is in Washington DC under attack,” Sandra continued. “New York’s Trad Centre, the financial hub of the world, is under attack. Two jet liners have gone in, another plane goes down in Pennsylvania.”

“Deb Knight was on the Prime Minister’s story so she was in Washington. We had colleagues [there].

“But the world froze. From a journalistic perspective there were no wires, there was no copy, I only had CNN in my ear and because they were so close to it they didn’t utter the word terrorism because they couldn’t believe they were being hit on home soil.”

But Sandra’s instincts told her that this was no accident and when the second plane hit the World Trade centre she went live on air to reveal that it was an act of terrorism.

“We called it first because we had perspective,” she said. “We could see what it was.”


Another moment that will be hard to ever forget for Sandra was when she watched the US Prime Minister at the time, George Bush, being told about the attack.

“The look on Bush’s face, I’ll never forget it,” Sandra said.

Hear more about Sandra Sully’s experience with such a harrowing event in the podcast below!