Luggage locked in the hold may well have saved Anthony Krawiec's life. For the first time, he tells STEVE CARROLL how close he came to becoming a casualty of September 11

SITTING on United Airlines Flight 92 from Newark to San Francisco, Anthony Krawiec heard a voice crackle over the intercom.

"Anyone who wants to get off the plane can do so, and catch the next flight."

When Anthony, of Holgate, York, flew in from Manchester to Newark International Airport, in New Jersey, the day - September 10 - had been crystal clear.

"You could see the twin towers as you came in," he said.

But the fine weather had turned foul and the airport was now in the grip of a sudden squall.

Tired after an eight-hour transatlantic flight, Anthony and his wife Krystyna weren't relishing the prospect of another long, difficult journey.

We were due to fly again at about 4pm. I heard the voice saying anyone who wants to get off the flight can do so.

"Because our luggage was in the hold, we couldn't get off," he added. "Dozens of Americans did."

Anthony was on board the last plane that day towards San Francisco. The next, departing just 16 hours later on September 11, was hijacked.

Flight 93 became one of the symbols of American defiance in the wake of September 11. Its passengers, knowing they were going to die, struck back against the hijackers who had captured their plane.

The plane, believed to be on its way to the White House, crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania. Everyone on board died.

"We were the last flight that day from Newark to San Francisco. We could have been on the next flight," Anthony asserts.

"We were on a tour around America, we could well have stopped in New York for the night. It's amazing to think that we were on Flight 92 and Flight 93 was the next one that crashed."

Anthony's close shave was one that has changed his life.

These days, he lives for the moment - grateful for the "second chance" he believes he has been given.

"When I saw the crash I was just shocked. At first, I didn't actually feel anything. I just wanted to contact my friends in York to tell them I was OK," he said.

"I live for today and not tomorrow. We might well have stayed in New York that night. The luggage being in the hold may have saved us."