NEW YORK (AP) — A nonprofit organization for September 11, 2001, survivors removed its president after questions were raised about her harrowing account of how she survived but lost a loved one in the World Trade Center attack.
Tania Head said she was badly burned on the 78th floor of the South Tower, was subsequently saved by a man who died trying to save others and that a dying man handed her his inscribed wedding ring, which she later returned to his widow.
She also said her husband, or fiance, died in the North Tower.
The New York Times reported yesterday that none of her claims had been verified. She described her September 11, 2001, experiences at speaking engagements and led Tribute WTC 9/11 Visitor Center tours, and her account has appeared, among other places, on the Web site of the World Trade Center Survivors’ Network.
The board of the nonprofit organization removed her as president and director this week.
“Tania Head is no longer associated with the World Trade Center Survivors’ Network,” according to a statement on the group’s Web site. “Our organization was created so that those affected by the terrorist attacks could help each other through crisis and its aftermath.”
Miss Head also is no longer giving tours at the visitor center. “At this time, we are unable to confirm the veracity of Tania Head’s connection to the events of September 11,” said the center’s CEO, Jennifer Adams.
The Times said Merrill Lynch & Co., where Miss Head told people she had worked, has no record of her employment. She claimed she had a romantic relationship with a man who is a confirmed September 11, 2001, victim, but the Times said his family and friends had never heard of Miss Head and they discount details of her story.
No telephone listing exists for a Tania Head in New York City. A message left by the Associated Press at a local telephone number for an Alicia Head — a name the Times said Miss Head had also used — was not immediately returned.
The Times said Miss Head canceled three interviews in recent weeks, citing her privacy and emotional turmoil, and declined to provide details to corroborate her story. She also told the newspaper she had done nothing illegal and had not filed any claim with the federal Victim Compensation Fund.
She earned no money as president of the survivors’ group or as a tour guide at ground zero, according to the Times.