Tania Head was a survivor of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center
On that horrid day, she was in the South Tower and above the point of impact when United Airlines Flight 175 struck. She subsequently crawled her way through fire, smoke and corpses to safety, taking with her a dying man’s wedding ring after the man begged her to return it to his wife. She was also rescued by the Red Bandana hero Welles Crowther, who led as many as 18 people from above the impact zone through the only stairwell that was left intact. That figure was later updated to 19 upon the revelation of Tania’s story. She sustained significant burns on her arm, but she made it out alive, which in that situation—with the blinding smoke and the torturous heat—was a nigh impossible accomplishment.
After the tragedy, the pain of which weighed ever heavily upon the crumbled city of New York, Tania began contacting numerous other survivors with the intent of forming a support group. Her efforts proved to be very successful, and her support group was eventually asked to merge with the World Trade Center Survivors’ Network, with her promptly being appointed its president.
In her new role, Tania was in charge of facilitating the distribution of the immense swarm of donations coming in after the attack. You see, after 9/11, most donations were going to the families of a select few high-profile victims as well as the families of the first responders, whereas many survivors like Tania, along with those who were assisting with the recovery efforts, were not receiving anything at all.
In addition to handling the donations, Tania met with many of New York’s leaders.
She also frequently gave tours of Ground Zero, telling every group she led about the story of the wedding ring and the hero in the red bandana who saved her. Later on, she revealed that her very own boyfriend was killed in the North Tower and that his remains were never found. Soon after, she stated that it was actually her husband who died in the North Tower. She eventually settled on fiancé.
As it went, Tania was a great success. She became the face of the survivors’ network, with her tales of resiliency inspiring thousands of people around the world.
There was no reason to doubt her story. She looked the part. She had a badly injured arm that appeared to have burn scars and her story was very, very realistic.
It wasn’t until 2007 when her story unraveled once the New York Times conducted an investigation on her. They found no record of her employment with Merrill Lynch, the company she claimed to work for in the World Trade Center, and the family of her alleged “fiancé” quickly came out and stated they had no idea who the hell she was.
She was thereafter ousted as an unequivocal fraud, removed from her seat as president, and then fled the U.S. back to her native Spain where she had come from all along. In fact, it was found out that she was in Barcelona during 9/11, and that the burn scars on her arm may have even been self-inflicted. She was never heard from again, except for an apparent suicide note (although she was spotted in New York’s Times Square in 2011).
During her facade, she never took money for her work, nor did she accept any donations as a purported survivor. In fact, she contributed her own money to the cause.
…It appears all that she wanted was the fame. And for a while, she got just that, but fame has consequences. She’ll never be able to conceal what she did or hide from the past. After all, she was “the representative of 20,000 9/11 survivors”, and her face will not soon be forgotten by a city that learned to never forget