The American Hardwood Export Council’s top executives were aboard aircraft en route to their national convention when terrorists struck at the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon in Washington last Tuesday.

The executives – including executive director Mike Snow, programme co-ordinators Andrew Roberts and Happy Whitlock, plus emerging markets manager Rod Wiles, European director David Venables, South-east Asia director John Chan and Japan director Takahiro Tsuji – were on flights bound for New Orleans where the AHEC meeting was due to take place during the NHLA Convention when news broke of the World Trade Center’s collapse and the attack on the Pentagon.

Their flights were diverted immediately to destinations mainly outside the US and most were stranded at those locations as TTJ went to press.

AHEC’s Rod Wiles said: ‘I was diverted to Toronto where I was stuck until last Thursday. I was lucky to get a flight out – a lot of the others are still stranded.’

AHEC says that it is determined to go ahead with its European convention in Dublin on October 25 and expects the usual 50-or-so US delegates to attend.

  • The National Hardwood Lumber Association’s national convention in New Orleans had to be cancelled last week as a result of the New York and Washington terrorist attacks. Around 1,500 delegates were expected to attend the event on October 25-26 but few were able to make it to the convention centre because of the closing of US air space following the attacks. There is no plan to restage the event later in the year.