July 13, 2024


Art Is Experience

A hitman, a meth smuggling model, a hurricane hunter, and a 9/11 survivor – 4 must-read real-life stories

Four people, four very different stories by Herman Eloff. (Photos: Supplied)

Four men and women, four quite distinctive stories by Herman Eloff. (Pics: Provided)

Information24’s life-style editor Herman Eloff meets 4 quite diverse folks from around the earth and shares their extraordinary stories of escaping the underworld, turning their lives all-around, living their goals, and surviving the unthinkable. Every tale paints a image of folks pushed by something deep in them that would alter their life eternally – both very good and poor.

1) John Alite: Ex-killer, mafia terminator, former hitman

John Alite, 59, nevertheless remembers a person of the initially folks he at any time killed.

It was coke dealer George Grasso. John shot Georgie in the head from the backseat of the motor vehicle they were being driving in. He picked up the gun, caught it all over the headrest, and pulled the induce.


In that precise instant, John Alite had established his loyalty to Gambino criminal offense family boss, John “Dapper Don” Gotti, and at the same time ended the lifetime he the moment knew.

“That was the major oversight I ever made,” John claims now practically 40 many years later on. Which is when he went from currently being a younger Albanian boy operating at Dick’s deli in Queens to the Italian mafia’s best terminator.

In early October, I get hold of John’s cellphone variety and organize an job interview with him by means of WhatsApp. We’re meeting to converse about the new Countrywide Geographic sequence, Banged Up Overseas, and, a lot more precisely, John’s episode.

Click on here for the entire job interview.

John Alite is a former enforcer for the Gambino cr

John Alite is a previous enforcer for the Gambino criminal offense family. (Nationwide Geographic/Will Francome)

2) Simone Starr: From FHM product to meth smuggler

She was once listed as a single of the 100 hottest women of all ages in the earth, according to FHM, and lived a high-traveling lifetime. But it would all occur crashing down when she built 1 preference that would alter the training course of her existence permanently.

These days, Simone Starr, who expended almost seven years in jail just after being component of an intercontinental drug-smuggling ring, is an totally unique particular person, and she’s on a mission to display other people you can rebuild your daily life no subject how darkish your past.

It is really 06:00 on a weekday early morning in Cape City when I link with Simone via Zoom to communicate about the new Nationwide Geographic show, Banged Up Abroad. It really is late afternoon in Sydney, and an fatigued Simone has had a busy day, but accommodates the catch-up nonetheless.

According to Simone, who characteristics in the most recent year of the strike sequence, the creators attained out to her various situations before she eventually agreed to consider section in the display, which chronicles real encounters of people today who received caught overseas and despatched to jail for getting associated in some kind of illegal action.

Simone’s jaw-dropping story created throughout the world headlines when she was arrested. It truly is not just about every working day that a well known product will get caught smuggling meth from Los Angeles to Sydney.

Click below for the complete interview.

Simone Starr sits for an interview. (National Geog

Simone Starr sits for an interview. (National Geographic/Curtis Redden)

3) Reed Timmer: An extraordinary meteorologist chasing following tornadoes

It has been many days because my call with storm chaser and severe meteorologist Dr Reed Timmer. We caught up via Zoom to talk about his new Nationwide Geographic docuseries Storm Growing.

He was at his condominium in close proximity to Denver, Colorado and experienced just returned property immediately after chasing Group 1 hurricane Nicholas which made landfall in Texas on 14 September and dissipated 4 times later, leaving billions of bucks of destruction in its path.

When everybody else is packing up and receiving out of the way of an approaching storm, Reed and his Yorkshire Terrier Gizmo get in their van and try out to get as shut to the motion as doable to collect as a lot scientific information about the hurricane as they can. If that sounds vaguely familiar, it is since Reed life the real-existence version of the popular Helen Hunt film Twister.

Click on in this article for the complete interview.

Reed Timmer stands in the heavy rains and winds fr

Reed Timmer stands in the heavy rains and winds from Hurricane Delta. (Photo: Countrywide Geographic)

4) Kathy Comerford: A 9/11 survivor saved by her instinct

On a attractive Tuesday early morning in New York City at precisely 08:46 on 11 September 2001, hijacked Flight 11 crashes into the north experience of the North Tower of the Globe Trade Centre, amongst floors 93 and 99.

Absolute chaos right away descends on the Economical District of just one of the busiest towns in the earth. Just 16 minutes afterwards, at 09:03, Flight 175 crashes into the south confront of the South Tower of the Environment Trade Centre, between flooring 77 and 85, with a large explosion.

If anybody considered the initial crash was a awful incident, there was now no doubt that America was under assault.

The effects of the 2nd plane crashing into the second tower was so solid that it blew Kathy Comerford out of her sneakers. Kathy, who was the head of situations for Morgan Stanley financial commitment banking enterprise and in a meeting on the 70th ground of the South Tower, hit the marble wall in front of her with her upper overall body.

Click on right here for the full job interview. 

Kathy Comerford, head of events for Morgan Stanley

Kathy Comerford, 9/11 survivor. (Nationwide Geographic/Daniel Bogado)