The Fake 9/11 Survivor: The shocking & Bizarre Story Of Alicia Esteve Head (Aka Tania Head)


(Tania Head. Picture credit: nytimes)

It's hard to believe that we are now at the 20th anniversary mark of the heartbreaking day of September the 11th 2001. I think we all remember where we were that horrific day, some of us may have lost a loved one, some of us may be a survivor. I don't think there's anyone who could say that the events of that day didn't have an effect on them at some level. 

It was a day that began like any other, just people getting ready to start work, sitting down at their desks, collecting their coffee, nothing out of the ordinary. It was a beautiful morning, anyone who was in New York that morning will tell you that before the nightmare began, the sky was beautiful, New York was beautiful and that iconic skyline that so many of us have seen on the movie screens, was just as magnificent as ever. 

Then hell became reality, something none of us could ever have imagined or thought could be possible. New York city was under attack and those of us here in the UK watched our TV screens in utter shock and disbelief. I remember clearly just staring at the TV screen not being able to comprehend what I was seeing, I remember the fear for the people in those towers and the people of New York. I have images in my head that will never go away, because everything was live on the news I saw the heartbreaking moments where people who had been in one of the towers above the impact zone were stood clinging onto the windows, desperate for air and desperate to escape. There was so many people and nothing could be done to help them. I felt powerless and devastated.

Then objects or what we assumed to be objects were falling from the buildings and the horror at realising that some of what we had just seen were people. It was a day that none of us will ever forget and the days and weeks that followed, New York in darkness, the endless search for possible survivors and for people's remains. The way the people of New York all pulled together and over the years they rebuilt their city to what it is today whilst also paying tribute and never forgetting who they lost and who survived. 

The horror of what was happening in New York and the details that were emerging of a highjacking of planes by a terrorist group known as Al-Qaeda, 19 of these monsters who were working on the orders of Osama Bin Laden caused so much death, pain and destruction not only in and around the World Trade Center but the Pentagon and Flight 93 whose brave passengers took on the terrorists costing them their own lives in the process as the plane crashed down into a field in Pennsylvania. 

So much heartbreak and disbelief but some time after the horrible events had happened, stories began to emerge of heroes, volunteers, people who risked their lives to save others and people who by some miracle managed to get to safety that day. One of those people who became a beacon of light and a tower of strength for survivors and the families of victims was a lady by the name of Tania Head. 

Tania, who was originally from Spain claimed to have been working for Merill Lynch on the 78th floor of the South Tower when the plane hit. She went into heartbreaking and raw detail of how she (who was just one of 19 people who survived from those floors above the impact zone) was badly burned and could smell her own flesh burning whilst she tried to crawl to safety over other people whilst trying to help them. 

People were gripped as they heard Tania explain that she was carried out by a brave firefighter (who we know were all heroes that day and heroes for what they do everyday) and rushed to hospital to be treated for horrendous burns to her arm, she recalls not remembering anything after that but the horrible news that her beloved fiance Dave had died. Dave had been working in the North Tower and sadly lost his life, she was utterly heartbroken as anyone was who listened to her story. Tania and Dave were due to be married and they had their whole lives as a married couple just ahead of them before this nightmare happened, Tania even had her wedding dress all arranged. 

(Tania Head. Picture credit: nytimes)

Tania had a strength about her and such confidence, the way she was able to talk about what had happened with such courage warmed people to her. She created a group online to help support other survivors and came across as such a kind woman who just wanted to help other people in her position. She soon teamed up with another survivors group and created The Survivors Network. This Network was an amazing support for people who had lost loved ones or who had survived and felt like they were struggling, Tania was so committed to the group and had shown so much strength that she became the president of the Network. 

As time went on, Tania became like a face for the survivors, she did interviews, public appearances and when it came to something that the members of the Network needed, she would fight for it. She was almost like a mother goose to everyone, always listening, being a shoulder to cry on and she even held workshops to help people try to cope with their post traumatic stress disorder. She also managed to raise a lot of money for the survivors and never took a penny for herself. 

So Tania was amazing wasn't she? She'd come out of this horrific situation with the burns on her arm to prove it and she took what was a horrible and traumatic situation and tried to make something positive out of it by helping other people. If only that had been the case because with all of the attention that Tania was getting, some of the members wondered why her story was always the one that everyone seemed to focus on plus her attitude was starting to change. It was almost as though she was enjoying the cameras being on her and some members felt that she was acting above herself.

Then came the emails and the changes of stories, she couldn't help but talk about herself non-stop and would email the members of the group telling them something one minute and then saying something different the next. There was confusion over her partner Dave, was he her fiance or husband because she kept changing that detail depending on who she spoke to. 

(Tania Head meeting the mayor of New York. Picture credit: nytimes)

Her original story about how she survived that horrific day was changing too and people in the Network became suspicious especially when she was chosen to guide important public figures around the World Trade Center memorial and she seemed to be nervous and rambling. More suspicion began to grow when The New York Times were interviewing survivors of 9/11 especially those that had survived above the point of impact in the towers Tania was supposed to have been in and were surprised to see that Tania Head was not on their list. Questions were raised and inaccuracies in Tania's stories were pointed out by the media and Tania moaned to the other survivors that the press were bullying her. 

Then a shocking expose on Tania was published for all to see and The New York Times called her out on her lies. 

The shocking and unbelievable truth about Tania Head was that she was never a 9/11 survivor, the fiance 'Dave' didn't even exist, She hadn't even set foot in New York until 2003, Everything she said was a lie. Even the burn mark (which obviously helped make her story seem more believable) was caused by something else. 

As soon as everything was out in the open, Tania (or Alicia Esteve Head, which was her real name) fled America and went into hiding, For the members of The Survivors Network is was very traumatic, they'd already been through enough and now this? Someone they believed in, trusted and confided in was a pathological liar. 

So why did she do it? People assume it must have been a money thing but she didn't take any money, she actually raised a lot of money for people. She was obsessed with 9/11 as eerie as that is and wanted to be part of it, she loved the attention and fame that it brought her. When watching interviews she took part in, you can see her almost smiling as she talks about the tragic events in which she struggled to survive and the loss of her fictional fiance Dave. 

During the attacks she'd been in Barcelona at University and had a history of making up lies and stories. Her brother and father had been in prison for fraud too so it ran in the family. 

To this very day nobody knows what became of Alicia Esteve Head, some people have said they spotted her in New York others have claimed to have seen her in Barcelona. There was also a report that she had taken her own life but nobody knows if that is a fact. 

The police were not looking for her because in the eyes of the law she didn't steal anything or cause physical bodily harm. To those who survived 9/11 or lost a loved one, what she did is inexcusable. She took a horrible event in which thousands of people lost their lives or where injured and traumatised for life and tried to turn it all round and make it all about herself for fame and attention. 

She may have helped the survivors in terms of support and raising money but what she did was disgusting. 

My heart goes out to all of those who lost their lives on that day, to the survivors, to all those affected. 

I will be watching the memorial this week and paying tribute. I never have forgotten what happened that day and never will. 

(The Iconic New York skyline as it was. The magnificent twin towers. Picture credit: history)

Further Reading & Sources:

September 11th Attacks | Wikipedia

9/11 | History

9/11 Memorial & Museum

9/11 Investigation | FBI

Alicia Esteve Head | Wikipedia

Tania Head: Article | The Independent

Tania Head: Article | Daily Mail

Tania Head | Documentary

Tania Head Interview

Tania Head: Article | The New York Times

World Trade Centre: Article | History

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  1. Dumbfounded... Absolutely Dumbfounded...

    I have actually never heard of this case before and I'm sickened by what this lady did. 😡

    Whilst she didn't take any money, she didn't do any physical harm to anyone. What she did do was as equally unforgivable and a truly greedy thing to do.

    For every heartbreaking story we heard of that day, there are those that would take a tragedy such as 9/11 and capitalize on it.

    While she might not of stolen money she did benefit from the lies she told. Gaining fame and now notoriety for her actions as a con artist.

    There's a special place in hell for people like this in my opinion. And hopefully she will never be able to rest as the world knows who she is and the lies she told.

    A brilliant and amazing true crime story that I honestly wasn't expecting. Truly an incredible story. 🙏❤