Gwyneth Paltrow inadvertently saved a woman's life on September 11, 2001.

Lara Lundstrom Clarke - who worked in an office on the 77th floor of tower 2 at the World Trade Centre in New York City, which was destroyed in terrorist attacks on the date - has explained how a chance encounter with the actress led to her being late for work on that fateful day.

The financial services professional missed her train as a result of unexpectedly seeing the 'Iron Man' star, who ironically played a character in 1998 movie 'Sliding Doors' whose life dramatically changes after missing a subway train.

Lara - who was 24 at the time - told the Morton Report: "It was one of those mornings that felt good, you had a little skip in your step. What the heck - I always cut across 7th Avenue.

"Then all of the sudden a silver Mercedes SUV came barreling down towards me.

"I stopped and they screeched to a halt. Then it developed into one of those classic who-goes-first situations. It got ridiculous. Then I made eye contact with the Mercedes driver. OMG it was Gwyneth Paltrow.

"She waved me across, I crossed and she continued on her way. At least if I was late for work I had a story to tell."

When Lara - who lost four co-workers in the disaster - finally made it to the bottom of the World Trade Centre, she described it as the "worst thing" ever.

She added: "I looked up and there was a big gaping hole in the World Trade Centre...That was the worst thing I've ever seen in my life - my office exploded.

"If I had made that train I would have been at my desk on the 77th floor of 2 World Trade Centre."

She has since had a recurring dream in which she thanks the 38-year-old actress in person for saving her life.