Nearly 12 years after the devastation of Sept. 11, 2001, the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office is sifting through debris two blocks from Ground Zero in a renewed search for any human remains, however minute.
The new inspection was prompted by the discovery of what appears to be a piece of wreckage from one of the hijacked aircraft used to destroy the Twin Towers and kill nearly 3,000 people in the worst terror attack ever made against the United States.
Aircraft maker Boeing has confirmed that the damaged piece of machinery, found last week in a narrow, closed alley behind two buildings, is from the wing of a 767. Both planes that were flown into the Twin Towers by the 9/11 terrorists were Boeing 767s.
The Police Department believes that the fragment, part of a hydraulic system, has been there since 9/11 and was not placed in the alley more recently as a hoax, or to generate further controversy about the mosque behind which workers found it. Three years ago, a developer had proposed replacing the building, located on Park Place, with a 15-story community center with a Muslim prayer space. The plan, which stalled over funding, sparked heated debate about religious freedom and the propriety of erecting a large building with a mosque so close to the site where Islamist radicals caused such death and destruction.
The Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the remains of a little more than 1,600 of the approximately 2,700 people killed in New York on 9/11. Victims’ families have said all along that the city did not work hard enough to go through all the debris created by the fiery collapse of the Twin Towers, a charge brought to the fore once again by the discovery of the wing fragment.
When the search for remains is complete, the NYPD will store the plane part “until a decision is made concerning its final disposition,” the department’s spokesman said.