Human remains, possibly belonging to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, have been found at the World Trade Center site. The Medical Examiner’s office said 18 pieces of human remains were found Sunday, days after other remains were found in lower Manhattan. Searchers will burrow into at least 12 subterranean areas in coming days, according to The Associated Press.
NEW YORK (CNN) — Searchers plan to sift through underground areas at the site of the World Trade Center attack to look for the remains of 9/11 victims, after more human remains were found at the site Sunday.
Angry relatives of 9/11 victims are accusing officials of mishandling the search for remains and are demanding that construction at the site be halted and intensive searches conducted.
The Medical Examiner’s office said 18 pieces of human remains were found Sunday; other human remains discovered last week at a work site in lower Manhattan had led to the further searches.
Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler said most of the 12 subterranean locations being searched had not been entered since the attacks. (Watch why victims’ families are “sick, disgusted and outraged” — 2:40)
“They will go through every grain, every piece of material carefully and sift through it,” he promised.
Searchers expect to burrow into at least 12 subterranean areas in coming days, according to The Associated Press. About five have been excavated, AP reported.
The underground pockets are located along the western edge of the 16-acre lower Manhattan site, underneath a service road built in March of 2002 to free up traffic on a major thruway that had been closed since the attacks. according to AP.
However, some below-ground cavities that had been used for utility and infrastructure purposes were paved over without being searched for remains, AP reported.
Protest group calls for construction halt
On Friday, members of World Trade Center Families for Proper Burial protested what they said was the government’s mishandling of remains.
They have called for a halt to all construction in the area and a renewed, more exhaustive search for remains.
“We ask that construction at Ground Zero come to a halt,” said Rosaleen Tallon, whose brother Sean Tallon died in the attacks five years ago.
“These are all moms. I’m a mom, I’ve got a 2-year-old, and I’ve a 4-year-old, and their bones, and their teeth, and their hair, and their skin, and their eyeballs are all precious to me. You couldn’t put a price on that. And as human beings, we should not put a price on it.”
Another family member of a 9/11 victim told AP that the grim discovery sends a message. “Their actions say remains are not a priority, they’re secondary to the rebuilding,” said Charles Wolf, who told AP he lost his wife and has never received any of her identified remains. “This is bringing up all the gnawing, gut-wrenching stuff inside us again,” he said to AP.
Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with city and state agencies at City Hall to discuss the renewed search for remains of the victims of the attacks.
The Department of Design and Construction and the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center are leading the effort to review underground areas that were searched during the initial 9/11 recovery effort and to identify additional areas, if any, that weren’t searched and from which human remains could be recovered, the mayor’s office said in a written statement.
The discovery of more remains was made Thursday by Phoenix Contractors, a firm hired by the city of clean sludge from underground drains under the corner of West Street and Vesey Street, officials said. (Full story)
Workers found the bones as they sifted through debris removed from pipes.
Later, additional remains were discovered at a Con Ed facility, where sludge from the site had been taken the previous day, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The remains, some as large as arm or leg bones, were turned over to the medical examiner’s office.
Earlier this year, nearly 300 other human bone fragments — typically smaller than an inch — were found atop a 41-story building near the World Trade Center site that had been badly damaged in the attacks.
No remains have been identified for more than 1,150 of the 2,749 people killed in New York in the attacks.
CNN’s Ekin Nasuhogullari and Jennifer Rizzo contributed this report.
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