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RESPONSE TO TERROR

New York Toll Falls Below 3,900 as Names Sorted Out

November 22, 2001|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — The city's official estimate of the number of people killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist assault on the World Trade Center has dropped below 3,900--far lower than the most conservative projections just after the disaster.

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said Wednesday that the tally would likely drop further, perhaps by hundreds, as police detectives continue to pore over the missing-person list to eliminate errors.

The tally stood Wednesday at 3,899, representing people whose deaths have been confirmed and those still missing.

The total includes people on the ground and on the two hijacked airliners that crashed into the twin towers.

The figure represents a sharp decline from the city's peak estimate of 6,789 dead and missing, which came on Sept. 24.

The main reasons for the drop, city officials said, are the elimination of people reported missing but later found to be alive and multiple missing-person reports on the same individual, sometimes with different name spellings.

As death certificates are issued, Giuliani said, "you find out you're resolving the situation for three different people."

He said reports from foreign consulates, some of which overestimated the number of missing foreign nationals by hundreds, also inflated the city's tally.

Giuliani said the city has issued nearly 2,300 death certificates.

As the death toll is adjusted, the figure is entering a realm of comparison with two other events in U.S. history that killed massive numbers in a single day: the Civil War battle of Antietam in 1862 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

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