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Search for 9/11 remains will expand

December 30, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — The search for human remains at the World Trade Center site will be expanded, a city official said Friday.

In a memo to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg about the search, Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler said that debris believed to be from the towers had been dug up from under a service road on the site's western edge and that more of the road would be excavated.

Crews have reported finding computer parts, office carpet, electrical wires and steel from the building.

"Based on the appearance of what could be WTC-related debris in the trench, the majority of the haul road requires further excavation," Skyler wrote, adding that 165 other places also would be searched.

Hours later, word came from the site that workers had found what looked like more pieces of bone from the road excavation.

The renewed search began in October after utility crews found bones in an abandoned manhole that had been paved over and forgotten along the western edge of the site.

In the hurry to finish cleaning up the site in spring 2002, that manhole and a number of other subterranean pockets were never searched for victims' remains. Until Friday, the only remains turned up since the search resumed were approximately 200 bones in the initial manhole, plus a handful of fragments in three other manholes.

Some victims' families have pushed for a wider excavation under the service road, saying they believed crews in 2002 used rubble from the towers instead of clean soil when they were excavating the disaster site and building the road -- a charge the city denies.

"Thank God. Thank God they're finally doing this," said Tim Sumner, whose brother-in-law, firefighter Joseph Leavey, was killed in the attacks.

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