World Trade Centre fatalities drop by 40
“Grant McCool, The Courier-Mail 31st October, 2003
In New York the September 11, 2001, death toll has dropped by 40 to 2985 after investigators found fraud, duplication and people once thought dead, city officials said yesterday.
The official death toll has fluctuated frequently since two hijacked passenger planes were flown into the 110-storey twin towers of the World Trade Centre at a time when tens of thousands were normally in the vicinity of the lower Manhattan complex.
Some of the 40 taken off the list were originally reported missing by people living overseas.
"Two or three are still being investigated, so those could still be removed in the future.
"Some people were duplication, some were alive and didn’t even know they had been reported missing; There are Other people who claimed people were missing who didn’t even exist," she said.
Since the tragedy, it has been discovered some people invented the names of people to fraudulently claim compensation from the city.
New York police have arrested 40 people falsely claiming they lost loved ones. Other names removed yesterday included people whose relatives said they were near the towers at the time but can give little more information.
In and around the twin towers there were 2752 deaths, while 189 people died when a plane was flown into the Pentagon. Another 44 were killed when a hijacked jet crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
The official tolls do not include 19 hijackers linked to Saudi-born Islamic militant Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda, the global network Washington blamed for a series of attacks on US interests abroad and at home since the mid-1990s.
The destruction of the twin towers was so great that medical officials have only been able to positively identify the remains of 1527 victims.
Days after the attacks that caused the collapse of the soaring towers, officials feared the number of people killed would be more than 6000.
The 40 names removed from the twin towers toll had been legally declared dead, with death certificates issued based on documented proof or witness reports that they were in the World Trade Centre or aboard one of the hijacked planes.
Their names were also read aloud at the second anniversary ceremony at the World Trade Centre site. ? Additional reporting Phillip Coorey
Experts Puzzle Over Identities “Phillip Coorey, The Courier-Mail 15th August , 2003
NEW YORK: Almost two years since terrorists flew planes into New York’s twin towers, scientists concede less than two-thirds of the 2792 victims will ever be positively identified.
Principals in the identification process said only 1518 victims had been identified.
Now the original goal of 2000 appears far-fetched because of the damage caused by fire, water and decomposition.
Howard Cash, a Washington engineer who developed the software which has enabled tricky DNA identifications, said yesterday the 2000 figure was now considered ambitious.
"I’ll be honest. Our goal is to positively identify 2792 out of 2792. I just don’t think that’s realistic," he said. "I think 2000 is a goal that may be achievable at the very outside edge of technology."
Dr Robert Shaler, the head of the Department of Forensic Biology at the New York Coroner’s office, said the identification of 1800 people was now a more realistic maximum figure.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, only 292 complete bodies were recovered, mainly of people on the ground who were hit by falling debris.
In all, 19,998 pieces of bone and tissue were recovered of which 12,498 have been identified. In one case, 208 remains were found to be from the same person.
Victims Are Alive ? The Sunday Mail 3rd November , 2002
THE World Trade Centre death toll has dropped by two to 2795 after a woman and a man who had been reported missing were found to be alive.
Police located Tina Spicer of Manhattan and Peter Montoulieu of Miami more than a year after they were listed as victims, and seven weeks after their names were read out at the September 11 anniversary ceremony.
"It was verified that they are alive and well," a senior policeman said.
Montoulieu said his former wife reported him missing because she thought he had been attending a convention in Manhattan. In fact he was in Indianapolis.
Officials did not say how the Spicer error was made.
Twin Tower Victims Back From Dead ? The Courier-Mail 29 August, 2002
Fernanda Santos in NEW YORK
TWO people presumed killed in the World Trade Centre attacks on September 11 have been found alive in New York hospitals in recent weeks, improbably fulfilling the faint hopes of loved ones.
And they are not alone.
At least five more people will be coming back from the dead, their names to be removed from the list of 2819 dead or missing, city officials said yesterday.
"I couldn’t believe it," said Anna Sims, whose 46-year-old son George was among the missing. "All I could say was, ‘Oh, my God! God is good! God is good!"’
The discoveries come after the city released its first overall list of those killed or missing in the attacks?a list that will be revised next week.
"There are going to be more," Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner, said. "We know some other names, but we are not going to put them out in dribs and drabs."
Albert Vaughan, 45, of Brooklyn, was another person missing after September 11, a homeless man known to sometimes sleep in the subways beneath the Trade Centre. Two months ago, his family was notified that he was alive and being cared for at a New York hospital.
Some details about when Sims and Vaughan were admitted and whether they were anywhere near the twin towers when they collapsed remain a mystery. George Sims, who shared a house with his mother in Newark, was found this month in a New York hospital, where he had been diagnosed with amnesia and schizophrenia.
Like many other families, relatives of Vaughan and Sims had given the medical examiner’s office personal effects so their loved ones’ remains could be identified through DNA if their bodies were found in the World Trade Centre debris.
Anna Sims said her son George had remembered his birthday and enough of his Social Security number for official to identify him.
Ground Zero Has 2017 Unknowns “The Sunday Mail 31 March, 2002
MORE than 2000 victims remain unidentified almost seven months after the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Centre were razed.
Just 813 victims pulled from Ground Zero have been identified.
More than 14,000 pieces of bone in plastic bags fill the freezers in the Springfield, Virginia, laboratory of Bode Technology; an estimated 2017 people are unidentified.
Scientists are extracting DNA from the remains and attempting to match them with genetic profiles of missing victims gleaned from toothbrushes and personal items provided by families. About 160 victims have been identified through DNA.
Closer to Ground Zero, 18 refrigerated trailers at the headquarters of the New York medical examiners office hold thousands of human remains awaiting identification.
While the identification process is expected to take at least another eight months, the clean-up at Ground Zero should be completed within eight weeks.
More than a million tonnes of debris has been removed in 98,000 truck trips from the site on the southern tip of Manhattan.
Ground Zero Toll At 3478 “The Gold Coast Bulletin 30 October, 2001
US officials have dropped the death toll in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York to below 3500, thanks to the return of more and more residents to the lower Manhattan area of the city.
Residents were returning to Battery Park City, the main residential area near the ruined Twin Towers, said police.
Many people had fled their homes, perhaps to stay with relatives, and were on the missing list because their neighbours had been concerned about them.
The official death toll of more than 6500 in the middle of September declined steadily as duplications were discovered and people reported as missing were found.
The latest tally gave the total of dead and missing as 3478. Authorities update figures daily as bodies are pulled from the rubble. Dozens of names have been dropped from the list as foreign consulates revise their claims of the numbers of nationals believed to have been in the twin towers.