NYC to hire more forensic experts to help look for Sept. 11 remains at trade center site

Wednesday, November 1st 2006, 10:23 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ The city plans to hire several more forensic experts to help hunt for human remains around the World Trade Center site after a cache of bones, believed to be those of Sept. 11 victims, was found there last month, a deputy mayor said Wednesday.

As many as 10 more forensic anthropologists will be hired temporarily to help in the next phase of the recovery project, which involves excavating more manholes and underground areas, tearing up parts of side streets and exploring rooftops of selected buildings near the 16-acre site, Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler said. Officials say that work could take up to a year.

Some 200 pieces of bone and other remains have been found since last month, when some of them were discovered in a manhole along the western edge of the lower Manhattan site. Officials said it had been paved over and forgotten when a service road was built there in the midst of excavating trade center rubble years ago.

Following that finding, city officials identified about 10 more manholes and pockets under the road and ordered them to be excavated immediately and sifted for remains. Workers are not quite halfway finished examining those cavities.

``We will make sure we have the appropriate resources to do this job,'' said Skyler, who is overseeing the recovery. ``The mayor's orders were very clear: 'Do what needs to be done.'''

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has resisted calls from some victims' families to stop construction during the search and for the city to bring in the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a military forensic unit that specializes in finding soldiers who went missing long ago. City officials have said that both forensic anthropologists on staff at the medical examiner's office previously worked for that unit.

Victims' families planned to rally at ground zero on Thursday to call for federal intervention, a greater expansion of the search and a more clearly defined organization of the effort.

``Hiring extra anthropologists is a recognition that they realize the job they have to do, and it is a signal to the families that they intend to do the job,'' said Charles Wolf, whose wife was killed on Sept. 11. ``But doing the job and doing it right are two different matters. How are you going to manage this?''

Wolf's wife is one of 1,148 victims who still have no remains identified.