Years later, looking for traces of Sept. 11 victims

Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:43am EDT
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By Basil Katz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While much of New York has tried to return to normal since September 11, 2001, the search for victims of the World Trade Center attacks goes on every day.

In what some see as necessary and others see as excessive, anthropologists and forensics experts are sifting yet again through rubble for remnants of the nearly 3,000 people killed when two hijacked jetliners crashed into the twin towers.

With buildings slowly being erected where the towers stood, the latest effort to comb through 844 cubic yards of debris collected since 2007 from excavation of new sections of Ground Zero was launched this month.

Scientists have sifted through two batches of debris already and are testing those samples for human DNA. The new batch of debris has been dug up as construction progresses.

For some victims' families, finding a physical trace of the dead is vitally significant.

"We have an obligation to those who are lost and those who they left to do everything in our power to recover them, said Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler. "And the sadness of the fact that we're still looking over eight years after the tragedy is lost on no one."

This sifting operation will cost some $2 million, he said.

'CRUEL AND INHUMANE'   Continued...

<p>People pause for a moment of silence to pay their respects at the site of the former twin towers on the eighth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria</p>