9/11 jet part removed; no human remains found

A team of workers successfully removed from the site a 5-foot-tall piece of a wing-flap control system belonging to one of the jetliners that crashed into the Twin Towers. Videojournalist: Charles Eckert (May 1, 2013)

A twisted, rusty chunk of metal -- part of a wing mechanism found from a jet that hit the Twin Towers -- was carefully removed from an alley near Ground Zero Wednesday and taken on a flatbed truck to an NYPD storage facility in Brooklyn.

The 255-pound section of the jet's wing flap control system will remain stored at the NYPD's Erie Basin Red Hook facility until it's determined where the part will be housed permanently.

It was discovered April 24 by a land surveyor, who found it wedged in the alley between 51 Park Place and 50 Murray St.

Crews were careful not to damage the 5-foot-tall Boeing part, which is part of the ongoing investigation into the terrorist attacks and also an important piece of the city's past, said William Aubry, assistant deputy chief for the NYPD's Forensic Division.

"It's a piece of history," Aubry said of the airplane part. "We did not want to cut or change it in any fashion."

Investigators from the NYPD, the FDNY and the medical examiner's office spent days sifting through rubble near the part searching for human remains.

None were found, said Ellen Borakove, said a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.

Aubry said the discovery and the search for human remains triggered strong reactions among those involved in the latest investigation.

"It's been pretty eerie," he said. "We all felt a sense of emotion. We had one person with us who was working on 9/11 and this brought back a lot of memories."

Removing the part from the tight space between the two buildings took about two hours. The airplane part was hoisted three stories high, then manually lifted over a roof wall and placed on a cart in an open courtyard.

Retired FDNY Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches, whose son was a firefighter who died at the World Trade Center after the attacks, said the airplane debris should be prominently displayed next to the waterfalls at the National Sept. 11 memorial plaza.

"We should put this airplane piece on the plaza to let everyone know what happened that day and that this was what was left from the destruction of that day," Riches said. With Gary Dymski

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