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NYPD: Landing gear belongs to a 9/11 plane; investigators 'have yet to determine which one'

The NYPD says a part of a landing

The NYPD says a part of a landing gear, apparently from one of the commercial airliners destroyed on September 11, 2001, was discovered wedged between the rear of 51 Park Place and the rear of the building behind it, 50 Murray Street, in lower Manhattan. (April 26, 2013) Credit: NYPD

Boeing Co. officials confirmed to detectives Saturday that a landing gear part discovered near Ground Zero last week came from a 767 -- the same type of aircraft as the two planes that hit the World Trade Center nearly 12 years ago, an NYPD official said.

Police are working with the National Transportation Safety Board to match the landing gear part found wedged between two buildings to one of the planes that brought down the Twin Towers.

"We believe it is from one of the planes destroyed on 9/11 but we have yet to determine which one," NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said Saturday.

The part could have come from either American Airlines Flight 11, flown by al-Qaida hijackers into the north tower on Sept. 11, 2001, or United Airlines Flight 175, which hit the south tower minutes later.

A crew of surveyors found the aircraft piece Wednesday between two buildings at 51 Park Place and 50 Murray St., police said. The landowner, SoHo Properties, had hired the surveyors to inspect the area.

The NYPD has secured the location as it would a crime scene, Browne said, and took photographs and other documentation. The part's Boeing identification number was visible.

Access will be restricted until the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner completes its health and safety evaluation. Officials will then decide whether to begin sifting the soil there for possible human remains, Browne said.

The process is expected to continue through Wednesday.

"The aircraft part will not be removed until the process is completed," Browne said.

The property is about five blocks northeast of where the north tower once stood.

On Friday, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said the landing gear was entwined in rope.

That raised the possibility the gear may have been in the process of being removed from the roof when it ended up in its current location, "but that's just speculation at this point," Browne said.

Since 2002, the New York State Museum in Albany has held in its collection a large landing gear piece that went through the roof to the basement at the same location, Browne said.

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