New York City Officials Identify Two More 9/11 Victims After 22 Years
New York City officials have made the remarkable discovery of the remains of two additional victims who lost their lives during the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks, marking a significant breakthrough after 22 years since the tragedy. While both a man and a woman were successfully identified, their names are being kept confidential, honoring the wishes of their respective families. This development represents the most recent success in an ongoing and decades-long endeavor to bring closure to the families of 9/11 victims. Importantly, these identifications are the first made in the past two years, underscoring the challenging nature of the task.
Cutting-Edge DNA Techniques for Identification
The identification process involved pioneering DNA sequencing techniques, exemplifying the city’s commitment to using advanced technology to provide answers to grieving families. The Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) of New York City has now been able to link remains to a total of 1,649 World Trade Center victims, thanks to these cutting-edge DNA sequencing methods. These techniques have not only brought comfort to the families but have also honored the memory of the 2,753 people who lost their lives in the hijacked-plane attack on Lower Manhattan in 2001.
Mayor’s Hope for Closure
Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York City, expressed his hope that these new identifications would bring some solace to the families of the victims. He acknowledged the pain that families continue to endure due to the loss of their loved ones. He emphasized the city’s unwavering commitment to reunite all World Trade Center victims with their families and commended the ongoing efforts of the OCME.
Next-Generation Sequencing Technology
The city’s DNA laboratory employed next-generation sequencing technology, which is more sensitive and rapid than conventional DNA techniques. This advanced technology has also been utilized by the US military to identify missing American service members. Notably, it played a crucial role in identifying victims of the recent wildfires in Maui. The man’s identification was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, while the woman’s identification was established through testing of remains collected in 2001, 2006, and 2013.
Challenges and Unidentified Victims
Despite the significant advancements in DNA technology, there remains a substantial challenge. Approximately 40% of those who perished in the 9/11 attack, comprising 1,104 victims, remain unidentified. These unidentified remains are currently housed at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site. Dr. Graham, the Chief Medical Examiner, reiterated the solemn commitment of the OCME to return the remains of World Trade Center victims to their families, even more than two decades after the tragedy. He emphasized the unwavering dedication to employing the latest scientific advances to fulfill this promise.