New York landing gear confirmed as 767 part

NEW YORK — A rusted piece of airplane landing gear discovered wedged between a mosque and an apartment building and believed to be from one of the hijacked planes that destroyed the nearby World Trade Center on Sept. 11 has been confirmed as coming from the type of Boeing jet used in the attacks.

Police said Saturday that detectives had been in contact with officials at Chicago-based Boeing Co. who confirmed the wreckage was from a Boeing 767. Police have said the landing gear had a clearly visible Boeing identification number.

The American Airlines and United Airlines planes hijacked by Islamic extremists in 2001 were Boeing 767s. Boeing spokesman John Dern said he could not confirm whether the ID matched the American Airlines plane or the United Airlines plane.

Workers discovered the landing gear part on Wednesday between a luxury loft rental building and a mosque that in 2010 prompted virulent national debate about Islam and freedom of speech because it’s just blocks from ground zero.

On Saturday, yellow police tape blocked access to a metal door that leads to the hidden alley behind the planned Islamic community center, known as Park51.

The medical examiner’s office plans to search for Sept. 11 human remains in the alley.

The chief medical examiner’s spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove, said the area first will be tested as part of a standard health and safety evaluation for possible toxicity. She said sifting for human remains is to begin Tuesday morning.

Retired fire department Deputy Chief Jim Riches, who lost his son in the terrorist attacks, visited the site on Saturday. He said the latest news left him feeling “upset.”

“The finding of this landing gear,” he said, “just goes to show that we need federal people in here to do a comprehensive, full search of lower Manhattan to make sure that we don’t get any more surprises,” as happened in 2007 when body parts were discovered in nearby sewers and manhole covers.

Of the nearly 3,000 victims, Riches noted, about 1,000 families have never recovered any remains.

The New York Police Department has declared the alley a crime scene where nothing may be disturbed until the medical examiner’s office completes its work. It’s unclear how long that may take, Borakove said.

The piece of wreckage was discovered by surveyors inspecting the planned Islamic community center on behalf of the building’s owner, police said.

The twisted metal part — jammed in an 18-inch-wide, trash-laden passageway between the buildings — has cables and levers on it and is about 5 feet high, 17 inches wide and 4 feet long, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday.

“It’s a manifestation of a horrific terrorist act a block and a half away from where we stand,” he said after visiting the alley.

The commissioner noted that a piece of rope intertwined with the part looks like a broken pulley that may have come down from the roof of the Islamic community center.

When plans for the center became public in 2010, opponents said they didn’t want a mosque so close to where Islamic extremists attacked, but supporters said the center would promote harmony between Muslims and followers of other faiths.

The building includes a Muslim prayer space that has been open for three years. After protests died down, the center hosted its first exhibit last year. The space remains under renovation.

More in Local News

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Most Read