Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Flight 93 Remains Flap Drawing Skepticism

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Flight 93 Remains Flap Drawing Skepticism

Article excerpt

Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller was mystified on Tuesday by reports out of Washington, D.C., that unidentified human remains recovered from the Flight 93 crash site had been incinerated and dumped in a landfill.

"Where they would have gotten those remains, I have no idea," said Mr. Miller. "The only remains that left Somerset County were samples sent for DNA testing to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Quantico, Va."

The Families of Flight 93 are equally skeptical, said spokeswoman Lisa Linden.

"This is impossible to believe," she said. "The remains from the Flight 93 crash were under the care and control of ... Wallace Miller. Period."

A report prepared by the Defense Health Board subcommittee, headed by retired Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, said small portions of human remains from the terror attacks on the Pentagon and Flight 93 were taken to the Dover Port Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base and wound up in a landfill. The Washington Post first reported the story; the Post had previously reported that remains of service members had been cremated and then disposed of in a Virginia landfill.

"Prior to 2008, portions of remains that could neither be tested nor identified, and portions of remains later identified that the [person authorized to direct disposition of human remains] requested not to be notified of (requesting that they be appropriately disposed of) were cremated under contract at a civilian crematory and returned to DPM," the report said.

"This policy began shortly after September 11, 2001, when several portions of remains from the Pentagon attack and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, crash site could not be tested or identified. These cremated portions were then placed in sealed containers that were provided to a biomedical waste disposal contractor. Per the biomedical waste contract at that time, the contractor then transported these containers and incinerated them. The assumption on the part of DPM was that after final incineration nothing remained. …

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