Two more victims of 9/11 attacks identified

In a photo from Oct 28, 2001, a firefighter places flowers and mementos from victims' families at the site of the World Trade Centre attack in New York.
In a photo from Oct 28, 2001, a firefighter places flowers and mementos from victims' families at the site of the World Trade Centre attack in New York.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The remains of two more victims of 9/11 have been identified, thanks to advanced DNA technology, New York officials announced on Tuesday (Sept 8), just days before the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

The office of the city's chief medical examiner said it had formally identified the 1,646th and 1,647th victim of the al-Qaeda attacks on New York's Twin Towers which killed 2,753 people.

They are the first identifications of victims from the collapse of the World Trade Centre since October 2019.

"Twenty years ago, we made a promise to the families of World Trade Centre victims to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to identify their loved ones, and with these two new identifications, we continue to fulfil that sacred obligation," chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson said in a statement.

"No matter how much time passes since September 11, 2001, we will never forget, and we pledge to use all the tools at our disposal to make sure all those who were lost can be reunited with their families," she added.

The 1,646th victim was identified as Dorothy Morgan, of Hempstead, Long Island. Her identity was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, the examiner's office said.

The other identification was a man whose name is being withheld at the request of his family. His identification was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, 2002 and 2006, the statement added.

The medical examiner described the painstaking push to identify every victim as "the largest and most complex forensic investigation in the history of the United States".

The office said new identifications 20 years after the tragedy were being made possible by advances in DNA science.

Its laboratory uses advanced testing to match DNA fragments from victims with samples provided by relatives.

The medical examiner's office said its recent adoption of next-generation DNA sequencing technology meant further identifications were likely.

Some 1,106 victims, or 40 per cent of those who died, remain unidentified.