Remains of some 9/11 victims ended up in landfill


Washington: Unidentified remains of some of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the terrorist attacks of Sep 11, 2001, were burned and ultimately dumped in a landfill, the Pentagon said in a report.

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The discovery came in the course of an independent panel’s probe of allegations that the mortuary at Delaware’s Dover Air Force Base mishandled the remains of US military personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We are deeply concerned about reports that in 2001, some unidentified portions of remains from the 9/11 attacks were disposed of in a landfill, and about the unacceptable handling of remains at Dover,” President Barack Obama’s administration said in a statement.

Obama, the White House said, “has been briefed on the independent review of Dover Port Mortuary and strongly supports the Pentagon’s efforts to make needed systemic structural changes so that these types of incidents never happen again”.

“The United States has a solemn obligation to compassionately and professionally care for fallen service members and their families, and those we tragically lost on 9/11,” the statement concluded.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the investigation based on complaints from the families of military fatalities.

The commission found that the remains of some of those who died when hijacked United Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were sent to the Dover mortuary, where, in accord what was then standard procedure, they were incinerated and handed over to a private biomedical-waste contractor for disposal.

Without the military’s knowledge, the contractor disposed of some solid residues in a landfill.

The Pentagon changed the policy at Dover in 2008. Since then, cremated remains are “retired at sea”, the commission report said.