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Some 9/11 victims' remains went to landfill - Pentagon report

A report by the Pentagon has found that “several portions of remains” of people who died in the terrorist attacks were put in a landfill.

A helicopter flies over the burning Pentagon on 11 September 2001.
A helicopter flies over the burning Pentagon on 11 September 2001.
Image: TOM HORAN/AP/Press Association Images

THE PENTAGON IN the US has said that the remains of some victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that could not be identified were sent to a landfill.

A report by an independent committee has said that the number of victims whose remains went to landfill is unclear but it involved “several portions of remains” of 184 people who were killed when a plane hit the Pentagon and another crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, killing 40 people.

The terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 – the worst in US history – saw over 3,000 die, the majority after two planes struck the World Trade Centre towers in New York city causing them to collapse.

The revelation came in a report by an independent committee that had been set up to examine the practices at the US military’s mortuary in Delaware where the bodies of many who have died in wars overseas arrive back in the US.

The panel said that the remains were cremated, then given to a biomedical waste disposal contractor who put the remain in containers, incinerated those and then took them to landfills.

The same practice was applied to the unidentified remains of those who died at war. This had previously been disclosed but the practice has since ended and the ashes are now placed in urns and buried at sea, the New York Times reports.

“We don’t think it should have happened,” John Abizaid, the retired general who led the panel, said of the landfill incidents at a news conference held at the Pentagon earlier today.

It is not clear whether the families of 9/11 victims were aware of what had happened to some of the unidentified remains.

The panel was set up last year after investigators found “gross mismanagement” at the US Air Force mortuary in Dover, Delaware where body parts were lost in two cases and the remains of others were mishandled, according to Agence France Presse.

- additional reporting from AP

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Hugh O'Connell

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