NEW YORK — A Boeing Co. technician has confirmed that an aircraft part found last week behind a building in lower Manhattan came from a Boeing 767, but still have not verified if it came from one of the two jetliners involved in the 9/11 attacks that destroyed the Twin Towers, the New York Police Department said today.
The twisted metal part found by a surveying team in a narrow space between buildings, at the rear of 51 Park Place, originally was believed to be a piece of the landing gear from one of the two jetliners.
The NYPD, in a statement released today by Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, described the piece as a portion of “a trailing edge flap actuation support structure” — the control arm responsible for flap controls used for trim, as well as for takeoff and landing. The plane debris is not a piece of the landing gear, which holds the wheel assemblies for the aircraft.
The NYPD said the piece “is believed to be from one of the two aircraft destroyed on September 11, 2001, but it could not be determined which one.” The announcement comes as the NYPD continues to work with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, as it prepares to sift soil at the location in an attempt to recover any human remains.
Officers from the NYPD Emergency Service Unit are expected to remove the flap structure from the site when that sifting process is completed on Wednesday — and it will then be placed in the custody of the NYPD Property Clerk, Browne said. It will remain there until officials can determine its final disposition.
The NYPD said the National Transportation Safety Board has taken custody of some parts in the past, while in other cases, such as those involving parts recovered from the 9/11 aircraft, parts “have been treated as historical artifacts” and have been placed into museum collections.
The two planes that were crashed into the Twin Towers by terrorists on 9/11 include American Airlines Flight 11, which was flown by al-Qaida hijackers into the north tower, and United Airlines Flight 175, flown into the south tower.
Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the city’s chief medical examiner, said the sifting operation is separate from but similar to that being conducted by her office at a former landfill on Staten Island where several fragments that are potentially the remains of 9/11 victims have been found.
Human remains have not been identified for about 40 percent of the approximately 2,700 World Trade Center victims, according to the Sept. 11 Memorial.
The site where the part was discovered Wednesday is behind a Muslim prayer space that in 2010 was at the center of controversy amid its owners’ plans to erect a larger mosque and community center.