Flight 93 Remains Returned

(L-R) Carl Reiner and Steve Martin poses in the press room during the 59th annual Directors Guild Of America Awards held at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on February 3, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. GETTY

The remains and belongings of 40 people who died when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a western Pennsylvania field Sept. 11 will be returned to their survivors, the county coroner said.

The remains of all but the plane's four hijackers will be placed into caskets. The first sets of remains were shipped Monday and the rest will be delivered when the victims' survivors are contacted, Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller said.

"Everybody's concerned about remains that they can have a memorial for," Miller said.

Officials identified remains through fingerprints, dental records and DNA. They had been stored at a temporary morgue in Somerset.

The hijackers' remains will stay in the county, Miller said, and may eventually be turned over to FBI investigators.

Relatives of most of the victims of the Sept. 11 crash met with Miller on Saturday at an Iselin, N.J., hotel to discuss what to do with the remains and personal effects.

Flight 93, bound from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco, was one of four planes hijacked on the day of terror that saw the World Trade Center and the Pentagon struck. Some passengers made phone calls indicating they were going to fight off the terrorists. All 44 people were killed when the plane - believed by officials to have been headed for a Washington, D.C., target - went down in a field about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

About 400 volunteers searched the crash site, but Miller said he isn't sure that all remains have been recovered. Officials may search the site again in the spring, he said.

The crash site, which is now guarded by county deputies, could become a national memorial, said Susan Hankinson, the county's coordinator of post-crash affairs.
  • chris oregan

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