Victim of 9/11 identified after 16 years using new DNA technology

A big number of victims haven't had their remains found by investigators

Monday 07 August 2017 22:54
Roughly 40 per cent of 9/11 victims' remains haven't been found
Roughly 40 per cent of 9/11 victims' remains haven't been found

New DNA technology has made it possible for another victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to be identified nearly 16 years on.

The victim, a male whose name is being withheld at the request of his family, is the 1,641st person to be identified in the attacks that killed 2,753 people in total. The last victim was identified in March 2015.

The remains were discovered by the New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which has been retesting DNA recovered during cleanup efforts in 2001 this year. The medical examiner was previously limited by technology in its ability to test the samples.

There are 1,112 people who haven’t been identified after they died the World Trade Center was hit by a plane and collapsed. Families of those individuals have had no choice but to wait and hope that a discovery might be made so that they can bury their loved ones, and attempt to find some closure more than a decade and a half after the devastating attacks.

During that time, DNA technology has advanced alongside the multi-million dollar effort to try and connect 21,900 found pieces of remains to the lives they represent.

The efforts haven’t been simple. There were very few full bodies recovered following the fiery crash of the towers, and the impact of various environmental factors made the bits of remains difficult to analyze. Those include high heat from the jet fuel, bacteria, and the chemicals involved in the explosion and collapse.

The researchers have recently started to use a method that pulverizes some of the remains before testing the sample against DNA samples provided by family of the lost victims. Most of the new testing has pointed toward already-identified victims of the terror attacks.

Some of the samples have been tested 10 or more times as new technologies have become available for testing.

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