NEW YORK: Jim Riches pulled his firefighter son’s mangled body out of the rubble at the World Trade Center, but the phone calls still filtered in years afterward. The city kept finding more pieces of his son.
“They’ll call you and they’ll tell you, ‘We found a shin bone,’ ’’ said Riches, a retired deputy fire chief. “Or: ‘We found an arm bone.’ We held them all together and then we put them in the cemetery.”
Those are the phone calls both dreaded and hoped for among the families of 9/11 victims. And as investigators began sifting through newly uncovered debris from the World Trade Center this week for the first time in three years, those anxieties were renewed more than a decade after the attacks.
But there was also hope that more victims might yet be identified after tens of millions have been spent on the painstaking identification process. Two potential human remains were recovered on Monday, according to the medical examiner.
“We would like to see the other 40 percent of the families who have never recovered anything to at least someday have a piece of their loved one,” Riches said.
About 60 truckloads of debris that could contain tiny fragments of bone or tissue were unearthed by construction crews that have been working on the new World Trade Center in recent years.