The partial remains of an unknown number of 9/11 victims were sent to a landfill site, the Pentagon has revealed. The victims involved were inside airplanes that struck the Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania in 2001.
The partial, incinerated remains of unidentifiable September 11 victims were sent to a landfill site, the US Defense Department revealed on Tuesday night.
The number victims involved remained unclear, a Pentagon report said, but they were among the 184 killed when a terrorist-hijacked airplane struck the Pentagon, and the 40 that died when another plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
The report was released by an independent committee who were tasked with investigating practices at the Dover Air Force Base military mortuary after the 2001 attacks.
An investigation last November revealed the Dover facility had been guilty of "gross mismanagement" after losing body parts on two occasions. The mortuary was later blamed with incinerating and disposing of the remains of some 274 troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in a landfill in Virginia. The Dover air base is the main point of entry to the US for fallen US soldiers.
The remains of the 9/11 victims had been taken to the same mortuary. "These cremated portions were then placed in sealed containers that were provided to a biomedical waste disposal contractor," the report said.
The report contradicted an earlier account from the air force, which claimed that before 2003 there were no records that showed how remains were handled.
A policy change in 2008 halted the practice of sending military ashes to landfill, with cremated remains of service personnel now given an official burial at sea.
ccp/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)