A RUSTED 5ft long piece of landing gear believed to be from one of the hijacked planes destroyed in the 11 September 2001 attacks has been discovered near the World Trade Centre wedged between a luxury apartment building and a mosque site that once prompted virulent debate about Islam and free speech.
The metal part, jammed in an 18-inch sliver of space between the buildings, has cables and levers attached, New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
“It’s a manifestation of a horrific terrorist act a block and a half away from where we stand,” he said. “So, sure, it brings back terrible memories to anyone who was here or involved in that event.”
The metal was discovered by surveyors inspecting the lower Manhattan site of a planned Islamic community centre on behalf of the building’s owner, police said.
An inspector who was on the roof at 51 Park Place noticed the debris and called police, who secured the scene, documenting it with photos. It includes a clearly visible Boeing Co. identification number, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said.
Browne said it was not surprising the part went undiscovered for more than a decade given the location. “It had to have fallen just the right way to make it into that space.”
Other such wreckage has been discovered around the area over the years.
Police detectives and National Transportation Safety Board investigators will determine whether the equipment is from either of the two planes that slammed into the twin towers, destroying the buildings and killing nearly 3,000 people.
In a statement, Sharif El-Gamal, the president of Soho Properties, which owns 51 Park Place, said workers called the city and the police as soon as they discovered the landing gear. He said the company is cooperating with the city and the police to make sure the piece of equipment “is removed with care as quickly and effectively as possible”.