New York City officials have identified the remains of two more victims who died during the 9/11 attacks, 22 years after the tragedy.
A man and a woman were both identified but their names are being withheld at the request of their families.
This is the latest positive identification in the decades long effort to return victims to their families, and the first in the last two years.
The last positive identifications were in September 2021 and before that, the last identification was made in 2019.
New York City´s medical examiner has now been able to link remains to 1,649 World Trade Center victims, using cutting-edge DNA sequencing techniques to test body fragments recovered in the rubble.
New York City officials have identified the remains of two more victims who died during the 9/11 attacks, 22 years after the tragedy
Authorities confirmed the identifications just days ahead of the 22nd anniversary of the 2001 hijacked-plane attack that killed 2,753 people in Lower Manhattan.
They are the 1,648th and 1,649th people to be identified by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) using advanced DNA testing.
Eric Adams, the Mayor of New York City, said he hopes the new identifications can bring ‘some measure of comfort’ to the victims families.
He said: ‘As we prepare to mark the anniversary of September 11, our thoughts turn to those we lost on that terrible morning and their families who continue to live every day with the pain of missing loved ones.
‘We hope these new identifications can bring some measure of comfort to the families of these victims, and the ongoing efforts by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner attest to the city’s unwavering commitment to reunite all the World Trade Center victims with their loved ones.’
The techniques used by the city’s DNA laboratory include recently adopted next-generation sequencing technology.
It’s more sensitive and rapid than conventional DNA techniques and it has also been used by the US military to identify the remains of missing American service members.
It’s also been used to test the remains of over 100 people who died during the wildfires in Maui last month.
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Officials said that the identification of the man was confirmed through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001.
The identification of the woman was confirmed through testing of remains recovered in 2001, 2006, and 2013.
In addition to the two new identifications this year, OCME has identified 60 human remains associated with previously identified individuals.
However, despite the advancements in DNA technology, 40 percent of those who died in the attack, some 1,104 victims, remain unidentified – they are currently being stored at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Graham, said: ‘More than 20 years after the disaster, these two new identifications continue to fulfill a solemn pledge that OCME made to return the remains of World Trade Center victims to their loved ones.
‘Faced with the largest and most complex forensic investigation in the history of our country, we stand undaunted in our mission to use the latest advances in science to serve this promise.’