NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police have removed an aircraft part from between two buildings near the World Trade Center site that is believed to be from one of the 9/11 hijacked planes.
About six officers used a pulley system to raise the 255-pound piece of metal from a narrow alley and loaded it onto a flatbed truck Wednesday morning.
PHOTOS: Crews Remove 9/11 Plane Debris
Onlookers across the street took pictures as they heaved it onto a truck taking it to a Brooklyn police facility. The process took about two hours.
“It’s a piece of history, and we tried to preserve it as best we could,” said NYPD Deputy Chief William Aubry, who leads the forensic investigation division. Aubry said they didn’t do any damage to the piece when they moved it.
The part was discovered last Wednesday jammed in an 18-inch-wide, trash-laden passageway between an apartment building and a mosque. An inspector on the roof of the mosque site, which is under construction, noticed the debris and then called 911.
The twisted metal part has cables and levers on it and is about 5 feet high, 17 inches wide and 4 feet long.
It was later identified as a trailing edge flap support structure from a Boeing 767, police said. It is located closer to the body of the plane and helps secure wing flaps that move in and out and aid in regulating plane speed.
The wreckage had a clearly visible Boeing identification number and investigators initially thought it was part of the landing gear because both pieces have similar hydraulics.
Authorities believe the rusted wing part is from one of the two hijacked airliners that brought down the trade center on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s a pretty eerie feeling known that we’re here 11 years later removing that part,” Aubry said.
Both hijacked planes that struck the towers, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were Boeing 767s. Boeing officials told police it isn’t possible to determine which one the part came from.
Workers from the medical examiner’s office spent Tuesday sifting through the soil in the alleyway for possible human remains. The medical examiner said Wednesday no potential human remains have been found there.
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