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10:45 a.m. September 11, 2001: Coroner Surprised by Lack of Human Remains at Flight 93 Crash Site

Wallace Miller.Wallace Miller. [Source: Steve Mellon / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]Wallace Miller, the coroner of Somerset County, who is one of the first people to arrive at the Flight 93 crash scene, is surprised by the absence of human remains at the site. He will later say: “If you didn’t know, you would have thought no one was on the plane. You would have thought they dropped them off somewhere.” (Longman 2002, pp. 217) The only recognizable body part Miller sees is a piece of spinal cord with five vertebrae attached. He will tell Australian newspaper The Age: “I’ve seen a lot of highway fatalities where there’s fragmentation. The interesting thing about this particular case is that I haven’t, to this day, 11 months later, seen any single drop of blood. Not a drop.” (Wright 9/9/2002) Dave Fox, a former firefighter, also arrives early at the crash scene, but sees just three chunks of human tissue. He will comment, “You knew there were people there, but you couldn’t see them.” (Frederick 9/11/2002) Yet, in the following weeks, hundreds of searchers will find about 1,500 scorched human tissue samples, weighing less than 600 pounds—approximately eight percent of the total body mass on Flight 93. Months after 9/11, more remains will be found in a secluded cabin, several hundred yards from the crash site. (Perl 5/12/2002)


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