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Federal Investigators Classify WTC Victims’ Locations Within Collapsed Buildings
For Immediate Release: July 20, 2004
As part of its building and fire safety investigation of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster, the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today released an interim analysis of the location of the 2,749 victims that classifies the decedents as being at/above or below the floors of impact and specifies the number of victims found in each of the WTC towers. The analysis categorizes all names provided by the City of New York as decedents. It also identifies types of first responders who perished in the disaster. The analysis does not specify the names or exact locations of decedents.
Knowing the location of victims assists NIST in better understanding occupant behavior, evacuation and emergency response operations after terrorists flew two aircraft into the WTC towers, including the effects of aircraft impact, ensuing fires and overall building collapse. It also helps NIST to recommend possible changes in building design, construction, maintenance and operation that would improve the safety of occupants and first responders.
To identify locations, NIST relied on more than 300 face-to-face interviews and 800 telephone surveys, various Web sites maintained by survivors or victims’ families and colleagues, several media outlets’ reports, and a badge list maintained by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The table below shows the initial results of that analysis. The information may change as new information becomes available during the NIST investigation.
The total number of people below the floors of impact was 110 (WTC 1) + 6 (WTC 2) + 30 (WTC 1 or 2) + (maybe 26; unknown in building) + (maybe 17; no information) + 421 first responders = 567 to 610.
The total number above the floors of impact was 1,356 (WTC 1) + 618 (WTC 2) + (maybe 26; unknown in building) + (maybe 17; no information) = 1,974 to 2,017.
The total number of plane passengers and crew was 147 (plus 10 hijackers). Additionally, there were 18 people (non-WTC occupants) killed outside the building by debris and jet fuel.
The NIST analysis categorized all names provided by the City of New York as being a recognized WTC decedent. The following sources then were used to categorize decedent locations:
A number of assumptions were made while developing this analysis. These assumptions are: