Boeing confirmed that the five-foot piece of rusted plane that was found behind the proposed location of a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero is in fact a part of one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center more than a decade ago.
Officials said the 5-foot piece is a trailing edge flap support structure, 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.
Investigators initially thought it was part of the landing gear because both pieces have similar-looking hydraulics.
Boeing officials told police the part came from one of its 767 airliners, but it isn’t possible to determine which flight.
Both hijacked planes that struck the towers, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were Boeing 767s.
Workers discovered the part Wednesday between a luxury loft rental building and a mosque that in 2010 prompted virulent national debate about Islam and freedom of speech in part because it’s near the trade center site. The airplane part was discovered wedged between 51 Park Place, the site of the proposed 13-story Islamic cultural center Park51, and 50 Murray Street, a luxury apartment building in TriBeCa.
Other World Trade Center wreckage has been discovered at the buildings and around the area in years past.
An inspector on the roof of the mosque site, which is under construction, noticed the debris and then called 911.
Police documented the debris with photos and have secured the area as if it were a crime scene.
The twisted metal part – jammed in an 18-inch-wide, trash-laden passageway between the buildings – has cables and levers on it and is about 5 feet high, 17 inches wide and 4 feet long.
The piece was found with ropes that aren’t believed be part of the plane. Police are trying to determine whether someone had tried to lower the piece off the roof at some point in the past, and the ropes snapped or the piece became stuck.
There’s no indication that the part was planted in the space, said Paul Browne, chief spokesman for the New York Police Department.
Of the nearly 3,000 victims of the trade center attacks, remains of about 1,000 were never recovered, and sifting the site for possible human remains was to begin Tuesday morning, said the chief medical examiner’s spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove.
The area first will be tested as part of a standard health and safety evaluation for possible toxicity, she said.
Police said the part would be moved to a more secure location likely later this week, where a determination will be made about where it will go permanently. In the past, such pieces have been treated as historical artifacts.
NYPD deputy commissioner Paul Browne told CBS radio Friday afternoon, ‘No, it has not been known that its [sic] been there,’ Browne said, denying that the building owners were aware that their back alley contained a piece of evidence from the 2001 terrorist attack.
‘It was just only recently observed because it’s wedged between a very narrow space between the rears of two buildings that almost touch.’
Police commissioner Ray Kelly said that on Monday, the medical examiner will investigate to determine if there are any human remains at the site, and it will then be determined how to move the plane remnants.
The number – BOEING CSTG 65B84045 – is a casting number so it isn’t specific to one particular plane, Alan Lery of Turbo Resources International, Inc., an Arizona aircraft parts reseller, told the Post.
‘Sometimes the airlines track every single part number that comes with the plane, but not likely this, he said.