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Friday, 26 October, 2001, 04:59 GMT 05:59 UK
Trade Center death toll 'lower'
World Trade Center wreckage
The final death toll might be lower than expected
The number of people killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York might be significantly lower than official figures suggest, according to US media reports.

City officials put the latest estimate of dead and missing at 4,167 people, while two newspapers say the total could be less than 3,000.

Firefighters amid Trade Center debris
Nearly 400 firefighters died trying to save people inside the World Trade Center
According to the New York Times and USA Today, the toll stands somewhere close to 2,950.

The American Red Cross, which is co-ordinating relief efforts for the victims' families, said it "figured that it would hear from most of the families" and so far has 2,563 people as missing, the Times said.

Authorities in New York calculate their figure from names on lists of companies based in the twin towers, people reported missing by relatives and friends and lists provided by foreign embassies.

Official count
4,167 missing
454 bodies recovered
157 passengers and crew on hijacked flights
343 firefighters

A city spokesperson said the official list was "much more comprehensive" than media sources.

The toll fluctuates on a daily basis as bodies are pulled from the debris and names are eliminated if they are found not to belong on the list.

According to latest city figures, 454 bodies have been recovered from the wreckage, of which 425 have been identified.

Officials say they will not make the names public until the recovery operation has been completed.

At one stage, city officials said 6,700 people might have died when the twin towers were struck by two hijacked planes on 11 September.

Figures reduced

The New York Times says official figures have been revised down by about 500 over the last three weeks. But even after adding up the number of victims among trade center staff, the emergency services and passengers and crew from the doomed planes, there is still a shortfall of 1,000 'missing'.

Cantor Fitzgerald Chief Executive Howard Lutnick
Cantor Fitzgerald suffered the biggest loss for a single company

There are obvious difficulties in determining an accurate total, being unable to account for an unknown number of bystanders and unregistered service people working in the area. The newspapers and city authorities say their figures are not definitive.

Among the several thousand victims certain to have died, bond trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald suffered the heaviest loss of any of the firms based in the trade center.

Out of 1,000 staff who worked on five floors, only 300 survived.

The fire service also suffered the biggest single loss in its history, when 343 firefighters died trying to save people trapped in the twin towers.

The two planes which crashed into the building were carrying 157 passengers and crew, all of whom perished.

See also:

19 Sep 01 | Americas
Emergency contact information
23 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Firefighters raise money for US victims
19 Sep 01 | Americas
Fighting fires, not rubble
13 Sep 01 | Business
Wall Street counts the cost
13 Sep 01 | Americas
How the World Trade Center fell
14 Sep 01 | Business
Cantor grieves for lost staff
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