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Wednesday, 21 November, 2001, 22:54 GMT
NY attacks 'killed less than 4,000'
Emergency workers at Ground Zero
Clearing the Twin Towers site continues
By Mike Fox in New York

Officials in New York say the death toll from the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center has fallen below 4,000.

Initial reports suggested that as many as 6,000 people were killed when hijackers flew two passenger planes into the Twin Towers.

Tom Ridge and Rudolph Giuliani
Homeland security director Tom Ridge sees the site with city Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
But since then, the number has steadily fallen as officials eliminated duplications and errors in the records.

Unofficial lists put together by news organisations using information from companies in the World Trade Center suggest the final figure could fall below 3,000.

Latest official figures put the number of confirmed dead at 624 and the number of people missing presumed dead at 3,275.

Many people who were listed as missing after the disaster returned home safely but their names were not removed from lists.

Final figure elusive

Other people were listed twice, with at least one woman appearing under both her maiden name and her married name.

Despite the falling numbers, the original estimates are still being widely quoted by politicians and media analysts.

As the numbers fall, the tragic event looks likely to lose its position as the date on which the most Americans were killed in a single day on American soil - 4,800 died in the battle of Sharpsburg in the civil war.

It seems the confirmed death toll will still be higher than the 2,400 killed at Pearl Harbor in 1941 and it will still be the deadliest terror attack on US soil, dwarfing the Oklahoma bombing of 1995 in which 168 people died.

A final figure for the dead at the Twin Towers may never be known.

Relatives of many workers are reluctant to report them as missing since their immigration status may be uncertain.


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26 Oct 01 | Americas
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