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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 07:52 GMT 08:52 UK
Row erupts over Twin Towers search
Recovery workers sift rubble found near WTC site
Searchers hope to find more human remains

A dispute is escalating between the owners of a New York skyscraper and the families of victims of the World Trade Center disaster. The building, next to Ground Zero, may contain the remains of people who died there, but the owners will not allow recovery workers inside.

The owners of the Bankers Trust building, Deutsche Bank, say they hope that environmental tests may be completed as early as Thursday, which could then eventually allow access to recovery workers.

The bank is not letting them in yet because it says it is concerned that the search could stir up harmful air pollutants.

90 West Street, to the south of the WTC site
Remains were found recently at another nearby building
It has been two weeks since the sombre ceremony which marked the official end of the clean-up operation at Ground Zero.

Since then, recovery workers have moved on to search surrounding damaged buildings and have found the remains of about a dozen victims.

The 40-storey Bankers Trust office block is one of the largest and closest buildings to the World Trade Center site.

A 24-floor gash was ripped into its facade when the Twin Towers collapsed. It has since been covered with a black shroud of mesh and a huge American flag.

Deutsche Bank says it is worried about asbestos, mould and other dangerous pollutants which could be dispersed into the air, and is concerned for the health of pedestrians who now travel along a temporary walkway at the front of the building on New York's Liberty Street.

But the families of some of the 3,000 people killed on 11 September are calling the bank's action shameful and claim it is thinking of its insurance claim before it is thinking of them.

Only a third of the families have any remains of their loved ones to bury - nearly 2,000 have nothing at all - and they are anxious for every bit of every building around Ground Zero to be searched as soon as possible.

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31 May 02 | Americas
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