NEW YORK (Reuters) - A dozen New York police officers worked for two hours on Wednesday to hoist a 255-pound piece of wreckage suspected to be from an airplane involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks and move it to Brooklyn from where it was found in Manhattan.
The five-foot long metal piece, identified as part of the wing of a Boeing 767 jet, was discovered last week wedged between an apartment complex and a building at 51 Park Place in lower Manhattan, the site of a proposed mosque and Islamic Community Center, three blocks from Ground Zero.
"It's a piece of history, and we tried to preserve it as best we could," New York Police Deputy Chief William Aubry, who was overseeing the removal work, said. "Tried not to cut it, we were able to do that."
The plane piece was lifted over a wall into a courtyard area, then moved into a basement and onto a dolly, the police department's chief spokesman, Paul Browne, said.
The debris was then loaded onto a pickup truck to be taken to the NYPD property clerk's office in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
No definite decision has been made about what to do with the wreckage, but Aubry said it could be turned over to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
The removal of the wreckage came after the New York City medical examiner said no human remains had been found near the plane wreckage. Nearly 12 years after two commercial airliners smashed into the World Trade Center's twin towers, destroying them and killing nearly 3,000 people, city officials continue to turn up debris from the attack and to identify human remains.
Aubry described the work as emotional. "Pretty weird feeling 11 years later and here we are at a mosque. So it's tough," he said.
Police said they have not yet determined whether the part came from American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the North Tower first, or United Flight 175, which then hit the South Tower. Both were 767s made by Boeing Co.
(Reporting by Lisa Barron; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Leslie Adler)