NYPD: Part of 9/11 plane's landing gear discovered

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CBS / AP

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 12:47 AM

NEW YORK -- A piece of landing gear believed to be from one of the planes destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks has been discovered wedged between a mosque site and another building near the World Trade Center site.

The part includes a clearly visible Boeing identification number, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said Friday. Browne told CBS News the gear is about five feet long, three feet wide, and 1.5 feet deep; the crack between the buildings is 1.6 feet in depth.

Browne also told CBS News that the NYPD has not determined whether the Boeing ID number corresponds to American Flight 11 (which struck tower 1) or United Flight 175 (which struck tower 2).

The piece of equipment was discovered Wednesday by surveyors inspecting the lower Manhattan site of a planned Islamic community center, at 51 Park Place, on behalf of the building's owner, police said. The inspectors called 911, and police secured the scene, documenting it with photos.

The spot where the landing gear was found is about three blocks from ground zero. When plans for the mosque and community center were first announced several years ago, opponents protested that putting a Muslim facility near ground zero showed disrespect. Supporters cited freedom of religion and said it wasn't too close to where Islamic extremists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

The medical examiner's office will complete a health and safety evaluation to determine whether to sift the soil around the buildings for possible human remains, police said.

Two hijacked planes slammed into the nearby World Trade Center towers in 2001, killing thousands of people.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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