New York Daily News

September 15, 2001

First Cop's Body Is Recovered

Only 1 of 23 officers to be located so far

By MICHELE McPHEE and BILL HUTCHINSON
Daily News Staff Writers

Rescue workers pulled the first body of a New York City cop out of the Ground Zero rubble last night, prompting salutes and tears from colleagues who had waited 33 days to find one of their own, sources said.

The remains of the unidentified Emergency Service Unit officer were found at about 7:30 p.m. under a pile of debris that was once Tower 2 of the World Trade Center.

"It was very emotional," said an NYPD detective, who was on the scene when the body was found. "Everyone was digging. We were all hoping to find one of our own. But it's just the first one. A lot of people were very upset."

Rescue workers comb WTC wreckage for bodies yesterday.
Rescue workers comb WTC wreckage for bodies yesterday.

Workers began feverishly digging in the area after coming across a pair of department-issue service weapons, sources said. Using shovels and their hands, it took rescuers about three hours to reach the body.

They kept searching the area last night, hoping to find more of the 22 other missing NYPD officers.

The remains of the ESU cop were wrapped in an American flag as firefighters, police and other workers stood silently and saluted.

The body was placed atop an ESU truck, and a motorcade of cops — including Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch — escorted it to the city morgue at E. 30th St. and First Ave.

As the motorcade headed up First Ave., traffic cops got out of their patrol cars, stood at attention and saluted. Several wiped tears from their cheeks.

The first officers on the scene of the Sept. 11 disaster were the ones who were buried when the twin towers crumbled. Fourteen of the officers were elite ESU cops from Manhattan and the Bronx.

Officials were withholding the name of the officer found last night until his family was notified.

Just eleven days ago, 2,000 police officers turned out in Farmingdale, L.I., for the first memorial service for a city cop lost at the World Trade Center. Several other memorial services for NYPD officers have been held since then, as grieving families have slowly accepted the inevitable.

But now the Finest will prepare for the first funeral of one of their own killed in the attacks.

No survivors have been found since Sept. 12, and the awful arithmetic yesterday stood at 450 dead and 4,688 missing.

Sources at the site said the bodies of several other people — including that of a firefighter — were found in the rubble yesterday.