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Flight 93

Some snips of witnesses. Flight 93

Mainly the coroner

Arlene O'Toole, (coroners wife) was acting as an unpaid secretary.

usually an environmental health and safety consultant with PPG Industries Inc.
The coroner and his father are funeral home directors.
i wonder if they had dealings with Bushco family incerators? Robert Waltrip

Coroner to release Flight 93 site nearly four years after crash

 Published: Jul 29, 2005 9:06 AM EST

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - The Somerset County coroner will turn over control of the United Flight 93 crash site to its owners Monday.
Coroner Wallace Miller has held the site as a coroner's death scene since Sept. 11, 2001,
when the hijacked plane crashed into an abandoned strip mine in Somerset County, killing 40 passengers and crew.
Miller and a group of more than two dozen volunteers this week made a final sweep of the property, looking for debris. The group found airplane debris near a section of downed evergreens and a small amount of human remains, Miller said.
The remains can't be identified because of weather degradation and the size of the sample, he said.
"The volume (of materials found) has dropped off considerably, to the point that I now feel it's appropriate to close my involvement in the case," Miller said.
Seven groups own land on or near the crash site, which is just outside Shanksville and about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The National Park Service is set to take control of the tracts for a permanent memorial.
In the simplest of terms, it said that Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller was going to release custody of the crash site where her mother,
Hilda Marcin, of Budd Lake, N.J., and 39 other passengers on United Flight 93 died on Sept. 11, 2001.
The 70-acre expanse will be returned to the six original land owners and eventually purchased by the National Park Service.
During the last four years, Miller became something of a celebrity in Somerset County.

Newsmaker: Coroner's quiet unflappability helps him take charge of Somerset tragedy
Monday, October 15, 2001
Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller and his wife,
Arlene O'Toole, filling in as an unpaid deputy, work in an office crowded with files
and paperwork related to the September 11 crash of United Flight 93. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
In the hour before the Sept. 11 Somerset crash, the coroner's staff in

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neighboring Cambria County had phoned, alerting Miller to the terrorism in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Now, a month of 18-hour days later, the crash site has been about as cleared of fragmentary remains
as Miller figures humankind can get it. The high science of DNA is pairing remains with the dead.
 Death certificates have been mailed out for all but the four hijackers.
Miller continues to escort victims' relatives who trickle into Somerset County to gaze on the crash scene.
"He's tired, very tired," said O'Toole, usually an environmental health and safety consultant with PPG Industries Inc.
in Allison Park, but filling in as an unpaid deputy and spirit booster to the coroner.
His father, funeral director Wilbur Miller, an occasionally gruff, usually affable soul,
was elected coroner for six terms, 24 years. Wallace Miller was his deputy for the last 17.
In 1994, he bought the Somerset funeral home from his father
and added another nine miles away in Rockwood. In 1997, he was elected successor when his father, now 74, retired as coroner.
 He makes $35,854 a year as coroner,
 After the crash he swore in a cadre of deputies --
helpers such as hospital workers and fellow funeral directors -- but Miller chose largely to go it alone.
 "It was as if the plane had stopped and let the passengers off before it crashed," Miller said.
Photo left: Sister Mary Ann Dillon, President of Mount Aloysius College, poses for a photo with Wallace Miller as she presents him with an honorary degree in Social Justice from the College. Wallace Miller is the Somerset County Coronor who humbly served our country at the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.
Hundreds of searchers who climbed the hemlocks and combed the woods for weeks
were able to find about 1,500 mostly scorched samples of human tissue totaling less than 600 pounds, or about 8 percent of the total.
Miller was among the very first to arrive after 10:06 on the magnificently sunny morning of September 11.
 He was stunned at how small the smoking crater looked, he says,
"like someone took a scrap truck, dug a 10-foot ditch and dumped all this trash into it." Once he was able to absorb the scene, Miller says,
"I stopped being coroner after about 20 minutes, because there were no bodies there
Immediately after the crash, the seeming absence of human remains led the mind of coroner Wally Miller to a surreal fantasy:
that Flight 93 had somehow stopped in mid-flight and discharged all of its passengers before crashing.
"There was just nothing visible," he says. "It was the strangest feeling."It would be nearly an hour before Miller came upon his first trace of a body part.
Another 14 victims of Flight 93 identified
Saturday, October 27, 2001
At the same time, the high winds that buffeted the area over the last few days have dislodged additional airplane parts -- seat cushions,
wiring, carpet fragments and pieces of metal -- from trees near the crash site.
"It's all aircraft parts, no human remains," Miller said. "We've collected them in
 10 recycling bin-sized containers and eventually we'll turn them all over to United."
Yesterday's confirmation of victims' identities by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology DNA lab
in Rockville, Md., means that 34 of the 44 people who were
the jetliner crashed Sept. 11. have been identified.
Flight 93 bound for San Francisco from Newark, N.J., had two pilots,
 five flight attendants and 37 passengers aboard when it crashed in Stonycreek.
Miller said the lab is continuing to test DNA material to verify the deaths of the last six crash victims.
He said DNA tests won't be able to identify the four hijackers on board.
"To make a DNA identification we need something from the victims or their family members
-- personal effects, or blood samples -- to match," Miller said. "We don't have that kind of information about the terrorists."
Identification of the victims through DNA testing allows the coroner to issue death certificates
 and return the fragmented remains to the families.
Miller said he will identify as many of the remains as he can.
 Remains that can't be identified will be interred at a grave in Somerset County.
"We already have issued presumptive death certificates so families could begin to take care
 of the affairs of those persons we haven't identified," Miller said.
 "Now we can say for sure on 34 of the victims
 and that gives the families, some of whom have held memorial services, more of a sense of closure."

When they arrived at the National Press Club, the event started with a blessing from the Rev. Larry Hoover, a Lutheran pastor in Somerset County who also runs a family lumberyard. The choice of Hoover had great local significance. He and his wife, Linda, own eight wooded acres with a secluded cabin that was their weekend retreat and their planned retirement home, along with a sturdy old stone cottage occupied by their 34-year-old son, Barry. But the shock wave from Flight 93, a few hundred yards away, spewed debris through the woods with such force that it blew out all the windows and doors and shook the foundation on Barry's place. It turned the whole Hoover property into a cemetery where human remains were still being found months later.
Larry Hoover is a calm, introspective man who loved his cabin as a place of solace, his friends say. He has been a leading voice in stressing that properly honoring the dead and comforting their survivors takes priority over any local concerns. "His dignity and quiet reserve" and generosity have helped set the tone for Somerset, says Tokar-Ickes, because "if we have any local victims, it's the Hoovers."
Reverend Al, as friends still call him, bought the 100-year-old former Mizpah Evangelical Lutheran Church in January with an $18,000 bank loan. He is stripping off vinyl siding to restore the original church building, and gutting the warehouse interior at an estimated cost up to $40,000 to convert it into a "nondenominational" chapel that will also sell gift items.
His honesty is vouched for by Rick King, a local businessman who is assistant chief of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department and who drove the first fire truck to arrive on the crash scene.

Barry Hoover, 34, stands at a locked gate in the driveway of his home; the flight crashed about 100 yards from his house. The house is now considered structurally unsound, and debris went flying on the property and through the roof and windows blew out. He wasn't home at the time of the crash.

"My home life is not my home life," he says. "I had a routine, like everybody else, and now I don?t. I haven't been able to take anything out, not even a CD."


Now, Hoover is seeing things nobody else saw ???

The impact of the crash left a crater estimated by authorities to be about 10 feet deep and 20 feet wide. It appeared the plane first hit on the downward slope of a hillside and then slid at least 200 yards, scorching a dense area of trees and corn fields. Officials would allow reporters no closer than 300 yards to the scene. From that vantage point, that crater appeared to be barren. Little debris could be seen and there were no signs of victims.

"We haven't seen anything bigger than a phone book, certainly nothing that would resemble a part of a plane," said Capt. Frank Monaco of the Pennsylvania State Police.

But one Lambertsville resident, Barry Hoover, who lives a half-mile from the site said he saw debris scattered at least a mile wide.

"There was stuff everywhere back there. It made you want to drop to your knees and cry for those people," Hoover said.

The crash of the plane, which was also flying as Air Canada Flight 4085, killed all 45 people aboard, United Airlines said.

Ridge, who toured the crash site overhead from a military helicopter, appeared weary and shaken.

"I think I speak for Pennsylvanians and all of America when I say the range of emotions go from rage and anger, to sorrow to horror to nausea," Ridge said. "We all want answers, we want to know why this plane ended up in a cornfield in Somerset County, but it's all just speculation at this time."

now , if Ridge had to be quieted, how better to shut him up, then to give him a spot in the administration ?

Flight 93 crash shook his house like a tornado

Friday, September 14, 2001

By Cindi Lash, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

STONYCREEK, Pa. -- His windows all are shattered and blown out of their frames, his garage door has disappeared and his ceilings have crumbled and fallen onto floor tiles that have been blasted loose from their moorings.

He's not sure when he'll be able to return to what's left of the once-cozy stone cottage nestled in a thick stand of trees with a view of the sun-dappled cornfields below and the rolling hills beyond. But Barry Hoover said his sorrow at seeing his home nearly destroyed is dwarfed by his grief and sympathy for the 45 people who died Tuesday when United Airlines Flight 93 slammed into the hilltop that he calls home.

 It looked like what you see after a tornado or hurricane goes through -- a total ruin," he said.

Hoover spent a few minutes unsuccessfully searching for his cat, Woody, but then walked back outside because he was afraid the house might collapse on him. Police then told him he'd have to leave because the house was considered to be part of the crash crime scene.

He hasn't been permitted to return or retrieve belongings since then, so he's been staying in a Somerset hotel and making do with newly purchased or borrowed clothes and toiletries.

That first weekend, county officials were expecting the arrival of Flight 93 families, so a second memorial service was called on their behalf at the Shanksville-Stonycreek regional school on Sunday. A big crowd turned out, by local standards, but the families did not show up because United Airlines had arranged to put them all up at a ski resort 30 miles away
They planted flags and banners in hay bales. So many visitors kept coming and leaving things that local officials realized they needed to manage the site once the FBI left. So, Mike Svonavec, whose family owns the old strip-mining site, donated a patch of land, and the feds and the township of Stonycreek paved and graveled the area as a temporary memorial, a quarter-mile up the slope from where UAL 93 hit.
Some families would not or could not talk to him (miller/coroner) . Some declined his invitation to meet with him in Shanksville. But week after week, others kept coming and Miller kept climbing the little hill at the crash site and trying to explain. So many questions, so few answers. No, they hadn't made any positive identifications yet. No, they didn't know how long it would take. No, it couldn't go faster because the FBI investigation had to take priority. No, they didn't know if and when any personal possessions might be recovered. No, the FBI would not let them release anything to the families yet. And no, they could not tell for sure what happened onboard UAL 93.
Miller has kept in touch with many of the families. Five months after the crash, once the long, painstaking identification process was completed, he realized he had one larger duty remaining. Finally, some fragment of each of the dead had been positively identified, either by DNA or, in a few cases, fingerprints. So now the remains were going to be returned, he says, "and some people were going to look inside the caskets and I wanted them to know it would be shocking. I had to explain . .

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