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WTC forensic studies will take six months

FORESNIC ENGINEERING investigations into the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York last month are expected to take six months, the engineer in charge of the work said this week.

Construction Technologies Laboratories senior vice president Dr Gene Corley, who has been appointed to lead the WTC and Pentagon investigations said that detailed forensic site investigations in New York only began last week.

Speaking at the American Society of Civil Engineers' annual conference in Houston, Corley said his teams hoped to model the structural behaviour of buildings during the attacks using video footage, satellite photography of debris flow, and materials sampling.

'We are involved in data collection and analysis of the towers and buildings which collapsed. But we will also be looking at buildings which did not collapse to see how they stood up and what damage they did receive, ' said Corley.

He said initial investigations have discovered that two thirds of the columns along one side of WTC1 tower were lost in the first attack.

'This was a tremendous reduction in the capacity of the building, and speaks extremely highly of the ability of the structure to survive after a hit by an aircraft, much bigger than anything ever anticipated, ' he said.

He defended the performance of the buildings. 'They were designed for the impact of an aeroplane and survived that. As badly damaged as they were, you would expect eventual collapse if the fires couldn't be put out.

But they stayed up long enough to allow around 25,000 people to get out alive, ' he said.

INFOPLUS Go to the WTC microsite at www. nceplus. co. uk

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