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New York Gives Up Hope of Finding Survivors - 2001-09-24

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has told relatives of people missing in the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center that their loved ones are probably dead. It is the first time he has conceded that he has lost hope for any survivors.

Mr. Giuliani said Monday the city is setting up a procedure to help families of the missing apply for death certificates. He said teams of lawyers will work free of charge to assist families to file paperwork with the courts to declare relatives deceased in cases where the remains of relatives have not been recovered.

More than 6,400 people are missing as a result of the deliberate crash of two hijacked airliners into the 110 story twin towers and the subsequent collapse of the buildings. So far, Mayor Giuliani said, fewer than 300 bodies have been recovered. "I believe that it is certainly time to say that the chances of finding anyone would now involve a miracle," the mayor said. "Miracles have happened. But it is unfair to offer any kind of broad hope to people."

On another note, Mr. Giuliani said his attention is totally focused on the recovery effort and he does not have time to think about staying on as mayor beyond his current term. New York City mayors are limited to two four year terms and Mr. Giuliani is at the end of his second term. But there has been much talk in recent weeks about passing legislation to permit him to run or remain in office until the recovery is completed.

The mayor says voters should go to the polls in rescheduled primary elections Tuesday and choose among the candidates who are running for political party nominations. He did not, however, rule out the possibility that he may consider running in the general election in November.