6 More Found in Rubble - Civilians & rescuers

By GREG GITTRICH and MARTIN MBUGUA
Daily News Staff Writers

Ground Zero yielded the bodies of two Port Authority cops, one firefighter and three civilians yesterday as recovery workers kept digging in the last pile of rubble that was once 2 World Trade Center, officials said.

The remains were found hours after heavy machinery operators and ironworkers began their shift with a decision to form an honor guard for all civilian remains recovered, similar to those formed by cops and firefighters for their fallen comrades.

Civilian remains had been carried out by firefighters.

A chaplain prayed over all the flag-draped bodies before the workers carried the civilian remains out of the pit first. More than 200 cops, firefighters and other workers stood at attention and saluted along both sides of a 515-foot steel ramp, said Port Authority Lt. John Ryan, commander of the recovery task force.

Yesterday's recovery brings to 54 the number of people found in the same pile of rubble this month.

"We knew that because Tower 2 fell without any warning or expectation, that there was a lot of people there," he said.

A Slow Process

None of the bodies was immediately identified, officials said.

The south tower collapsed at 9:50 a.m. Sept. 11. The unthinkable avalanche buried the heroic officers and firefighters alongside those they were trying to save.

The recovery process on the last heap of twisted steel, pulverized concrete and glass and other debris is a painstaking process that is expected to last several more weeks.

"The morale is definitely elevated," Ryan said. "People get frustrated if there aren't any recoveries. The recoveries we have made in the last week have uplifted the spirits because we are helping bring some peace to the families."

The process is further slowed because workers also must shore up the concrete walls that formed part of the foundation, also known as the bathtub, as the six-story pile of rubble diminishes.

"Because we treat each set of remains that we locate with as much dignity as possible