All 64 people aboard the hijacked American Airlines flight 77 perished, in addition to 126 people who were in the Pentagon building at the time of the Tuesday morning attack. Seventy-four of those in the Pentagon were members of the Army.
FBI director Robert Mueller said that the Justice Department’s preliminary findings suggested four hijackers commandeered the flight that left Dulles airport bound for Los Angeles.
As of this morning, 70 bodies had been removed from the southwestern section of the Pentagon, the side that the commercial jetliner crashed into. Human remains pulled from the Pentagon wreckage are being taken to Dover Air Force base in Delaware to be identified, a fire official said.
Pentagon officials said that although search efforts are continuing, they do not expect the death toll estimate to change significantly.
Of the 74 Army members killed, 21 were soldiers, 47 were Army civilians and six were Army contractors.
The Navy has reported losing 42 people, 33 of them sailors and nine of them Navy civilians.
Defense agencies, not specified by name, reportedly lost 10 people. Seven worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said a defense official speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Marine Corps and Air Force have not reported any losses.
The operation has now officially switched from a rescue operation to a recovery mission, said Arlington Fire Chief Edward P. Paugher.
Search and rescue workers spent the night tearing down the unstable areas around the impact site so that this afternoon they could search for more remains. Retrieval of the airplane’s black box, which contains the flight data and voice recorders, is also a high priority.
Searchers know “the general area within the building where they can find the black box,” said Arlington County fire marshal Shawn Kelley, but they could not get there because of unstable wreckage.
Washington-area hospitals have so far treated 94 people from the Pentagon, at least 10 of them remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon.
Among the wounded are Army Spc. Michael Petrovich, 32, Army Lt. Col. Marion Ward, 44, and Retired Navy Comdr. Paul Gonzales, 46.
President Bush and the First Lady paid a visit to some of the wounded at Washington Hospital Center late this morning.