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More land donated for Flight 93 memorial

Thursday, December 11, 2003

By The Associated Press

JOHNSTOWN -- A coal company will donate 29 acres, including part of the site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, and will become the third group to give away land that could be used for a national memorial.

PBS Coals Inc., based in Friedens, Somerset County, announced Tuesday that it was giving the land to The Conservation Fund, an Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit group working with Somerset County landowners and officials to preserve land for a memorial for the 40 passengers and crew who died on the flight.

"It's vital that this area is protected for all time," said Robert Scott, head of PBS Coals.

With the coal company's donation, officials have garnered 175 of the 1,500 acres that a federal panel has said it would like for a permanent memorial around the crash site.

Last week, Pittsburgh-based Consol Energy announced that it had donated 140 acres of company-owned land. Last year, Tim Lambert, a Harrisburg-area resident, donated six acres to the nonprofit Families of Flight 93 Inc.

United Airlines Flight 93, the only one of four hijacked planes that did not take a life on the ground, was en route from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it made a sudden turn near Cleveland. Families of passengers aboard the flight say they believe their loved ones fought their way into the cockpit and grappled for control of the plane before it went down; the FBI has suggested that the terrorists may have deliberately crashed the plane once the revolt occurred.

Soon after the plane crash, people left thousands of homemade items and personal objects such as figurines, photos and flags near the site, creating a temporary memorial that still receives busloads of visitors every week.

The National Park Service will lead a federal commission in designing a memorial to be placed at the crash site. President Bush has ordered that the design be completed and delivered to the Interior Department and Congress by 2005.

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