A surveyor working at the 9-11 site stumbled upon something that resembled a plane part with the word “Boeing” on it, which just happens to be part of the landing gear when the jet flew into the World Trade Center.
Frank VanBrunt couldn’t believe what he found, so he asked his crew chief to take a picture of the mysterious part.
The 59-year-old would soon understand the magnitude of what he’d found in the 18-inch-wide space.
“I realized later — this is a piece of a murder weapon lying there,” VanBrunt told the Daily News from his home in Hicksville, L.I.
VanBrunt was taking measurements of the three properties stretching from 43 to 51 Park Place for the developer of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, Sharif El-Gamal.
VanBrunt climbed over the mess of dirt, papers, scrap wood, bottles and dead rats into an alley off the northwest corner of the space.
There, 82 feet into the alley, sat the machinery. Officials said it was 9 feet from the western boundary of 51 Park Place — the site of the proposed mosque and Islamic community center.
“Right away it seemed obvious it was a piece of a plane. I was like, ‘Whoa! Look at this!’ Still not realizing the importance of it,” said VanBrunt, whose brother used to fly planes.
VanBrunt, a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, climbed over the equipment to continue measuring. Around 11 a.m. he and his partner alerted the NYPD.
By Saturday, officials at Boeing confirmed the piece came from a 767 — the same type of planes that struck the twin towers. The National Transportation Safety Board was trying to figure out whether the piece of landing gear is from United Airlines Flight 175, which hit the south tower, or American Airlines Flight 11, which struck the north tower.
VanBrunt said he would like for the 9-11 piece of landing gear to end up at the Sept. 11 Memorial Museum with other plane parts.