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Australia
Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer
Press Release on Australians Still Missing in New York
September 18, 2001

I have been advised that 17 of the 69 Australians unaccounted for after the US terrorist attacks have now been confirmed safe and sound.

As the situation in New York stabilises, a number of Australians previously reported missing have contacted their families back home and allayed concerns about their welfare.

Consular staff in Canberra and New York are still trying to resolve 32 cases in which families reported initial concerns.

At this stage, the number of Australians confirmed dead remains at three. To my deep regret, we hold grave fears for a further 20 Australians who were almost certainly in the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks, most in the top storeys of the two buildings, and who have not been heard from since.

Of these, eight are from New South Wales, two from Victoria, two from Queensland, one from South Australia, one from the Northern Territory and the remaining six are long-term US residents.

My Department has received some 35,000 telephone calls and has returned calls to 8000 people who have expressed fears for the safety of their loved ones. We are continuing to work around the clock to identify Australians still missing in this appalling catastrophe and to provide support to families still awaiting news.

Our Consul General in New York, Ken Allen, has opened his home to Australians traumatised by the crisis and we are making professional counselling available to them.

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©2001 Commonwealth of Australia.