Attacks Digest

Dozens of survivors remain in hospitals in New York area

NEW YORK - Dozens of the thousands of people injured in the World Trade Center attacks remained hospitalized yesterday with serious or critical injuries.

Among them was a 30-year-old woman severely cut and burned when she came out of a subway station and was struck by a falling piece of airplane.

"She's feisty as can be. We have every confidence" she will survive, said Pam McDonnell, a spokeswoman for New York Downtown Hospital.

Most of those who flooded area hospitals that day were not seriously injured and were released within hours after being treated for abrasions, eye problems and shock. Hospitals braced for hundreds or thousands more victims, but no survivors have been pulled from the wreckage since Sept. 12.

INS promises not to try victims' immigrant families

WASHINGTON - Some victims of the World Trade Center attack may have been illegal immigrants and authorities say their friends and relatives have been reluctant to come forward and identify them, fearing possible deportation.

James Ziglar, Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner, issued a statement yesterday promising that the INS will not arrest or detain immigrants who come forward.

"It is crucial that local authorities get the help they need in identifying victims and the missing," he said. "I want to personally urge the immigrant community to come forward and assure everyone that INS will not seek, and local authorities will not divulge, any information provided in the rescue and recovery efforts."

Guide dog led blind man to safety from 78th floor

WESTFIELD, N.J. - Mike Hingson, who is blind, made his way to safety from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks thanks to Roselle, his 3 1/2 -year-old yellow Labrador guide dog.

"Roselle did a good job," said Hingson, 51. "She stayed focused. We stayed to the side. ... Some people had a lot of problems breathing."

The first airliner in the attacks struck the north tower where Hingson worked as a sales manager at Quantum ATL, a network data-storage company. It took a half-hour to walk down to the ground floor. Once outside, he was told both towers were on fire, and soon both collapsed.

"She never hesitated," Hingson said as the dog lay by his feet. "She never panicked."

Congressman proposes commemorative coin

WASHINGTON - A commemorative coin would be created and sold by the government with the proceeds going to help the families of victims of last week's terrorists attacks, under a plan being put together by Democratic Rep. Eliot L. Engel of New York.

The "Spirit of America" coin would feature a picture of the Pentagon and a United States flag on the front and the twin towers of the World Trade Center on the back, said the lawmaker's legislative director, Peter Leon.

Engel plans to soon offer legislation authorizing the U.S. Mint to make the coins, which would require congressional approval.

Girl's question at funeral prompts no answers

NEW YORK - Behind the police barriers blocking off the funeral of firefighter Lawrence Virgilio in Queens, a small girl stood yesterday afternoon with a very urgent question.

"Excuse me," Jane Kim, 7, yelled at the mourning firefighters milling around outside St. Sebastian Church, her words almost drowned by the din of the No. 7 train.

"Excuse me," she repeated insistently, tapping the leg of firefighter John Westfield.

"Why did this thing happen?"

Westfield looked bewildered for a moment.

"We don't know," he replied. "I don't think any of us knows."

"But it's so sad that the fireman had to die," Jane persisted. "This is terrible."

There were tears in Westfield's eyes as he ruffled her hair and walked away.

"I don't have an answer," he murmured.

From wire reports

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