Dangerous goods workers continue to dig mass graves on New York’s Hart Island

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Workers in dangerous clothing were seen burying coffins in a mass grave on New York’s Hart Island – as the number of burials quadrupled in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the death toll in the city s student at 4778.

On Thursday, a dozen contract workers were seen digging and burying the coffins – some of which were named.

The city used Hart Island to bury New Yorkers without known relatives or whose families have been unable to arrange a funeral since the 19th century.

Typically, about 25 bodies are buried there once a week by poorly paid inmates from Rikers Island Prison. This number began to increase last month as the new coronavirus spread rapidly and New York became the epicenter of the pandemic.

They are now burying about two dozen bodies a day, five days a week, said DailyMail.com.

Currently, 4,778 people have died from coronavirus in the city and 87,725 have been infected.

So far, the authorities have been quiet about whether the victims of the coronavirus to be buried on Hart Island.

Officials said on Thursday they had no choice but to bury COVID-19 patients at the city cemetery as it addresses the growing number of deaths from coronavirus and the decrease in space of the morgue.

Workers in hazardous materials protective gear and other protective gear were seen Thursday burying coffins in a mass grave on New York's Hart Island amid speculation. Coronavirus victims are now buried there

Workers in hazardous materials protective gear and other protective gear were seen Thursday burying coffins in a mass grave on New York’s Hart Island amid speculation. Coronavirus victims are now buried there

A dozen workers were seen digging and burying the coffins - some of which had engraved names - Thursday when at least one refrigerated truck was brought to the island

A dozen workers were seen digging and burying the coffins – some with engraved names – on Thursday when at least one refrigerated truck was brought to the island

On Thursday, people dressed in combinations of hazardous materials had to use a ladder to descend into the mass grave while the new coffins were buried. They were watched by a correctional officer (far right)

On Thursday, people dressed in combinations of hazardous materials had to use a ladder to descend into the mass grave while the new coffins were buried. They were watched by a correctional officer (far right)

Under a new policy, the medical examiner’s office will keep bodies in stock for only 14 days before they are buried in the town’s potter’s field on Hart Island.

City officials have not explained whether the increase in burials on Hart Island is due to pressure on the mortuaries to dispose of the bodies more quickly.

Prisoners on Rikers Island are generally required to dig graves on Hart Island, but the Department of Corrections has since hired contract workers to do the work due to the epidemic.

“For reasons of social distancing and security, people sentenced to death in the city do not attend burials for the duration of the pandemic,” DOC press secretary Jason Kersten told DailyMail.com . “Contract workers perform this important work under the supervision of DOC.

The burials in the town cemetery remain uninterrupted and continue to be supervised by DOC, who has exercised this solemn function on Hart Island for over 150 years and will continue to do so until the jurisdiction of the Hart Island will be transferred to parks in 2021. “

For burial on the island, the dead are wrapped in body bags and placed in pine coffins. The name of the deceased is written in large letters on each coffin, which is useful if a body is to be exhumed later. The coffins are buried in long, narrow trenches dug by digging machines.

Earlier on Thursday, the department referred questions about the causes of death to the city’s chief medical examiner’s office.

OCME spokesperson Aja Worthy-Davis said it would take time to collect individual causes of death from office records, but it was likely that some of the recent burials include those shot by the coronavirus.

The island can also be used as a temporary burial site if the deaths exceed the city’s morgue capacity – a point that has not yet been reached, according to the DOC and the OCME.

“We all hope it doesn’t happen,” said Kersten. “At the same time, we are ready if that is the case. “

The OCME can store around 800 to 900 bodies in its buildings and also has room to store around 4,000 bodies in around 40 refrigerated trucks which it can send in the city to hospitals which generally have only small ones. morgues.

At least 45 coffins - some with names - appeared to be buried in the mass grave only Thursday morning

At least 45 coffins – some with names – appeared to be buried in the mass grave only Thursday morning

The coffins were stacked on top of each other in the mass grave while the detainees used a shovel to help transport the bodies.

The coffins were stacked on top of each other in the mass grave while the detainees used a shovel to help transport the bodies.

Inmates wearing personal protective equipment stacked the coffins after unloading them from the backhoe

Inmates wearing personal protective equipment stacked the coffins after unloading them from the backhoe

Mayor Bill DeBlasio said earlier in the week that authorities had explored the possibility of temporary burials on Hart Island, a strip of land in Long Island Sound that has long been used as a field for potters in the city.

Mayor Bill DeBlasio said earlier in the week that authorities had explored the possibility of temporary burials on Hart Island, a strip of land in Long Island Sound that has long been used as a field for potters in the city.

The city's 2008 pandemic influenza pandemic plan states that Hart Island will be used as a temporary burial site if the death toll reaches tens of thousands and if other storage, such as trucks refrigerators parked outside hospitals, were full

The city’s 2008 pandemic influenza pandemic plan states that Hart Island will be used as a temporary burial site if the death toll reaches tens of thousands and if other storage, such as trucks refrigerators parked outside hospitals, were full

Normally about 25 bodies are buried each Thursday on Hart Island. The number has risen to 72 since the end of March when coronavirus deaths increased dramatically in the city, according to the Ministry of Correctional Services.

Normally about 25 bodies are buried each Thursday on Hart Island. The number has risen to 72 since the end of March when coronavirus deaths increased dramatically in the city, according to the Ministry of Correctional Services.

The mass grave was dug last week and extends over a long part of the island

The mass grave was dug last week and extends over a long part of the island

Mayor Bill de Blasio has so far not confirmed whether burials for coronavirus victims have been or will be held there, but said this week that the city could use the island for temporary burials during the pandemic. .

“We may very well face temporary burials so that we can take care of each family later,” he said.

“Obviously, the place we’ve used historically is Hart Island. “

Those currently buried on Hart Island include unidentified people, unclaimed bodies and people whose families could not afford the burial costs.

In the past, the island was used as a burial place for the victims of the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic and the thousands of people who died of AIDS in the 1980s.

The first AIDS victims were buried in other graves on the island in 1985, fearing that they would infect other bodies.

The city’s 2008 pandemic influenza pandemic plan states that Hart Island will be used as a temporary burial site if the death toll reaches tens of thousands and if other storage, such as trucks refrigerators parked outside hospitals, were full.

This comes after officials sparked panic and disgust last week after claiming that some of the dead would be temporarily buried in the city’s public parks.

“Trenches will be dug for 10 line coffins. This will be done in a dignified, orderly and temporary manner. But it will be difficult for the NYers to take, “tweeted Mark Levine, a representative for the Manhattan council.

The comments sparked unrest, prompting Levine to clarify his remarks, saying he understood that any temporary burial would be done on Hart Island rather than in public parks.

“I have spoken to many people in the city government today and have received unequivocal assurance that there will be * no * burials in New York’s parks,” said he declared.

“They all made it clear that if temporary burial were to be necessary, it would be on Hart Island. “

Although the suggestion to bury the park has been rejected, the question of what to do with the body count is still an issue.

In 2017 video footage, the above detainees are buried burying the dead in prison uniforms rather than the dangerous overalls they now wear.

In 2017 video footage, the above detainees are buried burying the dead in prison uniforms rather than the dangerous suits they now wear.

A dozen workers were seen digging graves on Thursday when at least one refrigerated truck was brought to Hart Island in New York.

A dozen workers were seen digging graves on Thursday when at least one refrigerated truck was brought to Hart Island in New York.

Prisoners from Rikers Island are generally brought in to dig graves on Hart Island. DOC says it prevented inmates from digging due to the ongoing pandemic

Prisoners from Rikers Island are generally brought in to dig graves on Hart Island. DOC says it prevented inmates from digging due to the ongoing pandemic

The refrigerated truck that was brought to the island is the same as those currently parked in front of Manhattan hospitals as part of makeshift morgues set up to deal with the number of people who died from a coronavirus epidemic

The refrigerated truck that was brought to the island is the same as those currently parked in front of Manhattan hospitals as part of makeshift mortuaries set up to deal with the number of people who died from a coronavirus epidemic

Authorities have not officially confirmed whether coronavirus patients are currently buried on Hart Island despite morgues spilling over the city and the death toll continues to rise

Authorities have not officially confirmed whether coronavirus patients are currently buried on Hart Island despite morgues spilling over the city and the death toll continues to rise

Mayor spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said the city government has no plans to use local parks as cemeteries.

But she added that Hart Island, where an estimated one million New Yorkers are already buried in mass graves, could be used “for temporary burials, if the need arises.”

Melinda Hunt, the founder of the Hart Island Project that produced the drone video, said it appeared to show the graves of COVID-19 victims.

She said the number of burials has increased and that the process has become more systematic in recent weeks.

A former Rikers Island detainee who spent five months working on the island until February of this year also spoke of the dark operation taking place there.

Vincent Mingalone said in a voiceover of the video that he worked as a team of about seven men who formed a supply chain to move the bodies of a truck to the mass grave every Thursday.

The bodies were stacked at three depths and then covered with sand and earth.

Mingalone said he was now worried about whether there would be enough inmates ready to do the job.

When he was incarcerated, he said that no one else had volunteered to do the work because he considered it “gruesome” or “dirty” and because he was poorly paid compared to other jobs in prison.

“Many people did not want this job,” he said.

“Now it’s going to be slim because many detainees have all been released because of this pandemic.”

About 1,000 detainees have been released from Rikers Island since the start of the pandemic.

The majority of those digging on Thursday were dressed in white quilted coveralls from head to toe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic

The majority of those digging on Thursday were dressed in white quilted coveralls from head to toe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic

Normally about 25 bodies are buried each Thursday on Hart Island. The number has risen to 72 since the end of March when coronavirus deaths increased dramatically in the city, according to the Ministry of Correctional Services.

Normally about 25 bodies are buried each Thursday on Hart Island. The number has risen to 72 since the end of March when coronavirus deaths increased dramatically in the city, according to the Ministry of Correctional Services.

Those currently buried on Hart Island include people who have not been identified, unclaimed bodies and people whose families could not afford the burial costs.

Those currently buried on Hart Island include unidentified people, unclaimed bodies and people whose families could not afford the burial costs.

HART ISLAND’S GRISLY STORY: THE PLACE OF FINAL REST FOR MORE THAN A MILLION BODIES

Hart Island, sometimes called Hart’s Island, has a gruesome history and began to be used as a cemetery during the Civil War in 1868, and there are now more than a million bodies buried.

Since then, it has been used as a psychiatric facility for women, a tuberculosis sanatorium, a burial site on the ground, and a warehouse for cold war anti-aircraft missiles.

After its first use as a cemetery in 1868, the island began to be used as a potter’s field for anonymous tombs, and accounts of the time describe bodies piling up on the island after being transported from city ​​hospitals.

In 1958, burials exceeded 500,000 and were used to house the bodies of the victims of the yellow fever epidemic of 1870 and the Spanish flu epidemic of 1919.

During the Spanish flu, when more than 500,000 Americans died, thousands were buried on Hart Island while the city’s burial grounds were overwhelmed.

It is estimated that they will be asked to move between 50 and 5,000 victims a day during the epidemic.

More recently, thousands of unclaimed AIDS victims have been buried on the island. The first were buried in 1985 away from other graves, believing that AIDS could infect corpses.

In a 200-foot trench, the remains of 8,904 babies were buried between 1988 and 1999.

Long Island Sound has also been the site of a homeless shelter, a boys’ reformatory, a prison and a drug treatment center.

It became a common grave again in the 1980s and is still used to bury unknown and unclaimed people with bodies from all over New York transported to the site twice a week and rested by inmates from Rikers Island.

Due to New York State law of the 1850s and last amended in 2007, the next of kin of a deceased person have 48 hours after death to claim a body for burial.

If the body is not claimed, it becomes legally available as a medical cadavar to be used for training in medical schools or mortuary courses.

The island, which is only accessible by ferry, was sold to the city in 1868 and became a final resting place for unclaimed bodies and those used by medical schools.

In the 19th century, slave owners in the South “donated” or sold bodies of dead slaves to medical schools.

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