Flight 93 Pa. crash site valued at $1.5 million

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PITTSBURGH (AP) - The site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, is worth more than the government paid for it but far less than the former owner claimed, according to a commission report released Monday.

A three-person eminent domain commission in Pittsburgh said the 275-acre site in Shanksville, in western Pennsylvania, is worth about $1.5 million. The Department of the Interior condemned the property under eminent domain in 2009 and paid Michael Svonavec $611,000 for it.

It's unclear if the government will have to pay any more now. The commission was appointed by U.S. District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose as part of a hearing on the dispute.

Svonavec claimed in a lawsuit the property was worth about $23 million. He wanted to turn the property into a museum, but the National Park Service built the Flight 93 National Memorial there, about 75 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The National Park Service says about 320,000 visitors went to the site last year, the first full calendar year after a permanent memorial was dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when passengers fought back against its hijackers.

Svonavec couldn't be reached for comment by telephone Monday. There was no comment from the National Park Service.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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