HEAT ALERT

Dangerous heat set to impact Bronx; Air quality alert issued for New York City today

Hart Island sees an increase in burials since COVID-19 pandemic

Hart Island is now the resting place for the deceased who were not claimed by family members or those whose families can’t afford private burials.

News 12 Staff

Apr 11, 2020, 1:05 AM

Updated 1,529 days ago

Share:

Hart Island is now the resting place for the deceased who were not claimed by family members or those whose families can’t afford private burials. 
The island is now seeing an increase of burials during the coronavirus pandemic. 
"The public does not need to worry about the body of their loved ones being mishandled,” said Hart Island Project Director Melinda Hunt. 
The Hart Island Project says its drone footage from last week shows Rikers Island inmates burying bodies on the island, but a former inmate says they were always careful. 
"We carried them gently, we did our job. We took pride in what we did and we knew we were the only ones there for these people,” said an inmate, who remained anonymous. 
Despite this, the city has stopped using inmate labor for burials and is now using contract labor. The interments used to only take place once a week, but in the midst of the pandemic, it is now five days a week. 
The city told News 12 in a statement, "For decades, Hart Island has been used to lay to rest decedents who have not been claimed by family members. We will continue using the Island in that fashion during this crisis and it is likely that people who have passed away from COVID who fit this description will be buried on the Island in the coming days."
Officials say families should not feel as if their loved ones are being mishandled. 
"It's just really a beautiful place to be buried. I don't think people should be afraid of this at all. There's a lot of deer and wildlife out there, birds nesting. It's a very, very peaceful,” said Hunt. 
"If at any point, a family returns or shows up, the body will be given to the family as we would always want to do,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
undefined
 
 


More from News 12
1:56
HEAT ALERT: Hot, humid and hazy weather make for dangerous conditions today in the Bronx

HEAT ALERT: Hot, humid and hazy weather make for dangerous conditions today in the Bronx

1:21
NYC officials: Avoid the outdoors, stay cool during oppressive heat in the Bronx

NYC officials: Avoid the outdoors, stay cool during oppressive heat in the Bronx

1:41
Woodlawn resident says he's fed up with loud, late-night meetups in the neighborhood

Woodlawn resident says he's fed up with loud, late-night meetups in the neighborhood

0:21
DOT: Part of Bruckner Expressway to close starting Wednesday night

DOT: Part of Bruckner Expressway to close starting Wednesday night

0:31
NYPD identify 2 Bronx men shot in the chest, face in Manhattan

NYPD identify 2 Bronx men shot in the chest, face in Manhattan

0:25
Police: 20-year-old man shot in the head overnight in Concourse Village

Police: 20-year-old man shot in the head overnight in Concourse Village

0:29
Police: 2 passengers injured when SUV collides with bus in Bedford Park

Police: 2 passengers injured when SUV collides with bus in Bedford Park

1:37
NYPD: 3 men shot in Williamsbridge, suspect at large

NYPD: 3 men shot in Williamsbridge, suspect at large

1:52
Rent Guidelines Board votes in favor of rent hikes for rent-stabilized homes in NYC

Rent Guidelines Board votes in favor of rent hikes for rent-stabilized homes in NYC

0:23
Police: 3 men, 1 woman rob Kingsbridge gas station at gunpoint

Police: 3 men, 1 woman rob Kingsbridge gas station at gunpoint

1:38
Man accused of stealing van with infant inside appears in court

Man accused of stealing van with infant inside appears in court

1:55
Bronx mother claims daughter assaulted at school, proper action wasn't taken

Bronx mother claims daughter assaulted at school, proper action wasn't taken

2:28
Bronx residents prep for a week of scorching hot temperatures

Bronx residents prep for a week of scorching hot temperatures

1:55
'A fan is not enough.' NYC officials ask New Yorkers to take extreme heat seriously

'A fan is not enough.' NYC officials ask New Yorkers to take extreme heat seriously

1:31
Veterinarian gives tips on how to keep your furry friends safe during hot weather

Veterinarian gives tips on how to keep your furry friends safe during hot weather

1:47
Rikers Island opens new kid-friendly visitation room at the George R. Vierno Center

Rikers Island opens new kid-friendly visitation room at the George R. Vierno Center

0:23
NYPD: 29-year-old man injured in overnight shooting in Claremont Village

NYPD: 29-year-old man injured in overnight shooting in Claremont Village

Your New York City Graduation Photos

Your New York City Graduation Photos

1:57
NYPD: Baby found safe following stolen car incident in Mott Haven; 53-year-old in custody

NYPD: Baby found safe following stolen car incident in Mott Haven; 53-year-old in custody

1:43
Future Bronx Dominican Day parade queens showcase their talents at Casa Del Mar celebration

Future Bronx Dominican Day parade queens showcase their talents at Casa Del Mar celebration