Yiu Tak “Lou” Tao
1966 - 2022
On the morning of September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were commandeered by terrorists and crashed into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Later that morning, both towers and surrounding buildings collapsed, sending a large cloud of toxic dust and smoldering debris through lower Manhattan.
Supervisory Police Officer (Lieutenant) Yiu Tak “Lou” Tao was working near the South Tower of the World Trade Center when it was struck. Upon the tower’s collapse, he became encased in a cloud of dust and debris. Ten days later, Lt. Tao was stationed at the Ground Zero area below Canal Street, where he worked for 12 to 14 hours per day throughout February 2002. During these daily shifts, he was exposed to the carcinogens, toxins, and hazardous materials present at the recovery site.
In August 2018, Lt. Tao was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. He succumbed to his illness on May 17, 2022. Extensive research by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health established sufficient evidence that Lt. Tao’s exposure to the air in and around the World Trade Center site either precipitated or accelerated his development of the cancer.
Lt. Tao was born in Kowloon, Hong Kong. He entered on duty with the FBI on January 7, 1996.