2016-11-16 / Front Page

15th Anniversary of Flt. 587 Crash

By Liz Goff

Family and friends of the victims of American Airlines Flight 587 gathered on November 12 to remember the dads, moms, children and siblings who perished in the second-worst air disaster in U.S. history.

The Airbus A300 aircraft slammed into a residential neighborhood in Belle Harbor, Queens at precisely 9:16 a.m. on November 12, 2001, killing 260 people on board and five others on the ground.

The families gathered at a granite memorial located at 112th Street in Rockaway Park, 15 blocks from the site of the crash. Surrounded by a grove of pear trees that frame an ocean view, the curved wall bears the name of each victim in a peaceful, reflective setting where visitors can pause to remember those lost in the tragic crash.

“We can all come together here to support each other,” Myrna Rosario-Brown said. “Everyone on that flight meant something to someone here.”

A tearful Kate Battista said the shock of losing a loved one in such a horrific way doesn’t go away with time. “We loved them and we miss hem every day,” Battista said.

November 12, 2001 was a bright, sunny day – much like the day two months earlier when terrorists struck the World Trade Center.

Relatives waved goodbye to their loved ones as they boarded Flight 587, most anticipating family reunions in the Dominican Republic. The joyful anticipation turned to shock and disbelief for people left behind at JFK Airport, many of whom had not left the airport before the plane crashed.

The timing of the crash fueled fears that Flight 587 was brought down by terrorists. Investigators later found that a problem with a rudder caused the plane to crash.

Fabian Cruz, whose mother-in-law was killed in the crash, bowed his head in prayer as a bell tolled at exactly 9:16 a.m., the moment the flight crashed. “There is still so much pain and sadness here,” Cruz said.

Mayor Bill deBlasio arrived a few minutes early this year, giving him time to pay his respects at the memorial wall and comfort some of the families before th4 bell tolled.

A representative from the Dominican Republic consulate general joined DeBlasio at the ceremony where the mayor told the families; “A shock occurred in this city on November 12, 2001, a shock that was felt from Belle Harbor to the Dominican Republic. We are with you.”

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