FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM NOVEMBER 18, 2021 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
Memorial service marks 20th anniversary
of Flight 587 crash in the Rockaways
BY BILL PARRY
A small group of family members of
the victims of Flight 587 braved an early
morning rainstorm Friday, Nov. 12, to
attend a memorial service in Rockaway
Park, which marked the 20th anniversary
of the tragic crash in nearby Belle Harbor.
Th e American Airlines Airbus A300
took off from John F. Kennedy Airport
on the morning of Nov. 12, 2001, with
260 people on board heading to the
Dominican Republic. However, the plane
crashed into Belle Harbor just three minutes
aft er takeoff , killing fi ve more victims
on the ground.
Mayor Bill de Blasio comforted family
members of the victims as they gathered
at the Flight 587 Memorial at the
north end of 116th Street where bells rang
at 9:16 a.m. to mark the moment
of impact. Investigators would
later determine a broken rudder
was to blame aft er the pilot
hit the wake turbulence of a
preceding jet and lost control
of the aircraft .
“It’s hard to believe 20 years
have passed but we all can
feel, right here, what it felt
like those days just aft er
9/11, feeling that pain
already. And then another
tragedy, a tragedy felt from
the Dominican Republic all
the way here to Belle Harbor,”
de Blasio said. “Two-hundredsixty
Community members and elected offi cials gathered for the 20th
anniversary remembrance of the Flight 587 crash in the Rockaways.
fi ve good souls lost. And that pain
does not go away, but we still, even amidst
the pain, appreciate all the people who
came in that moment to try to help —
the fi rst responders, the people from the
neighborhood who tried to help from that
moment on. And then for 20 years since,
the way you have all helped each other,
you’ve been there for each other. You’ve
created a community and out of the pain,
you found something so good and noble.”
Th e aircraft slammed into the ground at
Newport Avenue and Beach 131st Street.
Photos by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Offi ce
Th e panic on the ground in Belle Harbor
was exacerbated by fear of another terrorist
strike so soon aft er the Sept. 11 attacks
that brought down the World Trade
Center, claiming the lives of so many fi rst
responders who lived in the Rockaways.
A moment of silence was observed and
the names of the victims were read during
the solemn memorial.
“With the horrible tragedy of 9/11
still fresh in our minds, just two short
months later New York faced another terrible
plane crash when American Airlines
fl ight 587 crashed in Belle Harbor 20 years
ago,” state Senator Joseph Addabbo said.
“Today we remember the 260 people on
the fl ight, along with the fi ve people on
the ground that lost their lives that day,
and pray for the family and friends that
they left behind.”
Th e mayor thanked the sparse crowd for
attending the remembrance ceremony in
such inclement weather.
“Aft er 20 years, it doesn’t matter: Th e
wind, the rain, you are here to show that
love,” de Blasio said. “And I honor you for
that. Th ank you for always being there for
each other. Th ank you for always remembering.
And we will always stand by you.
God bless you all.”
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