By Jon Cronin, Editor
On Nov. 12, the families of those killed on American Airlines Flight 587 commemorated the 16th anniversary of the crash in Belle Harbor.
A memorial at Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park was attended by family members of those who lost their lives on the flight as well as community leaders and elected officials.
The crash took place just two months and one day after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in Manhattan. At the time, authorities were looking into the crash as a possible terrorist attack, but it was determined that it was due to pilot error.
The flight left JFK Airport just after 9 a.m. headed for the Dominican Republic and hit the wake turbulence behind another airliner headed for Tokyo. It was reported by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that the first officer’s overuse of rudder controls in response to the turbulence caused the plane to crash into Belle Harbor’s residential community. All 260 aboard the plane were killed as well as five people on the ground.
“It’s important to mark such a human tragedy, and the service held on Beach 116th was beautiful,” said Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Park). “The monument itself is a fitting coda to such senseless loss. The inscription in English and Spanish: ‘Despues, No Quiero Mas Que Paz’ (‘Afterwards, I Want No More Than Peace’) encapsulates our feelings, those of our residents and those of the Dominican communities impacted in New York City and the Dominican Republic. Our love goes to those families and communities. May the memories of the 265 souls we lost be for a blessing.”
“The resiliency of NYers, @FDNY, @NYPDnews, @NewYorkFBI & others is remarkable,” said NYPD Commissioner John O’Neil on his Twitter account.
At the ceremony Mayor Bill de Blasio added that, “It’s been 16 full years, but when I talk to so many of you over the years, it’s quite clear how fresh and how sharp the pain still is. To everyone, who I’m sure still feels lonely sometimes, I want to say, the city of New York is here with you today. We will be here with you tomorrow and we will be here with you always.”