2017-11-15 / Front Page

Chill Wind Greets Families At Flt. 587 Memorial

By Liz Goff

Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Belle Harbor) attended the November 12 remembrance ceremony on Beach 116th Street for the victims of American Airlines Flight 587. The airplane went into a horizontal spin shortly after takeoff from JFK International Airport on November 12, 2001, crashing in the community of Belle Harbor. All 260 people onboard the aircraft died, as did five people on the ground. At the time, the proximity to the September 11 terrorist attacks stoked fears that the crash might have been deliberate, but an FAA investigation demonstrated that the failure of Flight 587 was due to pilot error.  “It’s important to mark such a human tragedy, and the service held on Beach 116th was beautiful,” said Pheffer Amato. “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.” Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Belle Harbor) attended the November 12 remembrance ceremony on Beach 116th Street for the victims of American Airlines Flight 587. The airplane went into a horizontal spin shortly after takeoff from JFK International Airport on November 12, 2001, crashing in the community of Belle Harbor. All 260 people onboard the aircraft died, as did five people on the ground. At the time, the proximity to the September 11 terrorist attacks stoked fears that the crash might have been deliberate, but an FAA investigation demonstrated that the failure of Flight 587 was due to pilot error. “It’s important to mark such a human tragedy, and the service held on Beach 116th was beautiful,” said Pheffer Amato. “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.” Family and friends of the victims of American Airlines Flight 587 bundled up against a morning chill on November 12, to remember those who perished 16 years ago 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.

November 12, 2001 was a bright, sunny day – not unlike the day two months earlier when terrorists struck the World Trade Center. The timing of the crash fueled fears that Flight 587 was brought down by terrorists, but investigators later determined that a problem with a rudder caused the plane to crash.

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.

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 mourners paused as a bell tolled at precisely 9:16 a.m., marking the moment the plane crashed.

DeBlasio later spoke before the crowd, describing the resilience of the Dominican community in New York City, and recalling how people from all over the city banded together with residents in Belle Harbor on one of the city’s worst days. “People came together here 16 years ago to aid each other,” deBlasio said. “That’s what New Yorkers do.”

 

 

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