255 dead after AA flight 587 crashes in Queens

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Staff Writer

Barely two months after being rocked by terrorist attacks using airliners, New York was again shaken by a aircraft crash Monday.

Minutes after takeoff from Kennedy Airport, en route to the Dominican Republic with 255 on board, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into a residential neighborhood.

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The first thought for many was fear of another terrorist attack, but officials believe the crash was not an act of terrorism.

Just as on Sept. 11, fear at airports nationwide heightened. However, unlike on that date, airports were not closed.

The three metropolitan-area airports in New York ­ Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark, N.J. ­ were closed for hours and international flights were diverted to other cities, but there was not a nationwide shutdown of air traffic.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania, air travel nationwide was brought to a halt.

Troy Municipal Airport was forced to close its runways until notified by federal authorities. This time, that was not the case.

As emergency personnel searched debris for possible survivors, the investigation got underway. The National Transportation Safety Board early reports indicated belief the crash was an accident.

Although the official cause is not known, the NTSB did report there was an apparent explosion on board the flight. The European-made Airbus A300 with 246 passengers and nine crew members aboard, went down at 9:17 a.m. on a clear, sunny day in a densely populated neighborhood about 15 miles from Manhattan.

When the plane went down, four houses were destroyed, another four extensively damaged and others had minor damage. At least 15 people on the ground were injured during the Monday morning crash.