2002-06-15 / Front Page

Low-Flying Aircraft Revives 587 Fears

By Howard Schwach

Low-Flying Aircraft
Revives 587 Fears
By Howard Schwach

A low-flying jet airliner revived the fears brought on by the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Belle Harbor, when it roared out of the Atlantic Ocean over Belle Harbor and then "just missed hitting the Marine Parkway Bridge" before disappearing into the fog and gloom at approximately 10:50 p.m. last Wednesday night.

"I saw the plane flying from the ocean, diagonally towards St. Francis Church," Kathy O’Neill told The Wave. "It was about 100 feet in the air and I almost had a heart attack. It was going in the wrong direction for the airport and I was sure it was going down."

A volunteer from the Roxbury Fire Department called The Wave to say that the plane "pulled up just before it hit the Marine Parkway Bridge."

"It was a big plane, but it was completely silent when it passed over," the firefighter, who asked not to be identified, said.

"After it almost crashed into the bridge, it pulled up into the clouds and I lost it," he added.

Susan Locke heard the plane come over her Beach 131 Street home.

"It was so loud, that I had to put my hands over my ears," she says. "It was obvious to me that it was in trouble."

"All I could think of was the crash of 587," she adds.

O’Neill told The Wave that she tried to call the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to report that there was a plane in trouble over Rockaway.

"When I called the noise abatement number, I got a message," she said. She quickly looked in the telephone book’s blue pages and got a number for "Aircraft Emergencies." She called that number and was yelled at by the person on the other end of the line for using that number for a perceived emergency rather than a real one.

"They really gave me a hard time," she recalls. "They told me that the number was only for plane crashes or for airplanes really in trouble, she told me to call the noise abatement number."

Arlene Salac, a FAA spokesperson was contacted about the low flying plane on Thursday. Salac said that she had no direct information about the flight, but that she would check and call back. As of press time, however, there was no further information forthcoming from that agency.

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