2002-09-14 / Letters

Unheard Voices

Unheard Voices

Dear Editor;

The crash of flight 587 on November 12, 2001 in Belle Harbor, New York, took the lives of two hundred and sixty five persons. The single, largest loss of life in aviation history. The crash within hours of impact was called an accident, a political call to quell a public still reeling from September 11. The issues still open and upsetting to many from aviation experts, pilots, a former NTSB Board member, eyewitnesses and private citizens leave open much to criticize the NTSB for their opinion forming statements which have not been proven as fact. No comment, "as this is still an on going investigation," would have given the National Transportation Safety Board more creditability as a nonpartisan investigative agency.

Council Member Miguel Martinez of the tenth council district along with other members sponsored a resolution #100 in support of the Council Transportation committee hearing calling on congress to intervene in the investigation of the safety of the airbus 300-600 aircraft.

September 5, 2002, having never been in city hall, the building is impressive of architecture and grand with pictures of our forefathers, most noted was the inscription on the ceiling of the council chamber, by the people, for the people and of the people. Do our adversaries believe in those words as we do?

The city council of New York has voted in favor of resolution #100 sponsored by council member Miguel Martinez of the council district 10 and supported by many members including Belle Harbor Councilman, Joe Addabbo and Congressman Charles Rangel, calling on congress to intervene in the investigation of the safety of the airbus 300-600 aircraft. This is a direct slap in the face to the investigating NTSB and should be viewed as nothing less.

The speakers that addressed the council were Victor Trombettas usread.com; Doctor Vernon Gross, former NTSB board member; Todd Wissing, American Airlines pilot; Stan Molin, retired pilot and father of the flight 587pilot Sten Molin. Brett Landsman lost parents and aunt and uncle on flight 587, Hector lost his parents. They are both searching for truth. John Power and myself spoke as eyewitnesses. All told the same issue, though reached from different words told of an agency, the NTSB, that may have been politicized instead of being objective, in its release of information at early stages into the investigation, by chairperson Marion Blakey.

Media attention? The fact that the only news agency interested in covering this event is a Spanish-speaking network makes one wonder? Where were the city hall reporters from the major newspapers, aren't they present daily when meetings are in session? Having called a few new agencies personally. I expected at least one reporter.

The list of passengers on flight 587 had an ethnic makeup of about seventy percent of its passengers from the Dominican Republic, some new U.S. citizens, others legal residents and many others with no legal status.

What would have been different if the majority of passengers were White, business class travelers, Orthodox Jews, or a charter flight of vacationers? Would their family voices have been heard sooner? You bet your bottom dollar they would have.

Media attention alone after the crash almost disappeared. Six eyewitnesses requesting to testify in a letter to the NTSB were thought non-newsworthy by three of the N.Y. newspapers. Discrimination, a powerful word not to be used lightly. It comes in many forms. An unheard voice, spoken in a different language, with fear of expulsion, has an almost silent sound. Would things have gone different, if the majority of the victims were from a wealthy suburban town with a prominent political voice?


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