2002-09-21 / Front Page

Council To House: Investigate Flight 587

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

The New York City Council Committee on Transportation recently held a public hearing on a proposed resolution calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to "investigate the systematic problems that may have caused American Airlines Flight 587 on November 12, 2001 leaving no survivors."

The resolution, which now goes to the committee for a vote sometime in October, asks that "the appropriate committee of the United States Congress to hold a hearing on the safety of the Airbus A-300-600, and other aircraft and the adequacy of pilot training programs.

Flight 587 crashed onto the streets of Belle Harbor last year, killing all of the 260 people on the plane as well as five Rockaway residents on the ground. More than a dozen homes were destroyed in the crash, most of which have still not been repaired.

Councilman Joe Addabbo, who sits on the committee that passed the resolution, believes that it is necessary for the House to hold hearings on the crash.

"I hope that the committee votes to move this important resolution up to the federal government as soon as possible," Addabbo says. "We sat in the hearing room and heard the testimony and there was a gasp from both the audience and the committee members when the testimony was given. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is not paying attention to that important testimony and we have to get their attention. Congress can do that."

Representative Anthony Weiner, however, is not sure that the time is right for Congress to hold a hearing on the crash or an investigation into the aircraft itself or pilot training.

"It’s premature to interfere with the investigation that the NTSB is conducting," Weiner told The Wave. "We can wait to see what that agency says and does not say when it issues its report before we decide whether or not to honor the council’s resolution."

"We have taken note of the resolution," Weiner added.

"The preliminary findings of the NTSB focus on special conditions prevailing at the time of take-off and did not discuss any possible design flaws in the airbus or problems with American Airlines maintenance procedures," the resolution’s analysis section says. "The resolution seeks to correct this perceived bias on the analysis of the accident."

Among those who testified before the committee were Rockaway resident Tom Young, who witnessed the plane in trouble prior to the crash; Vic Trombettas, who owns usread.com, the website that has brought the facts of the crash to readers of The Wave, pilot Stan Molin, the father of flight 587’s pilot, other pilots and aviation safety experts.

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