2004-11-05 / Front Page

Crash Site Service For Flight 587

By Brian Magoolaghan

A mourner carries a bouquet of flowers and an umbrella during last year’s rainy anniversary ceremony on Newport Avenue.
A mourner carries a bouquet of flowers and an umbrella during last year’s rainy anniversary ceremony on Newport Avenue. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office says this year’s program for the third anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, coming up on November 12, will be very similar to last year’s crash site ceremony.

The intersection of Beach 131 Street and Newport Avenue, where Flight 587 fell from the sky on that date in 2001, will again host the morning service for families and friends of those who were killed, according to mayoral spokesperson Siliva Alvarez. Although Alvarez, the Community Assistance Unit and the Office of Immigrant Affairs had not released specific details to the public – despite the anniversary looming less than two weeks away – local police said they expect crowds to gather beginning at 8 a.m.

Last year, the service began at 9 a.m. with a prayer for those who were killed. A moment of silence was observed at 9:16 a.m., the moment when the Airbus jet crashed into Belle Harbor.

Two key differences that could be seen this year: The announcement of a permanent memorial site on Beach 116 Street and a number of victims’ families choosing to observe the anniversary in the Dominican Republic.

The Wave has previously reported the city’s work to gain the consensus of the Dominican families with regard to a memorial at the “Green Streets” area at the southern end of Beach 116 Street. City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr. said this week he thinks an announcement is coming and that this could be the last year the anniversary would take place at the crash site. “We could beautify the area if it’s done right,” he said of the Beach 116 Street location.

Meanwhile, Hector Algarroba, whose mother and father were both killed in the crash, says a large number of families will be in the Dominican Republic for a mass officiated by Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic followed by a ceremony at the Bani memorial to Flight 587.

Police said Newport Avenue from Beach 129-133 Streets would be off limits to parking as well as Beach 130-132 Streets between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Cronston Avenue beginning on the night of November 11. Residents will notice “no parking” signs posted two days in advance, police said. That area will be closed to vehicle traffic on the morning of the ceremony.

This year’s anniversary comes on the heels of the National Traffic Safety Board’s final report finding that First Officer Sten Molin “aggressively and unnecessarily controlled the wheel and rudder pedal inputs,” in response to wake turbulence, causing the jet’s tail to break off.

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