Responds: Flight 587 Crashes in the Rockaways
On Monday, November 12, 2001 an American Airlines Airbus A300 bound
for the Dominican Republic crashed in the quiet residential neighborhood
of Belle Harbor Queens shortly after take-off from John F. Kennedy
International Airport. The plane, carrying over 260 passengers and
crewmembers, crashed to the ground at 131st Street and Newport Avenue
killing all aboard. The resulting flames and thick black smoke from
the crash could be seen from miles away.
Number 1398, located at 127th Street and Newport Avenue was transmitted
at 0917 hours EST. Within minutes first arriving Fire Department
units transmitted a 10-60 "Major Emergency Response" followed
shortly thereafter by a fifth-alarm assignment. In addition to the
60 units and 220 firefighters assigned to the fifth-alarm, hundreds
of off-duty firefighters who live in the area responded to help
in the rescue and recovery efforts.
Moments after the initial call was received, box 1441 was transmitted
for a gas station located at 183 Beach 133rd Street, a few blocks
from the incident where one of the engines from the ill-fated flight
had landed. Amazingly, no one was hurt on the ground as a result
of the falling debris and this incident was brought under control
at 1228 hours.
the majority of flames were extinguished, firefighters, emergency
medical workers and police officers, quickly sifted through the
debris searching for victims. Porta-power, battery-powered Sawsalls
and chain saws, along with picks, axes, pry bars, and shovels were
used to search for and retrieve victims from the crash. The debris
field, miraculously confined to a relatively small area for such
a large aircraft, was picked through by hand in most cases to recover
bodies. So far, 285 bodies have been removed and transported by
ambulances to a temporary morgue set up at Floyd Bennett Field in
nearby Brooklyn for identification.
The plane destroyed four private dwellings and heavily damaged
four others while 12 additional homes suffered minor damage. Six
civilians who were thought to be in homes or on the ground and in
the vicinity at the time of the crash are still unaccounted for.
In addition to the victims, 25 emergency personnel and 7 civilians
were transported to area hospitals. Another 28 firefighters and
2 civilians were treated on scene.
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