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NYC marks 10th anniversary of Flight 587 crash

November 12, 2011 |  4:33 pm

Flight 587 Memorial

At a seaside memorial on New York’s Rockaway peninsula, hundreds gathered Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of the crash of Flight 587 — the second deadliest plane crash in United States history.

The crash — which occurred just moments after the American Airlines flight took off from Kennedy International Airport on its way to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — killed all 265 people on board and five people on the ground in Belle Harbor, Queens.

The crash occured two months after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and immediately  spurred speculation that the disaster was not an accident, but an act of terrorism. That speculation was later shown to be false, as the National Transportation Safety Board found that a pilot’s “unnecessary and excessive” use of the rudder caused the aircraft's tail to break off, causing the crash.

On Saturday at 9:15 a.m., the time of the crash, a bell was rung, marking a moment of silence. The names of each victim were then read by friends and relatives.

“Over the past 10 years, your shared strength has transformed grief into hope and promise,”New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a speech.

Belkis Lora, 44, of Ozone Park, told the New York Daily News that she and 15 family members came to the ceremony to honor her brother, Jose Lora, who died on the way home from a visit to New York to celebrate his nephew’s first birthday.

“We are always going to remember. No matter how many years have passed, they will always be in our hearts,”  Lora said.

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--Stephen Ceasar

Photo: Nannette Forteza of Mahopac, N.Y., right, is consoled after she placed flowers in honor of her husband, Anthony Salvador Forteza Garcia, at a memorial wall during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587. Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek.

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