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Cerritos memorializes deadly 1986 plane crash

August 31, 2011 | 10:07 am

Cerritos plane crash

Twenty-five years ago at 11:52 a.m., an Aeromexico passenger jet collided with a small plane and slammed into a Cerritos neighborhood, killing 82 people and leaving many more in the city struggling to recover from the tragedy.

On Wednesday morning, for the first time in many years, the city will host a memorial ceremony to remember the victims and commemorate the deadly crash.

The ceremony will start at 11:30 a.m. in the Cerritos Sculpture Garden.

City councilmembers will read the names of the victims followed by a moment of silence at 11:52 a.m., said city spokeswoman Annie Hylton.

Mayor Carol Chen and Supervisor Don Knabe, who was mayor of the city when the disaster occurred, are scheduled to speak.

Over the years, many have found ways to remember the collision -- such as dedicating a sculpture near City Hall and creating a bond between residents and the town of Loreto, Mexico, which was home to 20 of those killed.

But residents of the neighborhood affected by the crash long opposed any kind of memorial there, and hosting a public ceremony to commemorate the day of the crash has been a sensitive subject for those living with the painful memories.

The Aeromexico plane was preparing to land at Los Angeles International Airport when it was clipped by a single-engine plane piloted by a Rancho Palos Verdes man.

The man, his wife and daughter were killed and the jet lost control and dived into the neighborhood.

Sixty-seven people on the planes were killed along with 15 others who died in the flaming wreckage on the ground.


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-- Paloma Esquivel

Photo: Scene from the 1986 crash of an Aeromexico DC-9 jetliner in Cerritos. Credit: Los Angeles Times