November 12, 2001 – Flight 587: A Surfeit Of Dread – A Paucity Of Tranquil
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November 12, 2001 – American Airlines Flight 587 was a regularly scheduled international passenger flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. On November 12, 2001, the Airbus A300B4-605R flying the route crashed shortly after takeoff into the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens, a borough of New York City. All 260 people aboard the plane (251 passengers and 9 crew members) were killed, along with 5 people on the ground. It was the second-deadliest aviation incident involving an Airbus A300 and the second-deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history behind only 1979’s American Airlines Flight 191.
The location of the accident and the fact that it took place two months and one day after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan initially spawned fears of another terrorist attack.
With fears and a renewed anxiety that yet another terrorist attack was being launched, President Bush cut short a news conference and a heightened state of alert was in place, shutting all airports throughout the city and closed all tunnels and bridges into New York city, even though it hadn’t been ascertained that the crash of Flight 587 was indeed a terrorist action or that it was simple engine failure.
But immediate responses, aside from alarm was a sense of dread that this potential and perceived wave of terrorism was destined to become the new norm and it begged the bigger question; hadn’t New York suffered enough?
With the heightened anxiety and rampant fear, stepped-up measures in circumventing terrorist attacks were being implemented – increased measures at airports – more security – closer inspections of luggage – a sense that America had turned a corner and was deemed never to be 100% safe again.
And even though there was other news this day – it was overshadowed by the events taking place only hours earlier and all thoughts were centered on Queens and the first-responders as reported by NPR’s Morning Edition.