Albany, NY - November 12, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on November 12, 2013 in remembrance of the 12th Anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Belle Harbor, Queens.
“Today, we pause to remember all those who perished in the tragic crash of Flight 587,” Governor Cuomo said. “The 265 men, women, and children who were lost in this tragedy are missed, but not forgotten. Their families continue to be in our thoughts and prayers on this anniversary.”
Just months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, Flight 587 crashed into the residential neighborhood of Belle Harbor shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport en route to Las Americas International Airport, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. All 260 passengers aboard the Airbus A300-600 aircraft, as well as five residents on the ground were killed in what was the second-deadliest airline crash to occur on U.S. soil.
Flight 587, the first daily flight out of New York back to Santo Domingo, had grown to be its own tradition for many Dominicans, especially during the holidays. Widely referenced in popular culture, its packed flights were symbolic of growth of the Dominican community in the U.S. and the transnational identity that many immigrants continue to have with their homeland. American Airlines retired the flight route destination and in the years since, has retired the Airbus A300-600 aircraft line from all service.
A memorial for the victims of the tragedy designed by Dominican artist Freddy Rodríguez and Situ Studio currently stands in nearby Rockaway Park, Queens. A scholarship fund, administered by New York States’ Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), was also set up for the children, spouses and financial dependents of those who perished to cover the cost of attending college in New York State.