260 Die in Belle Harbor Plane Crash

It's clear that the plane did come down very much in a straight level, which was horrible for that particular site, but minimized what could have happened had the plane glided across the Rockaways.”

— Former New York Gov. George Pataki

American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300, crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens; a borough of New York City in New York, United States, shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport on November 12, 2001. This is the second deadliest U.S. aviation accident to date, after American Airlines Flight 191.

On November 12, 2001, about 09:16 eastern standard time, American Airlines flight 587, an Airbus Industrie A300-605R delivered in 1987 and powered by two General Electric CF6-80C2A5, N14053, crashed into Belle Harbor, a New York City residential area, shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York. Flight 587 was a regularly scheduled passenger flight to Las Américas International Airport, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with 2 flight crew members, seven flight attendants, and 251 passengers aboard the plane. Ed States served as the captain, and Sten Molin served as the first officer.

The plane's vertical stabilizer and rudder separated in flight and fell into Jamaica Bay, about 1 mile north of the main wreckage site. The plane's engines subsequently separated in flight and fell several blocks north and east of the main wreckage site. All 260 people aboard the plane and 5 people on the ground died, and the impact forces and a post-crash fire destroyed the plane. Flight 587 operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident.

Investigators have not definitively ruled out terrorism in the crash American Airlines flight 587, but think some sort of engine failure caused the disaster, the official said.

Officials said the flight, which crashed in Rockaway, a Queens neighborhood, carried 260 people - 246 ticketed passengers, nine crewmembers and five unticketed infants sitting on their parents' lap. At least six to eight people in Rockaway also have been reported missing immediately following the crash, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said.