NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio marked the 15-year anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 at a service in Belle Harbor, Queens on Saturday morning.

The jetliner took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on Nov. 12, 2001, but soon after it hit turbulence and crashed into homes on Beach 131st and Newport Avenue. Many of the passengers on board were heading to visit family in the Dominican Republic.

The NTSB said the plane’s rudder system and the airline’s pilot training program contributed to the second-deadliest aviation incident in the state.

All 260 people were killed, along with five others on the ground. 

Dozens of mourners came to the ceremony bearing flowers, hugging pictures and wearing pins, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.

“This is my father who died on Flight 587,” Cindy Bautista-Thomas said.

Rosa Santiago also lost her father on that fateful day.

“I feel a little closer to him,” she told WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron.

Fifteen years later, Noel Rosa Scaggs can’t help thinking of what might have been.

“This past year, my son is 10, he loves planes, and so did my dad. He took his first flight lesson last September. I think my dad would have loved to been there for that,” she said.

The ceremonial reading of names was hard to get through at times, but the mayor encouraged mourners to find comfort in each other and those across the city who offered their support.

“A physically very cold day, as a reminder of the sharp pain you felt that day and have felt ever since. But I also could feel a warmth, a solidarity between all of you” de Blasio said.

That message wasn’t lost on those left behind.


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