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Sunday, 18 November, 2001, 12:45 GMT
JFK plane crash: Your experiences?
Flight data from the American Airlines plane which crashed in New York on Monday indicates Flight 587 was thrown off course by twice hitting turbulence from another jet.

Investigators say the rudder of the plane shifted erratically and the aircraft careered sharply sideways seconds after the incident.

As the inquiry into the cause of the accident continues, experts are increasingly focusing their investigation on what caused the tailfin and rudder of Flight 587 to shear off.

All 260 people on board were killed. The plane was bound for the Dominican Republic when it lost an engine and nose-dived into the Rockaway Beach area four minutes after taking off from JFK at 0913 local time (1413 GMT).

A dozen homes were consumed by flames following the crash. One piece of debris set ablaze part of a petrol station.

The FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration are stressing that there is no indication at the moment the crash was anything other than an accident.

Were you a witness to Monday's events in New York? Have you been affected by the accident? What are your experiences?


Those engines are designed to shear off under excess stress

Robert C. Hanson, Canyon Country, USA
I've worked in the aircraft industry for over 35 years. I held an FAA Repairman's License, Airframe rating. On takeoff, those engines are turning at over 27,000 r.p.m. This creates an enormous "gyroscopic" force effect. When the aircraft lost its vertical stabiliser and rudder, natural twisting of the airframe would occur, causing those gyroscopic forces in the engines to be translated into enormous shear force easily capable of shearing the engine off. Those engines are designed to shear off under excess stress. Once losing that first engine, the airframe would twist even more violently, increasing those shearing forces in the other engine causing it to also shear off rather quickly.
Robert C. Hanson, Canyon Country, USA

I am a regular flyer to and from Heathrow/Gatwick. I was amazed when reading your report of the airbus crash that there is a time limit between planes taking off. The last flight I flew the plane before had just taken off and we were hurtling down the runway. A friend of mine was travelling to Sweden one day and just after take off the plane dropped suddenly, apparently caused by turbulence created by the plane in front.
Brian Buxton, Stockholm, Sweden

It was an eerie experience

David Cordell, Alexandria, Va
We were driving home from Long Island and suddenly we say thick, black smoke on the opposite side of the bay. We knew something was up but it was not until a few minutes later that we heard on the radio that there had been a plane crash. We managed to get across the first bridge to Staten Island before they closed all the bridges. It was an eerie experience - and hard to explain to my 9 year old whom I am bringing to the UK to visit in December. We will still come but I will be saying a silent prayer throughout the flight.
David Cordell, Alexandria, Va

I might be incredibly ignorant but, after the Concorde disaster all Concorde planes were grounded. Is this going to happen to the Airbus 300? Is seems to be a major design flaw if the tail fin can shear off, then the engines fall off. Surely they should all be grounded and have to gain air safety certificates before they can fly again. It seems incredible that this has not happened.
Graham, Cambridge

I work for an international financial organisation as their Head of Human Resources and as one can gather the sadness of the tragedy on the 11th September was accompanied soon after by layoffs, redundancy etc which caused even more hardship to hundreds of families. I was having a late afternoon snooze when I was woken up by the VP of one of our business units who informed me of the latest AA crash. My feelings was first one of anger and disgust then ones of sadness (when we were told it was an accident) and finally frustration as I felt helpless in fighting destiny. For the New Yorkers, Dominicans and for those loved ones left behind I cannot express in words what they must be going through.
Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE

I was in complete shock upon hearing the news

Elaine Gonzalez, NYC/Dominican Republic
I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and currently reside in NYC. I was in complete shock upon hearing the news and my heart goes out to all the victims and their family members, the Dominican Republic and NYC. These past few months have been extremely difficult for us, and all of these tragedies have led many of us to wonder whether we'll come home after work.. You never know what to expect.
Elaine Gonzalez, NYC/Dominican Republic

It's a tragic day when we all hold our breath hoping that this latest incident is an accident and not another act of terrorism. My thoughts and best wishes to everyone affected by this.
Clare Bush, UK/Canada

I was at a meeting on Monday in a restaurant, when the news came of the plane crash. I have never felt such an emptiness inside, I cannot imagine what those poor people went through in the last moments before the crash. I really hope there is a life after death and that they are at peace. My deepest sympathy to all the relatives and family members. God bless you.
Stuart Courtney, London, England

The past few months in New York have been so very hard on all of us

Katie Stence, New York, NY
The past few months in New York have been so very hard on all of us. Each and every person who lives here has been tested. The time has come for some relaxation, some peace. We all keep hoping for this time, whether silently or aloud, and we all keep wondering when we may feel it. My love and sorrow goes out endlessly to all who have lost loved ones.
Katie Stence, New York, NY

I hope everyone posting here will spare some sympathy for the innocent civilians of Afghanistan who have been killed in recent weeks.
Terra, England

Yet again our city is stricken. I can't help but be reminded of Egyptair flight 990 in 1999. Could that crash be related to September 11? Why was an official report never filed? Why did the FBI never investigate that crash? It seems in light of all these tragedies, there are more questions than answers.
M Stoudt, New York, US

Isn't it too dangerous to build large airports so close to residential areas?

Massimo Licandro, Texas
What a tragedy. My heartfelt condolences to all those people who were on board of American flight 587. Yet a question comes to my mind: isn't it too dangerous to build large airports so close to residential areas?
Massimo Licandro, San Antonio, Texas

Another example of the media ruling our lives. How does a relatively small disaster story from America have higher priority than hundreds more being killed in other countries? If this plane crash is such a high profile incident, then why has the Airbus 300 not been grounded for investigations like Concorde was?
Graham South, UK

August 1998 I was flying from Atlanta to NY. The airports were blocked and closed and we were told it was due to weather. As it was the weekend of the bombings of the Embassy in Africa, it is quite clear they were closed for fear of terrorists. We here think the government has been too quick to deny this "crash" was terrorist. Too afraid to lose more money if people are scared. If we are soldiers on the front we need to know the truth.

As a physician, we protect the patient by working to exclude the most threatening illness - ie the burden is to prove it is not a heart attack, not to start out saying it is just muscle pain in the chest. The analysts are not following this model.
Frances Lewis MD, New York, USA

The death of so many people from one island in the Caribbean is incredibly sad

Eric W, London, UK
The death of so many people from one island in the Caribbean is incredibly sad. Their loss is, proportionately, absolutely enormous, in such a small community where everybody knows everybody. The whole world is falling apart and we're not taking notice.
Eric W, London, UK

Having flown back from New York the day before... you try not to be worried by all the crashes, knowing deep down that it's still a statistically safe mode of transport. Would I get on a plane to New York again? I guess I would. But I'd worry about it far more than I used to.
Matt W, UK

I note that over the weekend 579 people died and 24,000 people were made homeless and destitute by floods in Algeria. Needless to say it was given such a low priority by the news services that nobody knows about it, apart from the 24,000 homeless and destitute people. This attitude helps to explain why the Western world is resented so much.
Chris Cowdery, UK

A friend came running in yelling the terrible news of another plane crash in New York

Julian Kennedy-Mitton, New York, NY, USA
I am a 15-year-old student attending school in Manhattan. I moved here with my family (4 siblings) from Western Canada on August 1st. My entire life has changed after the events of September 11... hearing the first plane flying over my school, the explosion and living in a city still in grief two months later. This last Monday, at school again, a friend came running in yelling the terrible news of another plane crash in New York. Then a school meeting called...all too familiar. When the news was broken, some students broke down in tears, others scared, but one thing was clear: another test had just landed on our shores.
Julian Kennedy-Mitton, New York, NY, USA

A friend and I were actually on a BA plane positioned just next to the runway ready to take off after two more planes when the two passengers sitting in front of us saw the plane fall to the ground and we observed a huge golden explosion, followed by streams of black smoke. None of the planes took off then and we spent a couple of very claustrophobic hours on board before they'd allow us to 'de-plane' and return to the terminal. Many passengers seemed exasperated by the delays and cancellations that ensued - if they had seen the fireball as we did and imagined the people inside I am sure they would have acted a little differently.
David, Manchester, UK

My heart goes out to those who were lost

Suzanne, New York, New York
I was in an airplane en route to New York when the crash occurred. Our pilot told us we were being diverted to another city because "all of the NYC airports had closed". Needless to say, everyone on the plane knew something terrible had happened, but the passengers and crew were utterly calm. When I arrived home later that day, I once again realized that after everything we have been through during the past few months, nothing can break New York's spirit. My heart goes out to those who were lost, and I remain incredibly proud of our emergency services and the citizens of this great city. Those of you who aren't here should pay us a visit.
Suzanne, New York, New York

I'm a JFK-based flight attendant for American Airlines. I was in the air when I heard the news, having laid over in Santo Domingo just the day before. Our crew heard about the accident via an aircraft reporting system, but since details were vague, our Captain elected not to tell the passengers. Knowing that I likely lost friends on the flight, as well as passengers I've come to know over 12 years, it was extremely difficult to put on a "happy face" and tend to our passengers who knew nothing of the disaster. Somehow, we managed... I lost two dear friends on this flight, and am worried about another flight attendant friend of mine who lives 8 blocks from the accident in Rockaway Park. It's truly unbelievable that this has happened in the aftermath of the horrendous terrorist attacks.
Heather Linson, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA

A substantial part flight 587 hit the rear of my neighbor's house setting it ablaze. Just 80 ft from my bedroom were I was just getting ready for work. With the rest of the plane falling just blocks away. I ran out to see if I could help anyone, but by the time I got dress and out the door the NYFD and NYPD were already onsite. With 3-4 Min they were there. I ran back to house, tossed my wife and 2 kids in the mini-van and headed up wind of the smoke, to a relative's house in Belle Harbor. If Flight 587 crashed due to an accident, this is a very strange accident. I want to know how a perfectly normal aircraft falls to pieces in mid-air. If, as reports say, it's a catastrophic mechanical failure, why aren't all A300 being grounded?
Tony, Belle Harbor, NY. US

I live on the same block. When the plane went down, I just couldn't believe my eyes - another tragedy! I tried calling 911, but all the phones were down. I hope and pray that my neighbours who are missing are still alive.
Limmy Macmanner, Queens, NY, USA

I awoke to the sound of the radio, hearing the exact same words - "do we know if it was an accident or an attack?"

David, New York
Yesterday morning, as on September 11th, I awoke to the sound of the radio, hearing the exact same words - "do we know if it was an accident or an attack". Finding out what actually happened did little to dispel the fear that is always in the back of my mind, what's next? We are being asked by the fates to shoulder an extraordinary load. One hopes that the old adage, about it always being darkest before dawn, holds true for New York.
David, New York, NY

New York has suffered enough. I was almost killed in the World Trade Center disaster. Now one of my friends has been killed today in this disaster.
Colin Mitchell, NY, USA

I was driving to work this morning and the next thing I see is a plane going down. It looked like a bomb exploded on the plane.
John Simmons, New York, USA

Another tragedy has touched our lives, this time personally for me. My stepmother was on the plane. My sixteen-year-old half-sister is at home in California and our Dad is here in the UK - he is flying out tomorrow. This horror has reached beyond New York again. When will it all end?
Sue, Macclesfield, UK

I was in New York only last weekend to run the marathon. Thank you NYC for making it the best weekend of my life. You don't deserve this. My heart goes out to all of those people both in Queens and in the Dominican Republic. I read today about the brave fire fighters who rushed to the scene despite being off duty, collecting their apparatus on the way. Be proud of the FDNY.
Adrian, Manchester, England

Why NY, again? No answers, again. London has always felt a bond with NYC and the USA. This time, our heartfelt condolences also go out to the Dominican Republic as well as anyone else affected by this tragedy, which could so easily have happened anywhere.
Alex, London, England

I was sitting in my office, 20 minutes away from heading to Heathrow to catch a flight to JFK when the incident happened. I had to think twice before going, but I did, and the plane was only delayed by two hours. I'm here in NYC and feel perfectly safe - sometimes it's important, although difficult, to think rationally about these things.
Keith Marshall, UK

Entering a colleague's office yesterday, she greeted me with the news that there had been another plane crash in New York. For once I refused to read, listen or watch the news in the hope that it would all go away if I didn't. It hasn't.
Bate Arrah, Ivory Coast

I had just gotten to work and was making coffee when I saw the plane come down. I looked out the window to see the plumes of smoke billowing from the ground

John McKweer, New York, USA
I'm not really sure about what happened this morning but I had just gotten to work early and was making coffee when I saw the plane come down. I wasn't able to take in what was happening at the time as I was so shocked. One of my uncles was killed on September 11. But when what I had just witnessed sank in I looked out the window to see the plumes of smoke billowing from the ground. Instantly I called 911 but the phone was down. I'm not sure what to make of the situation, if it was a terrorist attack or not. But my heart goes out to those affected by this tragedy. The people of New York have been through a lot recently.
John McKweer, New York, USA

Today is a public holiday for most in NY. Travelling on the near empty subway this morning from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I envied the majority of New Yorkers at home resting after two months of tension and fear. Funerals, bomb scares and constant hard luck stories in the media have left everyone empty and weary. Every piece of junk mail is examined and shaken for Anthrax. Now I think of the innocent people resting in those homes who were killed by the crashing plane as well as the passengers who were leaving for a well-deserved break. Is there anywhere we can go without being afraid? When is this going to end?
David Mc, NY, USA

Shortly after 11:30 my Professor held a moment of silence in our class. It is Veteran's Day in the United States but he was thinking about a student that is no longer with us because of September 11. Only a few minutes prior I learnt of a plane that had crashed into a residential area of Queens, NY and I was thinking of, and now praying for, someone too. The one thing I can do is cry. That is what makes me human and I refuse to lose that.
Robin Baker, NY, USA

This is truly a tragedy in a time where the city of New York has been through a lot. Of any city, New York has the spirit and the will to endure such tragic events.
Arvind Suresh, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Three of our employees have left for their homes in Rockaway where their children are home today. We hope and pray that they are safe

Marge, NY, USA
I'm working now in my office building on the upper west side of Manhattan. Most of my co-workers are either listening to the radio or are on-line trying to get the latest on the crash. Three of our employees have left for their homes in Rockaway where their children are home today on account of it being a national holiday. We hope and pray that they are safe.
Marge, NY, USA

I had just left a conference in London tonight and saw the headline on the London Evening Standard - to see such a thing again is so very sad and depressing. To those in the US I can only say that when these things happen we do feel them over here as badly. The mood at London Victoria station tonight was again subdued. For what it's worth we do feel very close to you all in New York and very conscious that London is also a risky place in which to live and work. With warm wishes and condolences from London.
Andrew, London, UK

I want to express my great sympathy to the Americans and to the citizens of New York especially. It seems as if America has to bear all the pain that the world can offer. I want to share it with you. My condolences to the persons who lost their loved ones.
Piper, Berlin, Germany

We as Americans will forever be more aware of this type of unfortunate accident since September 11. As a person that travels frequently to the Dominican Republic my condolences to the families that lost love ones in the American accident.
Louis Barranco, New Port Richey USA

It's sad that such a terrible incident happened again. I pray for the victims of this accident. We will prevail through all of this.
Nitesh, Austin, TX, USA

I was at work when we heard what happened. Our instant reaction was "not again" as was that of most people. We pray that this was a tragic accident and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones and to NY and America as a whole.
Sue, UK

My heart sank when I heard the news today. No words can express the pain and sorrow I feel for every America and especially every New Yorker. I wish I could take all your hurt away, may God bless you all.
Diane, Reading, UK

Will the authorities now immediately ground all Airbus A-300s as they did when Concorde crashed last year?
Paul, Canada

You have to wonder how many people will be afraid of travelling again now this has happened. I am a frequent traveller and plan to postpone as many trips as possible for the foreseeable future.
Marc Anderson, Westfield, NJ, USA

We'll get through this one too

Robert B, New York, USA
Another test. We'll get through this one too. We hope that it's just an unfortunate accident and not another terrorist strike. Since September 11, we're prepared for anything. Until we know what caused the crash, we'll continue to be strong and resolute. Condolences to all those affected.
Robert B, New York, USA

What has happened is absolutely terrible. How this has happened is unbelievable. I hope this will end very soon.
Paul, Wales

I truly hope this is an accident and my sympathies go out to all the families that have lost loved ones. I will live in New York forever because it is the best place in the world.
Charlo, New York, NY

When the first reports were received, I could sense a fear, a worry that both the city and people of NYC have again been the victims of a cruel twist of fate. Although all TV and radio here has switched over into the recently well-rehearsed 'tragedy' mode, there is a certain resilience, registering as only a blip on the emotional radar, that is being demonstrated right now. That we have become so used to horrors like this surely is a bad thing. There is no lengthy talk on the streets about the cause and effect.

There is no rush to blame. There is no rush to be with loved ones. There is almost a resigned attitude that, as Mayor Giuliani has said, "we are being tested again and we will pass this test again" but at what cost? As someone who permanently relocated to NYC only a few months ago after living in the UK all my life, to embrace a culture and work ethic so different from the UK, I am now having more than second thoughts. Should so much really happen to such a town?
Jason Phillips, UK living in NYC

The skyline of America has changed. But not the resolve which makes up a global power. Through all this insanity and tragedy there will be some voice of reason. And everything will change after this. This morning again America is not the same. My thoughts, and tears, are with the souls lost in this incredible tragedy
Riyaz Jabri, New York City, USA

"Not again, surely not again", were my thoughts as soon as I heard the news from the doorman, in the lobby of my Times Square offices. I became nervous and my hands began to perspire. The butterflies that used to flutter in my stomach every time I heard a siren in Manhattan for about a month after the first attacks here have now returned. My relief that this is likely just an accident and not a terrorist activity, is overshadowed by my sorrow for the loss of the families of yet more victims in New York.
Philip, New York, USA

"Oh no, not again" is the sentiment echoing around here. I wish it was an accident, but my gut feeling suggests otherwise.
Nick Willhoft, New York, USA/UK

There is a certain emptiness and palpable fear on the streets

David, New York, USA
I'm up in the largely Dominican neighbourhood of Washington Heights, in Upper Manhattan, and everyone is tuned to Spanish radio stations. There is a certain emptiness and palpable fear on the streets. People are crowding in the bodegas and restaurants looking silently at the television screens.
David, New York, USA

This is just too much for one country to handle. Our hearts go out again to our fellow Americans in NY in their grief. We will never be the same.
Elise, CA, USA

New Yorkers, you are inspiring to watch. I see on TV many men volunteering and helping the firemen with the hoses and equipment. Thank you for reminding the nation of the American spirit of helping wherever needed.
Connie Hecker, USA

A friend of mine that lives in northern New Jersey, near New York, ran off on September 11 to assist with the recovery effort. She phoned me this morning to say: "If I'm not home tonight, you know why. They need my help again." Even in the face of repeated tragedies, humans feel the need to help their fellow man.
Chris, New Jersey, USA

Part of the UN has been placed under lockdown and they have closed off the street to the public until further notice

Danielle Robin, New York, NY
I work in a hotel directly beside the United Nations where many world leaders are currently meeting for the General Assembly. Already on high alert, part of the UN was has been placed under lockdown and they have closed off the street to the public until further notice. Bomb sniffing dogs and metal detectors are being used to check every person that enters the area. We are all in a state of shock and there's heightened anxiety in lieu of what happened just two months ago.
Danielle Robin, New York, NY

This must be heartrending for New Yorkers and relatives of the victims in the plane and on the ground. If it helps at all the American Airlines spokesman just said this plane was on a routine maintenance "A" overhaul yesterday so I think it seems most likely a maintenance error rather than something worse. God bless you all over there.
Peter, UK

I want express my deepest sympathy to families who might have lost someone in this horrific plane crash. The city of New York has been witnessing sad moments ever since the attack on the World Trade Center. We hope not to hear of any more plane crashes.
Olugbenga Ogunsemowo, Nigeria

Even in the remote mountains of Pennsylvania we are affected. My patients are frightened, anxious and depressed.
Dr Julie Ann Floyd, USA

Before September 11, this would have been a horrific accident. Now all we can think is "Oh God, please not again". My thoughts and prayers are with the already grieving city.
Rachel Johnson, USA

My condolences to the American people, especially in the New York area.
Emal, Dominica

Just when we had swallowed what happened on September 11, another tragedy befalls upon NYC to make us feel the way we did that awful day. No words can express my deepest condolences for the families of all the victims.
Joanne Liddell, UK/USA

New York has suffered greatly over the past few months and this will not help at all

Rachel, UK
Yet more people have lost their lives due to an aircraft incident. All our prayers are with those who are still waiting to hear news of lost loved ones and those who have been lost. New York has suffered greatly over the past few months and this will not help at all.
Rachel, UK

Let's hope it's not another horrific attack, the city of NY has already been through enough tragedy. Our thoughts are once again with all concerned.
Stuart Cross, UK

I was in Battery Park two months ago and witnessed with my own eyes the horrors of the World Trade disaster. My heart and prayers go out to everyone back home. May this awful event not be caused by an act of terror.
Jeannine, USA/UK

In times such as this, words may mean very little to families of the victims. I hope thoughts and prayers of millions of people worldwide can make them feeling better.
Kenny, Singapore

To my right I can see where the World Trade Center used to be. To my left, I can see what remains of the billowing smoke of flight 587

Dan, New York, NY, USA
I'm sitting here on the 29th floor of my office building, which overlooks the East River. To my right I can see where the World Trade Center used to be. To my left, I can see what remains of the billowing smoke of flight 587. Although the mood is subdued, for the most part, people are continuing with their daily routines.

There haven't been too many first hand reports of commuting problems as most people had already arrived at work. No one is discussing the attacks of 11 September nor are there any speculations that today's crash is somehow related to the terrorist attacks. People are discussing airline safety in general with particular emphasis on JFK airport which has had a series of tragedies in recent years. People are hoping for survivors, but expecting the worst.
Dan, New York, NY, USA

I'm on the 16th floor of a skyscraper looking out onto 3rd Avenue and 55th street. There's very little traffic for this time of day. All the bridges and tunnels have been closed down for now. Everyone is nervous and jumping at loud noises. We're all hoping it's just a terrible accident and not another terrorist attack.
Catherine Penfold, UK in USA

I just heard the terrible news. Yet more tests for the people of America. Be brave, our hearts go out to you.
Jim, Manchester, UK

My condolences go out to the families and friends who lost their loved ones both on September 11 and today. I think it is another one of the tests by God, for our own doings. Time to think and time to reflect, I should say.
Bond, NJ, USA

Regardless of how this disaster occurred, it is one more tragedy that New York will live with. It is easy to feel useless from afar. All we can do is hope for survivors.
Katy, UK

Our thoughts must be with the families and friends of those who lost their lives and with the already hard-pressed NY Emergency Services. I hope and pray that this was not a terrorist act.
Dealga O'Callaghan, England

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