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Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 14:22 GMT
New air disaster stuns America
New york fire fighters remove wreckage of the AA plane
The crash triggered new calls for tighter security
As Americans struggle to come to terms with the New York plane crash, US papers reflect the sombre mood that has returned to the nation.

"Wounded city finds more tears to shed" reads a headline in the New York Times.

For New York's Newsday too, the pictures from the plane crash in the Queens neighbourhood look all too familiar. "(Monday's) plane crash was the deadly car accident that derails the funeral procession."


Deriving good news from a plane crash that killed hundreds is an unsettling process

New York Times

Likewise, the New York Daily News draws parallels between Monday's tragedy and the 11 September suicide attacks.

"Once again a packed airliner became an instrument of death," the paper says. "New Yorkers could be forgiven for wondering if God was testing them after the city endured its second cataclysm since September 11."

While it is still unclear what caused American Airlines flight 587 to crash shortly after take-off, many papers comment on the strange relief people felt when it emerged that Monday's disaster was probably caused by mechanical failure rather then sabotage.

"Deriving good news from a plane crash that killed hundreds was an unsettling process," says the New York Times, quoting one Long Island resident as saying: "we've come to a state of mind where we cut our losses the second we hear something like that."

New York woman in shock
For many Americans the terror was back
The New York Post says the sense of fear felt by many is closely connected to the attacks on the World Trade Center two months ago. "The renewed sense of alarm (on Monday) is evidence of what September 11 has wrought. Terrorists have managed to sow terror and suspicion - even when they have nothing to do with a particular disaster."

The Boston Globe describes that new sense of fear as a "dull, depressing mental ache".

There is no definite conclusion about the cause of the crash yet, the Globe notes. But "there's one definite conclusion about our reaction to it. After September 11 we fear the worst."

Congress needs to assert federal control over airport security

New York Times

Beyond the effects on the American psyche, many papers note that Monday's crash has dealt another blow to an already jittery airline industry and intensified fears about air travel. Many commentators are calling for better airport security.

The Washington Post writes: "The best way to begin restoring confidence is in the hands of Congress, which should pass legislation now - not in days or weeks - to improve airport security.

"What matters most to travellers is immediate passage of a bill that would produce a highly trained, well-equipped force under a single agency dedicated solely to safety."

The New York Times goes one step further: "Regardless of what caused (Monday's) crash, Congress needs to assert federal control over airport security to restore confidence in the nation's commercial aviation."

The New York Post says that "heads should be rolling".

"Standards - for hiring, training, supervising - must be raised."


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13 Nov 01 | Americas
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