- NEW YORK (CNN) --
An American Airlines jet with 255 people on board crashed Monday in a residential
neighborhood after taking off from New York's John F. Kennedy International
- American Airlines Flight 587 went down at 9:17 a.m. EST
in the Rockway section of the New York City borough of Queens about five
miles from Kennedy airport.
- A senior Bush administration official told CNN initial
indications are that there was an explosion aboard the plane, an Airbus
A300, but that the source of the explosion is unknown.
- New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said there were two crash
sites -- one where the plane landed and another where an engine landed.
Both were about six blocks from a school building. The school was closed
for the Veterans Day holiday.
- The plane was scheduled to leave at 8:40 a.m. EST, but
takeoff was delayed until 9:14 a.m.
- The plane was en route from New York to Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic. American Airlines said the plane was carrying 246 passengers
and nine crew members.
- An eyewitness told CNN, "I was in my kitchen ...
and I saw the plane hit the house behind my house. It was so low, I was
ducking almost, then huge fireballs, and I jumped out of the ... window
of my house.
- "I ran right across the street ... it's unbelievable,"
she said, overcome by emotion. "It sounded like two planes. It was
flying too low, and then it hit. It was like a bomb exploded."
- At least four houses were on fire, and a huge plume of
smoke could be seen rising from the sites. The New York Fire Department
dispatched 44 firetrucks and 200 firefighters to the scene. Giuliani declared
a Level One emergency, mobilizing all available police, fire and emergency
- Giuliani said his first response to the crash was, "Oh
- Latest developments
- ** All three New York-area airports -- Kennedy, LaGuardia
and Newark -- closed after the crash. Kennedy was reopened for the arrival
of flights already in the air.
- ** Both national and international air traffic were affected.
In Los Angeles, California, airport officials said flights to the three
New York-area airports were grounded. British Airways said it had two flights
en route to New York at the time of the crash. A spokesman said those planes
would be diverted. A Lufthansa flight to New York was grounded.
- ** All of New York's bridges and tunnels were closed
after the crash, but they were later reopened to outbound traffic.
- ** CNN confirmed President Bush postponed a scheduled
meeting with Russian and American reporters so he could meet with advisers
to discuss the crash. "The president is on top of it. They're alert;
they're watching everything else all over the country," Giuliani said.
"So I think people should remain absolutely calm. This can be handled,
and we're just being tested one more time. We're going to pass this test,
- ** Asked if terrorism was suspected, Federal Aviation
Administration spokesman Bill Schumann said, "All options are open
at this time. We have very limited information."
- ** The Pentagon said surveillance flights were going
on in the area at the time of the crash and nothing unusual had been spotted.
- ** The United Nations went into a partial lockdown after
the crash. No cars or pedestrians were allowed to enter the United Nations,
which is holding a high-level General Assembly debate. The U.N. Security
Council's president issued a statement expressing shock at the news of
the crash and offering "heartfelt sympathies to the people of the
United States and families of those who lost their lives." (<2001/US/11/12/un.lockdown/index.htmlFull
- ** The Empire State Building was evacuated as a security
- ** About 200 family members of passengers on the plane
were waiting at the Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo,
said Dominican customs official Evelyn Aredondo. "People are watching
TV, waiting to hear something," she said. "They are very upset."
- ** American Airlines set up a telephone number for family
members to call for information. The number is 1-800-245-0999.
- © 2001 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.