Rockaway Residents Describe Horror Of American Airlines Crash
11/12/2001 05:46 PM
Ordinary people saw the unimaginable right outside their window Monday morning when an American Airlines jetliner carrying more than 250 people crashed in the Rockaways, Queens.
Copyright © 2008 NY1 News
The plane went down near Beach 131st Street, destroying as many as six homes, damaging six others and sparking a large fire.
"I couldn't believe what I was looking at," one eyewitness told NY1. "I ran out of the house, I evacuated my family, and we ran towards the beach and saw the mushroom cloud, the flames and the smoke. Then we jumped in my car and headed east, away from the smoke."
Another Rockaway resident said, "We didn't know what was going on. We just saw people running towards the corner and then we saw a cloud of black smoke. It was like it was night time."
"I looked out my bedroom window thinking the Concorde was coming through, and a huge piece of what I thought was a re-entry coming from outer space flew past my bedroom window," said another woman who witnessed the disaster. "And then I saw another piece, which apparently was the engine, and I just started to shake and I said, 'My God, we're being bombed.' I didn't know what to do. I looked down the street and the block was on fire. And my niece's house is there and I don't think she got out."
It's yet another tragedy for a community that lost nearly 100 in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
As one resident of the Rockaways put it, "The community is going to pull together, but it's going to be tough. Very tough."
- Greg Kelly