Mayor Bill de Blasio: I want to thank everyone for joining today in memory of those we've lost, to honor them. I want to thank, for her extraordinary leadership and support for all these families, I want to thank Belkis Lora. Belkis, you have been such a source of hope and a source of comfort for all these families. Thank you. So, this time we gather, the different reality that we're living through right now. And even with the challenges of the coronavirus, we still come together. We still come together to remember, and we still come together in solidarity with each other, and nothing can stop us from feeling that love and support for each other. We think back to the time of this tragedy, just weeks after 9/11, we think of the moment people heard the painful, horrible news. We think of the tragedies we've experienced in the past, and we always hope we'll never see anything like it again. Now we find ourselves in a time that we could not have imagined. But the fact that you're still here gives me such hope. The fact that the love you feel for those you lost, and the love for each other sustains you, is a reminder of the strength of the people of the Dominican community, the strength of all New Yorkers.
I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this ceremony. It's always so important each year to have the participation of the NYPD and the FDNY. I want to thank Officer Frank Zito and Firefighter James Sorokac for helping us to have the kind of memorial that these loved ones deserve. I want to thank the Consul General. Consul General Jaquez, we welcome you to New York City, and we thank you for being here and for your heartfelt words. I want to thank the elected officials who have come here to join in solidarity with all of you. Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. I also want to thank the Assembly Member who represents this community here in the Rockaways. Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato, and representing the Governor and such a great leader in his own right, Dr. Guillermo Linares. We thank all of you. Your presence strengthens all of us.
We remembered today, 265 good people we lost. We remember the pain, but also we remember the heroism of all those who in that moment rushed to the scene to save lives, to try their best, the first responders, the neighbors from the community, everyone who tried to see if there was any way to save the lives of those on that flight and those on the ground. And then we think about how the community came together, the whole Dominican community and the community of New York City to love and support all the good families, all those present today, and all those who couldn't be here today. Scripture says, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” And we know the pain never goes away, but we do feel the comfort of each other. We do feel the support of each other. And we do know that memory is powerful and all our loved ones, they're watching right now, they're feeling our love and we will never forget them. We will never forget the passengers of Flight 587. I say, God blessed them and God bless all of you.
Flight 587 crashed in the Belle Harbor section of the Rockaways while taking off from Kennedy Airport on its way to the Dominican Republic.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) attributed the disaster to the first officer's overuse of rudder controls in response to wake turbulence from a preceding Japan Airlines (Japan Airlines Flight 47) Boeing 747-400 that took off minutes before it.
According to the NTSB, the aggressive use of the rudder controls by the first officer stressed the vertical stabilizer until it snapped off the aircraft. The airliner's two engines also separated from the aircraft before impact due to the intense forces. 260 total people on the plane and 5 people on the ground were killed.