Days of Our Discontent: The crash of American Airlines flight 587

Homes burn in Belle Harbor, New York after the crash of American Airlines flight 587. (AP)
An American Airlines Airbus A300. (Aerospace Technology)
The route of American Airlines flight 587. (Google + own work)
N14053, the aircraft involved in the accident, seen here in 1999. (Gerard Helmer)
Wake turbulence behind a large airplane. (Bernal Saborio)
A rough visualization of the airplane’s movements. Accurate in concept, but not necessarily in magnitude. (National Geographic/Seconds from Disaster)
This animation shows only one possible way in which the flight went down. Witnesses did not agree about whether the plane was in a flat spin or a dive. (National Geographic/Seconds from Disaster)
Footage from the streets of Belle Harbor taken shortly after the accident shows the chaos of the scene. (WNBC)
Houses burn minutes after the crash. (AP)
A closer view of burning homes at Newport and Beach 131st. (AP)
Flight 587’s tail is recovered from Jamaica Bay. (Anthony Correia)
The stabilizer’s main attachment fittings. (NTSB)
Recovery crews comb through the wreckage in search of bodies. (Jim Bourg)
The site where one of the engines damaged a house and destroyed a boat. (Tamara Beckwith)
Another view of the house hit by an engine. (Newsday)
An aerial view of the main impact area after the fire was extinguished. (NOAA)
Recovery crews search for body parts at the main crash site. (Jim Bourg)
Of the house which the airplane hit most directly, nothing remained. (Shaul Schwartz)
Part of the plane’s wing and fuselage lie amid the rubble. (Shaul Schwartz)
A comparison of the rudder pedal forces on the A300–600 vs. other aircraft. The accident aircraft type is at the bottom; the ones at the top are earlier versions. (NTSB)
Firefighters swarm the accident site hours after the crash. (New York Daily News)
Firefighters erected an American flag amid the wreckage, evoking the flags placed on the rubble of the World Trade Center after 9/11. (Shaul Schwartz)
One of the engines landed at this Texaco gas station, narrowly missing a fuel tanker. (Shepard Sherbell)
Random pieces of debris were scattered for blocks. (Neville Elder)
NYPD officers at the scene of the disaster. (John-Marshall Mantel)
The American flag over a ruined house. (Jim Bourg)
Pieces of the airplane lie in someone’s backyard. (John-Marshall Mantel)
Firefighters rest amid the rubble. (Newsday)
Another view of the house which was hit by an engine. (Jim Bourg)
Today, a memorial stands in Rockaway Park, a few blocks from the crash site. (The Rockaway Wave)



Analyzer of plane crashes and author of upcoming book (eventually™). Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit or by email at

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