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Probe Into NY Airliner Crash Continues - 2001-11-13


Federal investigators say Monday's crash of American Airlines flight 587 in New York City appears to be an accident due to mechanical failure. But sabotage is not being ruled out at this stage of the investigation. Investigators say the plane crash may have been caused by an electrical short circuit in one of the engines. The cockpit voice recorder was found Monday. Crews are still searching for the flight data recorder.

As the investigation continues, authorities say nothing is being ruled out.

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has the task of trying to comfort a city still on edge after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. One-day after flight 587 came down, the mayor appealed to New Yorkers to find the courage to return to normalcy. "And whether this incident turns out to be an accident, or somehow connected to something, which we do not know the answer to yet, we can not let it psychologically get connected," he said. "And that is really the job for the American people, for all of us. We have to learn psychologically how to deal with things like this, in a way that it does not affect our ability to enjoy our lives."

Meanwhile, residents of Belle Harbor, "beautiful harbor," the quiet residential area of the Rockaway Peninsula where the plane crashed, are trying their best. Children headed back to school with somewhat nervous parents accompanying them.

School Chancellor Harold Levy says teachers are ready to give the extra support and guidance to children. "It is important for us to say to children truthfully what has happened, to provide what reassurance we can, to give them the truth in a way appropriate given the maturity of the children you are talking to," he said. "But also give them enough room to speak their minds, and to grieve, and to be concerned."

The idea is to help people make sense out of another tragedy. Residents of Belle Harbor lost at least 75 of their neighbors in the World Trade Center attack. Now they are grieving for more of their own, killed on the ground Monday after flight 587 crashed into houses, setting them ablaze.

Across the water, Belle Harbor residents gaze at the New York skyline, impressive but minus the World Trade Center's twin towers that collapsed September 11. Today, they gaze at the rubble in their own neighborhood and may well wonder whether "staying close to home" is any safer.

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