New York

Remembering the Victims of Flight 587, Which Crashed in Queens 16 Years Ago

Friends and family of the 265 people who died in one of New York City's worst airline tragedies gathered Sunday to remember their loved ones. 

A bell rang at 9:16 a.m. to mark the moment when the plane crashed, followed by a moment of silence. Then the victims' names were read out loud. 

"To everyone, who, 16 years later, still I'm sure feels lonely sometimes, I want to say to you that the city of New York is here with you today and we will be here with you tomorrow," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We will be here with you always.

American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in the Rockaways 16 years ago. The plane had been headed to the Dominican Republic. All 260 people on board died, as well as five people on the ground in Belle Harbor, Queens. 

Tito Bautista was overcome with grief as he placed flowers at the memorial for the victims, one of whom was his father. Each year he brings flowers and each year, he says, it doesn't get any easier. 

"That's my love, that's my dad. The best dad in the world," he said.  

Kharyana Carty was 1 years old when she lost her aunt, step mother and little brother to the crash. 

"I see the pictures and I get sad. Sometimes I cry, because I wanted to be able to meet them," she said. 

The plane crashed just two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, sparking fears it may have been terrorism. Federal investigators later concluded pilot error was to blame. 

De Blasio arrived on time at this year's ceremony, unlike his first year in office when he missed the moment of silence and angered mourners.

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