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Bon Journal

Deja Vu

A plane crashed in New York.

A passenger jet crashed in a residential neighbourhood in Queens, near JFK Airport.

I ran to the other side of our London office where a small crowd had already gathered around a television set. It was after 2 pm GMT. All we could see was smoke.

Was the plane taking off or landing? How many people were on board? Did it hit anything? Were there any survivors? What happened? What caused it?

I was sure everyone's initial reaction was that it was a deliberate act of terrorism. We were waiting for evidence to disprove our guess. And none was forthcoming.

I called my colleagues in New York. They had just moved into their new offices on the 25th floor. Some were still arriving at the office. All bridges and tunnels were closed as a precaution, they said.

One colleague's house was a few miles from the crash scene. He couldn't see or smell anything from his home. But he did inform me that it was Veteran's Day - and most kids were at home.

Bound for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, AA 587 was delayed by one hour. With 246 passengers and 9 crew members on board, the Airbus A300 was also carrying a full tank of petrol. It was the first airplane crash in the US since September 11th.

Whether or not it was accidental or deliberate, this event was like salt on a bleeding wound. How I sympathised those who live and/or work in New York. My friends in Queens - oh - I hope they are all right! And I am so thankful that I'm not in New York right now. I can't bear to witness the horrors again!

12 November 2001 Monday

Related Links:
Freedom of speech: links to speeches, articles, emails post-Sept 11th
Black Tuesday