Monday, 8 December 2008

The forgotten tragedy

I have thought intermittently for a few months about the crash of an American Airlines plane into a neighbourhood of Queens, New York, in November 2001, killing over 260 people. So shortly after 9/11, the immediate thought was, of course, terrorism; and when it turned out to be a more prosaic mix of engineering failure and pilot error, it disappeared from public consciousness, in my memory at least, almost immediately. This is remarkable considering that this was an airliner that plunged into the streets of New York - almost as cinematic an image as the Twin Towers attack itself - and in view of the chaos that ensued, with all of New York's bridges and tunnels, and all three airports, being shut.

But this was a time of emails being exchanged swapping breathless, and mostly untrue, accounts of "the Stock Exchange being evacuated because a bomb has been found", and so on; and a disaster that wasn't the result of terrorism somehow simply didn't count.

This was probably natural and inevitable at the time. But I find it interesting that this event hasn't seeped back into public consciousness. It has just been lost.

The Wiki entry on it is here.

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