Almost two month to the day of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Rockaway (Queens), New York on November 12, 2001. Bound for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, the plane had taken off at 9:14 a.m. from JFK Airport and was carrying 260 people. Immediately after takeoff (*according to the NTSB), the plane’s vertical stabilizer and rudder detached and fell into Jamaica Bay, subsequently causing its engines to fail and separate as well. The jet crashed into a residential neighborhood killing all on board and five on the ground. The crash was the second major tragedy in New York in eight weeks.
Of course, the first thought on everyone’s mind: “Was this another terrorist strike?” The plane’s rather strange plunge from the sky was (and still remains) somewhat of a mystery, fueling suspicion that this was an attack rather than an accident. However, if this wasn’t enough, in the days immediately following the crash of Flight 587, strange rumors began appearing on the Internet concerning Firefighter Michael Moran. He had effectively dared Osama bin Laden to come and get him.
Having lost his brother and 12 colleagues in the trade center, Moran said: “In the spirit of the Irish people, Osama bin Laden, you can kiss my royal Irish ass.
He added: “I live in Rockaway and this is my face.” Snopes
Moran’s “kiss my royal Irish ass” was translated into “come and get me,” inciting the Satanic Nomad bin Laden to accept his challenge. In addition to Moran, many NYC firefighters and policemen live in the Rockaways; hence, giving bin Laden another symbolic killing field to call his own. Because Moran’s neighborhood was in the ordinary and direct flight path for planes out of Kennedy (unlike the World Trade Center and the Pentagon) no special (and extraordinary) flying was even required. In fact, no flying at all would be required; it would simply be a matter of gaining access to the cockpit and overpowering the pilots.
While this supposed attack is in all probability just another internet rumor (an urban legend), it’ still a remarkable coincidence that American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in this very neighborhood: home of bold and enraged fireman whose fighting words were uttered just a few weeks earlier.
*The A300-600, which took off minutes after a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 on the same runway, flew into the larger jet’s wake, an area of turbulent air. The first officer attempted to keep the plane upright with aggressive rudder inputs. The strength of the air flowing against the moving rudder stressed the aircraft’s vertical stabilizer and eventually snapped it off entirely, causing the aircraft to lose control and crash. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the enormous stress on the rudder was due to the first officer’s “unnecessary and excessive” rudder inputs, and not the wake turbulence caused by the 747. The NTSB further stated “if the first officer had stopped making additional inputs, the aircraft would have stabilized”. Contributing to these rudder pedal inputs were characteristics of the Airbus A300-600 sensitive rudder system design and elements of the American Airlines Advanced Aircraft Maneuvering Training Program. Wikipedia