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HUNDREDS ATTEND RITES FOR FLIGHT 587 VICTIMS

Hundreds of people, many weeping and some holding photos of lost loved ones, stood under umbrellas Friday in the quiet Queens neighborhood where Flight 587 crashed three years ago. "I'm here as a way of saying that I love her," said Pedro Munoz, 35, who lost his wife, Yanelly Martinez, 24.

Altogether, 265 people died when American Airlines Flight 587 went down in residential Belle Harbor on Nov. 12, 2001, just after the jet took off from Kennedy Airport on its way to the Dominican Republic.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced plans for a permanent memorial about 15 blocks from the crash site.

The crash devastated two close-knit communities -- the Dominican-American enclave of Washington Heights in upper Manhattan and Belle Harbor, an oceanfront area just south of the airport. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled last month that turbulence prompted the co-pilot to too aggressively move the rudder back and forth. The movement put excessive pressure on the tail, tore off its vertical fin and sent the plane down.

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