Passengers left stranded at airports

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

CHICAGO -- Passengers were stranded at Chicago airports and airlines scrambled to accommodate them Monday after a plane crash in New York City led to the suspension of operations at airports there.

Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Monique Bond said flights "going in and out New York's airports today have been suspended until further notice." There are 46 departures out of O'Hare International Airport to the New York area every day and 16 out of Midway Airport, Bond said.

An American Airlines jetliner en route to the Dominican Republic broke apart and crashed moments after takeoff Monday from Kennedy Airport, setting homes ablaze.

American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said flights from Chicago to Newark and LaGuardia were suspended until at least 4 p.m. Monday.

Service to nearby White Plains, N.Y. could resume before that, she said. American doe not fly into Kennedy from Chicago

Fagan said the airline would work with stranded passengers to get them out later Monday or early Tuesday.

Christianna Toler arrived at O'Hare Monday morning for a flight to LaGuardia. When flights do resume, the New York resident said she won't be afraid to get on board.

"There's more car accidents than there are plane crashes," she said. "If it's your time to go, it's your time to go."

Jim McNamara, a pharmaceutical salesman from Chicago, was at O'Hare and thought he was headed to Dallas for a business meeting when it was canceled in light of the crash. He said he's not scared to fly.

"I don't know if scared is the word. I'm more concerned, but I feel (the security personnel) are doing their job," he said.

Bond said airport officials in Chicago hadn't been instructed to take any additional security measures.

"We continue to remain vigilant. ... We are already on a heightened alert and we will continue to remain on heightened alert as long as we need to," she said.

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