Schwach Pens New Take on Flight 587 Crash


On November 12, 2001, about 9:16 a.m., American Airlines Flight 587 en route to the Dominican Republic, suddenly broke apart and crashed down in Belle Harbor, minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport. All 260 people aboard the Airbus A300, including five infants, were killed.

Was it simply malfunction or an act of terrorism? Rockaway native, Howard Schwach, in his riveting new book, Flight 587 Down, A Novel of Terrorism and Betrayal, pens a fictionalized account that gives theories as to what may have happened that fateful day.

Schwach, already a published author with several young adult educational books under his belt, as well as being a retired teacher, and former editor of The Wave newspaper, emphasizes that his book is purely fiction. “When I was editor of The Wave, I researched and covered this story for five years. I don’t believe that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told the truth about how the plane really came down. However, I decided to play on a few conspiracy theories on what really happened, and this is how this fictionalized account came about,” Schwach said.

Schwach’s book has quite the cast of characters all entangled in a streaming plot of religious fanaticism juxtaposed with deceit, murder and lust. The two terrorists that were recruited to shoot down the plane. A community newspaper editor of the Beachcomber with a son that is a cop, who becomes lovers with a Muslim newswoman investigating the story. An eyewitness who actually saw what happened, but can not come forward because he faked his death in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack as he did not want to return to his former life with his wife because he found a new love, and hated his job. So he disappears, but is tormented because he cannot go to the police since everyone would know he was alive.  A local guy, who finds a piece of the wreckage, doesn’t realize that he has a crucial clue, which could prove that the plane was shot down. He tries to sell the wreckage on eBay, but is soon after assassinated by one of the terrorists. The cops can’t figure out why he was killed until they discover what he was trying to sell. With all of these clues, the detectives start putting the pieces together.

The plot thickens when the Beachcomber editor hosts a meeting for eyewitnesses to share what they know. The man who was pretending to be dead, realizes that he has to come forward and reveal his secret.

Schwach started the book in 2006. “After writing children’s non-fiction books, one of the goals on my bucket list was to write an adult fiction novel. The crash seemed like a good topic. However, I got derailed because though I was retired as a teacher, I was busy being editor of The Wave and well, just life. Then my wife passed away and I couldn’t write. I would sit down and look at it, and say to myself, ‘I have to get back to this.’ At this point the book was three quarters written. A year later, I started seeing this woman, who said to me, ‘Why don’t you finally finish it.’

“So I did. However, publishing a book these days is pretty competitive and difficult. I took this course on how to self-publish your own eBook, and finally here it is.

“I didn’t necessarily write this book for the money or to write the great American novel. My bucket list was not to go skydiving or travel, I just wanted to get an adult fiction book published,” Schwach said.

Flight 587 Down, A Novel of Terrorism and Betrayal, can be purchased on all eBook platforms, including and iBook.

Sign up via our free email subscription service to receive notifications when new information is available.