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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Crash Sends Shockwaves Across U.S.

CHICAGO -- A fresh wave of fear swept the United States on Monday as a country still bleeding from the attacks of Sept. 11 wondered if terrorism had returned to its shores after the New York air crash.

"I'll never set foot on a plane again," said Barbara Milligan, a retired state of Tennessee employee in Nashville, minutes after routine daytime television programming was again interrupted by pictures from smoking disaster scenes.

There was no confirmation on the cause of the crash of the American Airlines jet near John F. Kennedy Airport. But coming only two months and a day after the four plane hijackings, it set off renewed suspicion and fright.

"My first thought is I hope it's not terrorist-related," said Bonnie O'Donnell, 55, owner of the Maple Lodge Motel in Anoka, Minnesota.

With the ruins of New York's World Trade Center still smoldering, the crash chilled some in the financial community.

"I had a colleague supposed to be coming over here Wednesday night and within a half an hour [of the crash], I heard he wasn't coming," said Dominic Freud, head of European equities trading at SG Cowen.

"I just spoke to one of my clients. He's physically shaking. Having survived two things at the trade center, then, when he saw the crash on TV, he was literally, physically shaking," Freud said.

At Boston's Logan International Airport, where two of the four flights hijacked on Sept. 11 originated, state police ordered TV sets in the terminals that were carrying live coverage of the crash turned off.

Passenger Robert Meehan said a state trooper had walked into the restaurant where he was seated and told the owner to turn off the set.

"We all looked around at him and said, 'Why's that?' He said, 'Well, we're trying to stop panic in the airport,'" Meehan said. "I said, 'This is America. That doesn't happen that way and information is free.'"

Another passenger, Maggie Calvin, said she found the television blackout "insulting to my intelligence ... it's more of a panic if you don't have the information."

And in Tennessee, freelance writer Marjie McGraw said: "I don't know what to think. My God, have terrorists infiltrated the mechanics of planes now? What have the airlines done with all that money the government gave them? What has Congress done about security? It's scary."

There was renewed concern at Chicago's Sears Tower, the tallest U.S. office building, where new security measures including X-ray machines and metal detectors were being put in place even as news of the latest crash spread among the 10,000 people who work in the 110-story building.

Rich Harding, 24, an office worker on the 11th floor, said he and fellow workers instantly thought the crash might be another act of terrorism, setting off fresh jitters.

Susan West, 22, another tower office worker, said her office was abuzz with the news as soon as she arrived at work.

But Stephen Kozicki, 26, a tourist from Georgia on his way to the building's 103rd floor observation deck, said he thought the crash was an accident and would not cancel his visit.

Jerry Gibson, a 35-year-old construction worker working next door to the Sears building watched as a helicopter cruised low near some adjacent skyscrapers. "It's kinda spooky. You never know, I mean, I'm still believing that there are still going to be more terrorist attacks," he said.

In Cincinnati, John Murdough, 83, a retired Cincinnati Bengals official said, "It makes me a little worried about flying, especially because my wife and I have reservations to fly to San Francisco next week.

"This was especially bad because the plane came down in a residential area," he said

Tina Thompson, 24, manager of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Golden Valley, Minnesota, said she was going ahead with plans for a Florida vacation in a few weeks. "There's enough security. If something is going to happen, it's going to happen. I'm not going to put my life on hold," she said.

Clarence Hammel, 79, a retired Cincinnati jewelry executive said, "It's at the point where if I can drive to get somewhere, that's what I'll do in my minivan instead of flying."

But he added, "I tend to feel like I'm not going to crash -- in either a plane or a car -- unless it's meant to be. Besides, we have a daughter in Bangkok and we sure can't drive to get over to Thailand from here."