SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Hilda Yolanda Mayor escaped the World Trade Center attack long enough to board the jet that crashed into a New York neighborhood on Monday.
"She was my treasure," her mother, Virginia Hernandez, said from the family's Dominican home, where relatives wailed their grief.
The Sept. 11 suicide hijackings on the Trade Center, where Mayor worked in a first-floor restaurant, left 41 Dominicans among the dead and missing. The anguish of victims' cries through Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo indicated the American Airlines crash has taken a toll even closer to home. Flight 587 from New York's Kennedy Airport to Santo Domingo carried 260 people, mostly Dominicans.
About half a million Dominicans live in New York, one of its largest immigrant groups, according to consular officials.
Mayor worked at the Au Bon Pain restaurant on the first floor of one of the Trade Center towers and escaped unharmed after the Sept. 11 attack
Like many others, she had built a life firmly rooted in two worlds: a U.S. citizen who worked in Manhattan, she also stayed in touch with relatives in her Caribbean birthplace near San Pedro de Macoris.
The 26-year-old had planned to vacation with her mother and her two children, who had arrived from New York two weeks earlier.
"We were going to make a meal. We were going to have all the family together," Hernandez said.
It was one of many plans that evaporated as lives were cut short Monday.
President Hipolito Mejia declared three days of national mourning.
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