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De Blasio's late arrival at plane-crash memorial angers some relatives

Mayor Bill de Blasio attends a ceremony on

Mayor Bill de Blasio attends a ceremony on Nov. 12, 2014 for those who died when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Rockaway, Queens, 13 years ago. He is with Freddy Rodriguez, who designed the memorial. Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

New York's chronically tardy mayor, Bill de Blasio, said he showed up late to a plane-crash memorial service because of a foggy boat ride and "a very rough night" that left him sluggish.

By the time de Blasio arrived -- about 20 minutes late -- to yesterday's service in the Rockaway Park section of Queens, a bell had already tolled and a moment of silence observed at 9:16 a.m. to honor the moment 260 people aboard and five people on the ground died when American Airlines Flight 587, headed to the Dominican Republic, crashed after taking off from Kennedy Airport 13 years ago.

"I was just not feeling well this morning. I had a very rough night, and woke up sluggish. And I should have gotten myself moving quicker," de Blasio said later in the day, at an unrelated news conference.

The ceremony, attended by still-grieving families, was at the arced memorial wall at a park facing the ocean that marks the disaster's site.

De Blasio said he's apologized to grieving family members.

"Just woke up in the middle of the night, couldn't get back to sleep, and felt really sluggish and off-kilter this morning," the mayor said.

His spokeswoman said that fog impeded the mayor's journey aboard an NYPD boat that picked him up at Gracie Mansion, the mayoral residence. A 35-minute trip took close to 50, she said.

Several victims' family members were livid at what they considered disrespect, taking to social media and the press to denounce de Blasio. His office, seeking to manage the furor, issued a supportive statement from the loved one of a crash victim.

De Blasio is rarely on time, routinely arriving late to news conferences, bill signings and other public events.

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