Blanketed by rainy, gray skies, hundreds prayed and wept yesterday over the graves of three Long Island teenagers who died in a fiery car accident in Pennsylvania Saturday, and police began what they said will likely be a weeks-long, painstaking investigation into the crash.
Family and friends gathered at a prayer service, burial and funeral - all held jointly for the three dead and three critically injured boys who had been inseparable for years.
Many were trying to make sense of the accident that happened when the teenagers borrowed a family SUV early Saturday during a vacation in the
"In our belief, each one that gets born on earth has a particular moment to live," said Dr. Mohamed Rabbat, father of Mostafa Rabbat, 16, of Williston Park, who died. "When we went over there, it was their time to go."
Family and friends remembered Mostafa, Ahmed Elzanaty, 14, of Dix Hills and Omer Abdelmonem, 14, of Williston Park as typical teens who loved to joke, play sports and surf the Internet.
Omer's brother, Ahmed Abdelmonem, said the night before the crash, a large group of boys were hanging out at the Split Rock Resort near Lake Harmony in Kidder Township, Pa., where about 160 others in their Muslim-American community had traveled for a weekend getaway. When some of the teenagers got tired and went to their rooms at the Galleria hotel, others met Karim Abu-Elfadel in the lobby, he said.
"They didn't want to go to sleep," said Mohamed Elzanaty, father of Ahmed Elzanaty. "All of a sudden [early the next morning], the police came and said ... there was a terrible accident. Who were the parents of the six kids? We started checking."
Elzanaty sighed deeply once, twice, his hands clasped tightly, at a gathering of families yesterday afternoon. "Finally, it came out that it was my son," he said...