brick and mortar

February 13, 2009

Continental Flight 3407 Crashes Outside Buffalo, NY: 49 Dead

Filed under: Life,News — brick @ 11:56 am
Tags: , , , , ,

My heart and prayers go out to everyone on board as well as their family and friends…Thank goodness that none of my family were heading back to Buffalo today.

The plane crashed into a residential home, 44 passengers, 4 crew, and 1 person on the ground perished.

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From CNN

The plane carried 44 passengers and a crew of 4, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. All the people aboard the plane and one person in the house were killed in the crash, which occurred in the hamlet of Clarence Center, N.Y., said Chris Collins, the Erie County executive.

Two other people in the house, a woman and child, suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital, Mr. Collins said. Michael P. Hughes, a spokesman for Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Williamsville, N.Y., said that the two had been treated and released.

The plane, Continental Connection Flight 3407, crashed about 10:20, five minutes before it was due to land. The plane — a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 with 74 seats and twin turboprop engines — was on approach to land. It was operated by Colgan Airways, a feeder airline for Continental.

David Bissonette, the emergency coordinator for Erie County, speaking at a news conference about 4 a.m., said the plane made “a direct hit” on the house, which officials said was located at 6038 Long Street in Clarence Center, part of the Town of Clarence.

Initial reports indicate that ice played a major role in the crash of flight 3407.

The Buffalo News reports:

Just minutes after Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed, air traffic controllers began quizzing other pilots about the icy conditions over Buffalo.

A recording of those conversations Thursday night suggests ice may be one of the suspected causes of the nation’s deadliest air crash in more than two years.

“Delta 1998, you getting any icing where you’re at?” a Buffalo air traffic controller asked just minutes after Continental’s 74-seat aircraft went down, killing 49 people.

“We picked it up on the way down,” the pilot reponds. “I don’t think it’s building any more here but about 6,500 (feet) down to 3,500 (feet) maybe.”

Over the next several minutes later, several other pilots chime in.

“We’re picking up prime ice here,” one pilot tells the tower at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

“We’ve been picking up prime ice for the last 10 minutes or so,” adds another pilot heading into Buffalo.

The tape — released by the Web site http://www.liveatc.net — clearly indicates when pilots became aware of the crash of the Q400 Bombardier flying from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

At the time, conditions at the airport in Cheektowaga included light snow, fog and 17 mph winds.

“It doesn’t appear to be building,” one pilot answers when asked about the ice. “We’ve got about a half inch, about a quarter inch of ice from the descent.”

Again, there’s a long pause before the air traffic controller confirms for pilots that the Continental plane has crashed.

“We did have a Dash 8 over the marker that didn’t make the airport,” he tells the pilots. “He appears to be about 5 miles away from the airport.”

Prior to the crash, the voice of a female pilot on Flight 3407 can be heard communicating with air traffic controllers, and neither the pilot nor the controller sounds upset.

Shortly after the pilot is asked to fly at 2,300 feet, the controller tries to contact the plane again.

“Colgan 3407 approach?” the tower asks.

When the pilot fails to respond, the controller tries again.

“Colgan 3407 Buffalo?” the controller asks.

Again, no response.

“Colgan 3407,” she says a third time.

Still, no response.

At that point, another controller asks the pilot of a nearby Delta Air Lines plane if he can see the Continental plane.

“Delta 1998, look off your right side about 5 miles for a Dash 8. Should be about 2,300 (feet). Do you see anything there?” the tower asks.

“Uh, negative,” the Delta pilot answers.

Several minutes pass before the tower makes one final plea: “Colgan 3407, how do you hear?”

Again, no answer.

At that point, the tower suggests that local police be asked to search the area where the plane went down.

“We need to find out if anything is on the ground,” the controller says. “The aircraft was five miles out and all of sudden there’s no response from the aircraft.”

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