At least 49 killed in plane crash near Buffalo, NY

February 13, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Forty-nine people died when a Continental Connection airplane crashed into a house in Clarence Center, NY shortly after 10:15 p.m. Thursday, setting off a huge fire that could be seen miles away. The commuter plane “basically dove” into a Buffalo-area house while coming in for a landing.

The dead included 44 passengers, four crew members and a person on the ground. One person in the home that the plane struck was killed, and two others inside were able to escape with minor injuries.

The two who escaped were later named by hospital officials as Karen Wielinski, 57, and her daughter Jill, 22, The Buffalo News reported.

It was the first fatal crash of a commercial airliner in the United States in 2 1/2 years.

Witnesses heard the twin turboprop aircraft sputtering before it went down in light snow and fog around 10:20 p.m. Thursday.

A nurse at Erie County Medical Center said the hospital’s second shift had been told to stay late to treat survivors but was sent home before midnight.

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority spokesman C. Douglas Hartmayer said there was little communication between the plane, Flight 3407, and the tower before the crash. Crew members aboard the flight from Newark Airport had not reported mechanical problems as they approached Buffalo.

The plane was a Bombardier Q400, a twin-engine turboprop with a passenger capacity of about 74.

“I was told by the tower the plane simply dropped off the radar screen,” Hartmayer said.


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