Continental flight 3407, a commuter Bombardier aircraft, crashed into a home in the Clarence Center community Thursday evening at approximately 10:25 p.m. killing 49 people.
The crew of Continental flight 3407 has been identified by Airline officials as Captain Marvin Renslow, First Officer Rebecca Shaw, Flight Attendants Matilda Quintero and Donna Priscot. An off duty crew member was also on board at the time of the crash, he was Captain Joseph Zuffoletto.
Witnesses and responders indicate the devastating crash of Continental flight 3407 could have easily wiped out the entire neighborhood. Emergency service responders indicated that the two-story home was the only home involved with superficial damage to surrounding homes. Emergency workers evacuated at least 12 other homes in the area as a precaution.
Continental connection flight 3407 was headed for Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The 74-seat Bombardier plane departed from the Newark, N.J., airport near New York City. Although conditions were reported with some light snow, fog and light wind in the area when Continental flight 3407 went down, it is unclear as to the cause of the crash. Other planes reported ice buildup on wings, but no determination has been made at this time.
Witnesses reported hearing the Colgan Air airplane making sputtering sounds as it descended, then burst into flames as it hit the building, instantly turning the two-story home into a pile of debris.
One witness reported to CBC News, “I could hear it coming down and it was just like in the movies, where you hear that high-pitched sound. But I could feel it more than I could hear it. And there was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It didnt take more than a few seconds to know that it was a plane.”
The home hit by Continental flight 3407 was occupied at the time of the crash. One man who resided at the home died as a result of the crash. A woman and a young child were in the home at the time of the crash and reportedly survived with injuries and were being treated at a local hospital.
The first responders to the scene will forever remember the crash of Continental flight 3407 as the cries of passengers could be heard amid the fiery wreckage. Despite their cries, all 44 passengers and four crew members perished.
The aircraft, Continental Airlines flight 3407, was operated by Colgan Air, and was a relatively new Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 turboprop. Colgan Air operates as many as 15 of the Q400 aircraft which made headlines in 2007 for problems with their landing gear.
Colgan Air has organized its accident response team and will confirm the identities of the passengers and crew on board flight 3407 as soon as family members have been notified. Representatives from Continental Airlines are assisting Colgan Air in its response to the crash of flight 3407. A center has been set up to assist the family members of the passengers and crew of flight 3407.
Communication between the female pilot of Continental flight 3407 and air traffic controllers could be heard in a recording of the Buffalo air traffic controls radio messages shortly before the crash occurred. In those recordings, neither the controller nor the pilot expressed any concerns or distress that would indicate flight 3407 was in trouble.
The crash of Continental flight 3407 was the first fatal crash of a commercial aircraft in the U.S. since a Comair jetliner crashed on takeoff in Lexington, Kentucky in 2006.
A statement issued by Larry Kellner, chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines said, “Continental extends its deepest sympathy to the family members and loved ones of those involved in this accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the family members and loved ones of those involved in the flight 3407 tragedy.”
Source: www.cbc.ca/world; www.newsday.com