The crashing of a plane into a house just outside Buffalo, New York, is a tragic reminder of how truly miraculous was the landing in the Hudson River, the “Miracle on the Hudson.” Reuters reported that a Continental Connection flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Buffalo, New York, crashed late Thursday evening (February 12) into a private residence in Clarence Center, a suburb ten miles outside Buffalo, killing all 48 people aboard the plane and one person inside the house. Two others inside the house at the time escaped with only minor injuries.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), little is known about the cause of the crash, but the plane went down in poor weather conditions (rain and sleet). Erie County Executive Chris Collins said at a news conference Friday that contact between the control tower and the plane had been lost just before it crashed, but officials involved knew of no trouble with the plane itself.
Dave Bissonette, emergency coordinator of Clarence Center, said that the only thing recognizable of the plane was the tail. ‘It’s remarkable that it only took one house, as devastating as it was. It could have easily wiped out that whole neighborhood.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, when asked if there could be a possible terrorist connection, stated that all indicators pointed toward an “air safety incident.”
Control tower personnel told the Buffalo News that the plane’s crew had reported some mechanical problems en route to Buffalo.
Plane crashes are relatively infrequent, despite the sensationalized media coverage each time a crash occurs. According to FearlessFlight.com, chances of an individual being killed in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million, while chances of being killed in a car crash are 1 in 5000. This equates to an individual flying once a day for 15000 years before they are involved in an airplane crash. The website quotes a Time magazine article from 2006 that states that a person is 500 times more likely to die in an automobile accident than they are to die in a plane crash.
But stories involving plane crashes are 150 to 200 times more likely to be headline news.
Such was the case of the crash that occurred in a San Diego community in December 2008 when an F/A 18 military jet crashed into a residence, killing two people inside the house. Although the pilot was able to eject safely, according to Orato, the plane crashed in University City, killing four in the house it impacted and destroying two more houses and four vehicles. The deaths of two small children in the crash kept the story in the news for days.
That the crew of Flight 1549 was able to accomplish the “Miracle on the Hudson,” that all 155 people aboard the plane walked away from a plane crash in the middle of New York City without harming others, becomes more remarkable by the day.