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Old 02-13-2009, 05:49 AM
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LUVMBDiesels LUVMBDiesels is offline
Dead on balls accurate...
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Red Lion,Pa
Posts: 2,207

Very sad news to wake up to...
My Heart goes out to the victims and their families


By Dale Anderson,Phil Fairbanks and Gene Warner
News Staff Reporters
Forty-nine people died when a Continental Express airplane crashed into a house in Clarence Center shortly after 10:15 p.m. Thursday, setting off a huge fire that could be seen miles away.
The dead included 44 passengers, four crew members and a person on the ground.
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.
"There were no souls to bring in and treat," she said.
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.
Listen to the last radio transmission from the plane, call sign Colgan 3407.The crash occurred at 6038 Long St., not far from the Clarence Center Fire Hall on Clarence Center Road. Police said one man was in the residence at the time of the crash.
About 12 other nearby homes were evacuated. Several of them sustained fire damage.
"We had a significant amount of fuel left in the aircraft," said Dave Bissonette, emergency co ordinator for the Town of Clarence. "It was a hazmat situation."
Three people were in the home at 6038 Long St. when the plane crashed.
"Unfortunately, there was a town resident in one home that perished, and two people escaped from that home with minor injuries," Erie County Executive Chris Collins said.
The two who escaped, Karen Wielinski, 57, and her daughter, Jill, 22, were taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, where Kaleida Health officials said they were in stable condition in the emergency room.
"They confirmed they were in the house when the plane hit," Kaleida communications chief Michael P. Hughes said.
Two volunteer firefighters also were being treated at Millard Fillmore Suburban, with injuries not believed to be serious.
Local officials have received a copy of the manifest of passengers aboard the ill-fated flight, but that list has not been released, until all families are notified.
Family members and close friends who were at the airport or arrived from out of town were taken to the Cheektowaga Senior Citizen Center early this morning.
"We're trying to do everything we can for these people," Cheektowaga Police Capt. John Glascott said. "Right now they're grieving."
The National Transportation Safety Board was expected to be on the ground at the crash site by about 6 a.m.
"The site right now is too hot for anyone to start the investigation," Collins said during a 4 a.m. press conference.
At 3:15 a.m.. the wreckage continued to smolder with several hot spots.
Tony Tatro, 35, who lives on Goodrich Road, was driving east on Clarence Center Road just before the crash.
He saw the plane, just above him, heading north, which seemed to be in the exact opposite direction it should have been heading.
"It was [flying] nose down, hardly above the treetops, and its left wing was tilted slightly down," Tatro said. "I did not see any landing gear. I saw the underbelly of the plane fairly well. There was nothing burning on the plane and no physical dam� age. Nothing seemed wrong, except it was on a bad path."
The sound of the plane was labored and unusually loud just before the crash.
Tatro didn't see the crash, but he had no trouble hearing it, even with his car windows closed.
What did he think about the chance of there being any survivors?
"No chance," Tatro replied. "It was a bad, bad impact. It was hot, and the explosion was massive. I couldn't see anyone surviving it."
Chris Kausner of Clarence, whose sister Ellyce was aboard the flight, told The Buffalo News that after he heard about the crash, he called another sister who had gone to pick her up at the airport to see if her plane had landed.
"She said that they told them the plane had landed and was taxiing, but that was not the case," he said.
Kausner said Ellyce was a law student at Florida Coastal University in Jacksonville and was coming home to visit.
Family members of Flight 3407 passengers and crew are asked to contact Continental Airlines at 1-800-621-3263.
In Washington, the National Transportation Safety Board announced that it will be sending a team to Buffalo this morning to investigate the crash.
Lorenda Ward will serve as chief investigator. She has investigated several other plane crashes during her tenure at the agency -- including the fall 2007 crash in Manhattan that claimed the life of New York Yankees pitcher Corey Lidle.
Safety Board Commissioner Steven Chealander and public affairs officer Keith Holloway will accompany Ward to Buffalo. While the agency's investigations usually take months to complete, the agency said it would hold a news conference to discuss the accident in the Buffalo area today.

The crash is America's deadliest since a Comair commuter jet crashed in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 27, 2006. That crash also claimed 49 lives.
David Luce, who lives about 150 yards from the crash scene, on Goodrich Road, said he wasn't surprised to learn that there were so many deaths.
"I can't imagine that anyone survived it," he said. "If you heard that explosion, and you saw how fast the whole area was on fire, it was pretty clear that it was jet fuel burning."
Just before the crash, Luce heard the plane and noticed that it sounded a little funny.
"It sounded quite loud, and then the sound stopped," Luce said. "Then one or two seconds later, there was a thunderous explosion. I thought something hit our house. It shook our whole house."
"There was the initial boom, and then these cannon shots ... these loud secondary explosions, and they went on for about 10 minutes."
Within 5 to 10 seconds, Luce said he saw flames 40 or 50 feet high.
One or two minutes after the crash, Luce had walked to a spot that gave him a clearer view of the scene.
"The house was already flattened. There was no house, just a pile of rubble and still burning."
Luce said he heard screams following the crash, but he doesn't know whether they came from injured people or from neighbors.
Almost two hours after the crash, Luce said he still saw flames shooting from the crash site, but they were not as high as before. Buffalo News Staff Photographer Harry Scull Jr., who lives in Clarence, said he heard a fire alarm at 10:20 p.m.
"Thirty seconds later, the phone rang, and I knew it was something big," he said. "It was my neighbor. He said a plane hit a house, look out your window. I'm two miles from there, and it was a ball of fire."
Scull said he went to Long Street to take photos and found a chaotic scene as firefighters attempted to run hoses to fight the flames.
News Staff Reporters T.J. Pignataro, Harold McNeil, Sharon Linstedt, and Staff Photographers Harry Scull Jr. and Bill Wippert contributed to this report.
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