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50 killed as plane slams into home near Buffalo

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Commuter flight goes down in snow and fog, sparking a fiery explosion

Developing story

msnbc.com news services

updated 19 minutes ago

CLARENCE, New York - A commuter plane "basically dove" into a Buffalo-area house while coming in for a landing, sparking a fiery explosion that killed all 49 people on board and one person on the ground, an emergency official said Friday.

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. Flames silhouetted the shattered home after Continental Connection Flight 3407 plummeted into it around about five miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

"The whole sky was lit up orange," said Bob Dworak, who lives less than a mile from the crash site. "All the sudden, there was a big bang, and the house shook."

The 74-seat Q400 Bombardier aircraft, operated by Colgan Air, was flying from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and preparing to land at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

No security link seen

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said there is "no indication of any security related event" that brought the plane down.

NBC News reported that federal investigators were able to retrieve the so-called "black boxes" Friday and were bringing them to Washington, D.C., for analysis.

While residents of the neighborhood where the plane went down were used to planes rumbling overhead, witnesses said this one sounded louder than usual, sputtered and made some odd noises.

After hearing the crash, Dworak drove over to take a look, and "all we were seeing was 50 to 100 foot flames and a pile of rubble on the ground. It looked like the house just got destroyed the instant it got hit."

Witness Tony Tatro said he saw the plane flying low and knew it was in trouble.

"It was not spiraling at all. The left wing was a little low," he told WGRZ-TV.

edit

9/11 widow among victims of crash near Buffalo

Beverly Eckert was flying to her hometown to mark late husband's birthday


                                               gallery_3_22_21209.jpg

                                               Look at the flowers

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