No survivors in Continental crash near Buffalo

February 12, 2009 10:59:28 PM PST
Authorites say 49 people are dead after a commuter plane crashed into a home in suburban Buffalo and erupted in flames late Thursday. State police spokeswoman Rebecca Gibbons confirmed early Friday the 48 deaths aboard Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air.

Clarence emergency control director Dave Bissonet says late Thursday's crash also killed one person on the ground.

The Q400 Bombardier turboprop was flying late Thursday from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to Buffalo Niagara International Airport in light snow, fog and 17 mph winds.

It crashed around 10:10 p.m., about 10 miles from the airport. It had 44 passengers and a crew of four.

Area resident Keith Burtis told CNN that he was driving to the store about a mile from the crash site when he heard the plane go down. "It was a high-pitched sound," Burtis said. "It felt like a mini-earthquake."

Chris Kausner, whose sister Ellyce was aboard the flight, said 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. She was coming home to visit.

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.

Dallas-based Continental Airlines Inc. says Manassas, Va.-based Colgan Air is "in the process of collecting information."

The Federal Aviation Administration says its representatives will be on the scene at first daylight.

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Some information in this report from ABC News.

ON THE NET:

Continental Airlines information on Flight 3407
http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/content/news/flight3407.aspx

Relatives and friends of those traveling on Flight 3407 who want to give or receive information about those on board may contact Continental at 800.621.3263.


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