Continental Plane Crash
February 12, 2009
A Continental Airlines Bombardier Dash 8-Q402 (twin-turbine prop) seen above, in manufacture's paint scheme) carrying 48 people, 44 passengers and 4 crew has crashed in Clarence Centre, New York. One known person was also killed on the ground. FlightAware shows that the flight ended 6.2 miles short of Buffalo Niagara International (KBUF) Runway 32 and crashed five minutes before its expected arrival at 9:35PM.
The Colgan Air Dash 8, operating as Continental Connection was a fifty-two minute flight originating from Newark Liberty International. It crashed on Long Street, destroying the house at the 6038 address (the Wielinski residence), in suburban Buffalo, and there were no commuter survivors.
Karen and daughter, Kimberley Wielinski, were home when the the Q402 crashed into their house. While they survived, Karen's husband Doug, also home at the time, did not.
Shortly before Continental Express Flight 3407 went down in the residential neighbourhood, the pilots reported experiencing mechanical trouble. This was confirmed by Paul Cardin, of Special Projects In Research, who was able to reach area residents for their eye witness testimony.
Lorraine Unverzart, who lives two streets over from the crash site reported that there was massive fires shortly after she heard the aircraft go down. Columns of fire and smoke could be seen reaching forty feet into the sky. Shaken up still, she noted that the aircraft didn't sound right as it flew overhead, and then made a very large "boom" sound when it hit the house located three doors down, and just across the street from her mother and father's residence.
Her mother, Mrs. W. Hoehman located at 6055 Long Street saw the ill-fated aircraft crash into their neighbours home.
Upon impact, the Q400 aircraft blew up and her neighbour's house and the immediate area around the house became engulfed in a fiery inferno. Mrs. Hoehman also noted that while planes are flying overhead all the time, this one caught her attention because it sounded "off". She quickly looked up, and watched in horror as it crashed. She immediately called her daughters, and one, Lorraine, who resides on High Street, which intersects Long, was able to come over with her son, and comfort her mother and father.
Another sister who also lives in town, attempted to reach her parent's residence to attend to her parent's shock, but was turned away, as local police and the fire department had just sealed off the area.
Power has been cut to the neighbourhood, and many Long Street homes have been evacuated because of fire, smoke and other safety concerns. The Hoehmans were unaffected by these power cuts as their home runs off a generator. Neither were they asked to evacuate since they are located downwind from the accident.
Located only about 120 or so feet from the crash, the Hoehman residence became a gathering centre for neighbours to process their grief. Each in turn wondered, and then grew silent as they commiserated about the awful reality of the doomed airliner that crashed with its gear up, and plowing nose first into their neighbour's house.
What kind of plane was it?
How many died?
Did their neighbour survive?
In time, all these questions will be answered.
In the meantime, the Bombardier (Toronto made) Canadian Dash 8-400 Series (Q400) was less than a year old, having been delivered to the airline only a short time ago, in April, of 2008.
This becomes the first Bombardier Q400 accident where loss of life has occurred.
Rest in peace…victims of Flight 3407 ~
UPDATE!!!!!!!! Pilot Error!!
Severe weather conditions and against Continental REGS, the auto-pilot was still engaged when the pilot's should have been flying the airplane.
"Some aviation experts say that relying on the autopilot kept the pilots from sensing the seriousness of the icing conditions, which could have caused the plane to lurch erratically in the 26 seconds before it crashed."
Continental Airlines says friends and family who need information about those on board flight #3407 should call 1-800-621-3263.
Residents who live in Clarence who need information about the crash should call (716) 741-8930.
Last moments of Flight 3407
Transcript of Communications with Air Traffic Control
February 13, 2009
4:38 - ATC: colgan 3407 procede direct ____?
4:58 - ATC: colgan 3407 descend and maintain 6,000
8:39 - ATC: colgan 3407 descend and maintain 5,000
8:40 - 3407: 5,000 for colgan 3407
9:09 - ATC: colgan 3407 descend and maintain 4,000
12:14 - ATC: colgan 3407 descend and maintain 2,300
12:19 - ??? garbled
12:39 - ATC: colgan 3407 turn left heading 330
12:42 - 3407: left heading 330 colgan 3407
14:04 - ATC: colgan 3407 turn left heading 310
14:07 - 3407: left heading 310, colgan 3407
15:08 - ATC: colgan 3407 3 miles from ____ colonel?? left heading 260? maintain 2300 til established localizer and cleared ils runway 2-3
15:17 - 3407: left 260, 2,300 til established and cleared ils 23 approach, colgan 3407
16:02 - ATC: colgan 3407 contact tower 204.5 have a good day
16:08 - 3407: muffled colgan 3407
17:01 - ATC: colgan 3407 approach
17:22 - ATC: colgan 3407, buffalo
17:24 - ATC: colgan 3407, approach
17:33 - ATC: delta 1998, look out ur left side about 5 miles for a dash 8, should be 2300 feet, see anything there?
17:40 - delta 1998: uh negative, delta 1998, we're just in the bottoms and nothing on the TKs
17:48 - ATC: colgan 3407, buffalo
20:12 - ATC: Colgan 3407, buffalo tower, how do you hear?
20:27 - ATC: this is ground communication, i need to talk to someone at least 5 miles northeast, J possibly clearance, that area right there, akron area, either state police or sheriff's department, i need to find if anything's on the ground. this aircraft was 5 miles out and all of a sudden we have no response from that aircraft
20:46 - ???: all i can tell you is that aircraft over the marker and we're not talking to them now
20:52 - ???: k
21:04 - ATC: Delta 1998, you getting any icing where you're at?
21:05 - Delta 1998: uh, we're picking up on the way down - i dont think we're building anymore here, but about uh 6500 down to 3500 maybe?
21:13 - ATC: thank you sir
21:17 - ATC: Delta 1998, there's gonna be a delay, i'm gonna bring you back around, expect a hold over KLUMP 21:22 - Delta 1998: alright we'll expect a hold over KLUMP, delta 1998
21:46 - something: apparently we have an emergency sir, i'll get back to you as soon as i can
23:57 - ATC: for all aircraft, this frequency - we have a dash-8 over the marker that didn't make the airport. he appears about 5 miles away from the airport. delta 1998, i'm gonna bring you in sir, on the approach. um if you could just give me a fire up when you get to 2300 and if you have any problems with the localizer or anything, let me know - however we're showing it all in the green here.
24:22 - 1998: will do
24:45 - ATC: delta 1998, 6 miles from KLUMP maintain 2300 until established on a localizer, clear to ils approach runway 2-3
24:54 - delta 1998: ILS 2-3 and we're still in the imc here, 2300 delta 1998
25:00 - atc: are you getting any kind of icing or anything there?
25:03 - delta 1998: uhh it doesn't appear to be building, we have a 1/2..1/4 inch from the descent that has remained this whole time
25:11 - atc: thank you
25:18 - cactus 1452: whatever: intercept us low for cactus 1452 and we've been picking up ground lights here for the last 10 oh minutes
25:25 - atc: okay, stand by for ??? ice report
25:36 - atc: who was that?
25:39 - cactus 1452: '52 sir, we've been getting ice since about 20 miles south of the airport
25:46 - atc: - cactus 1452 okay, if you can let me know when you get out of the icing, aircraft coming up from the south was reporting that earlier
25:25 - atc: delta 1998, if you could, just disregard the auto land sir, contact 120.5 just let him know if you have any variation in the localizer or anything
26:34 - delta 1998: -5 okay, delta 1998, thanks
27:05 - ???? ...any kind of information you can get, we'd appreciate it
27:12 - ???? sir, right now, 2300 seems pretty clear here
28:05 - atc: cactus 1452, thanks for your help, we appreciate it, contact tower 130.5 28:12 - cactus: ..5 for cactus - did you find colgan?
28:14 - atc: uhhhh unfortunately they said he went down right over the marker KLUMP
29:17 - cactus 1452: tower, cactus 1452 is coming up on the marker, we saw the ground, you guys know whats going on?
29:24 - tower: cactus 1452, buffalo tower 162.14 going right 23, you are clear to land, yes sir, we are aware
29:29 - cactus 1452: k
Friday, February 13, 2009
Continental Plane Crash