Colgan Air/Continental Flight 3407 Two Years Later

On February 12, 2009 at 9:20 p.m. Colgan Air Flight 3407 departed late from Newark’s Liberty International Airport en route to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. At around 10:17 p.m. the plane stalled about five miles from its destination and crashed into a home on Long St. in Clarence Center. 50 were killed including an occupant of the house that was struck.

Weather conditions were a wintry mix of light snow and fog with winds at 17 miles per hour. Initially the weather seemed to be a possible cause of the accident but ultimately a February, 2010 National Transportation Safety Board report concluded that pilot error was to blame. The investigation prompted Flight 3407 families to band together to promote changes in aviation safety and pilot training. The result was the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 a federal law that requires various agencies to provide more oversight. PBS’s Frontline produced “Flying Cheap“, which gives an overview of the accident, problems in the airline industry, and a response from one of the companies involved.

The 50 lives lost in this tragic accident included the widow of a local man killed in the September 11th attacks, a human rights activist, a Vietnam veteran, an entire family, several with connections to the University at Buffalo,  and a cantor.  CBS News has profiles.

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