Word from just west of Casa de Bit:
Clarence, NY (WBEN) —  49 people died late Thursday in the crash of a Continental plane in Clarence Center. WBEN Reporters Barbara Burns and Tom Puckett were both on scene as they learned 44 passengers, four crew and one individual on the ground are among the dead.
The plane, flight 3407, crashed into a house on Long Street at approximately 10:20pm. The plane had reportedly indicated it was having mechanical difficulty and lost contact with the tower.
As you can imagine, reports here are still a bit sketchy, but we’re now getting word of a 5th crew member being on board the flight, which would bring the death total to an even 50. Based on the chatter I’m getting from Buffalo radio stations, it appears that what’s happened is an icing incident.
As I gather it, the plane was on approach to Buffalo International from Newark NJ at about 10:30 last night. Eyewitnesses are saying the plane was making some rather odd noises as it went down… as if one engine was having problems. The National Weather service was reporting light snow on the surface, but we just had a big change in the weather up here. I’ve no idea what the temps were aloft. But, based on the plane’s radio traffic, (Linked at the news story) they’d been flying pretty low, having been ordered to ‘come up’ to 2300 feet. I know that area… and that’s pretty low for that part of the flight path.
By virtue of a quick and dirty search, this is the worst Buffalo air disaster on record… and that certainly meshes with my memory of the thing.
Amazingly, only one death on the ground… only one house hit. Even more amazingly since the houses are packed in a fairly typical suburban density, there.
Update1:(Bit) Video, the first of which is cell phone vid, the others are commercial broadcasters. Channel 2 is local TV, and of course MSNBC you know.
Update2:(Bit) If you’re from outside the area, WBEN has a web feed, here . They’re in wall to wall mode, just now, as you can imagine.
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