A plane has crashed into a home in the New York suburb of Buffalo, killing at least 49 people.
The Q400 Bombardier turboprop aircraft operated by Colgan Air, a feeder airline for Continental Airlines, crashed at about 10.20pm local time (5.20am GMT), hitting a home in the town of Clarence Center.New York State police said all 44 passengers and four crew on board flight 3407 died, along with one person on the ground.
The 74-seat aircraft was flying from Newark airport in New Jersey to Buffalo’s Niagara airport when it crashed about seven miles short of its destination. The weather conditions at the time were light snow, fog and 17mph winds.
The accident was the second major air incident in a month in New York State, and follows the US Airways set emergency landing into the Hudson River on January 15, in which all 155 people on board were pulled to safety.
“It was almost like on TV where you hear this high-pitched sound. It was like an earthquake. You could feel it,” witness, Keith Burtis, told MSNBC. “I’m downwind from it and the smoke and smell is still pretty strong.”
Another witness who lives nearby described the sound before the crash as “a loud roar over my house.”
“It was like the whole house shook,” said the witness, Jennifer Clark. “Then there was silence.”
The Q400, built by Canadian aviation manufacturer Bombardier, has been questioned in the past over its safety record. In 2007, SAS said it would permanently stop flying Q400s after the third crash landing in a month caused by faulty landing gear.
But only last month, Colgan announced it was planning to buy 15 more of the plane.
It was the first fatal crash of a commercial airliner in the US since 27 August 2006, when 49 people were killed after a Comair jet crashed after taking off from a runway in Lexington, Kentucky that was too short.