Video, Update: Flight from Newark to Buffalo Crashes, Dozens Dead


planecrash_ny_02120912:03 a.m. [Update, video below.] At least forty-nine people died when an aircraft identified as a Continental Airlines flight crashed into a house in Buffalo, NY, shortly after 10 p.m., starting a huge fire which poured thick smoke throughout the hamlet. A source at Buffalo Niagara International Airport said that the dead included 44 passengers, four crew members and a person on the ground. County Executive Chris Collins said that there may have been as many as 50 people aboard the plane and crew members had reported mechanical problems as they approached Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Several injured people were taken from the scene to Erie County Medical Center for treatment.

Television reports said the crash site was 6050 Long St., not far from the Clarence Center Fire Hall on Clarence Center Road. Police said that one man was in the residence at the time of the crash.

Authorities say Continental Airlines Flight 3407 was operated by Manassas, Va.-based Colgan Air. It was en route from Newark, N.J., to Buffalo.

Update, 2:21 a.m. EST:

New York State Police has confirmed that the Continental Airlines crash in the town of Clarence, approximately 20 miles outside of Buffalo, killed all 48 people onboard – 44 passengers and four crew members – and one on the ground.

The crew aboard the doomed plane reported mechanical problems prior to the crash, but that there wasn’t a lot of conversation between the tower at Buffalo Niagara International Airport and the pilot before the aircraft went down.

The Federal Aviation Administration has not commented.

Officials are urging family members to call 1.800.621.3263 for information.

The crash resulted in a huge explosion and fire that was fought by dozens of firefighters. The area was sealed off because the aircraft was burning and twelve homes near the crash site were evacuated.

Witnesses on the ground described the plane as “nose-diving” toward the ground.

“I didn’t see so much until after impact, but I heard and felt it because I live two blocks from impact. It was a low buzzing sound,” witness Brendan Biddlecom told CNN. “The house shook. As soon as I heard the impact I knew this was what it had to be. The smoke was very thick and there was an acrid smell in the air.

It is not clear if weather was a factor in the crash. At the time of the crash, the conditions were light snow with 17 mph winds and three-mile visibility.

To watch a video of emergency personnel responding to the crash, click on the screen below:

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{Buffalo News/ Newscenter}