Cause Of Buffalo, N.Y., Crash Being Probed
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And I'm Robert Siegel. The investigation has begun into the commuter plane crash outside Buffalo, New York, last night. Federal officials found the flight-data recorder and voice recorder, and they could offer some information about what happened. Continental connection Flight 3407, a twin turbo-prop plane, suddenly fell. As it headed in for landing, it hit a house and 50 people died -49 passengers and crew, and one person inside that house. Eileen Buckley of member station WBFO in Buffalo has been talking with people in the neighborhood, and she has this report.
EILEEN BUCKLEY: Cathleen Dourg(ph) was at home in her Clarence Center, New York, neighborhood last night around 10:20 when she heard a sputter and then a loud explosion.
Ms. CATHLEEN DOURG (Local Resident, Buffalo): We thought it could have been a car explosion. We had no - we never thought it was going to be a plane landing in Clarence Center. It's nothing that you would ever think what happened.
BUCKLEY: It was the sound of the plane nosediving into her neighbor's two-story, frame house. The crash created a huge fireball that lit up the night sky.
Ms. DOURG: The fire was incredible. You could see it over the houses and you could see this orange flow. (Unintelligible) of lights, you could see the lights and the flames were intense. I thought it was going to burn the whole town. It looked that big. And I'm amazed that the job the fire department did, that it didn't spread.
BUCKLEY: Karen Wielinski and her 22-year-old daughter, Jill, managed to escape from the burning house. It is not known what happened to Wielinski's husband, Doug. Dianne Trajilio(ph) and her son Anthony live just a couple of blocks from the Wielinskis. She was surprised by a strange sound. It was so loud, she thought it was right in front of her own home.
Ms. DIANNE TRAJILIO (Local Resident, Buffalo): I thought it was maybe a truck pulling around the (unintelligible) of stacks where I live. And then I heard the crash. So that's when I looked out and I saw the orange fire (unintelligible). And I ran in and grabbed my son. I said, Anthony, something major, major happened.
BUCKLEY: Anthony Trajilio(ph) grabbed his video camcorder and headed to the scene. He says the fire was so intense, no one could get very close.
Mr. ANTHONY TRAJILIO (Local Resident, Buffalo): There was a lot of firefighters who were just flushed next to the fire, and there was a lot of people kind of heading over there to see if they can try to help the lot of volunteers.
BUCKLEY: Trajilio quickly ran back home to post his video on YouTube.
Mr. TRAJILIO: There were so many things to take and I want some. I don't even think anybody really registered what was going on until much later after the crash.
BUCKLEY: It took nine fire companies hours to put out the blaze. Early this morning, white smoke could still be seen over the neighborhood. Twelve nearby homes were evacuated, as much of the neighborhood was blocked off. But officials who visited the scene said the house was totally destroyed, and remnants of the plane (unintelligible) could still be seen embedded in the rubble. People in Clarence say the town is a close-knit community of about 28,000 people. Said one local official, it's a tragedy beyond description.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Buckley in Buffalo.
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