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Continental flight 3407 jet crashes into home | Seattle plane crash attorney

Andrew Kim
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On February 12, 2009, Continental Connection Flight 3407 from Newark, New Jersey crashed into a suburban Buffalo house in a fiery plane crash that killed all 48 people a on board and one person Doug Wielinski in the home.  Two others in the house, Doug's wife, Karen Wielinski, 57, and their 22-year-old daughter, Jill, escaped with minor injuries.

The cause of the accident was under investigation, but reports of ice building up on their wings seems to be a major factor.  The twin turboprop aircraft was coming in for a landing when it went down in light snow and fog around 10:20 p.m. about five miles short of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York.

The 74-seat Q400 Bombardier aircraft, operated by Colgan Air, looked like it suddenly dropped straight down from the sky.  The nearly vertical drop of the plane suggests a sudden loss of control and that icing or a mechanical failure, such as wing flaps deploying asymmetrically or the two engines putting out different thrust, might have caused the crash.

In general, smaller planes like the Dash 8, which uses a system of pneumatic de-icing boots, are more susceptible to icing problems than larger commuter planes that use a system to warm the wings. The boots, a rubber membrane stretched over the surface, are filled with compressed air to crack any ice that builds up.

A similar turboprop jet crash 15 years ago in Indiana was caused by icing, and after that the NTSB issued icing recommendations to more aggressively use the plane's system of pneumatic de-icing boots. But the FAA hasn't adopted it. It remains part of the NTSB's most-wanted safety improvements list. 

Details For Bombadier Q-400 (DH4)
Source: Colgan Air

  • 74-seat twin turboprop in single-class, four abreast configuration
  • Jet-like speed with state-of-the-art avionics
  • Performance profile allows operations below and away from congested airspace 
  •  "Q means Quiet" with advanced noise and vibration reduction
  • Full size cabin with 32" seat pitch and 6'5" of headroom
  • Two flight attendants for passenger safety and comfort
  • Continental Airlines short and medium haul in-flight service offerings
  • Arrives and departs at Terminal C at Newark Liberty Airport

    Length 107' 9"
    Height 27' 5"
    Wingspan 93' 3"
    Passengers 68-78
    Engines 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. PW150
    360 kts (414 mph)
  • Continental said relatives and friends of those on Flight 3407 who want to give or receive information about those on board can call a special family assistance number, 1-800-621-3263.

    This information was provided by the Andrew Kim Law Firm, PLLC.  We represent people who have been seriously injured or killed in major accidents throughout the State of Washington.  We can be reached toll free at 1-800-636-3676 for a free initial consultation.


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    Phone: (425) 289-1990
    Fax: (425) 289-1991
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    Bellevue Office
    11900 NE 1st Street
    Suite 300
    Bellevue, WA 98005
    Phone: (425) 289-1990
    Fax: (425) 289-1991



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