'The Whole Sky Was Lit Up Orange'

'Direct hit' on house caused 50-foot flames
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 13, 2009 11:05 AM CST

(Newser) – The twin turboprop plane crash outside Buffalo that killed 50 was a “direct hit” on a house 7 miles from Buffalo’s international airport, CNN reports. "I was able to see the underbelly of the plane," said one witness. "It was only about 75 feet above me when it crossed the road, and it was literally within seconds of impact." A man inside the home was killed, but a mother and daughter escaped with only minor injuries.

“This is easily the saddest day in the history of our airline,” said the CEO of Colgan Air, the flight operator. President Obama offered his condolences to the families. “The whole sky was lit up orange," said one observer. "It felt like a mini-earthquake,” noted another. Some said they saw the plane take a nose-dive. The plane’s data recorders have been recovered, said a safety official, but a full investigation could take more than a year.