Buffalo Crash Likely Caused by Ice: NTSB

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2009 4:41 PM CST
Wreckage lays across the area as Continental Connection Flight 3407 burns after it crashed into a house in Clarence, NY, yesterday.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Continental turboprop plane that crashed last night near Buffalo, killing 50, was likely brought down by icing, MSNBC reports. The NTSB, which has recovered the cockpit voice recorder, said the crew talked about “significant ice buildup, ice on the windshield and wings” before crashing into a suburban neighborhood. Other planes in the area also reported ice buildup around the time of the crash.

The Q400 Bombardier aircraft, which the operator said was new and had no service issues, is similar to a turboprop that went down 15 years ago, also due to icing. At that time, the NTSB recommended planes of that type use their pneumatic deicing apparatus more aggressively, a suggestion the FAA has not adopted. Larger planes have more dependable, radiant-heat deicing systems.