Defying eyewitness accounts, investigators said today that Continental Flight 3407 landed flat, not nose-first, the Buffalo News reports. The plane's parts are lying "where they should be if an airplane was laying flat," said National Transportation Safety member Steven Chealander. The turboprop was also pointing away from its intended destination when it crashed, killing 50.
Crew members may have had no time to warn passengers in the "sudden catastrophic event," Chealander said. Stall-protection systems had also been triggered, signaling a possible in-flight stall. The NTSB has already pointed to ice as a likely cause. Ice risk "has been on our radar for a long time," said Chealander. "The FAA agrees with us." But planes have not been "flying around unsafe," he quickly added.