Airliner crashes in upstate New York, 49 killed (Fourth Lead)

February 13th, 2009 - 4:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Feb 13 (DPA) A commercial airliner struck a house and burst into flames late Thursday outside Buffalo, New York, killing 49 people, officials said.
The dead included 48 people on the plane and one person on the ground.

The crash occurred at 10.17 p.m. (0417 Friday GMT) in the village of Clarence Center, about 10 km from the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the plane was carrying 44 passengers and four crew members on a Continental Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Buffalo.

Latest news reports quoted the FAA as confirming that all 48 people on board were killed in the crash.

The Erie County, New York, emergency coordinator said in a press conference there were “multiple fatalities”, including one person on the ground. About a dozen homes around the crash site were evacuated.

Two people who were not on the plane were hospitalised, the CNN news channel said.

Television footage from the scene in western New York state showed a huge blaze. The TV scenes showed the rear fuselage and wing section jutting up from the ground at the crash site.

The aircraft, described as a 74-seat Bombardier operated by Colgan Air, was approaching Buffalo Niagara International Airport when it went down.

Witnesses told CNN that they heard the engine making “strange noises” and that the plane apparently went straight down.

At the time of the accident, rain and sleet were prevailing in the area.

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