49 killed as aircraft crashes into house in New York state (Third Lead)

February 13th, 2009 - 1:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Feb 13 (IANS) Forty nine people were feared to have died as an aircraft flying from Newark to Buffalo crashed into a house in New York state, media reports said Friday.
Erie County executive Chris Collins said at a news conference that “49 people, including one on the ground, were killed”, New York Times reported.

The Continental Express flight from Newark to Buffalo crashed into the house about seven to nine km from Buffalo Niagara International Airport, officials said.

The plane carried 44 passengers and a crew of 4, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Ted Lopatkiewicz, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said that he did not know if there were any survivors on the plane.

Collins said the plane, Continental Airlines Flight 3407, crashed about 10.20 p.m. Thursday (9.20 a.m. Friday India time) and it was to land at 10.25 p.m.

He said that about 12 houses were evacuated and a limited state of emergency was declared.

An official said: “The scene is being secured. State police has secured the area.”

He said that one home was “seriously damaged”; peripheral damage was suffered by nearby homes.

Local newspaper Buffalo News said: “Forty-nine people reportedly died when the aircraft crashed into a house in Clarence Center shortly after 10 p.m.”

The crash led to a huge fire which poured thick smoke throughout the suburb.

Unconfirmed reports from a source at Buffalo Niagara International Airport said that the dead included 44 passengers, four crew members and a person on the ground.

“It was just like a huge great big crash, a boom, it was, like a plane hit a house,” New York Times quoted Sandra Baker, who lives two blocks from the site of the crash on Railroad Street, as saying.

The plane was a De Havilland DHC-8-400 Dash 8, a twin-engine turboprop, operated by Colgan Airways, a feeder airline for Continental.

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