No Indians on doomed Continental flight

February 14th, 2009 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

ChelseaWashington, Feb 14 (IANS) No passengers of Indian origin appeared to be on the doomed Continental Flight 3407 that crashed into a house near Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 aboard and one man on the ground in a hellish fireball.

A partial list of victims of Thursday night’s crash released by Continental Airlines includes John G. Roberts III, a Lewiston native who lived in India, returning home for an overdue visit with family members.

The full list will be released only after victims’ families have been informed.

“It’s sad because we all haven’t seen him for such a long time, and everyone was patiently waiting for him and [Flight 3407] just crashed like it was nothing,” said Chelsea Gagliardo, Roberts’ niece, cited by Buffalo News.

Roberts, 48, was the oldest of five children and grew up in Lewiston. He lived in the area off and on, travelling overseas often, Gagliardo said.

“The last time I saw him was probably over a year ago,” she added. “I was so excited to see him.”

Roberts’ father, John Jr., is the owner of Apple Granny’s, a popular restaurant on Centre Street, the main drag in the Village of Lewiston.

“I grew up in Lewiston and John Roberts [the father] has always been a fixture here,” said Bridget Schroeder, owner of the neighbouring Village Bake Shoppe.

“He’s 100 percent supportive of the community and area as a whole, and takes great pride in his family and community. I hate to think of something like this happening to this family. It’s a real tragedy.”

Meanwhile, the flight data and in-flight voice recorders, salvaged late Friday morning from the tail of the nearly obliterated plane, were rushed to Washington for analysis.

Preliminary information recovered from the recorders indicated that the plane underwent “severe” pitching and rolling motions after the landing gear was lowered and wing flaps were set for the approach, Steve Chealander of the National Transportation Safety Board said.

“The crew discussed significant ice buildup, ice on the windshield and leading edge of the wings,” Chealander said.

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