By: Joe Walsh
New reports say Continental Airlines Flight 3407 was freezing over.
The crew discussed the build-up moments before losing control and crashing into a Clarence Center, Buffalo home last Thursday. As of Monday, no conclusion has been made regarding the ice’s role in the crash.
Steven R. Chealander, representative for the National Transportation Safety Board, told The Buffalo News, “Ice can play havoc with [an] aircraft.”
“Significant ice build-up is an aerodynamic impediment. Airplanes are built with wings that are shaped a certain way and ice can change the shape,” Chealander said.
After a brief analysis of 3407’s “black box,” investigators noted that the anti-icing system was on. They were not sure if it was functioning properly at the time of the crash, however. The plane’s landing gear was also engaged prior to to spinning out of control.
The NTSB is concerned about the pilot never making a distress call once the plane experienced problems. Also, the autopilot was not disengaged until five seconds before the crash.
“I hate things like this,” said James Freeman, a junior and Resident Assistant at Marist College. “It’s things like this that make me want to see a pilot’s evaluation before choosing to take their flight. I’m paying enough for a ticket to deserve that.”
The crash killed all 49 people aboard, as well as one man in the Clarence Center home instantly. The two other occupants in the home escaped with minor injuries. Crews hope to have all of the bodies removed by Monday.
There is currently speculation that the airline ignored federal regulations for flying in dangerous weather.
Buffalo airport employees noted that the skies were especially hazy that night with visibility around three miles.
Family and friends of the crash victims visited the crash site and atteneded religious services. The 2000 mourners were escorted in charter buses by state police.