WASHINGTON (AP) - The head of a federal safety panel says the pilots of a regional airliner that crashed outside Buffalo nearly a year ago made critical errors showing "complacency and confusion that resulted in catastrophe."
Today in Washington, National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Deborah Hersman said safety issues raised by the accident go beyond the mistakes that caused the crash that killed all 49 people on board and one man on the ground. The board is meeting to determine the probable cause and make safety recommendations following the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in the suburban Town of Clarence last February 12th, 2009.
"We were able to identify the airplane and the flight crew were properly certificated." Says Lorenda Ward on the NTSB, "There is no evidence of any pre-impact
structural, engine or system failures... The weather on the night of the accident was typical for the Buffalo area and the time of the year and the ice accumulation
did not effect the ability of the flight crew to fly and control the airplane."
The crash is considered one of the most significant accidents in recent years because it revealed what some safety experts and
pilots unions say is a safety gap between major airlines and regional carriers. Among the concerns raised by the accident is whether pilots with
low-fare airlines are vulnerable to fatigue, long-distance commutes and inadequate training.
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