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U.S. authorities investigate Buffalo plane crash
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12:42, February 14, 2009

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The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) are investigating a plane crash outside Buffalo, N.Y., the NTSB said on riday.

NTSB senior air safety investigator Lorenda Ward will serve as investigator-in-charge of a probe team sent to the crash site, the agency said in a statement.

The commuter plane, a twin-engine turboprop owned by Colgan, a subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines, crashed into a home near Buffalo on Thursday night, killing all 49 people on board and one person in the home.

Four people were injured at the crash site, including a mother and daughter inside the house that was hit.

The plane was operated by Colgan as Continental Connection flight 3407 from Newark, N.J.

Continental Airlines chairman and CEO Larry Kellner said: "Continental extends its deepest sympathy to the family members and loved ones of those involved in this accident. We are providing our full assistance to Colgan Air so that together we can provide as much support as possible for all concerned."

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has also appointed a representative who will arrive at scene today along with technical advisors from TSB, engine-maker PWC, and the plane-maker Bombardier.

Air traffic transmissions with the Colgan Q400 give no immediate indications of any problems before controllers suddenly lost contact with the flight.

The audio record also reveals that, as controllers searched for the missing aircraft, they queried whether a following flight was experiencing icing conditions.

Weather information at the time of the accident, about 22:20 eastern U.S. time Thursday (0320 GMT Friday) points to light snow and gusting winds.

PWC said it is too soon to tell if the engines were involved in the incident, but stands ready to assist the NTSB.

Bombardier has extended its sympathies to the families of those who perished in the accident.

The Canadian manufacturer has declined to comment further or speculate on the cause of the crash.


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