The early theory on what downed Continental Connection Flight 3407 is ice. Air controllers began to quiz pilots about Buffalo’s ice conditions just minutes prior to the plane crashing into a suburban home, killing all aboard.
After the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in New York, air traffic controllers warned other planes about icing. Recordings from air traffic controllers suggest ice might be the reason the plane went down:
“Delta 1998, you getting any icing where you’re at?” a Buffalo air traffic controller asked just minutes after Continental’s 74-seat aircraft went down, killing 50 people. “We picked it up on the way down,” the pilot responds. “I don’t think it’s building any more here but about 6,500 (feet) down to 3,500 (feet) maybe.”
(Transcript courtesy Buffalo News)
One by one, other pilots confirmed their planes were taking on ice. Conditions at the airport included light snow, fog and 17-mph winds.
The female pilot on the downed flight spoke to air traffic controllers just minutes before the crash. She did not appear to be upset. After asking to fly at 2,300 feet the pilot could not be reached again:
“Delta 1998, look off your right side about 5 miles for a Dash 8. Should be about 2,300 (feet). Do you see anything there?” the tower asks.
“Uh, negative,” the Delta pilot answers.
Several minutes pass before the tower makes one final plea: “Colgan 3407, how do you hear?”
The airway was silent. The plane had already struck a home and was in flames.