Colgan Air Dash 800 crashes in Buffalo

On Feb 12, at 22.20LT, a Colgan Air De Havilland Canada DHC-8-204 Q400, N200WQ, flying from Newark to Buffalo Niagara International Airport as Continental 3407 (CO3407), crashed 6.1 miles to the NE of BUF causing 49 dead (44 passengers, 4 crew members, 1 people on the ground). The aircraft crashed into a house at 6050 Long St., not far from the Clarence Center Fire Hall on Clarence Center Road. As a consequence, 12 houses had to be evacuated.
Flight progress of the aircraft until crash site can be viewed on FlightAware website at the following address: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/CJC3407 while ATC comms can be heard here: http://archive-server.liveatc.net/kbuf/KBUF-Feb-13-2009-0300Z.mp3
The aircraft was performing the ILS approach to runway 23. The last ackowledged transmission took place at 22.16Z and no Mayday call was made suggesting that the crew had little time to react to whatever had happened.
aircraft was at 1,500 feet AGL, at the absolute lowest, having been cleared to descend and maintain 2,300 while being given clearance for the ILS 23 approach (chart here: http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0901/00065IL23.PDF).
The METAR for KBUF was the following and show snow, breeze, wind gusts and low temperature:
KBUF 130254Z 24015G22KT 3SM -SN BR FEW011 BKN021 OVC027 01/M01 A2979 RMK AO2 SLP097 P0001 60004 T00061006 51015
Pilots and controllers in the Buffalo area reported icing conditions on arrivals and investigation will have to focus on ice as a possible factor of the mishap. Cactus 1452 reported icing 20 miles out of the field.
Someone speculated that the pilot seemed to be busy when replying for the last transmission to the Approach that had instructed CO3407 to contact TWR on 120.5, at around 22:16:08s LT. I have listened carefully to the ATC file (downloaded from liveatc.net at the above link) and I think it is too hard to understand if the female pilot acknowledged just “3407” to the Approach transimission because she was busy or because she was distracted by something else or not (a problem arising in the cockpit). The DHC-8 was in the last part of the approach, the crew was performing the last procedures to land the aircraft. Maybe they had already prepared the radio to be tuned to the TWR frequency and the pilot replied so fast, without saying anything else, because they had nothing more to say. Thousands of pilots all around the world ackwnoledge a change of frequency by simply trasmitting their flight number.

About David Cenciotti 3890 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.