A Continental Airlines plane crashed in suburban Buffalo, New York, late Thursday, killing 49 people. There were 44 passengers and four crew members killed on board and one on the ground, according to authorities.
Continental Connection Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air, was en route from Newark, New Jersey, when it went down, said Bill Peat with New York State Emergency Management in Albany. The crash took place about seven miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Clarence Center, New York. “At this time, the full resources of Colgan Air’s accident response team are being mobilized and will be devoted to cooperating with all authorities responding to the accident and to contacting family members and providing assistance to them,” a statement from the airline said. The plane crashed about 10:20 p.m., hitting a home and bursting into a fireball, according to New York State Trooper John Manthey. Twelve residents were evacuated from the area. Watch crash video from CNN affiliate WGRZ » Area resident Keith Burtis said he was driving to the store about a mile from the crash site when he heard the plane go down. “It was a high-pitched sound,” Burtis said. “It felt like a mini-earthquake.” Watch officials on the scene: ‘This is not a rescue mission’ » Shortly after the crash, Burtis said he saw a steady stream of fire trucks rush by him as smoke billowed into the sky. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the crew, the passengers and our residents on Long Street,” said Clarence Supervisor Scott Blylewski. Are you on the scene Let us know at iReport “This is clearly a tragedy,” said Dave Bissonette, the town’s natural disaster services coordinator. A command post has been set up at the scene by the Erie County Medical Examiners office and has investigators and doctors on the scene. Watch what iReporter captured on film Continental Airlines confirmed that the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, a 74-seat turboprop, was operating between Newark Liberty International Airport and Buffalo. The National Transportation Safety Board said early Friday that is was preparing a “go team” to head to Buffalo to investigate the crash. There was a wintry mix at the time of the crash, officials said. Witnesses told CNN the house that was hit was flattened. Officials said relatives of passengers aboard the flight should call 1-800-621-3263 for information. Watch more on the plane crash » At this time, officials said they are not concerned about a hazardous materials situation on the ground. Rep. Chris Lee, R-New York, issued a statement: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic accident that occurred tonight in Clarence. Our focus right now is on supporting the first responders on the ground and their efforts to ensure the health and safety of people in the area. “I will do my best to provide helpful information as we learn more. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families at this difficult hour.”