Signs point to weather, ice as possible factors in deadly crash

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by Associated Press

wfaa.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 4:28 PM

CLARENCE, N.Y. -- Investigators are trying to determine what caused Continental Connection Flight 3407 to nose-dive into a suburban Buffalo house last night. But there are signs that weather might have been a factor.

The commuter plane was heading for a landing when it went down in light snow and fog five miles short of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. There was no mayday call from the pilot before the crash. But afterward, at least two pilots reported they had been picking up ice on their wings.

One former federal aviation official says the plane's nearly vertical drop suggests a sudden loss of control. William Voss, who's now president of the Flight Safety Foundation, says that suggests icing or a mechanical failure might have been the cause.

Ice on the wings can alter aerodynamics and interfere with lift and handling.

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