Evidence Points to Pilot Error in Buffalo Crash

Investigation insiders say pilot commands, not ice, sent plane into deadly dive
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2009 5:26 AM CST
Evidence Points to Pilot Error in Buffalo Crash
An aerial view of the crash site of Continental Connection Flight 3407 and the surrounding neighborhood last Friday in Clarence Center, NY.   (AP Photo/CTV via APTN)

Early examination of the evidence has led investigators to believe that pilot error rather than a buildup of ice was to blame for the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Investigative insiders believe the captain incorrectly pulled back on the controls as the aircraft slowed to an unsafe speed, and sent the plane into its fatal dive, according to the sources.

People close to the investigation say that icing—initially believed to be the main cause of the crash—may still have been a contributing factor, but the focus is now switching to the pilot’s lack of experience. The probe is still in its early stages and much data remains to be examined before any firm conclusions can be made, said NTSB officials.
(More Continental Airlines stories.)

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