NTSB identifies crashed Colgan Q400 as investigation begins

By Mary Kirby

US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials have formally identified the Colgan Air Bombardier Q400 that crashed last night on approach to Buffalo.

The agency says the twin-engine turboprop was registered as N200WQ. According to Flight's ACAS database, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150-powered aircraft is a nine-month old example owned by Colgan, a subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines.

There are no indications of survivors from the 48 passengers and crew on board the aircraft, which was operated by Colgan as Continental Connection flight 3407 from Newark.

"It appears all aboard the aircraft lost their lives and there is a report of at least one ground fatality," says the NTSB, which has dispatched a team to investigate the crash.

NTSB senior air safety investigator Lorenda Ward will serve as investigator-in-charge of the team comprising approximately a dozen NTSB staffers.

The FAA, Colgan, and the Air Line Pilots Association will be parties to the NTSB's investigation, adds the agency.

Additionally, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has appointed a representative who will arrive on scene today along with technical advisors from TSB, P&WC, and Bombardier.

Air traffic transmissions with the Colgan Q400 give no immediate indications of any problems before controllers suddenly lost contact with the flight. The audio record also reveals that, as controllers searched for the missing aircraft, they queried whether a following flight was experiencing icing conditions.

Weather information at the time of the accident, about 22:20 yesterday, points to light snow, a temperature of 1°C, and gusting winds of up to 22kt.

P&WC says it is too soon to tell if the engines were involved in the incident, but stands ready to assist the NTSB.

Bombardier has extended its sympathies to the families of those who perished in the accident. However, until such time as the investigators release any information or findings, the Canadian manufacturer says it cannot comment further or speculate on the cause of the crash.

Continental Airlines chairman and CEO Larry Kellner says: "Continental extends its deepest sympathy to the family members and loved ones of those involved in this accident. We are providing our full assistance to Colgan Air so that together we can provide as much support as possible for all concerned."

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