NTSB seeks answers in NY plane crash

Flowers are left in memorial near the site where workers and investigators clear debris from the scene of the plane crash of a Continental Connection Flight 3407 on February 16, 2009 in Clarence, N.Y.

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Today, the National Transportation Safety Board kicks off hearings on that deadly February New York plane crash. Fifty people were killed when the plane went down just outside Buffalo. The NTSB will look into everything from weather to training, and even how
rested the pilots were on that day. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.


ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: The NTSB will want to know whether the first officer on the plane was too tired to fly. She arrived on a red-eye flight from the West Coast the same morning as the Buffalo flight. Mark Rosenker is acting chairman of the NTSB.

MARK ROSENKER: Fatigue in general is something which has remained on our most wanted list for much too long. And we're hoping that we can bring a good deal of visibility to the issue if this is something involved here.

The NTSB will also want to know why the aircraft stalled despite an automatic warning the plane was so low.

Bob Francis is an airline consultant with Farragut International. He says there's a standard procedure for reacting to that kind of alert.

BOB FRANCIS: Any pilot that's got the kind of training that they'd have, to me it's almost inconceivable that when they got into a stall situation that they would pull back on the yoke.

The yoke being the plane's control column. He says the pilot should have pushed down instead.

The NTSB says it will be several months before it publishes any conclusions about the cause of the crash.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

About the author

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast about women in the workplace called The Broad Experience.

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