Friday, February 13, 2009

Continental Airlines Flight 3407 Crash In Buffalo

When I turned on my monitor this morning and saw I had 113 Tweets to read, my first thought was "WTF was everyone up to last night that I have that many tweets??"

Then I started reading. Since they're stacked newest to oldest, I got the picture very quickly that a plane crash in Buffalo had killed 50 people (Number corrected).

My first thought was of our friend Clair, who is a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines. As I scrolled, I saw that it wasn't her airline. My next thought was, "Did Jen14221 make it back from Philadelphia? Who did she say she flew with??" until I saw she had tweeted earlier in the evening that she was home with her family. Then I started wondering if Buffalo Blogger BuffaloPundit was affected given that the crash happened in Clarence (His Account.

I don't recall a commercial airline crash of this magnitude ever happening in Western New York (Scroll down for last instance in 1942). It's the kind of story that, even if it happened 50 years ago, still gets around. The proximity of the story and the number of family and friends we have in Buffalo make this a hard story to digest. My heart is hurting for those who have lost loved ones in the crash and I send my prayers to you.

Sometimes I cope best with these kinds of news stories by drawing on my inner geek. Here I go.

One thing that struck me was that it was a good 5 minutes before I read an actual news story online after reading the first tweet that gave me an indication that there had been a crash. I scoured for the Breaking Headlines and CNN Breaking News updates. Then I opened up Facebook and started scrolling through the LiveFeed and Status Updates. Finally, it occurred to me to read a news story.

You'd think the first place I'd hit up would be a Buffalo source, right? No. For some reason, I decided to get a feel for how far the story got by clicking over to Drudge. I grimly noted that Matt Drudge saw fit to sensationalize the story with a fiery picture of the crash and the words "Fireball" before coming to my senses and clicking on the Democrat & Chronicle Twitter link for an early story.

I spent the rest of the time before I had to head off to work scrolling through my subscriptions in Google Reader looking for other people's accounts on this story. I commented to Matt later that how I learned and informed myself about this story is so different from just a few years ago. I would have known almost immediately after it happened if I had my Twitter notifications turned on my cell. I don't feel less connected because I didn't. In fact, I know I would have felt an obligation to stay up to find out the latest details while trying to gather enough credible information so I could re-do the volunteer newscast I provide for WRFA. I almost feel guilty, like by not having an updated newscast I did the listeners a disservice by not letting them know the gravity of the situation 70 miles to the north of us. But I have to let it go.

What will follow is speculation to what happened, if anyone was at fault, and the heartbreaking stories about those who have died and the people they've left behind. I wish grace and integrity for those who will be covering this story.


- Story hits closer to home: Another employee of the airline, Capt. Joseph Zuffoletto, a Jamestown resident who was off-duty at the time, was also killed.

- Three (Chautauqua) County Residents Killed in Crash

- Buffalo News - List of Victims (Updated as news becomes available)

- Buffalo News Blog on Clarence Plane Crash - Updated Frequently

- Twitter Updates on #ClarencePlaneCrash

1 comment:

Jen14221 said...

Thank you for thinking of me! I am indeed alive, but really freaked out as I can imagine everyone else is.
I am due to fly to Florida with the family on Sunday, flying is something I do at least twice a week, but it seems all very surreal now.

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