50 Dead in Plane Crash Near Buffalo, N.Y.

A commuter plane crashed in suburban Buffalo, N.Y., late Thursday killing all 49 people on the plane and one on the ground, according to authorities.
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Updated from 7:54 a.m. EST

A commuter plane coming in for a landing nose-dived into a house in suburban Buffalo, sparking a fiery explosion and killing all 49 people on board and one person in the home.

It was the first fatal crash of a commercial airliner in the U.S. in 2 1/2 years.

Witnesses heard the twin turboprop aircraft sputtering before it went down around 10:20 p.m. EST Thursday about five miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The plane was carrying a four-member crew and an off-duty pilot. Among the 44 passengers killed was a woman whose husband died in the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The 50-seat,

Continental Airlines

(CAL) - Get Report

commuter plane crashed in Clarence, N.Y., a Buffalo suburb, according to reports. It was flying in light snow, fog and 17 mph winds.

Buffalo News

said mechanical problems were reported as Continental Connection Flight 3407 approached Buffalo Niagara International airport. The commercial flight, operated by Colgan Air, was headed to Buffalo from Newark, N.J.

In a statement, Continental Airlines said: "At this time, the full resources of Colgan Air's accident response team are being mobilized and will be devoted to cooperating with all authorities responding to the accident and to contacting family members and providing assistance to them."

By morning, with the rubble still smoking, the task of retrieving remains had not yet begun.

Erie County Emergency Coordinator David Bissonette said it appeared the plane "dove directly on top of the house."

"It was a direct hit," Erie County Executive Chris Collins said. "It's remarkable that it only took one house. As devastating as that is, it could have wiped out the entire neighborhood."

President Barack Obama voiced condolences, saying "our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones."

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of crash investigators to Buffalo early Friday. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said the agency would join the NTSB investigation.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said there is "no indication of any security related event" that brought the plane down.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com. AP contributed to this report.