13 Feb

Here is a photograph of the actual plane that crashed into a home last night on Long off Clarence Center Road.

Last night I got through watching Survivor at 9pm PST, and I started channel surfing. I paused when I heard familiar voices – Josh Boose? Scott Levin? Kevin O’Connell? On CNN? And the chryon says plane crash? And then it says Clarence Center.

We live in Clarence Center.

Panic struck because we’re in Vegas, and the kids are at home with my parents. Airplanes flying over the house are commonplace, since we’re near the final approach to KBUF. I called my parents, and we called the neighbors and everyone had unbelievably slept through it all (sorry for waking you, but this was extraordinary).

The crash location is 1/2 mile from my house as the crow flies. It’s a block from Mia’s daycare. Literally. We spoke to the owner of the daycare, who heard the plane flying too low overhead and witnessed the explosion a few homes away.

View Larger Map

While watching the news and switching between CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I got on Twitter and Facebook and kept track of what was happening. A Twitter hashtag #Clarenceplanecrash was created. Keith Burtis, a local man who boasts over 2,000 people following him on Twitter, was interviewed on Fox News, which found him on Twitter. He talked about how sparsely populated and wealthy an area it is where this accident happened. Except Long Road is in a part of Clarence Center that is an older, relatively densely populated neighborhood. It’s not a wealthy subdivision. He also got in a plug for his employer, Best Buy, while on Fox News. That’s great. People are dead in an incident that directly affects me, and somebody who says he lives 10x further from the location than I is making sure to get in a plug.

Another person on Twitter wrote this:

@GarrettSmith two minutes is better than 2 seconds. count your blessings & move out of the suburbs

Just now, I went onto Channel 2’s website, and I get this, which I’ve annotated appropriately:

The schools are closed:

My daughter’s daycare is within the perimeter that’s closed off around the crash site.

My heart goes out to everyone who was on that flight, and the victim on the ground, as well as all of their loved ones. I am so thankful that my family is safe and sound. Although I’m a bit nervous about flying tomorrow, I’ll be excited to come home and hug my family.

Photos by Sharyn Brunner via Flickr on WNYMedia.net

21 Responses to “N200WQ”

  1. Eric P February 13, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Yesterdays precipitation was a weird mix of rain, freezing rain, slush, more rain, etc. with most of it freezing to surfaces on contact. I’ve got to believe that icing on the plane had something to do with this crash. It is suprising that there weren’t more injuries on the ground. This crash was only about 1.5 miles from my house and really pretty damn close to BP’s house.
    I can’t imagine the shock of those who were at the airport waiting for friends or family to arrive, particularly since they might have been told the plane had already landed and was taxiing. Really very tragic.

  2. mamcrat February 13, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    Is anyone aware of ways to help? I understand they want people out of the way so they can investigate and do what they have to do. Is there any place volunteers who want to help can go or call?

  3. WNYPMH February 13, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    I am a Clarence alum and had many friends who lived in that little two or three street radius when I was in high school. It definitely tears at your heart when it is so close to home. Prayers for all involved, including the first responders who made sure that the damage was minimized.

  4. Dan McGraw February 13, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    I grew up in Orchard Park and my heart goes out to everyone there who’s going through this terrible tragedy. We now live near Chicago where a plane disintegrated over Northern Indiana a few years ago. This was a commuter AA Eagle turboprop. I believe these turboprops have serious ice issues and should be studied for catastrophic failure conditions. Ground them for the time being.

    Very sorry for the families there.

  5. Tom B February 13, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    Dude has totally been taking advantage of the situation all night by posting tweets about his next interview. Meanwhile, I assume Marc or someone from WNYMedia has been up all night giving real updates while this moron has done nothing but exploit a terrible situation.

  6. Terry February 13, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    We have, I think, forgotten the fragile status of life…and these sobering moments drive home the point that it doesn’t take much at all for things to go wrong.

  7. kris February 13, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    My brother lives less than a mile from there as well. I did not know about this until this morning & almost fell over looking at the front page of the Buffalo News.

    Just tragic.

  8. August West February 13, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    Not too long ago, I worked with the Mother of the young law student identified as a victim of the crash. The crash site is literally a 1/4 mile from their house.

    This one digs down really deep. I’m afraid we will all know someone personally affected by this.

    May the four winds blow them safely home…

  9. jen February 13, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    I am glad your safe BP and that your family is safe. This is very shocking and upsetting. The Buffalo News is reporting lots of local people were on that flight. My heart goes out to them and to the family on the ground who lost their loved one and home. What a sad tragedy.

  10. Buffalo Hodgepodge February 13, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    This is the saddest day in the history of Western New York. Period.

    Once we learn more on the passenger manifest, I am sure we will all very quickly find out the sober meaning of the two degrees of separation that we experience in Buffalo.

  11. Tracy Diina February 13, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Geez, I cannot imagine how you must have felt, BP. My husband and I are taking a trip to Vegas in April without our kids and that is the first thing I thought of when I saw the story…what if something happens when I am away from the kids (with my folks watching). But for the grace of God…

  12. wcp February 13, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    Terribly tragic. CNN is showing some new home-video of the scene just before the first fire trucks pulled up. The audio is horrific. Very sad and really scary if it was ice that doomed the plane. My heart goes out to everyone touched by this tragedy.

  13. James February 13, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    BP – interesting post that I hope will make people think about the human cost of this tragedy.

    I can NOT understand why the first kneejerk reaction of otherwise intelligent people would be “count your blessings & move out of the suburbs” as reported on BRO. My heart aches for the family and friends of the 50 people lost yesterday evening… Discussion/debate about the merits of suburbanization is inappropriate at this time.

  14. mike February 13, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    sorry that such a terrible event hit so close to home, but trust me you would be so POed if you were here and watching the local news coverage of this awful crash.

  15. Russell February 13, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    It’s amazing and quite a blessing that this plane only hit one house and only one person on the ground was killed. It’s a horrible tragedy, but a miracle more people were not killed or injured. Glad to hear your family was spared this tragedy, BP, along with so many others, but my thoughts and prayers are with those that weren’t spared. Like Hodgepodge said, due to the closeness of this community, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before most of us find out that this tragedy did strike too close to home.

    I’m sure the investigation will take some time, but Imany people are wondering how this happened. Some in the media and elsewhere are already speculating it was weather, but that doesn’t add up. We had a regular, full schedule of flights in and out of Buffalo yesterday and that time of night was not the worst weather we experienced. It’s also the first ever tragedy of this kind at the Buffalo Airport, thank G-d, and yesterday certainly was not the worst weather we’ve ever had, or the worst the airport has worked through. And the fact that the plane came down nose first is what spared so many people on the ground, but what caused that?

  16. hank February 13, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    This crash and its high cost in lives is absolutely tragic.

    My wife asked me what Clarence Center is like, and I told her that it was on the my list of places to look for a home before she retired from the Navy. We couldn’t afford most of Clarence, but we could have afforded Clarence Center.

    Big thumbs up the Clarence Center Fire Dep’t, who got out there fast and did what they could, realizing they couldn’t do what they wanted to—get out survivors.

    Prayers of many expats are being said for the victims, their families and the people of Clarence Center.

  17. The Humanist February 13, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    Sympathies to the families of the victims of this tragedy.

    Particularly poignant is that a true hero, Beverly Eckert, was on this tragic flight. She lost her husband on 9/11 and turned her grief into activism….she and many other 9//11 families organized and shamed the government into accountability – first with the 9/11 Commission, then with intelligence reform. She was returning here to celebrate what would have been her husband’s 58th birthday.

    Thank you Beverly and may you rest in peace.

  18. Pauldub February 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    James – in regards to the comment on twitter, I would not judge unless I kew the nature of the tweet to which he was replying. Gallows humor is often an instinctive reaction to a tragedy.
    First reports indicate that I lost an old military buddy on that flight. I imagine as Hodgepodge said, that this will touch a lot of people in WNY. My sympathies to all.

  19. Ward February 13, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Sick feeling in the stomach all day, got worse when the names started coming out and the immediacy of the whole thing just grew.
    Very sad. Prayers for all, including the investigators who now must walk among the remains of the poor souls, and do their job.

  20. James February 16, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    Pauldub – Perhaps – it was a poor attempt at humor. However, under the circumstances, I think it is/was an inappropriate statement.

    I might get drunk and let my balls hang out of my pants after a rugby game as an attempt at humor. Moreover, such a comedy routine would not be proper at funeral.

    The statement was inappropriate regardless of intent.


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