WASHINGTON, D.C. – In 2009, Continental flight 3407, crashed near Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. Since the crash, Congress made significant changes for airline training and safety. Family members of the victims are in D.C. fighting to keep those changes.
Even after all these years, family members of the victims said the loss and pain they feel is still there. They’re here on Capitol Hill, pushing to keep certain rules that were implemented following that crash.
This week, there are hearings to discuss the FAA reauthorization bill. Congress has to take up this legislation every five years. Part of that discussion was the 1500 hour training requirement for pilots to fly commercial planes. That rule was implemented a year after that deadly flight 3407 crash. Some airlines argue that this rule contributes to a pilot shortage problem. John Kausner, the father of one of the victims, Ellie, was upset that a member of congress said this 1500 hour rule was an emotional response to the crash.
“You believe it was emotional, I lost my daughter,” said Kausner. “Yeah it was emotional. Lost her sister, lost her husband, lost her husband, lost her daughter, lost her husband, lost his sister. Of course we were emotional. If anyone experienced 9/11 they were emotional, so was the entire country.”
“No business issue should never come before public safety, period end of story,” said Rep. Nick Langworthy (R- NY). “And when you book that plane ticket for work or a family vacation, you want to have 100% confidence in the airline and the pilots.”
The last fatal US plane crash was from flight 3407. New York Congressman Nick Langworthy said since implementing this rule, our skies have been much safer because of the extensive pilot training.
In a report following the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said pilot error was one of the chief causes that led to the deadly 3407 crash.