Where: New York, USA

February 12, 2009 : A commercial air plane crashed into a house in Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. The plane burst into flames on impact. The Continental Airlines plane was on its way from Newark, New Jersey before crashing some distance away from the airport. Two people in the house were injured. The house itself was completely destroyed, and the authorities evacuated people from the neighbourhood, so that investigations could be carried out.

Flight data and voice recordings which were recovered show that the crew of the plane was talking about a ‘significant ice buildup’ on the wings and windshield before the crash. There was light snow and fog in the area at the time, but there was no distress call from the plane. This is the first fatal plane crash in the United States since 2006. Air travel in the United States has a very good safety record. Less than a month before the crash, pilot Chesley Sullenberg saved the lives of all 155 people on board by landing his plane in the Hudson River when the engines failed after being hit by a bird.

In Mumbai, India, an Air India plane almost collided with a helicopter from the President’s fleet on the runway last week. The plane’s pilot saved the day by slamming emergency brakes with seconds to spare.