At least 50 were killed late last night and several injured in the fiery Buffalo, New York, crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air. The flight, which was headed from Newark, New Jersey, to Buffalo, was on approach approx. 10 miles from its destination airport when contact was lost. Preliminary information indicates that the Q400 Bombardier aircraft, a twin-engined turbo-prop, entered a steep dive and impacted a residential home, killing all 49 aboard and at least one on the ground.

Other aircraft in the area reported icing conditions, and ice buildup on the wings can cause a catastrophic loss of lift, but it is too early to determine if the weather was a contributing cause of this crash. Much stronger anti-ice procedures were put in place after the 1982 crash of Air Florida Flight 90 into Washington, DC’s 14th St. Bridge and the Potomac River shortly after takeoff.

This is the first crash of a commercial airliner resulting in fatalities since 2006, ending a remarkably safe period in commercial air travel.