St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
A commuter plane carrying 29 people nose-dived into a snowy field outside Detroit on Thursday, killing everyone on board.
The twin-engine Embraer 120, operated by Cincinnati-based Comair, was on its way to Detroit Metropolitan Airport from Cincinnati when it went down in a snowstorm just before dusk, crashing near a farmhouse 18 miles short of the airport.
The 30-seat plane splintered into small pieces, leaving a black patch on a clearing in the snow, which was a half-foot deep. Cathy Conner, 14, who lives about 200 yards away, said she was getting off her school bus when she saw the plane go "straight into the ground. It was just like a blur, it was going so fast. Then I saw the explosion, and flames just went everywhere." Her mother, Bernice Conner, said: "It was just flames and smoke. That's all we could see." Comair said 26 passengers and three crew members had been aboard. Joan Marie Smith, a spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said all were feared dead. Fire and rescue vehicles converged on the charred wreckage as a snowstorm expected to dump up to 7 inches moved in. As darkness fell, emergency workers walked through the field with flashlights, looking for wreckage and bodies. The pilot of Flight 3272 gave no indication of any trouble before the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The safety board sent a team to investigate. Comair acquired the plane in 1992, and it had its last major maintenance check on Nov. 20, said Charles Curran, Comair senior vice president. "It did not have any maintenance irregularities. …