New Delhi, February 12, 2019: Fifty lives ended a decade ago Tuesday when the exhausted, under-trained pilots of Continental Connection Flight 3407 blundered their way through an emergency and crashed their plane into a home in Clarence.
But on that very same day – Feb. 12, 2009 – a new era of aviation safety began.
U.S. airlines – which experienced a major crash, on average, every 17 months in the preceding 20 years – haven’t suffered a single such accident since Flight 3407. After two decades in which 1,186 people died in U.S. commercial plane crashes, this decade has seen only one such fatality: the death of a woman when a Southwest Airlines jet window shattered last year according to buffalonews.com.
The safety turnaround inspires superlatives. The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Robert L. Sumwalt, called it “tremendous.” The pilot behind the “Miracle on the Hudson,” Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger, said his industry’s recent safety record is “something I wouldn’t have thought possible 25 years ago.”
Both men said the nation’s remarkable aviation safety record is rooted in part in the tragedy that happened on that icy night in Clarence 10 years ago.