Commuter Plane Clash in New York Blamed on Ice Build-Up

by Michelle Franzen
NBC News

On Saturday morning, first responders resumed the process of mapping and removing the remains of victims of continental connecting flight 3407.

"Our goal is really to expedite scene cleanup and then begin with DNA analysis so we can identify all of the loved ones," Dr. Anthony J. Billittier with the Erie County Commission of Health, said.

An enormous and delicate task with little left of the plane--after it exploded on impact five miles out from Buffalo-Niagra Airport.

All 49 passengers and crew members died when the plane crashed into a suburban Buffalo home. Doug Wielinski, who was also inside died, but his wife and daughter miraculously escaped. A family friend described their shock.

"She said that she knew he was gone...her daughter wanted to go back in and get him and she said no daddy's gone."

The plane crashed five miles from the Buffalo-Niagra airport.

In their communication with air traffic control, the pilots did not issue a distress call.

But the NTSB says initial examination of the black box recorders reveal the crew had encountered ice as the plane descended.

"The crew discussed significant ice build up - on the windshield and the leading edge of the wings. The flight director shows severe pitch and roll excursions within seconds of the 15 flap command," NTSB Investigator Steve Chealander, said.

As word of the victims' names were released, the families and communities where they lived began the mourning process.

In Washington, family members of co-pilot Rebecca Lynne Shaw called her an amazing person.

"She just loved flying anytime she could be in the air."

"Perfect....perfect little sister..."

One of the passengers, 9/11 widow and victims' activist, Beverly Eckert, was returning to Buffalo to help family and friends celebrate what would have been her late husband's birthday.

Stories of the lives lost, just beginning to unfold.