Hockey Ref Narrowly Avoided Buffalo Plane Crash

Even a week later, the crash of Continental Flight 3407 into a residential area of Buffalo continues to have ramifications in the sports world. First it was the Buffalo Sabres players and coaches who witnessed the plane crash from their homes in the tony Clarence Center suburb. Now the ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE has the story of Jeff Smith, an AHL hockey referee whose last-minute change of flights likely saved the lives of he and his family.

Continental Flight 3407

Smith, his wife and their two children were scheduled to fly up from their home in Florida to Newark then Buffalo. Smith would be working games in Toronto, Rochester and Hamilton, while his family came along as a sort of winter vacation. But Continental gate agent Jackie Papa thought the turbulence expected on Flight 3407 would be unsettling for his children, so she suggested they switch flights.

Read more…

Sabres Players Witnesses To Buffalo Plane Crash

Last night’s crash of Continental Flight 3407 was a tragedy, with 49 people on the plane killed along with one person on the ground when the plane suddenly took a nosedive into a neighborhood in Clarence Center, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. NTSB officials are now saying that there was “significant” ice buildup on plane just before it crashed. Among those killed was a widow of a 9/11 victim who had campaigned for victim’s rights and had met with President Obama just last week.

Buffalo Plane Crash

I can’t imagine what it’s like to witness something like that, whether you actually see the plane go down to just see the fiery, horrific aftermath. Being a relatively small city, it’s not surprising that the crash has sent shockwaves throughout Buffalo, including the Sabres organization. As the BUFFALO NEWS reports, many of the team’s players live in or near Clarence Center and became witnesses to the horror last night.

Read more…