A long (two-and-a-half-year) period of remarkably safe aviation came to a close at twenty minutes past ten last night, when Continental Commuter Flight 3407 from Newark slammed into a house near Buffalo. All 49 people on board are dead; one person on the ground was killed as well.
There are several angles to the story this morning: the investigation, of course — which will be hampered by the absence of any signs of trouble in the last communications with air-traffic control; the people on board — one of whom was Beverly Eckert, a woman who had experienced tragedy before, when her husband perished at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001; and we’re studying that long stretch of fatality-free airline travel in this country. It may seem a strange morning to say so — but flying remains an extraordinarily safe way to travel.
Other news today: we’re expecting votes on the stimulus bill in the House (this afternoon) and Senate (early evening), and we will take another look at who can expect "stimulative" help, and when; for a third consecutive day a suicide attacker has targeted Shiite pilgrims in Iraq – today a woman blew herself up and took 35 other lives south of Baghdad; our reporter in the Gulf of Aden has the story of the U.S.S. Lewis & Clark, on a successful mission to capture pirates; and — just in case you’re not worried enough about events here on earth — the chief of Russia’s Mission Control now says clouds of debris will circle the globe for 10,000 years.
Whew. Stay tuned…