Flight 3407, R.I.P.

By MichaelJames

Feb 14, 2009 9:55am

Readers of a certain age will recall the moment in Simon and Garfunkel’s concert in Central Park when Garfunkel gives a shout-out to sax player Gerry Niewood.

Niewood, 64, and another member of jazz great Chuck Mangione’s band, guitarist Coleman Mellett, were on that tragic Continental Flight 3407 which crashed in Buffalo Thursday night.

The passenger roster is stunning. For those who believe in God, you might wonder what exactly the plan here was.

In addition to Beverly Eckert, whose loss we discussed yesterday, human rights advocate Alison Des Forges died in the crash as well. An expert on Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, she was senior advisor for Human Rights Watch’s Africa division. Des Forges was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1999 for her work on Rwanda.

On board were decorated Vietnam veteran Clay Yarber, a Marine who twice survived helicopter crashes; and 24-year-old Maddy Loftus, a college hockey player whose friends recall her beautiful smile; the cantor of Williamsburg, N.Y., synagogue Temple Beth Am, Susan Wehle, who had just released the CD "Songs of Hope and Healing."

If you knew others on the plane and want to share memories or anything else, please feel free below.

- jpt

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