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Higgins speaks directly with NTSB chairman about Western New York airplane crash

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Tue, Oct 6th 2020 05:25 pm

Monday afternoon, Congressman Brian Higgins spoke directly with National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt about concerns related to the federal investigation into the recent airplane crash in Western New York. 

Higgins said, “Chairman Sumwalt shared that he is no stranger to the pain Western New York has felt due to aviation tragedies. In his 14 years with the agency, he personally worked on the crash of Flight 3407. Unfortunately, in this case the swampy site and burrowing of the aircraft several feet under require a salvage team, with expertise in sifting through submerged wreckage, rather than the traditional ground-based ‘go team’ of NTSB investigators. Nevertheless, the chair assured us the NTSB is committed to a full and thorough investigation. Wreckage is being transported to a site in Tennessee for inspection, testing of components, any indication of malfunctions that may have contributed to the crash, and an examination of controls. The agency is in the process of obtaining aircraft control data, maintenance records, witness interviews and other data.

“Western New Yorkers should rest assured we will work closely with the NTSB to ensure our community and the flying public receive the answers they deserve regarding this tragic accident.”

A small aircraft departing Manchester, New Hampshire, crashed on Friday, Oct. 2, in the vicinity of Corfu, never reaching its Buffalo destination. The crash tragically killed both on board: Steve Barnes, the pilot and a Western New York attorney; as well as his passenger and niece, Elizabeth Barnes, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

On Saturday, Higgins and Congressman Chris Jacobs wrote to the NTSB chairman and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator urging the NTSB to send investigators to the crash site.

The NTSB has indicated plans to release a preliminary report in the next two weeks. Following further investigation, the NTSB’s final report will be issued within 12-24 months.

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