(WKBW release) New York Congressman Brian Higgins joined Flight 3407 families and members of the Western New York Congressional delegation in a news conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill calling for a sustained push for “one level of aviation safety.”
This is a continuation of the ongoing effort to advocate for stronger rules on pilot fatigue, pilot training and passenger rights following the tragic crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 near the Buffalo Airport on February 12, 2009.
Higgins said, “Three years have passed since that tragic day in Western New York. There are many accomplishments to be proud of, but much work still to be done. We could talk about the elapsed history - countless meetings, hurdles, and bureaucratic roadblocks – but instead today we talk about heart – the tireless passion demonstrated by these family members to see this work through, in memory of their loved ones, making flying safer for each of ours.”
Following the joint event, Congressman Higgins discussed the issue on the House Floor. Below is the text of his remarks:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today along with my colleague Congresswoman Kathy Hochul to recognize the upcoming third anniversary of the tragic crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in my Western New York community.
This tragedy, unfortunately, was preventable. The National Transportation Safety Board found that the chief cause of the crash was pilot error.
In August of 2010 President Obama signed into law aviation safety legislation which, among other things, required the Federal Aviation Administration to update flight-and-duty time rules and set minimum rest requirements for pilots.
As the families know too well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of that day. But they persevered. They became a true citizen army for aviation safety and achieved the most comprehensive aviation reform in 50 years. These efforts -- they were guided by their faith and by the light of those they loved and lost.
We recognize their extraordinary efforts on behalf of the Western New York community, the flying public, and a grateful nation.
New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul also issued a news release Tuesday recognizing the accomplishments of the families of the victims. It reads:
Nearly three years after the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today met with the families of the victims of Flight 3407, as well as Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Representatives Higgins and Slaughter, and called for “one true level of safety” for the flying public.
“Three years ago this week, an unspeakable tragedy occurred when a plane full of people crashed into a home in Clarence Center, in the heart of my district,” Hochul said in the news release. “Out of those ashes, arose an indomitable spirit among these families that united them in their grief and brought their quest right here to the halls in Washington, where they have fought to ensure no other family has to endure having their hearts ripped out the way they all had.”
Following the news conference, Congresswoman Hochul hosted an individual meeting with Flight 3407 families from Western New York to discuss the work yet to be done to fully implement pending new flight safety measures.
Hochul added, “Until the will of Congress, and the families we serve, are translated into new rules, we will not give up the fight, because the families are counting on us and they never gave up the fight.”