Settlement reached in 2009 New York plane crash

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A settlement was announced Thursday in the only case to go to trial following a 2009 plane crash into a suburban Buffalo home that killed 50 people.

The deal was announced in state Supreme Court after more than a month of testimony in the wrongful death case brought by the family of Douglas Wielinski against regional carrier Colgan Air, which operated the plane, its parent, Pinnacle Airlines, and Continental Airlines, which contracted with Colgan for the flight.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed into the Wielinskis' home in the suburb of Clarence on Feb. 12, 2009, killing 61-year-old Douglas Wielinski and all 49 people on the plane. Wielinski's wife, Karen, and one of their four adult daughters, Jill Hohl, were home at the time but managed to free themselves from the destroyed house.

On the stand, Hohl told jurors that she had been watching television in an upstairs bedroom when the twin-engine plane struck the house and described sliding down a wing to the ground as fire began to engulf the plane and home. She was reunited outside with her mother, who had been on the home's first floor and had suffered a broken collarbone.

Douglas Wielinski's body was found across the driveway under rubble two days later.

Outside the courtroom Thursday, Karen Wielinski, 63, told reporters that her husband would be proud of how the family had demanded justice for him.

"I think we all came to the point where this was enough and we were happy with the settlement," she said.

Theirs was among dozens of wrongful death lawsuits filed after the crash, but the others, brought by passengers' families, were settled without going to trial.

Investigators said the flight from Newark, New Jersey, on its way to Buffalo stalled and crashed after the pilots responded incorrectly to a stall warning. Under pressure from passengers' families, federal officials have since issued an extensive overhaul of training requirements for pilots.