Monroe, MI Commuter Plane Crashes, Jan 1997

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Monroe, Mich. (AP) -- A commuter plane trying to land in a snowstorm nose-dived into a field 18 miles short of the Detroit airport Thursday, killing all 29 people aboard.
The twin-engine Embraer 120, operated by Cincinnati-based Comair, went down just before dusk in a huge fireball, splintering into small pieces and leaving a black patch in the snow, which was about 4 inches deep by evening.
"It looked like a bomb went off destroying everything in its path," said Dale Zorn, chairman of the local Board of Commissioners.
Cathy Conner, 14, said she was getting off the school bus when she saw the plane go "straight into the ground."
"It was just like a blur, it was going so fast. Then I saw the explosion and flames just went everywhere," she said.
"You heard this big boom and there was a fireball that went up," said Patty Cawood, who also lives nearby. "By the time we got there, there were still like exploding things, you know, coming out, so we didn't went to get real close."
Comair said 26 passengers and three crew members were aboard. Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield said there were no survivors.
The pilot of Flight 3272, which originated in Cincinnati, gave no indication of any trouble as the plane prepared to land at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The NTSB sent a team to investigate the cause of the accident.
Fire and rescue vehicles converged on the charred wreckage of the 30-seat plane, which went down near a farm-house and a country road. As darkness fell, rescue workers walked through the field with flashlights, looking for wreckage and bodies.
At the Detroit airport, friends and relatives of the passengers were taken to a spot where counselors were available.
Thursday's accident was the second fatal crash in the commuter airline's 20-year history. A twin-engine Piper Navajo crashed at an airport in Kentucky in 1979 after an engine failed on takeoff. Eight people were killed.
The Embraer 120 is a Brazilian-built turboprop. More than 300 of the planes are in use, most in North America, where they are popular with regional and commuter airlines. There have been three fatal U.S. crashes involving the Embraer 120 since 1991.
Comair obtained the plane in 1992, and it had its last major maintenance check on Nov. 20, said Charles Curran, Comair senior vice president. "It did not have any maintenance irregularities," he said.
Comair serves Florida and the Midwest, offering connections to Delta Air Lines flights as part of a group of small carriers that collectively are known as the Delta Connection. Delta owns about 20 percent of Comair.

Alton Telegraph Illinois 1997-01-10

List of Casualties of the Crash.
Capt. DANN CARLSEN, pilot, 42, Grant City, Ky.
Flight Officer KENNETH V. REECE, 28, Fort Wright.
Flight Attendant DARINDA OGDEN-NILSEN, 26, Lexington, Ky.
DEXTER ADAMS, 41, Paddock Hills, Ohio.
GREGORY BARROW, 31, Detroit, Mich.
ROGER BRANSFORD, 52, Sandy Springs, Mich.
REV. ARTHUR BRICE, 46, Brookhaven, Miss.
SCOTT BROWNLEE, 34, Helena, Mont.
GEOFFREY DAVIS, 35, Detroit, Mich.
MAUREEN DeMARCO, 37, Englewood, Colo.
GREG DOUCHARD, 50, Wesson, Miss.
LEO FELTEAU, 31, Atlanta, Ga.
MARK HERMAN, 27, Novi, Mich.
BETTY JEAN JONES, Detroit, Mich.
CHARLES JONES, 42, McComb, Miss.
STEVEN McCLAIN, Waterford, Mich.
TERI MUSKOVITZ, 38, West Bloomfield, Mich.
KIM PASSARIELLO, 41, Lake Havasu, Ariz.
ROY RAYMOND, 56, Twin Falls, Id.
VERNA MARIE RAYMOND, 57, Twin Falls, Id.
JENNIFER ROSIAK, Fairbanks, Alaska.
NICHOLAS ROSIAK, 8 months, Fairbanks, Alaska.
ARATI SHARANGPANI, 21, Holland, Mich.
RICHARD STEARN, 45, Whitmore Lake, Mich.
KEITA TAKENAMI, 47, Lexington, Ky.
THOMAS A. DOUGLAS, Coatesville, Pa.
CHARLES WANSEDEL, 51, Mount Clemens, Mich.
DARLENE ZAGAR, 41, Danville, Ky.