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9/11 Widow on Buffalo Flight

CLARENCE CENTER, New York (CNN) -- Beverly Eckert, widow of a September 11 attack victim, was aboard the Continental flight to Buffalo, New York, that crashed Thursday night, CNN affiliate WGRZ-TV reported.

Continental Airlines Flight 3407 crashed into a house in Clarence Center, New York, late Thursday.

Eckert, a resident of Stamford, Connecticut, is the widow of Buffalo native Sean Rooney, who died in the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. After that attack, Eckert co-founded "Voices of September 11," an advocacy group for survivors and 9/11 families.

She had been traveling to Buffalo for a weekend celebration of what would have been her husband's 58th birthday, according to the Buffalo News -- the first news agency to report her presence on the fatal flight.

Eckert also planned to take part in presenting a scholarship award -- established in honor of her late husband --at Canisius High School. Rooney was a Canisius alumni, according to the school's president, John Knight.

Knight said he couldn't confirm Eckert's presence on the plane. However, he said, the school postponed a scholarship presentation that had been planned for Friday. He said Eckert also had been active in a capital campaign fund-raising effort.

"She struck me as a wonderful, beautiful person who clearly wanted to do something to remember her husband in a way that would have an everlasting impact on our community," Knight said.

Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed late Thursday about 7 miles northeast of Buffalo Niagara International Airport -- killing all 49 passengers and crew members, and one person on the ground.

Chris Kausner, who had a sister on the flight, rushed to the Clarence Municipal Center, where he waited for additional information after emergency teams turned him back from the scene.

"My parents are on vacation in Florida, and I had to call down there and tell my father what was going on," he told CNN affiliate WIVB-TV.

When asked how his parents were handling the news, a shaken Kausner responded: "To tell you the truth, I heard my mother make a sound that I have never heard before."

The Erie County Medical Examiner's Office established a command post at the scene and had investigators there, a statement from the office said. Officials said relatives of passengers aboard the flight should call 800-621-3263 for information.

A statement from the airline said: "At this time, the full resources of Colgan Air's accident response team are being mobilized and will be devoted to cooperating with all authorities responding to the accident and to contacting family members and providing assistance to them."

Click to view image: 'Beverlt Eckert'

Added: Feb-13-2009 Occurred On: Feb-13-2009
By: bardville
Tags: 9/11, widow, plane, crash, Buffalo
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