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A commuter plane coming in for a landing nose-dived into a house in suburban Buffalo, sparking a fiery explosion and killing all 49 people on board and one person in the home.

It was the first fatal crash of a commercial airliner in the U.S. in 2 1/2 years.

Witnesses heard the twin turboprop aircraft sputtering before it went down around 10:20 p.m. EST Thursday about five miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The plane was carrying a four-member crew and an off-duty pilot. Among the 44 passengers killed was a woman whose husband died in the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The 50-seat, Continental Airlines  commuter plane crashed in Clarence, N.Y., a Buffalo suburb, according to reports. It was flying in light snow, fog and 17 mph winds.

Buffalo News said mechanical problems were reported as Continental Connection Flight 3407 approached Buffalo Niagara International airport. The commercial flight, operated by Colgan Air, was headed to Buffalo from Newark, N.J.

In a statement, Continental Airlines 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."

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