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Crash recording can be used at trial

Families suing over the 2009 crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 will be allowed to use the cockpit voice recording at trial.

A federal judge in Buffalo agreed with lawyers for the families who argued the written transcript is incomplete and the actual sound is necessary for a fair trial. In a decision dated Tuesday, he ordered the recording turned over to lawyers and told them to come up with a way to prevent it from being publicly released so potential jurors won't be influenced. The case is set for trial in 2012.

Defendants Colgan Air, which operated the Newark-to-Buffalo flight, along with Colgan parent Pinnacle Airlines, had argued the written transcript was sufficient and that releasing the sound would invade the flight crew's privacy.

Pilot error has been blamed for the crash onto a house near Buffalo. Fifty people were killed, including one on the ground. Victims of the crash included jazz musician Coleman T. Mellett, whose family lives in McLean.

The crash near Buffalo in February 2009 spurred an effort to change pilot duty rules. The National Transportation Safety Board found that both pilots on the flight were probably suffering from fatigue, although that wasn't a direct cause of the crash.

From the Post's archives:

Proposed FAA rules would enable pilots to get more sleep

A crowded hub away from home

Panel on fatal crash looks at pay, commutes

By Michael Bolden  | October 20, 2010; 1:01 PM ET
Categories:  Airlines, Aviation  
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