Echo Letter from Western New York Congressional Delegation to Justice Department
Buffalo, New York- October 31, 2011 – The ‘Families of Continental Flight 3407’ strongly endorsed a letter sent by the Western New York congressional delegation to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking for a Justice Department investigation of whether Colgan Air, who operated the fatal crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407, violated federal law. The letter comes on the heels of revelations that Colgan withheld relevant emails from NTSB investigators, as well as questions of whether Colgan officials misled investigators in their testimony.
“For the integrity of all future safety investigations, we call on Attorney General Holder to heed the call of the Western New York congressional delegation and thoroughly review this issue,” declared Ken Mellett of McLean, Virginia, who lost his thirty-four year old son Coleman, an acclaimed musician and member of the Chuck Mangione Band. “We have paid the ultimate price here, and anything less than 100% transparency on the part of Colgan to allow the NTSB to fully learn every lesson to be learned from this crash is absolutely unacceptable. When you consider the withholding of critical information like these emails or the potentially contradictory statements made to investigators, there has to be strong consequences or else there is a very real possibility that this will happen again.”
The effort was spearheaded by Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, whose 26th congressional district includes the crash site. Western New York House members Louise Slaughter, Brian Higgins, and Tom Reed also joined in the request, as did New York’s Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
“We are very grateful to Cogresswomen Hochul and Slaughter, Congressmen Higgins and Reed, and of course, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for reaching out to the Attorney General and for their full-court press in getting to the bottom of this deception,” stated Kevin Kuwik, who lost his thirty year old girlfriend, Lorin Maurer, in the crash. “Colgan continues to insist that the information in these emails had been provided to the NTSB during the course of the investigation. From where I sit, these emails paint a very different picture of Colgan’s decision-making process to allow the pilot to transition from the Saab to the Q-400 than what is found in the NTSB’s investigation docket. Had these emails been rightfully turned over in the first place, this decision-making process would have received much closer scrutiny from the NTSB back in the initial months after the crash. We hope and pray that the significant ramifications of these emails being withheld will be recognized, not just for our sake, but for the sake of all future safety investigations.”