CLARENCE CENTER, N.Y. (WIVB) - Flight 3407 victims' families have felt many emotions during their three year fight for the rules to be changed. Luke Moretti's report focuses on the hard fight the families underwent to break through government bureaucracy.
For John and Marilyn Kausner, and so many of the 3407 families, the holidays without their loved ones are especially difficult, knowing their deaths could have been prevented.
"We lost our loved ones because of bad practices, both in training and certainly fatigue. Practices that the pilots and NTSB have been trying to change for 25 years," said John.
Elly Kausner would have turned 27 twelve days before Christmas, but her young life was cut short by the crash of Flight 3407. But Elly continues to be the inspiration behind the Kausners tireless drive to make flying safer for us all.
John said, "I'm here because of Elly, fully cognizant of the fact that, without a doubt, she would be there if one of us was on that plane"
With their loved ones always in mind, the families of Flight 3407, some traveling to Washington more than 40 times, won their first battle in strengthening aviation safety rules. The first victory was in combating fatigue in the cockpit.
"Coming together as a group made all the difference," said Marilyn, who added, "If I, John and I had to confront the truth of how our daughter died, alone, I think our temptation might have been to withdraw and just be angry."
Jim Neill, who lost his daughter Jennifer in the crash, wanted to make sure no families grieved alone. He hugged them and prayed for them, giving them comfort, even while enduring his own pain.
"By strangers who smile and nod to us, who come and embrace and hug us. It's something that's hard to explain in words, Rich, but that's our great solace," said Neill.
Jennifer was carrying a child. The last picture taken of her, says Neill, was just six or seven hours before her death, "and she was displaying a picture of her sonogram baby."
Ernie West had two beautiful years with his daughter Summer, before he lost his life in the crash.
Jennifer West, Ernie's widow, said, "With our daughter being so young, you know, we were looking forward to each Christmas being wide-eyed and innocent and actually reliving our youth through her."
Three Christmases later, the families have reason to believe their efforts will lead to real change in aviation safety rules, and that their loved ones will not have died in vain.
"That was a nice Christmas surprise. I didn't expect that one. You know, there's still a lot more work to go, but it's nice to actually have, you know, something for once said, 'Ok, these are the rules. This is what we're going to implement,'" said West.
Many of the families feel the presence of their loved ones as they move forward with their cause. Some even believe they are looking down from a better place with great approval.
Neill said, "Are clapping and smiling and saying, 'Look what you've done, not just for us, but for the whole of the country.'"
The Erie County Sheriff's Bomb Squad, ATF, and the Buffalo Police Department were called to Tioga Street near Fairchild Place in North Buffalo just before midnight Thursday.
Eighty-two-year-old Edward Spencer was making a left hand turn while exiting the Budwey's parking lot when he struck 52-year-old Sandra Garner and 55-year-old Kevin Nowak, according to authorities.
An angry mother who claims her daughter was dropped-off miles away from home wants answers.
Deputies say a teen driver fell asleep at the wheel early Thursday morning before crashing head-on with another vehicle.
Police say a Jamestown man was selling crack cocaine out of his barber shop on East Second Street.
City Hall is considering turning to taxpayers to help keep the lights on at the only movie theatre in downtown Buffalo.