CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) - The National Transportation Safety Board is ordering Colgan Air to produce internal e-mails questioning the qualifications of the Flight 3407 pilot.
Almost three years after Flight 3407 crashed in Clarence Center, killing everyone on board and one man on the ground, federal accident investigators are ordering Colgan Air's parent company, Pinnacle Airlines, to turn over e-mails from Colgan's top management that had questioned the qualifications of Pilot Marvin Renslow on the Q-400 aircraft. Those e-mails had surfaced in a lawsuit by victims' families.
Flight 3407 widow Robin Tolsma said, "I don't know how anybody can take anything that Colgan produces as truth at this point."
A Colgan Air spokesman said the company will comply with the National Transportation Safety Board request for the e-mails and remains confident that the company was in full compliance with FAA regulations. The full statement reads:
The information the e-mails reference was in fact shared with the NTSB investigators prior to and during testimony. The NTSB notes in its news release on this request that, "The previously undisclosed documents do not appear to give reason for reconsideration of the NTSB's final report and probable cause determination." We intend to comply with the NTSB request and remain confident in our full compliance with FAA regulations governing our training processes, then and now.
But western New York's lawmakers in Washington are calling for an expanded federal investigation.
Rep. Kathy Hochul said, "We talked to the head of the NTSB and we said, 'You ought to be calling for a re-investigation or at least ask if there is any other information out there that's been withheld.'"
The families, who have been fighting for tougher FAA regulations regarding the amount of training for pilots and issues of pilot fatigue, believe what they call the "smoking gun" e-mails, will help their cause.
"If anything, what this will do is it'll show how strongly we need this legislation in place, that we can't have a lapse in pilot training or pilot fatigue, especially the training," said Tolsma.
Tolsma has begun a Facebook group entitled, "I will never fly Colgan-Air." Other 3407 families have joined the page, including Jim Neill, Jennifer West, and Tita Abraham, among others. Tolsma says other families who have lost loved ones in regional aircraft crashes have also joined, including Diane Stanley-Steel, who lost her husband, father, brother and sister-in-law in a plane crash. Tolsma is hoping to have 10,000 followers by Christmas.
Rep. Hochul said the western New York delegation in Washington is calling for an investigation by the U.S. Attorney General, to see if any charges may be brought.
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