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Doomed-flight recordings heard

THE sounds of the last desperate minutes in the cockpit aboard the US Flight 3407 could be clues to the cause of a crash that came violently and suddenly, with the doomed plane dropping steeply, and pitching and rolling like a roller-coaster.

Investigators in Washington and Buffalo huddled on Sunday at the start of an in-depth study of the plane's voice cockpit and voice data recorders.

Hours later, National Transportation Safety Board member Steve Chealander released facts illustrating how the Continental Connection flight disappeared from radar late on Thursday, plunging into a house and killing 50 people.

Chealander said information from the plane's flight data recorder indicated that the aircraft pitched up at an angle of 31 degrees in its final seconds, then pitched down at 45 degrees.

The plane rolled to the left at 46 degrees, then snapped back to the right at 105 degrees - 15 degrees beyond vertical.

Radar data shows Flight 3407 fell from 550 meters above sea level to 309 meters in five seconds, he said.

The plane crashed belly first on top of a house about 10 kilometers short of Buffalo Niagara International Airport, two to three minutes from when it should have touched down on the runway.

Authorities said yesterday that gawkers continue to seek access to the site, forcing officials to close a road that leads to the suburban Clarence neighborhood.

Just before they went down in a suburban neighborhood, the pilots discussed "significant" ice buildup on their wings and windshield.


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