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Flight 3407 families fight again for safety rules

Congressman Higgins with Flight 3407 family members
File photo provided by the office of Congressman Higgins
Congressman Higgins with Flight 3407 family members

By Eileen Buckley


Washington, D.C. – Flight 3407 families members are urging federal lawmakers to oppose an amendment to the FAA bill.

The families held a news conference in Washington Tuesday, joining forces once again with members of the Western New York Congressional delegation. They are fighting an amended bill that threatens to undermine new flight safety rules approved by both Houses last August.

Maryilyn Kausner lost her daughter 24-year-old Ellyce two years ago when Flight 3407 crashed in Clarence. Kausner and her husband John have been among a group of families who have fought hard for safety changes.

"And we never want another family to suffer what we have suffered in the last two years," said Kausner.

But a bill threatens to stop improvements to pilot fatigue rules and other aviation standards.

Karen Eckert, who lost her sister Beverly in the crash, said the amendment removes new safety measures.

"It doesn't have the word safety in it. It would be crazy to put the word safety in it. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing," said Ekert.

U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillbrand and Western New York Congressional leaders Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter joined the families. They all strongly oppose the amendment. Schumer noted the amendment throws out their efforts.

"This amendment is the preverbal nose under the tent designed to undermine are hard won safety improvements," said Senator Schumer.

Slaughter pledges her support.

"But you are never defeated in a legislative body until you quit pushing. It is in our hands. It is up to us to get this past," said Congresswoman Slaughter.

The bill now heads to a conference committee. The Western New York delegation is calling on the committee to strip the amendment from the final bill before it hits the President's desk for his signature.