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Flight 3407 families meet with new Transportation Secretary Foxx

Photo provided by Flight 3407 family member Jennifer West

The Families of Continental Flight 3407 were back in Washington Wednesday to have their first meeting with new Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

The families are continuing their push for safety provisions yet to be implemented under the 2010 Airline Safety Act, which includes higher standards for pilot training and a new pilot fatigue rule to help improve passenger safety. 

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx met with the families of Flight 3407 Wednesday.

Karen Eckert, who lost her sister Beverly in the 2009 crash, says it was a good meeting.

"We took the time to tell them about our group, about the crash, what we had learned...what's been accomplished and what we're working so hard to complete," Eckert said.

Eckert says Secretary Foxx promised to do everything in his power to get new training standards in place by the October deadline. In the past, some airlines have opposed efforts to implement new rules.

Foxx was nominated by President Obama to succeed former Secretary Ray LaHood in April. The Senate unanimously confirmed Foxx's nomination on June 27 and he was sworn in on July 2.

"For someone new to office, just in the first few weeks, to reach out and have the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting and feel both the personal impact and to see the amount of work that we've put into this and how far we've come but how far we still have to go, that was critical," Eckert says.

Continental Connection Flight 3407, operated by regional carrier Colgan Air, crashed into a house in Clarence Center on February 12, 2009. All 49 people on board and one person on the ground were killed. Pilot error was cited as the cause of the accident.

The families also visited the office of Rep. Brian Higgins Wednesday. Higgins, in a statement, praised the tireless efforts of the group.

“No strangers to Washington, for over four years now the families have been a strong and tireless presence on the Hill, demanding necessary changes to improve flight safety. Their meeting today with Secretary Foxx, humanizes the need and urgency for action on transportation policy.  They speak for the victims of this tragedy and they speak for all of us who rely on airline transportation that delivers us to our destination safely. I commend them for their perseverance and will continue to fight with them to protect the flying public,” Higgins says.

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