Initially, the recording includes numerous exchanges between one of the flight crew of Colgan 3407 and air traffic controllers. Routine instructions are given to guide the plane toward Buffalo Niagara International Airport and she responds with no indication in her voice that anything is awry.
About a minute later, a voice can be heard saying "Colgan 3407, approach." There is no response from the cockpit.
At 17:22 and 17:26, the controller again makes attempts to contact Colgan 3407 but gets no response. The controller then asks Delta flight 1998, "Look off your right side about 5 miles for a Dash 8. Should be at 2300 [feet]. Do you see anything there?"
Delta 1998 responds, "Negative, Delta 1998," though the reason is due to cloud cover masking their sight. Delta 1998, however, does indicate that they do not see any sign of the Dash 8 on their collision avoidance radar.
At 17:51, controllers try once again to raise Colgan 3407 to no avail.
A little over 2 minutes later, at 20:12, the following message can be heard: "Colgan 3407. Buffalo tower, do you hear?"
At 20:26 a man's voice, somewhat tense, can be heard saying "Apparently there's some ground communication. You need to talk to somebody at least 5 miles NE possibly Clarence, that area right in there, Akron area. Either State Police or Sheriff's department. You need to find out if anything is on the ground. This aircraft was 5 miles out and all of a sudden we have no response from that aircraft."
Another voice is heard in response, "All I can tell you is there's an aircraft over the marker and we're not talking to them now."
A couple minutes later, at 23:57 into the recording, a controller is heard giving instructions to Delta 1998. "We did have a Dash 8 over the marker that didn't make the airport. He appears to be about 5 miles away from the airport." The controller then gives further descent instructions for Delta 1998.
Continental Flight From Newark Crashes Outside Buffalo, NY; 49 Confirmed Dead
In the ensuing minutes, a discussion about ice forming on the inbound planes takes place among a few other flights on approach. US Airways flight 1452, referred to as Cactus 1452, complains of the icy conditions for the past 20 miles. Other planes are advised about the extent of ice formation they may encounter and at what altitute it will subside.
Officials at the crash site of Colgan 3407 have indicated it is still too early in the investigation to say whether any apparent ice buildup could have been a contributing factor into the crash.
Toward the end of the recording, at 28:20, Cactus 1452 asks controllers, "Did you find Colgan?"
The response from the controller is regretful in tone. "Unfortunately, they said he went down about, right over the marker."
Listen to the full audio recording