WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday offered condolences to the families and friends of those killed in a commuter plane crash in upstate New York. He called one of the victims, a Sept. 11 widow whom he saw just last week, "an inspiration to me and to so many others."
"Tragic events such as these remind us of the fragility of life and the value of every single day," Obama said at the start of an economic event at the White House.
A Continental Connection commuter plane crashed into a house in suburban Buffalo, killing all 49 people aboard and a person in the home. Obama offered thanks to the emergency crews who arrived immediately and those still on the scene.
One of the victims was Beverly Eckert, a Sept. 11 widow who was one of the most visible faces in the aftermath of the terror attacks. She was just at the White House last week with Obama as part of a meeting he had with relatives of those killed in the 2001 attacks and the bombing of the USS Cole.
Eckert was flying to Buffalo to celebrate what would have been her husband Sean Rooney's 58th birthday. He worked at Aon Corp., a risk management firm, at the 98th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower in New York City.
Said Obama of Beverly Eckert: "She was an inspiration to me and to so many others, and I pray that her family finds peace and comfort in the hard days ahead. "
Earlier, the White House issued a statement from Obama, in which he said that he and his wife, Michelle, were deeply saddened by the tragedy.