CLARENCE CENTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – Family members of Flight 3407 victims are back in the nation’s capital fighting for safer skies.
The families say they had a productive meeting with Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and western New York lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday. The families are as determined as ever to keep the pressure on for better safety standards, and that drive is why we named them our News 4 Person of the Year.
Kevin Kuwik, who lost his girlfriend, said, “We keep banging the drum. We keep rattling the cage. We keep making noise and we keep fighting so that we keep those pilots on the edge of their seats.”
As the February 12th, third anniversary of the crash in Clarence Center approaches, families got assurances from their Washington lawmakers that they are with them in the fight.
Sen. Charles Schumer said, “Now is the time to move forward with flight safety, not going back, not resting on our laurels.”
The families have already been successful in improving standards when it comes to pilot fatigue, but stronger training and qualification requirements are still in their radar.
Scott Mauer said, “Our message to Administrator Huerta: Full throttle. Let’s have full thrust and keep the planes in the air.”
To keep the 3407 victims alive, construction of the memorial at the crash site in Clarence Center is almost completed. Stones with victims’ names and the Long Street address of the home that once stood there still must be added.
Robin Tolsma, who lost her husband Darren, finds it a quiet and peaceful place, but also a reminder that so much more needs to be done for airline safety.
“We lost our loved ones. We want to make sure another mom, dad, son, daughter, grandchild, children – we want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” said Tolsma.
In Washington, the families got a commitment from Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta that legislation and rule making will move forward. They met with him for a good hour.