U.S. President Barack Obama has offered his condolences to the families and friends of the 50 people killed in Thursday night's plane crash near Buffalo, New York. Mr. Obama addressed the tragedy in a speech to business leaders.

President Obama said his thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends who lost loved ones in the crash, and with the emergency workers who responded to the disaster. "Tragic events such as these remind us of the fragility of life and the value of every single day," he said.

Mr. Obama paid particular tribute to one crash victim whom he had met just days ago. Beverly Eckert had lost her husband, Sean Rooney, in the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. Since then, Eckert had been an advocate for other families who lost loved ones on that day.

"In keeping with that passionate commitment, she was on her way to Buffalo to mark what would have been her husband's birthday and launch a scholarship in his memory. 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," he said.

Eckert met with Mr. Obama at the White House last week, as part of a group of 9-11 families and the relatives of those killed in the bombing of the USS Cole, discussing how the new administration would deal with terror suspects.


The Continental Airlines plane, flying from Newark, New Jersey, went down in bad weather, crashing into a house near the city of Buffalo in New York State.