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Final minutes -- not the final chapter


   WASHINGTON —There was plenty of drama in the National Transportation Safety Board auditorium Tuesday, but even more in a document that most of the people inside that room didn't see until later.

   Taking evidence in the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407, the safety board only rarely mentioned the drama in the transcript of the fatal flight's final minutes.

   Here's a sample of what the pilot and co-pilot had to say:

   Talking about the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 — the plane he was flying —Capt. Marvin Renslow said: "You know what? Yeah, I tell you I'm getting a lot more used to it. Uh, I'm not saying I like it any better but I am getting used to it."

   And talking about flying in icing conditions, co-pilot Rebecca Lynn Shaw said: "I've never seen icing conditions. I've never de-iced. I've never seen any. I've never experienced any of that. I don't want to have to experience that and make those kinds of calls. You know I'd've freaked out. I'd have like seen this much ice and thought oh my gosh we were going to crash."

   Renslow and Shaw also exchanged inappropriate banter after the plane descended below 10,000 feet, which is contrary to federal regulations.

   By the end of the day, the transcript and the testimony seemed to lay the blame for the crash on Renslow and Shaw.

   But wait. There are two more days of hearings still to come.

   And as one observer said after today's hearing: "It can't all be the crew's fault, can it?"

   -- Jerry Zremski

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Flight 3407
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