Beth Kushner-left; Megan Kushner-right .
My sister, Beth, was in California visiting my uncle for a couple weeks at the end of January into February, 2009. She was on her way home on February 12th when everything went wrong. My dad and I left our house in Angola, New York to go pick up my sister at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport around 6pm. We arrived at the airport and began driving around in circles at the airport looking for Beth. My mom called me and told me that her flight had been delayed. We could not call Beth herself because she did not have a cell phone. We were told that her flight would be arriving at 10:21pm, so my dad and I sat in the parking lot of the McDonalds across the street to wait for her. I distinctively remember how awful the weather was that night. There was a slushy, rainy snow falling heavily and not once did the thought cross my mind that the weather would stop my sister from coming home.
The time was 10:25pm when my dad and I decided to go back to the airport and pick up Beth. The problem was, we did not see her. My dad and I could not stop for long in front of the drop-off spot because the security people would tell us to move along; we were both getting restless and annoyed that she was taking so long. We figured that she was goofing off somewhere in the airport and the thought that crossed my mind was that maybe she had not gotten on the plane at all. She was known to be spontaneous. Eventually, my dad went in to look for her and he could not find her. He then told me to go look for her but she was nowhere to be found. My brother, who was in California at the time visiting my uncle, and my mom were calling us every 10 minutes because they were also mad that we had not picked her up yet.
My brother told me to check the arrivals and departures board for the number 3407 although he was not sure that
was her flight number. I checked the board and I saw a few numbers similar to 3407, but the number
itself was not there. I returned back to the car while on the phone with my brother, Joe, and he
sounded worried and said,
This isn't good. At the time I had no idea why he was worried, I was completely oblivious
to the thought of her plane crashing. When I got back to the car, two of the security guards came to our car and asked if we were
looking for someone. I said we were looking for my sister, and he asked if I knew the flight number. I responded,
I think it might be 3407 but I'm not sure, that's just what my brother told me. The one security guard
told us to park right away and go up to the second
floor of the airport as soon as we could. My dad and I were trying to find a place to park but we had no such luck.
It felt like we had been circling the airport for hours when my mom called and said
You and dad need to get home right away.
Why? I asked, starting to get paranoid. My mom was beating around the bush, but finally said,
Bethie's plane crashed.
My heart sank, all of me went into panic mode as I yelled,
WHAT?! In a worried voice, my dad was
asking what, what's wrong?! I told him and we were both in tears. We returned to the front of the
airport asking if we could just stand there because we needed to get to the second floor of the airport
but the security guard would not let us. They told us where we could find free parking so we parked and went
to the second floor. Walking through the airport to the back was like walking to my death.
Nothing made sense at the time and I could not stop crying. We were escorted into a room where other
family members of the victims were gathered. We were told to call a specific number to clarify that
Beth was on board. We called, and were told they would call us back, but they never did.
My dad began talking to someone who was there to assist the families. He asked if there was any chance for
survivors and the man said there were no ambulances on scene, so it did not look good. He also told us
that the plane crashed just about 5 nautical miles from the airport. I was supposed to play guitar
hero with Beth when we returned from the airport. I had also been waiting to show her the tv show
The Chaser's War on Everything,because it was based in Australia and she wanted to travel there one
day. I never pray, but that night I prayed that by some miracle she would be okay, that she would pull
through this because she was a strong-willed person. Beth was only 19 years old, one of the youngest passengers on the plane.
She, along with 49 others, did not make it.