Pilots Identified: Two Dead after Boeing 777 Crash
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens of others.
South Korea says two veteran pilots were flying the Asiana Airlines jetliner when it crashed. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport says four pilots were aboard and rotated in two-person shifts during the flight from Asia. The ministry identified the pilots at the controls during Saturday's crash as Lee Jeong-min and Lee Gang-guk.
Officials say more than 300 passengers and crew members were aboard when it slammed into the runway and caught fire. The two dead were found outside the wreckage. Another 182 people were taken to hospitals, many with minor injuries. San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said late Saturday that she did not know the ages or genders of the victims. As of Saturday evening the number of fatalities stood at two while at least five people were reported in critical condition.
Shortly after the crash, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said more than 60 passengers were unaccounted for. She said it wasn't immediately clear where they were, but she said they weren't all presumed dead at the time. She said at least 48 people were initially transported from the scene to area hospitals. The investigation has been turned over to the FBI. Terrorism has been ruled out.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it's sending a team of investigators to San Francisco to probe the crash. NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said Saturday that NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman would head the team. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said the Flight 214 from Seoul to San Francisco crashed while landing on runway 28 left at San Francisco International Airport. Brown said the crash occurred at 11:26 PDT.
President Barack Obama is expressing his gratitude to the first responders at the scene. The White House says in a statement that Obama has directed his team to stay in constant contact with federal, state and local partners as they investigate and respond to the accident. The White House says the president's thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those affected by the crash.
Immediately following the crash, the plane was surrounded by fire trucks and people walking around the outer edge of a pool of white foam surrounding the plane. Debris was scattered on the runway and it appeared a piece of the plane was poking up out of the water of San Francisco Bay.
A video clip posted to YouTube shows smoke coming from a silver-colored jet on the tarmac. Passengers could be seen jumping down the inflatable emergency slides. Television footage showed debris strewn about the tarmac and pieces of the plane lying on the runway.
Reporters pulling into parking lot could see smoke billowing from the plane, police vehicles streaming down the streets and a long line of emergency vehicles pulling up to the runway.
A reporter said unnamed eyewitnesses said plane was "teetering" as it approached runway. They saw the tail of the plane hit the runway while the nose of the plane was in the air, higher than the tail.
The airline's website says its Boeing 777 can carry between 246 to 300 passengers.
The video can be found by clicking the related link below.
On the Net: Airplane on fire at SFO airport