Airliner crashes on landing in US
Published 06/07/2013 | 20:37
An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing at least two people, injuring dozens of others and forcing passengers to jump down the emergency inflatable slides to safety as flames tore through the plane.
In addition to the two deaths in the crash at San Francisco International Airport, dozens of passengers were unaccounted for, said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-Whites.
"This is a work in progress," she said, adding the investigation has been turned over to the FBI and that terrorism has been ruled out. She said at least 48 people were initially transported from the scene to area hospitals.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Flight 214 crashed while landing. A video clip posted to YouTube showed smoke coming from a jet on the tarmac. Passengers could be seen jumping down the emergency slides. Television footage showed the top of the fuselage was burned away and the entire tail was gone. One engine appeared to have broken away. Pieces of the tail were strewn about the runway. Emergency responders could be seen walking inside the burned-out wreckage.
It was not immediately clear what happened to the plane as it was landing, but some eyewitnesses described the aircraft doing a cartwheel and other said that it appeared to sway back and forth kicking up dust. Many said the tail fell off.
Stephanie Turner saw the plane going down and the rescue slides deploy, but returned to her hotel room before seeing any passengers get off the jet, she told ABC News. Turner said when she first saw the flight she noticed right away that the angle of its approach seemed strange. "It didn't manage to straighten out before hitting the runway," she said. "So the tail of the plane hit the runway, and it cartwheeled and spun and the tail broke off ... I mean we were sure that we had just seen a lot of people die. It was awful."
Doug Yakel, a spokesman for the airport, said he did not yet know how many passengers were aboard the flight. "We also don't have any information at this time to the status of those passengers," he said at a brief news conference.
San Francisco General Hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan says the adult patients range in age from 20 to their 40s. It was not immediately clear the ages of the children.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of investigators to San Francisco to probe the crash. NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said that NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman would head the team.
Boeing said it was preparing to provide technical assistance to the NTSB. The maker of the plane's engines, Pratt & Whitney, said it was cooperating with authorities investigating the crash.