Plane 'tried to abort landing'
The cockpit voice recorder from Asiana Airlines Flight 214 showed the plane tried to abort its landing and come around for another try 1.5 seconds before it crashed at San Francisco airport.
National Transportation Safety Board chief Deborah Hersman said at a news conference that the recorder also showed there was a call to increase air speed roughly seven seconds before impact. Before that, she said there was no indication in the recordings that the aircraft was having any problems.
The plane carrying 307 people crashed on Saturday, killing two passengers and injuring dozens of other people.
Investigators took the flight data recorder to Washington, DC, overnight to begin examining its contents for clues to the last moments of the flight, officials said. They also plan to interview the pilots, the crew and passengers. "I think we're very thankful that the numbers were not worse when it came to fatalities and injuries," Ms Hersman told NBC's Meet the Press. ''It could have been much worse."
Ms Hersman said investigators are looking into what role the shutdown of a key navigational aid may have played in the crash. She said the glide slope - a ground-based aid that helps pilots stay on course while landing - had been shut down since June. She said pilots were sent a notice warning that the glide slope wasn't available. Ms Hersman told CBS' Face the Nation that there were many other navigation tools available to help pilots land. She said investigators will be "taking a look at it all".
Since the crash, clues have emerged in witness accounts of the planes approach and video of the wreckage, leading one aviation expert to say the aircraft may have approached the runway too low and something may have caught the runway lip - part of a seawall at the foot of the runway. San Francisco is one of several airports around the country that border bodies of water that have walls at the end of their runways to prevent planes that overrun a runway from ending up in the water.
Since the plane was about to land, its landing gear would have already been down, said Mike Barr, a former military pilot and accident investigator who teaches aviation safety at the University of Southern California. It is possible the landing gear or the tail of the plane hit the seawall, he said. If that happened, it would effectively slam the plane into the runway.
Noting that some witnesses reported hearing the plane's engines rev up just before the crash, Mr Barr said that would be consistent with a pilot who realised at the last minute that the plane was too low and was increasing power to the engines to try to increase altitude. Mr Barr said he could think of no reason why a plane would come in to land that low.
Meanwhile, a San Francisco-area coroner whose office received the bodies of two teenage victims of the Asiana plane crash said officials are conducting a post-mortem to determine if one of the girls was run over and killed by a rescue vehicle. San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said senior San Francisco Fire Department officials notified him and his staff at the crash site on Saturday that one of the 16-year-olds may have been struck on the runway.
Mr Foucrault said a post-mortem will involve determining whether the girl's death was caused by injuries suffered in the crash or "a secondary incident". He said he did not get a close enough look at the victims on Saturday to know whether they had external injuries.