Skip to main content

Why Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash was survivable

From Richard Quest, CNN
updated 8:41 PM EDT, Sun July 7, 2013
In this handout photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 sits just off the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday, July 7. The Boeing 777 coming from Seoul, South Korea, crashed on landing on Saturday, July 6. Three passengers, all girls, died as a result of the first notable U.S. air crash in four years. In this handout photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 sits just off the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday, July 7. The Boeing 777 coming from Seoul, South Korea, crashed on landing on Saturday, July 6. Three passengers, all girls, died as a result of the first notable U.S. air crash in four years.
HIDE CAPTION
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Incident similar to Air France crash in Toronto in 2005 -- all survived
  • Investigation into Asiana crash will look at onboard training
  • Onus is also on passengers to understand and follow safety procedures

London (CNN) -- The attention into the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 is now shifting to two areas.

One, why did the incident happen? They will be looking at things like instrument landing systems, the glide slope, the approach of the Boeing 777, the way the pilot flew the aircraft and other key aspects.

Secondly, they will be looking at the onboard training to get the passengers off as fast as they can.

Video from passengers after the crash landing show slides deployed and people exiting well before fire really took hold of the aircraft.

Video shows plane's moment of impact
Animation re-creates 777 crash landing
Passenger: 'We just jumped off' plane
Plane loses tail during crash landing

Asiana have confirmed there were 291 passengers plus 16 cabin crew onboard flight OZ214. Looking at video of the burned out wreckage and of smoke and fire soon after the crash, some may be surprised the casualty figures are so low considering there were more than 300 onboard.

Main story: NTSB asked to do 'go-around' 1.5 seconds before impact

This is very reminiscent of an incident in Toronto in August, 2005 when an Air France plane crashed. Although there was a large fire in that crash, all 309 passengers and crew on the Airbus A340 managed to get off.

Without ignoring the casualty figures from the San Francisco incident, it shows that aircraft crashes like this are proving to be survivable incidents provided there is adequate crew training and an awareness of passengers to know what to do when there is an emergency.

Watch exclusive footage of the moment of impact

And those key things: Know where your exit is, know to leave your belongings behind and exit the plane quickly and orderly because that is the way planes are designed.

The B777 aircraft is built so that everybody can get off the plane within 90 seconds even if half the doors are inoperable.

And they work on that basis because as you can see in the Asiana incident, one side of the aircraft is a lot more damaged than the other -- and appears to be the main area of the fire -- so you wouldn't want to open the doors on that side.

Importantly, there is an onus on passengers -- know where the emergency exits are, don't try and take your belongings with you and take notice of and follow crew instructions and directions.

In this image from David Eun, a passenger on Asiana Airlines Flight 214, you can see passengers disembarking from the plane via the inflatable slides.
In this image from David Eun, a passenger on Asiana Airlines Flight 214, you can see passengers disembarking from the plane via the inflatable slides.

If you look at the image to the left you can see several passengers with bags -- one passenger with a carry-on roller case. Grabbing your carry-on luggage does not assist a speedy evacuation and observations like these will form part of a thorough safety investigation.

If there is one thing we all can take away from a tragic incident like this, it is not to ignore those important flight safety briefings at the start of each flight we take. When I fly, I always take note of where my nearest exit is, whether it is three or four or whatever rows away.

Those briefings exist for a reason. We've seen as well in recent years several airlines, such as Air New Zealand, add an entertainment value to their safety videos, in part to try and make sure more passengers watch them.

An incident like the Asiana crash should really reinforce the value of being aware of safety and emergency procedures.

Most of the planes we fly today are designed so passengers can get out within 90 seconds in an emergency. That is what we have seen in the case with this incident in San Francisco. And while flight crew training is vital, so too are the actions of passengers.

Expert: Flight shouldn't have been close to hitting seawall

CNN's Andrew Demaria contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Asiana Flight 214 crash
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
Pilots botched the approach and landing of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco nearly a year ago, causing a crash that killed three people and injured 187 others, investigators concluded.
updated 2:09 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
The National Transportation Safety Board held a hearing to determine the cause of the 2013 Asiana Flight 214 plane crash.
updated 1:36 PM EST, Sun January 19, 2014
A group of passengers who were aboard an Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed has sued aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
updated 12:26 PM EDT, Sun October 20, 2013
The firefighter who accidentally ran over and killed a 16-year-old girl who survived the crash will not be charged in the case.
updated 6:29 AM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to assist families following the crash of Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco in July.
updated 5:43 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
The two teen girls were close friends, each looking forward to a summer trip to California to improve their English.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
After 10 long hours in the sky, the Jang children couldn't wait to get off the plane.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Wed July 10, 2013
I didn't expect my 5-year-old daughter to first learn about airplane crashes while we were in the air.
updated 6:42 AM EDT, Fri July 12, 2013
Shortly after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed in San Francisco, passengers and witnesses pleaded with 911 responders to send help -- some frantically, some insistently.
Here's what we know about the crash landing, told through animation and graphics.
updated 10:29 AM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
As a plume of black smoke billowed from Asiana Airlines flight 214 after it crash landed, images were captured of passengers collecting their carry-on items before evacuating.
updated 3:46 PM EDT, Wed July 10, 2013
Inside the cockpit of the Airbus A380 at Le Bourget airport on June 12, 2005.
Pilots will need more cockpit training to become fully certified first officers for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines.
updated 2:00 AM EDT, Wed July 10, 2013
Veteran flight attendant Lee Yoon Hye sensed something was awry as Flight 214 neared the San Francisco International Airport runway.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Wed July 10, 2013
As Asiana Airlines Flight 214 flew into San Francisco, the Boeing 777's 219 passengers didn't know that the man at the controls had never landed this kind of plane at this airport before.
updated 9:51 AM EDT, Mon July 8, 2013
"Look at that one -- look at how his nose is up in the air."
updated 8:41 PM EDT, Sun July 7, 2013
Of the 307 people on board, only two are confirmed dead.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Sun July 7, 2013
Nearly three hours after the crash, David Eun walked through customs at San Francisco International Airport. By then, the adrenaline rush was subsiding enough that he could begin processing the enormity of it all.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Fri July 19, 2013
Photos from the scene show a trail of debris down the runway and people waiting for their loved ones.
updated 8:19 PM EDT, Sun July 7, 2013
Asiana Airlines had coped with a pair of deadly crashes over the past 20 years before a Boeing 777 crash landed in San Francisco and burst into flames on Saturday.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT