San Francisco crash landing: Latest developments

Updated 12:43 AM EDT, Sun July 7, 2013
CNN —  

Two people were dead and 182 others were taken to hospitals after Saturday morning’s crash landing of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport, authorities told reporters Saturday evening.

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– The two fatalities aboard the Asiana Airlines flight were Chinese passport holders, said Choi Jeong-ho, head of aviation policy bureau of South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport.

– While the exact cause of the Asiana Airlines crash will take months to determine, Choi said “the tail of the Asiana flight hit the runway and the aircraft veered to the left out of the runway.”

’I just crash landed at SFO. I’m ok. Surreal …’


Crash details, and the investigation:

– On board were 291 passengers and 16 flight crew members, traveling from Incheon International Airport in Seoul to San Francisco, according to Asiana Airlines. All 307 have been accounted for.

– Of the 291 passengers, 61 are Americans, Asiana Airlines said. It said 77 of the passengers are South Koreans, 141 are Chinese and one is Japanese.

– During the crash at airport, plane shed its tail and spun before screeching to a stop.

– The top of the aircraft was charred and, in spots, gone entirely, video from CNN affiliate KTVU showed. The plane was on its belly, with no landing gear evident and the rear tail of the plane gone. Debris settled from the water’s edge, along San Francisco Bay, up to where the plane eventually came to a stop.

– The two fatalities were found outside the plane, with San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White saying it was her understanding “that they were found on the runway.”

– The fire chief added that when crews arrived, “some of the passengers (were) coming out of the water. But the plane was certainly not in the water.”

She said, “There was a fire on the plane, so the assumption might be that they went near the water’s edge, which is very shallow to maybe douse themselves with water.”

– Of the 52 people taken to San Francisco General Hospital, five were in critical condition; five were in serious condition and the conditions of the rest weren’t immediately available, hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said. Some of the 52 have been released, she said.

– One of the people on the flight, Elliott Stone, told CNN that he thought the plane was approaching “a little high (then came) down a little sharp.”

“All of a sudden, boom, the back end just hit and flies up into the air and everyone’s head goes up the ceiling,” said Stone, who said that he ended up jumping out the plane without using the stairs or an evacuation slide.

– Anthony Castorani, who saw the flight land from a nearby hotel, said he saw the plane touch the ground then noticed a larger plume of white smoke. “You heard a pop and you immediately saw a large, brief fireball that came from underneath the aircraft,” he told CNN. “It began to cartwheel.”

– Eunice Bird Rah told CNN that her father was aboard the flight. Speaking from the San Francisco area, she said that her father sent text messages to her after the landing and said he was fine. When she asked about whether others were injured, he said it appeared that most people made it out OK, but also said there were some serious injuries.

“I think … he didn’t want me to know the full-on details of what was going on around him.”

A photo taken by her father shows flames and smoke bursting out of many of the aircraft’s windows. Rah’s father knew something bad was coming, he told his daughter, indicating the plane was coming in too low and the pilot tried to raise it at the last minute.

– Kristina Stapchuck saw the dramatic scene unfold from her seat on a plane on the airport tarmac. Soon after Flight 214 touched down, “it looked like the tires slipped a little bit and it rocked back,” she told CNN. Parts of the plane began to break off as it rocked and then began to spin. “It all happened so suddenly,” Stapchuck said.

– A photograph posted to Twitter shows what appear to be passengers walking off the plane, some of them toting bags, as smoke rises from the other side.

– CNN iReporter Timothy Clark was on an eighth-floor balcony of a nearby hotel when he heard the noise and saw a “dust cloud,” followed by “people running from the plane, then flames.”

– There are no signs of terrorism related to the crash, a national security official told CNN.

– A National Transportation Safety Board team was about to leave from Washington for San Francisco, NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman told reporters at about 6 p.m. ET. “We have not determined what the focus of this investigation is yet. … Everything is on the table at this point.” The team will include people focused on operations; human performance; survival factors; airport operations; and aircraft systems, structure and power.

– South Korean aviation investigators and Asiana Airlines officials will travel to San Francisco, according to the country’s Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board.

– There were a few clouds in the sky around the time of the crash, and temperatures were about 65 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Winds were about 8 miles per hour.

– Flight 214 left Seoul’s Incheon International Airport earlier Saturday and flew 10 hours and 23 minutes to California, according to FlightAware, a website that offers tracking services for private and commercial air traffic.

– Video from the scene posted on YouTube showed dark gray smoke rising from the plane, which appeared to be upright. Evacuation slides could be seen extending from one side of the aircraft, from which there was no apparent smoke.

Airline had two other accidents involving deaths in past 20 years

Effects on other flights

Two runways have reopened, the airport tweeted at about 3:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET) Saturday, a few hours after the crash.

– Flights into and out of San Francisco International Airport were canceled following the crash, the FAA said Saturday on its website. A number of flights were diverted Saturday afternoon to Los Angeles International Airport, LAX officials said in a post to the airport’s official Twitter account.

– Flights destined for San Francisco’s airport were being diverted to airports in Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose and Los Angeles, said Francis Zamora from the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. He added his office is working with San Mateo County’s Office of Emergency Services in responding to the incident, Zamora said.

CNN’s Chelsea J. Carter, Greg Botelho, Jason Hanna, Cameron Tankersley, Mike M. Ahlers, Sara Pratley, Rande Iaboni, K.J. Kwon, John King, Janet DiGiacomo and Kyung Lah contributed to this report.