What we know and don’t know about Asiana Flight 214

Story highlights

NEW: One of the deceased passengers may have been run over by an emergency vehicle

The pilots appear to have tried to abort the landing, NTSB says

Some of the aircraft debris ended up in the water

Passengers describe the engines spooling up and the nose tilting up

CNN  — 

Here’s what we know about Saturday’s crash landing of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 and some of the key questions raised by those facts:

1. A preliminary readout from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders shows the aircraft was approaching well below the target landing speed of 137 knots (157 mph). Records from the flight data recorder show that at 500 feet of altitude and 34 seconds before impact, the aircraft had already slowed to 134 knots (154 mph).

What we don’t know: Did pilot inexperience with the aircraft play a role? Why did the captain not speak up or take control?

2. Passengers onboard the aircraft describe the engines spooling up and the nose tilting up just before impact, and a preliminary review of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders appear to show the pilots attempted to abort the landing 1.5 seconds before impact.

3. The debris field runs from the water, slightly right of the paved threshold and runway center, all the way to the stopped aircraft fuselage. The Boeing 777 lost its tail section, including vertical and horizontal stabilizers, near the end of the paved threshold, just before the start of the runway.

What we don’t know: Is this an indication the tail of the aircraft detached after first impact?

4. Part of the instrument landing system approach on Runway 28L was not working on the day of the crash. It had been down for some time. Flights were landing using visual flight rules. The weather was clear. The flight data shows the autopilot was disengaged at 1,600 feet and the pilot then took manual control of the plane.

Girls killed in crash were headed for camp

What we don’t know: When did the engines detach? Given the debris on the right side of the runway, could the engine off to the side actually be the right engine?

5. The runway’s precision approach path indicator lights, showing correct flight approach altitudes, were working.

6. Based on the debris field and the video obtained by CNN, the aircraft appears to have struck the rock sea wall well before the start of the runway. There are some marks on the sea wall, consistent with an impact of some part of the plane.

7. The debris field runs from the water, slightly right of the paved threshold and runway center, all the way to the stopped aircraft fuselage. The NTSB says pieces of the rear of the aircraft are in the water near the seawall, visible at low tide.

8. The Boeing 777 lost its tail section, including vertical and horizontal stabilizers, near the end of the paved threshold, just before the start of the runway.

9. The right engine is detached from the wing and wedged against the right side of the fuselage. The left engine is a considerable distance forward of the fuselage in a grassy area to the right of Runway 28L. The NTSB says both engines had high rotational damage, showing that they were powering at impact.

10. Most of the fire damage to the aircraft occurred after the Boeing 777 came to a stop on its belly.

11. Passengers described the cabin interior as heavily damaged, with overhead bins dropping and at least one life raft/escape slide inflating inside the aircraft, trapping a flight attendant, whom passengers helped free. The NTSB says it will investigate the structural safety of the seats.

12. The coroner says one of the two passengers killed appears to have been run over by an emergency vehicle, though the coroner had not yet determined the cause of death. Asiana has identified the fatalities as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia of China, both of whom were 16.

13. Audio recordings of air traffic control conversations show no sign that the pilot declared an emergency before the crash landing. Emergency vehicles were dispatched afterward.

What we don’t know: What did the pilots say about the speed, altitude and other factors before the landing? Choi Jeong-ho, the head of the aviation bureau, said he could not release details pending the investigation, which he said will continue for at least a week.

14. The aircraft was built in 2006 and was purchased new by Asiana.

What we don’t know: Which teen girl may have been struck by an emergency vehicle? And did the girl die from the plane crash or from the vehicle? Foucrault said his office is trying to determine the cause of death.

Why so many people survived

CNN’s Chelsea J. Carter, Richard Quest and Miguel Marquez contributed to this report.