Asiana Airlines fined $500,000 for failing to help families after July crash

Updated 6:29 AM EST, Wed February 26, 2014

Story highlights

Asiana Airlines is fined $500,000 for inadequate aid to crash victims' familes

It is the first time the DOT has issued a fine under a "family assistance plan" law

Asiana failed to widely publicize any telephone number for family members, the DOT said

CNN —  

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to assist families following the crash of Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco in July.

The Korean airline was slow to publicize a phone number for families, took two full days to successfully contact the families of three-quarters of the passengers and did not contact families of several passengers until five days following the crash, authorities said.

The half-million-dollar penalty is the first time the DOT has issued a fine under a 1997 law that requires airlines to adopt and adhere to a “family assistance plan” for major accidents.

Three of the 291 passengers were killed and scores were injured when the Boeing 777 struck the seawall at San Francisco International Airport and tumbled down the runway.

“In the very rare event of a crash, airlines have a responsibility to provide their full support to help passengers and their families by following all the elements of their family assistance plans,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “The last thing families and passengers should have to worry about at such a stressful time is how to get information from their carrier.”