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Asiana crashes in San Francisco; 2 dead

Rappler.com
(7th UPDATE) San Francisco Fire Department confirms 2 dead and 181 injured. One person is missing.

CRASH. Passengers evacuate the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200 that crashed while landing at the San Francisco Airport. Photo by David Eun via Path.com

MANILA, Philippines (7th Update) – An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed while landing at the San Francisco (SFO) International Airport Saturday, July 6 (July 7 Manila time) killing 2 people and injuring 182.

The San Francisco Fire Department confirmed the 2 deaths via Twitter. As of 8 am Sunday, July 7 (Manila time), authorities said only one person remained unaccounted for.

The plane with flight number OZ214 originated from Incheon, South Korea and was scheduled to arrive in San Francisco at 11:27AM (California time). 

Flight 214 had 307 people — 291 passengers and 16 crew — on board when it left Seoul. The aircraft apparently struck a rocky area at the water’s edge short of the runway at the airport — a major international hub, especially for flights to and from Asia.

Among those on board were 77 Koreans, 141 Chinese, 61 US citizens, and one Japanese national, Asiana said in a statement.

One of the two dead “carried a Chinese passport,” and the nationality of the other victim was unclear, said Lee Jeong-Gwan, the foreign ministry’s ambassador for overseas Koreans and consular affairs, told reporters, quoting a US forensic in touch with South Korean officials.

San Francisco General Hospital said it was treating 34 patients, five of them in critical condition.

No one was unaccounted for, US officials said, revising downwards an earlier estimate of dozens. The remainder of those on board, 123, were uninjured.

FIRE OUT. An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 is seen on the runway at San Francisco International Airport after crash landing on July 6, 2013. Josh Edelson/AFP Photo

TOP VIEW. This image courtesy of CBS affiliate KPIX, shows an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 after it crash landed on the runway at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. CBS/KPIX/AFP Photo

The plane’s tail “hit the runway and the aircraft veered to the left out of the runway,” South Korea’s transportation ministry said in a statement Sunday from Seoul.

Pictures showed the tail detached from the fuselage, and the landing gear had also sheared off.

User 360KID uploaded this video on YouTube.

Local media reported there were around 290 people aboard and multiple witnesses said the plane had approached the runway at an awkward angle, with some onlookers saying they heard a loud bang.

Emergency crews were reporting passengers in need of burn treatment, according to Redwood City Fire Department.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said there was no indication terrorism was to blame for the crash.

Investigators said they could not yet offer an explanation for the crash, but images appeared to suggest the aircraft struck a rocky area at the water’s edge short of the runway. 

The accident site was covered in white foam used by firefighters, with at least 6 fire trucks at the scene. However, there was little indication of whether passengers had been killed in the incident or taken away by emergency staff.

Shortly after the incident Samsung Executive David Eun posted this photo saying, “I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I’m okay. Surreal.” The photo shows passengers evacuating via emergency slides deployed on the sides of the air craft.  

“We can see black smoke and fire coming from the plane,” a source of who works at the airport told Rappler. “It’s chaotic here.  All my co-workers and I saw it.”  

A team of experts from the National Transportation Safety Board was heading to San Francisco to investigate the crash landing.

A four-member South Korean government team was also heading to inspect the site of the accident, officials in Seoul said.

It was the first fatal crash involving an Asiana passenger plane since June 1993, when an Asiana Boeing 737 crashed into a mountain in South Korea, killing 68.

In 2012, Asiana Airlines was ranked 46th safest airline in the world by the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Center (Jadec). Flightglobal.com reports the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, registered as HL7742 entered into service in March 2006. Asiana Airlines has 11 other 777-200ERs in its fleet.

Asiana Airlines is based in Seoul. The twin-engine 777 aircraft is one of the world’s most popular long-distance planes, often used for flights of 12 hours or more, from one continent to another.

The Federal Aviation Authority has suspended all flights in and out of SFO International Airport. At 2:31pm (5:31am MNL time) San Francisco Airport tweeted that two runways would “open shortly.”


Rappler.com with reports from Agence France-Presse

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