Reports: 2 Dead in San Francisco Airport Crash

4:35 PM, Jul 6, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

William M. Welch and Jon Swartz -- USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO -- An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul crashed on landing at San Francisco's airport Saturday, forcing passengers to escape the aircraft using inflatable emergency exit slides. Two people were reported killed and 61 injured.

Images from the scene showed smoke billowing from the plane and emergency exits open from the plane's fuselage, with the tail separated from the aircraft. Gaping holes could be seen in the roof of the plane's body, blackened by fire.

San Francisco Fire Department officials said two passengers were killed and 61 injured, KTVU reported.

The plane was a Boeing 777, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said. It crashed on runway 28L at San Francisco International Airport, he said.

There were 291 people aboard, KCBS radio reported.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an e-mail that she was on another flight from Korea landing at San Francisco at the time.

"I was on another flight from Korea at the exact same time. We are OK. My friend on that flight is OK, too,'' Sandberg told USA TODAY.

The wreckage was sprayed with white fire retardant. Parts of the plane were scattered over a broad area, though the bulk of the plane remained in one piece.

Laura Brown, spokeswoman for the FAA in Washington, said Asiana Flight 214 from Seoul was attempting to land at San Francisco International Airport when it crashed.

"All we know is that a foreign airline, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 arriving from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing,'' she said. "That's all I've got right now."

She said it appeared the plane crashed after touching down for a landing, although the sequence of events was not clear.

A passenger, David Eun, tweeted after the crash: "Fire and rescue people all over the place. They're evacuating the injured. Haven't felt this way since 9/11.''

Later, Eun tweeted: "I'm fine. Most people are totally calm and trying to help. .. the majority of passengers seem OK.''

The National Transportation Safety Board was dispatching a team of crash investigators to the site. NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said board Chairman Deborah Hersman would head the team.

Boeing, manufacturer of the plane, said in a tweet from its corporate account: "Our thoughts are with everyone affected by today's incident at SFO. We stand ready to assist the NTSB.''

A graphic depicting the precise glide slope the jet followed to the runway was posted on the live flight tracking website Flightaware.com. It suggested the plane had a steeper approach angle than the same flight a day earlier.

A video clip posted to YouTube showed smoke coming from a silver-colored jet on the tarmac. Passengers could be seen jumping down the inflatable emergency slides. Images showed the the body of the plane largely intact but with severe fire damage.

The tail of the plane was separated from the aircraft. Weather at the time was clear.

The crash is the first major commercial jet to crash in the United States since a November 2001 crash in New York.

The last fatal accident involving a commercial flight in the United States was Colgan Air Flight 3407, which crashed near Buffalo, killing 50 people, on Feb. 12, 2009.

There has not been an accident involving a major domestic carrier since an American Airlines flight to the Dominican Republic crashed after takeoff in Queens in November 2001, killing all 260 people on board.

In another crash of a Boeing 777-200ER, British Airways flight 38 crashed just short of the runway at London's Heathrow airport on Jan. 17, 2008. That crash had no fatalities, but dozens were injured. That crash was blamed on ice crystals clogging the fuel line on a long flight from Beijing.

Asiana Airlines is based in Seoul. Its website says its Boeing 777 can carry between 246 to 300 passengers. Asiana flies 12 B777-200ER, a twin-engine jet plane that is the latest 777 model produced by Boeing. The long-haul jet can fly 14 hours non-stop.

The $875.5 billion airline, established in 1988, operates 79 aircraft and flies 91 international routes to 71 cities in 23 countries.

A man who answered the phone at the airlines' Los Angeles office said the company had no comment. "We're trying to find out what happened," he said. The man declined to give his name.

The FAA investigated two accidents involving Asiana within weeks of one another in November 1998.

In the first incident, on Nov. 11, 1998, an Asiana plane with 220 passengers and 18 crew aboard skidded into a parked plane after landing at Anchorage International Airport in Alaska. Federal investigators blamed the pilot for excessive taxi speed and inadequate maneuvering to avoid the parked plane.

On Nov. 30, 1998, an Asiana cargo plane struck and toppled a crane in the safety zone next to the taxiway after it landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The FAA faulted the co-pilot for misjudging the wing's clearance.

Welch reported from Los Angeles; Contributing: Donna Leinwand Leger, Bart Jansen, USA TODAY; Associated Press

Most Watched Videos