Only 1 Person Unaccounted for in SFO Plane Crash
(CNN) — At least two people were killed and scores were injured in Saturday morning’s crash landing of an Asiana Airlines’ Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport, authorities told reporters Saturday evening.
One person was unaccounted for, and 181 people have been transported to hospitals, authorities said.
On board were 291 passengers and 16 flight crew members, traveling from Incheon International Airport in Seoul to San Francisco, according to a public relations spokesperson for Asiana Airlines.
– One of those 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.
Crash details, and the investigation
– 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.
– Debris settled from the water’s edge, along San Francisco Bay, up the runway, to where the plane eventually came to a stop.
– 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.”
– 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.
– 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.
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.
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