3:48pm

Sat July 6, 2013
The Two-Way

Developing: Boeing 777 Crashes At San Francisco International

Originally published on Sun July 7, 2013 7:47 am

Two people died Saturday in the crash-landing at San Francisco International Airport of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 from Seoul, South Korea, San Francisco's fire chief says.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White says everyone who had been on board the flight is accounted for.

National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Debbie Hersman said investigators were being deployed to the scene.

"Obviously, we have a lot of work to do," she said, noting that it was too early to tell what had caused the crash.

Passenger accounts and eyewitness reports in the first hour after the crash indicated that many of those on board were able to escape before the crippled Boeing 777 caught fire. Videos and photos showed the escape ramps deployed and passengers walking away.

Stephanie Turner, a visitor to California, was walking back to her hotel in view of the airport when the crash occurred. She had taken out her camera to snap a shot of a jet waiting on the runway, but then saw the Asiana plane coming in for a landing.

"And then I noticed that the tail was very, very low. The angle was bad. And so as it came in, the tail of the plane struck first," she tells NPR. Turner says the tail of the plane broke off and the aircraft twisted down the runway, smoke rising. When the white escape slides appeared against the black smoke, she took it as a positive sign.

"We're just thrilled and stunned that so many survived the crash. We didn't think it was possible," she says.

The crash happened around 11:30 a.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET) Saturday. We're following the news as it comes in and have been posting updates.

Update at 7:40 a.m. ET 7/7. Crash Victims Identified:

Chinese state media has identified the two crash victims as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, both 16-year-old middle school students from China's Zhejiang province.

At least 70 Chinese students and teachers were on the flight en route to summer camps, the Associated Press is reporting.

Update at 10:56 p.m. ET. All Accounted For:

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said in another news conference that everyone has been accounted for, and the death toll from the accident remains at two.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee noted the "tremendous city response" to the crash, including translators dispatched from various organizations to assist the passengers and grief counselors from the health department who made themselves available on the site.

Update at 8:57 p.m. ET. Breaking Down The Numbers:

Officials are giving new numbers, indicating that there is now only one person whose status is unknown. Here's the latest breakdown:

  • 307 on board
  • 2 fatalities
  • 181 transported to hospitals (49 immediately for serious injuries, 132 sent later)
  • 123 who did not need to be transported and remained in the terminals

Update at 7:30 p.m. ET. Fire Chief Gives New "Fluid" Numbers:

The fire chief said there were 307 people on the plane, and that about 60 are still unaccounted for. She also said there are two confirmed fatalities, but that all numbers remain "fluid."

At the same news conference, David J. Johnson, FBI special agent in charge of the San Francisco Division, said there was "no indication of terrorism involved." He said the FBI would continue working with the NTSB on the investigation.

Update at 7:15 p.m. ET. Eyewitness Account:

Krista Seiden, 26, saw the Asiana plane on the runway as she was boarding her own flight to Phoenix. The daughter of a pilot and a flight attendant, Seiden told NPR she knew it was a crash immediately: "There's really no mistaking a big commercial airliner sitting on the runway and billowing clouds of smoke."

She said she saw the plane skidding along the runway, fuming with black smoke. Though they couldn't hear the crash from inside the terminal, as soon as passengers saw wreckage "there was just a lot of uncertainty and commotion."

Update at 6:13 p.m. ET. Reports From San Francisco Hospitals:

Mills-Peninsula Hospital reports having five people who were injured in the crash, but spokeswoman Margie O'Clair said "more are expected" and had no information on the patients' condition.

San Francisco General Hospital says it has 10 patients from the accident, eight adults and two children. "All patients are in critical condition," according to a statement from the hospital's communications officer, Rachael Kagan.

As we noted in an earlier update, the airline said 291 passengers were on board.

Update at 4:25 p.m. ET. About The 777:

Boeing has a considerable amount of information about the jet posted here. It comes in different configurations. The largest version can carry 365 passengers.

Update at 4 p.m. ET. On The Passenger Who Tweeted "Everyone Seems Fine":

All Things D profiled Samsung executive David Eun in December 2011. He's the person who tweeted "I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm ok. Surreal..." and posted a photo of the crippled jet that is now going viral.

Update at 3:52 p.m. ET. Nearly 300 On Board, KCBS Reports:

"The airline said 291 people were on board, but there was no official word on any casualties," reports San Francisco's KCBS-TV.

Update at 3:45 p.m. ET. Fire Quickly Extinguished:

"It's not immediately known how many casualties are involved, though televised pictures and images posted online show many survivors exiting the plane or standing outside the damaged aircraft afterward," write our colleagues on KQED's News Fix blog. "Thick smoke rose from the site of the crash on an airport runway, but the fire was quickly extinguished."

Update at 3:35 p.m. ET. "Everyone Seems Fine":

A man who says he was on board, Samsung executive David Eun, has tweeted that, "I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm ok. Surreal..." He has also posted a photo of what looks to be the same plane that's being seen on the cable news networks' broadcasts. The photo, taken on the ground, shows a crippled Asiana Airlines jet, smoke rising, and passengers walking away.

Eun has also tweeted this: "Lots of activity here. Friends, pls don't call right now. I'm fine. Most people are totally calm and trying to..."

Update at 3:32 p.m. ET. Asiana Flight 214:

It was Asiana Airlines flight 214, which was due to land at 11:28 a.m. local time (2:28 p.m. ET).

Update at 3:27 p.m. ET. More From FAA:

"A Boeing 777 operated by Asiana Airlines crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport. That's all I have for now." FAA public affairs manager Lynn Lunsford emails to NPR's Daniel Bobkoff.

Update at 3:22 p.m. ET. FAA Confirms, AP Reports.

The Associated Press just moved this alert: "FAA: Asiana Airlines flight crashes while landing at San Francisco airport; injuries unknown."

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