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Terror, confusion, panic as Asiana plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Question of the Day
She said at a news conference outside San Francisco General Hospital that the two 16-year-old girls who died were found on either side of the plane near the “front middle.” Investigators are determining whether they were alive or dead when rescuers reached the scene.
“Having surveyed that area, we’re lucky that there hasn’t been a greater loss,” she previously said.
Chief Hayes-White said first responders told her they saw people at the edge of the Bay dousing themselves with water, possibly to cool burn injuries.
South Korean government said the passengers included 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans, 61 Americans, three Canadians, three from India, one Japanese, one Vietnamese and one from France, while the nationalities of the remaining three haven’t been confirmed.
Chinese state media identified the dead as two 16-year-old girls from China’s eastern Zhejiang province. China Central Television cited a fax from Asiana Airlines to the Jiangshan city government. They girls were identified as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia.
At least 70 Chinese students and teachers were on the plane heading to summer camps, according to education authorities in China.
Asiana President Yoon Young-doo said at a televised news conference that it will take time to determine the cause of the crash. But when asked about the possibility of engine or mechanical problems, he said he doesn’t believe they could have been the cause.
He said the plane was bought in 2006 but didn’t provide further details. Asiana officials later also said the plane was built that year.
Mr. Yoon also bowed and offered an apology. “I am bowing my head and extending my deep apology” to the passengers, their families and the South Korean people over the crash, he said.
Four pilots were aboard the plane, and they rotated on a two-person shift during the flight, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in South Korea. The two who piloted the plane at the time of crash were Lee Jeong-min and Lee Gang-guk.
Mr. Yoon, the Asiana president, described the pilots as “skilled,” saying three had logged more than 10,000 hours each of flight time. He said the fourth had put in almost that much time, but officials later corrected that to say the fourth had logged nearly 5,000 hours. All four are South Koreans.
Asiana is a South Korean airline, second in size to national carrier Korean Air. It recently has tried to expand its presence in the United States and joined the Star Alliance, which is anchored in the U.S. by United Airlines.
The 777-200 is a long-range plane from Boeing. The twin-engine aircraft often is used for flights from one continent to another because it can fly 12 hours or more without refueling.
The most notable accident involving a 777 occurred on Jan. 17, 2008, at Heathrow Airport outside London. British Airways Flight 28 landed hard about 1,000 feet short of the runway and slid onto the start of the runway. The impact broke the 777-200’s landing gear. There were 47 injuries but no fatalities.
• Joan Lowy reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jason Dearen and Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco, Scott Mayerowitz in New York, Pauline Arrillaga in Phoenix, Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Louise Watt in Beijing contributed to this article.
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