Investigation Into Deadly SFO Plane Crash Begins; Black Boxes Recovered
SAN FRANCISCO (KTLA) — Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board began the process Sunday of trying to determine what caused Asiana Airlines Flight 214 to crash at San Francisco International Airport, killing two people.
The black boxes from the aircraft, which record in-flight data, were recovered from the wreckage and were being transported for examination, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board said.
Federal Investigators arrived in San Francisco late Saturday night, and were looking into whether the plane clipped a sea wall separating the runway from San Francisco Bay, according to numerous media reports.
Questions also began to surface about the runway’s glide slope indicator, which pilots can use to help determine their altitude on approach.
The indicator was out of service because of a construction project, although it was not clear if that played a role in the accident.
“The glide slope had been out since June,” Deborah Hersman, head of the NTSB said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation.
“We’re going to take a look into this to understand it. But what’s important to note is there are a lot of tools that are available to pilots.”
“We’ll be looking at what the crew might have been using to get in,” she said. “But everything is on the table right now.”
Meanwhile, Asiana Airline’s CEO Yoon Young-doo said he did not believe engine failure caused the deadly crash.
“In my knowledge, there wasn’t any engine failure,” Yoon Young-doo said.
He also offered an apology during a televised news conference, where he bowed while saying, “I am bowing my head and extending my deep apology” to the passengers, their families and the South Korean people over the crash.”
Passengers on the doomed flight revealed they noticed something was wrong as the plane touched down in San Francisco.
“We were too low, too soon,” passenger Benjamin Levy told the Los Angeles Times.
Levy, a 39-year-old San Francisco technology executive who traveled to Asia on a business trip, heard screams as the plane crashed.
The pilot of the Boeing 777 seemed to rev the engines “just as we were about to hit the water,” Levy said.
“The pilot must have realized [and] tried to pull the plane back up… We hit pretty hard. I thought the wheels were gone for sure.”
The flight originated in Shanghai and left Seoul for San Francisco, according to the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
Among the passengers were 77 Korean citizens, 141 Chinese, 61 Americans and one Japanese, South Korea-based Asiana said.
The two passengers killed were identified Sunday as 16-year-old Chinese students, according to Chinese media reports.