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All but one passenger accounted for, 2 dead at 5-star Star Alliance airline accident


Lack of response by Asiana airline officials after B777 crash in San Francisco

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Jul 07, 2013
Lack of response by Asiana airline officials after B777 crash in San Francisco
Image via Twitter

All but one of passenger from the crashed Asiana Korean airliner are accounted for with 2 dead and 181 in hospitals.

Hours after the Aseana crash the only statement released in small print on the the "fly asiana.com" website was a general non-meaning grey acknowledgement with no media contacts. Noticeable airline officials did not provide an emergency phone or consulting contact, nor did they reach out to the victims.

In the meantime, Asiana has been releasing various statements. The two fatal passengers had Chinese passports.

Asiana also established an emergency center and is flying family members to San Francisco.

The statement received 6 hours after the accident reads:

The following information has been confirmed.

Asiana Airlines flight OZ214 (Aircraft Registration HL7742) departed Incheon International Airport on July 6, 2013 at 16:35 (Korea time) bound for San Francisco. Only July 7, 2013 at 11:28 (Local time) an accident occurred as OZ214 was making a landing on San Francisco International Airport's runway 28.

There were a total of 291 passengers (19 business class, 272 travel class) and 16 cabin crew aboard.

The majority of the passengers were comprised of 77 Korean citizens, 141 Chinese citizens, 61 US citizens, 1 Japanese citizen, etc. for a total of 291 people.

Asiana Airlines is currently investigating the specific cause of the incident as well as any injuries that may have been sustained to passengers as a result. Asiana Airlines will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation of all associated government agencies and to facilitate this cooperation has established an emergency response center at its headquarters.

At this point no additional information has been confirmed. New developments will be announced as more information becomes available.

End of statement by Asiana

The San Francisco fire chief confirmed the scene is secured. A witness and passenger on the plane said it took emergency services too long to reach the aircraft. He said no one from the airline had talked to them hours after the crash. Uninjured passengers were held in the customs area in a small room. An FBI spokesperson did not think this incident is in anyway terror related. Hours after the crash the Asiana website still had no crash information or emergency phone numbers listed.

Experts say the fact this aircraft was evacuated in such a short time must have been a fantastic achievement by the crew.

Asiana since it was founded in 1988 had five air crashes, including 3 fatal, but overall their safety record is good. The aircraft had 4 pilots on board due to the long flight. The pilot in charge or the landing was a veteran and one of their most accomplished pilot.

This is the first Asiana crash in North America. Asiana recently was made a 5-star airline by Skytrax and several magazines made this airline the airline of the year together with Qatar Airlines and Singapore Airlines. Asiana is a member of the Star Alliance network and operates US bound flights to San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Honolulu. Many flights are operated in codeshare and close cooperation with United Airlines.

A Star Alliance B777 operated by Asiana Airline flight 214 based in South Africa landed short of the runway at SFO (San Francisco) airport unable to take off again and crash landed on Saturday. Flight 214 had arrived on schedule from Seoul after a nearly 10 ½ hour flight, but once the plane touched down, a huge plume of white smoke appeared and the aircraft began to rock and spin, breaking off the tail portion.

Two out of 291 passengers and 16 Asiana crew members onboard are confirmed dead. 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans, and 61 U.S. citizens were on board. The only nearby trauma center hospital received 10 passengers, They are all in critical condition at San Francisco General Hostpital. Tents were set up to prepare for additional care. The San Francisco Chronicle reports at least 40 injured.

45 emergency vehicles were initially seen at the crash. Passengers were walking at the crash site without direct assistance.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said Flight 214 crashed while landing on runway 28 left at 11:26 PDT.

A video clip posted to YouTube showed smoke coming from the jet on the tarmac. Passengers could be seen jumping down the emergency slides.

Television footage showed the top of the fuselage was burned away and the entire tail was gone. One engine appeared to have broken away. Pieces of the tail were strewn about the runway. Emergency responders could be seen walking inside the burned-out wreckage.

Stephanie Turner saw the plane going down and the rescue slides deploy, but returned to her hotel room before seeing any passengers get off the jet, she told ABC News. Turner said when she first saw the flight she noticed right away that the angle of its approach seemed strange.

"It didn't manage to straighten out before hitting the runway," she said. "So the tail of the plane hit the runway, and it cartwheeled and spun and the tail broke off ... I mean we were sure that we had just seen a lot of people die. It was awful.

"And it looked like the plane had completely broken apart," she said. "There were flames and smoke just billowing."

Doug Yakel, a spokesman for the airport, said he did not yet know how many passengers were aboard the flight. "We also don't have any information at this time to the status of those passengers," he said at a brief news conference.

A call to the airline seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of investigators to San Francisco to probe the crash. NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said Saturday that NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman would head the team.

Asiana is a South Korean airline, second in size to national carrier Korean Air. It has recently tried to expand its presence in the United States, and joined the Star Alliance, anchored by American Airlines and British Airways.

The 777-200 is a long-range plane from Boeing. The twin-engine aircraft is one of the world's most popular long-distance planes, often used for flights of 12 hours or more, from one continent to another. The airline's website says its 777s can carry between 246 to 300 passengers.

The flight was 10 hours and 23 minutes, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking service. The aircraft is configured to seat 295 passengers, it said.

The last time a large U.S. airline lost a plane in a fatal crash was an American Airlines Airbus A300 taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in 2001.

Smaller airlines have had crashes since then. The last fatal U.S. crash was a Continental Express flight operated by Colgan Air, which crashed into a house near Buffalo, N.Y. on February 12, 2009. The crash killed all 49 people on board and one man in a house.

Flying remains one of the safest forms of transportation. There are about two deaths worldwide for every 100 million passengers on commercial flights, according to an Associated Press analysis of government accident data.

Just a decade ago, passengers were 10 times as likely to die when flying on an American plane. The risk of death was even greater during the start of the jet age, with 1,696 people dying — 133 out of every 100 million passengers — from 1962 to 1971. The figures exclude acts of terrorism.

But airline crashes remain in the public's memory much longer than a wreck on the side of the road. Flying isn't natural and crashes involve many fatalities, often accompanied with horrifying images.

Those in the airline industry often say that you are more likely to die driving to the airport than on your flight. There are more than 30,000 motor-vehicle deaths each year, a mortality rate 8 times greater than that in planes.

There are still some corners of the world where flying is risky. Russia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia have particularly high rates of deadly crashes. But America, Europe, and Asia — with the exception of a few low-cost carriers — have remained very safe.

Asia remains one of the fastest-growing regions for aviation in the world. Even with slowing economies in Japan and China, airlines there saw 3.7 percent more passengers than a year ago, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Finding enough experienced pilots to meet a growing number of flights is becoming a problem.

A 2012 report by aircraft manufacturer Boeing said the industry would need 460,000 new commercial airline pilots in the next two decades — with 185,000 of them needed in Asia alone.

"The Asia-Pacific region continues to present the largest projected growth in pilot demand," the report said.

According to Twitter posts, a photograph shows passengers walking away from the plane, toting carry-on baggage.



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