Two people were reported killed and 73 to 103 injured in the crash landing of an Asiana Airlines flight at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, a city fire department dispatcher said.
Most of the injuries were minor, but reports were continuing to come in, the dispatcher said.
The Boeing 777 was carrying more 300 people from Seoul when it crashed while landing in clear skies on Saturday morning.
Reporting by Peter Henderson and Jonathan Weber; Editing by Sandra Maler. Copyright (2013) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions
SAN FRANCISCO, July 6 (Reuters) – An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 with more than 300 people on board crashed on Saturday while landing at San Francisco airport after a flight from Seoul and burst into flames, and a South Korean official said one person was killed and 20-30 injured.
Pictures taken immediately after the crash showed passengers streaming off the plane. TV footage from the air later showed the badly damaged fuselage of the Boeing 777 blackened by fire.
One person was killed and between 20 and 30 were injured, South Korean Deputy Consul General Hong Sungwook in San Francisco told Reuters at the scene.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency in Seoul said the plane had carried 292 passengers and 16 crew members.
Rachael Kagan, a spokeswoman for San Francisco General Hospital, said 10 critically injured people had been taken there, including two children, six women and four men. She said most of them spoke only Korean.
Ying Kong, of Albany, New York, who was waiting at the airport for her brother-in-law, Fawen Yan, 47, from Richmond, California, said he telephoned her after surviving the crash to say it had been “really smoky and scary.”
“He feels it difficult to breathe, but he’s okay,” she said. She added: “He said a lot of people had to run. He said some people got hurt.”
Lynn Lunsford, spokesman of the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane was Flight 214. Air traffic at the airport was halted after the crash, which took place under sunny skies with only a slight breeze.
Images on television station KTVU in San Francisco showed the plane lost its tail in the crash. Fire engines were on the scene, and the fire, which had burned through the cabin’s roof, appeared to be out. Debris was along the start of the runway, which is o the San Francisco Bay.
“You heard a pop and you immediately saw a large, brief fireball that came out from underneath the aircraft,” Anthony Castorani, who witnessed the crash from a nearby hotel, said on CNN.
The Asiana flight departed from Seoul at 5:04 p.m. Korean time and touched down in San Francisco at 11:28 a.m PDT, according to FlightAware, a website that tracks flights. The flight lasted 10 hours and 23 minutes, it said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said on its Twitter feed that it was sending an investigative team to the scene.
The FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said her agency was also sending investigators. She said the airport was closed but one runway could be opened shortly.
Boeing expressed concern for those on board the flight and added that it will provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.
Copyright (2013) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.