AGANA, Guam — The terrain where a Korean Air jumbo jet crashed and burned today is so rugged and choked with tropical vegetation that it took rescuers four hours to get survivors to a hospital only a mile away.
The rain-soaked saw grass covering rocks made it so slippery it was impossible to pick up and carry anyone more than a few hazardous steps, said Gov. Carl Gutierrez at the scene.
The plane with 254 people on board went down in an early morning downpour, skidding through the jungle in a ball of fire before coming to rest in a deep ravine carved by the Sasa River.
Navy CH-46 "Sea Knight" helicopters hovered to light up the site as hundreds of military and government rescuers walked gingerly down a steep slope to search the smoldering wreckage. The helicopters were then used to hoist survivors to safety.