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All 307 passengers, crew members accounted for after SFO plane crash

July 06, 2013|By Lee Romney

SAN FRANCISCO-- All 307 passengers aboard the Asiana jetliner that crash-landed Saturday at San Francisco International Airport have now been accounted for, officials said.

The 11:30 a.m. crash of the jetliner left two dead and scores injured. Sixty people aboard the airliner that had initially been described as "unaccounted for" have now been located, officials said.

“This could have been much worse,” Mayor Ed Lee said at an evening news conference. “We’re lucky we have so many survivors. But we still have many who are injured and our prayers and thoughts go out to them.”

Asiana Airlines flight 214 originated in Shanghai and stopped in Seoul before heading to San Francisco.

The jetliner caught fire when it hit the tarmac, causing huge plumes of black smoke to billow into the sky. Many passengers were able to get out of the aircraft before it was consumed by flames.

Federal investigators were trying to determine what went wrong. But a source involved in the investigation said the plane appeared to have clipped a sea wall while landing.

Mechanical difficulties have not been ruled out, but investigators are focused on whether the flight came in too low, according to sources familiar with the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The plane appeared to hit the sea wall dividing the airport runway from San Francisco Bay, possibly causing the tail to come apart.

Multiple sources told The Times that there was no reported trouble or declared emergency on the plane before it landed.

Witnesses described the plane coming in very low, and pictures and video from the accident appear to show that the debris field began at the sea wall and stretched for hundreds of feet.

Asked at a news conference if pilot error was a factor, Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that “everything’s on the table at this point. We have to gather all the facts before we reach any conclusions.”

Hersman said that federal investigators are deploying now to examine the crash. She said officials from South Korea will also be invited to participate in the investigation.


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