141 Chinese in San Francisco air crash
Updated: 2013-07-07 05:25
By ZHANG QIDONG and CHANG JUN in San Francisco, and ZHANG YUWEI in NEW YORK (chinadaily.com.cn)
|Pictures of the air crash scene by a Chinese survivor|
4:00 pm (BJT)
The name list of 70 Chinese passengers who are confirmed safe has been released, according to China Central Television.
The two Chinese passengers killed are respectively 17 and 16 years old, according to the Asiana Airlines. Their seats were at the rear of the plane.
Friends and relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the crashed airplane are anxiously waiting for news of loved ones, AFP reports.
The friend of one student onboard the flight said she was waiting at San Francisco airport, frantically phoning people in China to find out details.
"My best friend is on the plane," she told AFP over Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter.
"I've been at the airport all day, trying to contact my friends in China to get updates on the accident.
"I was really scared and am still trying to recover. You just never know when planes will have a problem."
The latest casualty figure says 182 passengers taken to hospital, 49 serious, 123 injured, 2 Chinese confirmed dead. All seriously injured have been taken to the city's only level 1 trauma center at San Francisco General.
Seventy students and teachers on the Boeing 777 that crashed on Saturday are from China's Shanxi and Zhejiang provinces, Xinhua reports.
- 30 students and 5 teachers were from Taiyuan No 5 Middle School and Taiyuan No 1 Foreign Language School in Shanxi
- A 35-member group from a middle school in Jiangshan, Zhejiang
Only one teacher suffered minor injuries, while all but two of the Zhejiang group had been confirmed safe, according to education departments in both provinces. Authorities say both groups were going to the United States to take part in summer camps.
Passenger Ben Levy, who was sat in an emergency exit seat, says he felt the tail hit the ground and bounce up again. He told the BBC it was like a rollercoaster ride and the fire onboard did not start until most people had evacuated the plane.
A team of National Transport Safety (NTSB) experts are expected to land in SFO in about one hour, CNN reports.
Chris Yates, an aviation expert tells BBC, it is too early to determine to cause of the crash and investigators will need to examine the black box recorder He says this is the first fatal crash involving that type of plane.
Numerous eyewitnesses say the tail of the plane clipped the runway and spun off before exploding into flames, US networks report.
Officials from the Chinese consulate visited eight Chinese passengers at the SF General Hospital. Most of them were slightly injured. One four-year-old boy, who flew with his mother and cousin, suffered a bone fracture.
A number of passengers leaving San Francisco's main hospital after treatment for minor injuries have spoken of how they feel lucky to survive and amazed more people were not seriously hurt, CNN reports.
Both Chinese killed when an Asiana Airlines plane crash-landed at San Francisco airport were women, South Korea's transportation ministry said Sunday. "We verified through the foreign ministry that the two dead are Chinese and are women," a senior official at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying.
Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg was scheduled to be on the Asiana Airlines flight that crash landed at San Francisco International Airport but switched at the last minute, ABC reports.
Four pilots were on board the Asiana plane when it crashed. The pilot in command during the landing was Lee Jeong-min, who the airline says is a veteran pilot who has been with the airline since 1996.
Chinese diplomats said of the 141 Chinese citizens on board it included a teacher and 34 high school students, Xinhua reports.
The city's main trauma center, San Francisco General has updated the casualty figures. 51 admitted to the hospital, 5 critical, 5 serious, Fox Reports.
The bodies of the two dead Chinese passengers were found on the ground outside of the aircraft, CNN reports quoting fire chiefs.
The crashed Boeing 777 has been operated by Asiana since March 2006, according to aviation experts.
Three flights scheduled to head to San Francisco from Beijing Capital International Airport on Sunday were delayed to depart at 4 pm (BJT), according to the airport's website.
There are a total 6 flights from Beijing to San Francisco on Sunday. The other three flights are scheduled to depart at 3:40 pm (BJT).
"We were approaching perfectly well, but we were too low," Benjamin Levy, who was on the plane, told NBC. "When the pilot realized it, he put some more gas to correct it, but it was too late, so we hit the runway pretty bad, and we started going up in the air again, and we landed pretty hard."
The crash of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 in San Francisco on Saturday is only the second major accident for the twin-engine, wide-bodied jet in the 18 years the model has been in service, an aviation safety expert told Associated Press.
"The 777 has a fantastic record," said Tom Haueter, who retired last year from the US National Transportation Safety Board, where he was the head of aviation accident investigations.
Yet both accidents involving the aircraft share a striking similarity - both occurred as the planes were touching down. The previous accident occurred on Jan 17, 2008, at London's Heathrow Airport. In the process of landing, British Airways Flight 28 from China landed hard about 1,000 feet short of the runway and then slid onto the runway. The impact broke the 777-200's landing gear. There were 47 injuries, but no fatalities. An investigation revealed ice pellets had formed in the fuel while the plane was flying at high altitudes, clogging the fuel-oil heat exchanger. As a result, fuel was blocked from reaching both of the plane's engines. Commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven”, the 777 is a long-range jet designed primarily for extended flights over water. The 777 had its first flight in 1994. It was introduced into service in 1995.
The two victims who died in the air crash are both Chinese nationals.
The Chinese consulate in San Francisco has set up an emergency command group, headed by consul-general Yuan Nansheng, People.com.cn report.
Family and friends of passengers on the flight can contact its 24-hour hotlines on 001-415-8525924 or 001-415-2168525, or fax on 001-415-8525920.
Two groups of consulate officials have also been sent to hospitals where casualties are being treated, according to the report.
According to the FAA, the plane was Asiana Airlines flight 214, a Boeing 777 that had originated in Shanghai, China with a stop in Seoul, South Korea.
SF Airport has released the recordings between the tower and the pilot of the Boeing 777 as the plane exploded. Experts says the tail of the plane seem to touch the ground on landing, CNN reports.
Yonhap News Agency said one of the victims who died in the air crash held a Chinese passport.
SF Mayor says all 214 passengers have now been accounted for.
San Francisco Airport is holding a news conference and confirm two dead.
The Mayor added: "I want to pay tribute to the local Chinese community who came to all the hospitals to help translate. Nine hospitals were affected and some people rode on buses with injured helping them."
Mayor of SF: We are lucky to have so many survivors.
The hospital has said they do not need any more translators after hundreds of local Chinese and Korean answered their appeal for help, CNN reports.
Weibo user XudaS who was onboard: "I saw light behind me and I hurried backwards with my kid. I saw most of the kitchen at the rear of the plane was gone, leaving a round large round hole. Instantly we rushed out. The three of us had small scratches."
US President Barack Obama has directed his team to stay "in constant contact" with the federal, state and local partners in response to the air crash in San Francisco, California, the White House said on Saturday.
Passengers evacuated after air accident. [Photo by Zhang Qi/China Daily]
Weibo user XudaS wrote about the crash: "It took about half an hour from landing to evacuation. The passengers were calm in the rescue process, no shouting, and everything was in order. We felt we have already been evacuated for a while when the fire turned big. So I was very surprised to hear that two were dead. Don't mistake me, I feel I am very lucky at the moment. Just now I asked the teachers about the students and they say the students are okay and should be alright."