Victims' families arrive in SF
Updated: 2013-07-09 11:55
By Zhang Qidong, Chang Jun and Yu Wei in San Francisco (China Daily)
Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Yuan Nansheng visits a Chinese who was injured in the Asiana 214 flight crash at a hospital in San Francisco on Monday. Provided to China Daily
Family members of the two Chinese victims of Saturday's Asiana crash arrived in San Francisco from Jiangshan, Zhejiang province on Monday night, while many of the injured in the crash were still undergoing treatment.
Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Yuan Nansheng met the family members from China at the airport.
At a news conference held Monday afternoon in San Jose after meeting with the surviving Jiangshan students, Yuan offered condolences to the two Chinese students who were killed in the crash and said he will discuss how to handle arrangements with the victims' family members.
"Up to now our work is really about confirming and checking the information of Chinese nationals and providing rescue assistance to them," Yuan said. "From tomorrow on, our work will be more focused on handling the aftermath."
Yuan and his team visited five Chinese survivors in San Francisco General Hospital on Monday morning, where they were being treated for injuries.
"One student was undergoing surgery when I went there and I spoke with the doctor," Yuan said. "I was told that the student was still in very serious condition. I will keep a very close eye on that student's progress," adding that another student was recovering and had been transferred from ICU to an ordinary patient room.
Wang Chuan, a press officer of the Chinese Consulate, said three students remain in critical condition and two others are being treated for injuries at the hospital.
"It is a very difficult time for the families of the victims, we will try our best to comfort them and see how we can help better," Wang said.
The Zhejiang students have decided to return to their home after they met with the delegation members tonight.
The Shanxi student group, meanwhile, has decided to stay in the US and finish their planned tour and summer program.
Chris Baron, director of finance of the West Valley Christian School, which was supposed to receive the 35 students from Zhejiang province, told China Daily that this was their first China-specific program during their 15 years of hosting international students.
"Previously we were mainly hosting students from Korea," said Baron, adding that this tragedy wouldn't dampen Chinese parents' enthusiasm for sending their children to the US for educational opportunities, including enhancing their English skills through various on- and off-campus activities.
Baron said her school is planning to welcome their second Chinese student group in early August.
"There will be 25 high school-age students coming over to experience a different culture," she said, declining to identify the agency that sponsored the student group from China.
Asiana Airlines flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday. The crash left two dead and 182 injured.
The two girls killed in the crash were among a group of 30 students and five teachers from Jiangshan Middle School who were traveling to the US to attend a summer camp.
The National Transportation Safety Board and its Korean counterparts are focusing their investigation into the crash on the airliner's pilots, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said in a news conference on Monday.
When asked whether pilot error may have played a part, Hersman said "nothing has been ruled out. We will not speculate and will not draw conclusions" until more information is known about what happened. The pilot is a 17-year veteran of Asiana Air.
An investigation into the crash began with the arrival of the NTSB team on the scene on Sunday, and the final report may not come for up to two years, according to South Korea's Aviation Policy Bureau.
According to Hersman, the aircraft was flying well below its target speed and was "approaching a stall" moments prior to impact.
Hersman said that data from the recording device onboard the plane indicated that the crew received a call to increase speed seven seconds before the crash.
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Wang Jun in Los Angeles contributed to this story.
(China Daily USA 07/09/2013 page1)