Asiana Boeing 777 crashes upon landing at San Francisco International Airport

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Smoke coming from the wreckage of the Asiana Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport.
Image: Jkhoo.

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 airplane crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport around 11:30 AM local time today. Flight #214, coming from Seoul, carrying 291 passengers — including one infant, and 16 crew members — crashed on runway 28L. Two deaths are reported and 10 passengers were taken to San Francisco General Hospital critically injured. In total, officials report 181 people were hospitalized and one person remains unaccounted for.

It is reported that when the airplane took off from Seoul, smoke was coming from the airplane. The weather was good as the plane was landing in San Francisco. According to David Eun, a passenger on the airplane and the executive vice president of Samsung, the tail came off of the plane upon landing. A non-passenger witness, Anthony Castorani, has reported that a fireball formed upon the plane landing and that the plane flipped over. A large portion of the passenger area of the plane was on fire and has burned out. Most of the plane's tail is gone. Passengers were seen using emergency slides to escape the wreckage.

The cause of the crash is unknown. There have been no reports stating that the airplane pilot made distress calls before the accident. Law enforcement does not believe the accident was the result of terrorism or criminal activity. The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash. Deborah Hersman will lead the investigation.

The airport was closed to all incoming and outgoing air and vehicle traffic until 3:30 PM local time, when it opened 2 runways. Over 330 flights were canceled at the airport. More than 70 flights headed to San Francisco were not allowed to land at the airport and were sent to other cities. Some flights have been diverted to Sacramento International Airport and Delta Air Lines has canceled 10 flights to and from San Francisco. United Airlines and Virgin America offered passengers the opportunity to change the flights at no extra cost until Monday.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, was supposed to travel on the Asiana flight. She rescheduled, along with colleagues, her flight to fly on United Airlines instead. Her flight landed 20 minutes before the Asiana crash.

A Boeing 777 can hold as many as 300 passengers. Asiana is the second largest airline in South Korea.