An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul crashed and burned in San Francisco. At least two people died and one person was unaccounted for, officials said.
An official said at a news conference that of the 307 souls aboard Flight 214 when it crashed on landing at San Francisco International Airport, two had died, 181 were transported to hospitals and 123 were uninjured, leaving just one person unaccounted for. That was a dramatic turnaround from an hour earlier when San Francisco’s fire chief had said upwards of 60 people were unaccounted for.
David Johnson, the FBI’s special agent in charge for San Francisco, said, There is no indication of terrorism involved in the crash of the Boeing 777, which had 219 passengers and 16 crew members aboard.
Rachel Kagan of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center said that hospital had received 34 patients, of which 23 were adults and 11 were children. She said five were in critical condition, down from 10 earlier.
KPIX-TV, San Francisco, reported two passengers relayed to a relative by cellphone that the aircraft appeared to come down short of the runway.
Witnesses said there was a loud noise and they saw the tail come off the plane, which then erupted in fire.
“The plane started coming in at an odd angle, there was a huge bang and you could see the cloud of huge black smoke,” said Kate Belding, who was jogging nearby when she saw the crash.
Kelly Thompson, who was in a nearby parking lot when the plane came down, said it made a horrible thud.
“The airliner bounced and then slid to a stop on the runway,” Thompson said.
Ground crews quickly extinguished the flames. Passengers were seen exiting the plane using escape chutes.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families.
“We are deeply saddened by this incident,” he said. “This is still a fluid and active scene. No everyone has yet to be accounted for.”
The White House press secretary’s office issued a statement, saying President Obama was made aware of the incident by Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism.
The president will continue to be updated as new information becomes available, the statement said. “The president expressed his gratitude for the first responders and directed his team to stay in constant contact with the federal, state and local partners as they investigate and respond to this event.
His thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost a loved one and all those affected by the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators were sent to the scene.
CNN said air traffic communications between the airport’s tower and Flight 214 crew members indicated those on the ground knew a problem had arisen and assured emergency vehicles are responding.
“We have everyone on their way,” the air traffic controller said, according to LiveATC.net, a website that provides air traffic control audio.