A Boeing 777 operated by Asiana Airlines crashed while landing Saturday at San Francisco International Airport.
Flight 214 left Seoul’s Incheon International Airport earlier Saturday and flew 10 hours and 23 minutes to California, according to FlightAware, a website that offers tracking services for private and commercial air traffic. Two people are confirmed dead and 181 others have been taken to hospital (49 in serious condition). Somehow, 305 others survived.
Video taken soon after the crash and posted on YouTube showed dark gray smoke rising from the plane, which appeared to be upright. That smoke later became white, even as fire crews continued to douse the plane.
The top of the aircraft was charred and, in spots, gone entirely, according to video from CNN affiliate KTVU. The plane was on its belly, with no landing gear evident and the rear tail of the plane gone.
Fire trucks were on site, while first responders could be seen walking outside the aircraft. Evacuation slides could be seen extending from one side of the aircraft, from which there was no apparent smoke.
Corrine Gaines, from the U.S. Coast Guard’s operations in San Francisco, said that a helicopter from the Guard had been launched and that her agency is helping others responding at the scene.
There were a few clouds in the sky around the time of the crash, and temperatures were about 65 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Winds were about 8 miles per hour.
Asiana Airlines is one of South Korea’s two major airlines, the other being Korean Air. It operates many of its flights out of Incheon International Airport, which is the largest airport in South Korea and considered among the busiest in the world. The Boeing 777-200LR has been in service since March 2006. The plane can carry 301 passengers and travel a maximum distance of 9,395 nautical miles. Asiana Airlines operates 71 aircraft and serves 14.7 million passengers annually. The airline was voted Airline of the Year by Global Traveler in 2011. In 1993, Asiana Airlines Boeing 737 crashed killing 68 people.
San Francisco International Airport, located some 12 miles south of downtown San Francisco, is California’s second busiest, behind LAX in Los Angeles.
According to information on Asiana Airlines’ website, the company has 12 Boeing 777 planes. They have a seating capacity of between 246 and 300 people and had a cruising speed of 555 mph (894 kph). (CNN)