San Francisco Crash Pilot Blames Flash of Light

Pilot training while flying the 777 says a flash of light temporarily blinded him.
4:08 | 07/11/13

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Transcript for San Francisco Crash Pilot Blames Flash of Light
We'll get the latest on the deadly plane crash in san francisco. We're learning much more from the pilots and crew about the terrifyi moments just before and now right after the crash. Abc's david kerley is tracking the investigation. Good morning, david. Reporter: George, so many amazing stories of bravery and survival. And also striking details about the cockpit crew did. And now, the 911 calls. There are people waiting on the tarmac with critical injuries. Head injuries. We're almost losing a woman here. Reporter: The ntsb says after hitting the seawall, losing its tail and spinning around at 100 miles per hour before coming to rest, the pilots told passengers to stay in their seats. No evacuation for a minute and a half. The flight crew told the flight attendants not to initiate an evacuation. They were communicating with the tower about the emergency. Reporter: A flight attendant who spotted fire, finally convinced the pilots to evacuate the plane. I don't think they really understood how little of their airplane had arrived with them. Reporter: Only half of the 12 flight aden taunts were available. Three who were sitting at the rear of the plane had been ejected from the 777. They need immediate attention. They're alive and walking around. Reporter: And this morning, we're learning more about the final seconds in the air, too, from the ntsb. The captain being trained how to land, told investigators just seconds before lineding, a flash of light temporarily blinded him. Was it a laser? The ntsb says they don't know. But the pilot selected autopilot modes. It appears the pilot thought the engines were in cruise control mode, but may not have been, leaving the plane without enough momentum to get to the runway. What about pilot fatigue? Both of the pilots were off the day before. They slept eight hours the night before. They did take off and flew for a few hours. And had five hours off of rest, before they returned to the cockpit for the last hour and a half of flight. It doesn't appear that fatigue was an issue. It comes back to the mode of autopilot, which mode they picked. And they may have picked one that did not give them the crui cruise control and may have expected it. Let's pick up with steven gayner. They selected a lot of different modes in the last 2 1/2 minutes. What this would suggest is either they were conflicting, they were working over each other or maybe they didn't know exactly how to use the modes opinion remember how new the pilot was in the left seat. And he switched from an airbus airplane to a boeing airplane. Everything is mechanized differently. The software's different. Maybe there was a selection in his find of what he was selecting. We're hearing about a flash of light that one of the pilots they have seen about 500 feet. This one is a bit tough to swallow. This may come under the subject of the dog ate his homework. I can't imagine what would have gotten into the cockpit and seen by only one person. If it did happen, why didn't he say something to his fellow pilots? Why didn't he turn over the controls to his fellow pilots? That doesn't make sense, even though we have heard reports in the past about people flashing lasers at planes. And finally, this was a surprise, as well. The pilots, keeping everyone -- preventing them from evacuating for a full minute and a half after hitting the ground. Yes. The pilots have to be the ones who say it's time to evacuate because they need to assess the situation and say, there's fire, no fire. Go out the left side, or the right side. This case, it was hard to understand why it was 90 seconds. One of the stewardess pulled the slide. They have 90 seconds to get everybody out of this airplane. Or they say this airplane is not safe. And they have to do it over and over again until they can do it in 90 seconds. In this case, they waited 90 seconds and then started the evacuation. Thank goodness that fire was slow in starting d people had time to get out of the airplane. Stephen, thanks very much. Now, to the boston bombing suspect, appearing in a packed

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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