|Asiana Airlines Crash Toll: 2 Dead, 181 Injured|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27) , MATT HOSFORD (@ABCaviation) and ALEXIS SHAW (@ashaw109)||Jul 6, 2013, 2:51 PM|
A fiery crash of an Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco today has killed two people and injured 181 people.
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was carrying more than 300 people when it crashed at San Francicso International Airport, tore off its tail and burst into flames.
Two people were reported dead, said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.
She described it as a "fluid situation" and that "not everyone has yet to be accounted for." She initially said that "upwards of 60 people were unaccounted for," but San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee later said all the passengers had been unaccounted for.
The injured were being care for at several hospitals and at least 22 were in critical condition.
The flight originated in Shanghai, China, and had a stopover in Seoul, South Korea. It was carrying 291 passengers, including an infant, plus at least 16 crew members, according to the airline. An Asiana Airlines official in Seoul told ABC News that 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans and 61 U.S. citizens were on board.
Stephanie Turner saw the Asiana Airlines flight crash and she was sure that she "had just seen a lot of people die."
Turner said that when she saw a plane preparing to land on the runway, it looked as if it was approaching at a strange angle.
"As we saw the approaching Asiana flight coming in, I noticed right away that the angle was wrong, that it was tilted too far back," she said. "The angle didn't manage to straighten out and the tail broke off."
"It looked like the plane had completely broken apart," Turner said. "The flames and smoke were just billowing."
Aerials of the crash, provided by ABC's San Francisco station KGO-TV, showed the plane's tail severed from its body, as well as the majority of the aircraft's roof completely charred away. One of the plane's wings appears to have snapped upon impact. Debris from the crash landing was scattered across the airport's runway 28.
The San Francisco International Airport closed at approximately 1:10 p.m. as a result of the crash, according to the FAA website.
Some of the injured were taken to San Francisco General Hospital where 10 were in critical condition.
"We have burns, fractures and internal injuries," said hospital spokeswoman Rachel Kagan. She said other non-crash patients whose treatment was completed were being discharged to make room for more crash victims.
"We know we have 10. We may have more," Kagan said.
She said the hospital had also put out a call for its Korean speaking staff and translators to come to work.
A video posted on YouTube showed gray smoke billowing from the plane, which was lying on the runway on its fuselage. Chutes had been deployed from the plane's emergency exits.
Law enforcement officials told ABC News that the crash appeared to be an accident, but that they were investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board immediately sent a team of investigators to the crash site.
Once investigators got on scene at the San Francisco Airport, they plan to collect the cockpit voice and data recorders from the plane, NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said at a news conference.
Hersman said the NTSB is working with Boeing, the FAA, as well as the Korean Air and Accident Investigation Board to investigate the crash.
A witness described to ABC News what he saw when the plane was landing.
"The nose of the plane was higher than usual for a plane coming in to land and I thought that was odd," Stephen Dear said. "It got closer and closer. I saw the back tail hit the ground."
Dear said the plane then "caught fire immediately."
Asiana Airlines Crash Kills Two in San Francisco
Dominic Garcia, who also witnessed the crash, told ABC News that when the plane hit the runway, he saw what appeared to be "a huge mushroom cloud."
"Within 15 seconds it was just black smoke," he said. "It looked like an explosion."
The Boeing 777 is one of the safest airplanes in use, ABC News aviation analyst John Nance said.
"These airplanes are over the water, over the ocean all the time and Asiana has been running them for many years very successfully," Nance said.
Boeing issued a statement to ABCNews.com on the news of the crash.
"Boeing extends its concern for the safety of those on board Asiana Airlines Flight 214," the company said. "Boeing is preparing to provide technical assistance to the National Transportation Safety Board as it investigates the accident."
The last Boeing 777 to crash was a British Airways jet en route from Beijing to London's Heathrow airport, which crash landed short of the runway in January 2008. There were no fatalities, but 47 people on board sustained injuries.
The plane was powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, according to a statement from the company's spokeswoman Pratt & Whitney.
Pratt & Whitney said it was cooperating with authorities, but declined to comment further.