Asiana Airlines Crash: Pilot Had 43 Hours Flying Boeing 777

Pilots Learned Plane Was Going to Stall Seconds Before Crash

ByABC News
July 7, 2013, 7:27 AM

July 7, 2013— -- The pilot in charge of the Asiana Airlines jet that crashed on landing at San Francisco International Airport had just 43 hours on the Boeing 777, though he had significant flight time on other jets, airline officials said today.

Pilot Lee Kang-kook had flown a Boeing 777 nine previous times to other airports, but was flying the jet to SFO for the first time, Asiana Airlines spokeswoman Lee Hyo-min said.

"He is a veteran pilot with almost 10,000 hours on other aircrafts like the 747," she said. "He was in the process of getting a license for the new 777."

Lee flew with an experienced Boeing 777 pilot mentor, in accordance with world standard, the spokeswoman said.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was carrying more than 300 people when it crashed Saturday at San Francisco International Airport. The tail was torn off as it crashed, and it burst into flames.

The crash of the Boeing 777 killed two and injured 181 people. The injured were being cared for at several hospitals and at least 22 were in critical condition, according top hospital officials.

Data on the black boxes recovered from the jet showed that the pilots learned the plane was about to stall and tried to abort the landing just seconds before it crashed on the runway, the National Transportation Safety Board chair said today.

San Francisco Plane Crash: Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Crash Timeline

Analysis of the plane's recovered black boxes revealed that the control yoke shook in the pilot's hand at approximately four seconds before the plane crashed, NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman said. The pilots then attempted a "go around" to abort the landing, less than two seconds before the plane hit the runway.

Hersman said one of the flight crew members called to increase the plane's speed just seven seconds before impact, according to data the NTSB obtained from the cockpit voice recorder.

The Boeing 777 aircraft was traveling at a speed "significantly" below the target speed of 137 knots, but Hersman would not indicate how much slower the plane was traveling.

The plane's engines appeared to respond normally, she said.

SLIDESHOW: Plane Crashes at San Francisco Airport

The two passengers who died in the crash landing were identified as 16-year-old female students from China, according to officials and Chinese media reports.

Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan were part of a student group from Jiangshan Middle School in China's eastern Zhejiang province, according to Chinese media reports.

In a statement, China's Ministry of Education said at least 70 teachers and students from China were traveling to the U.S. to take part in a summer program.

Along with the spinal fractures, head trauma and abdominal injuries common in plane crashes, some survivors of the Asiana Airlines plane crash also had an unexpected rash all over their bodies, doctors at one San Francisco hospital found.

Many patients admitted to San Francisco General Hospital were covered in what was characterized as "road rash," a phenomenon more closely tied to people in motorcycle crashes when they aren't wearing leathers, San Francisco General Hopsital's chief of surgery Dr. Margaret Knudson said.

"It appears that they were dragged over something," she said.

Fifty one patients are at area hospitals after surviving the crash. Eight patients remained in critical condition.

Six of the patients, including one young girl, are receiving care at San Francisco General Hospital, Knudson said.

Many patients suffered severe abdominal bleeding that Knudson said might have been caused by the plane's seat belts. At least two individuals with spinal fractures were paralyzed and others suffered head trauma.

The hospital treated a total of 53 patients from the crash – more than any other hospital in the area. Twenty seven of those patients were adults ranging in age from 20 to 76, and 26 children received care as well. Of the 53, only 19 patients remained at the hospital as of this afternoon.

Some passengers sustained broken ribs or fractured sternums from the crash, Knudson said. Others experienced minor burns.

The majority of the passengers who were conscious enough to speak with doctors said they were sitting in the back of the plane, according to Knudson.