Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash

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Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was a scheduled transpacific passenger flight from Incheon International Airport near Seoul, South Korea, to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in the United States. On the morning of Saturday, July 6, 2013, the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft operating the flight crashed on final approach into SFO. Of the 307 people aboard, two passengers died at the crash scene (one from being run over by an airport crash tender), and a third died in a hospital several days later, all three of them being teenage Chinese girls. 187 others were injured, 49 of them seriously. Among the injured were three flight attendants who were thrown onto the runway while still strapped in their seats when the tail section broke off after striking the seawall short of the runway. It was the first crash of a Boeing 777 that resulted in fatalities since its entry to service in 1995


The Boeing 777-200ER, registration HL7742, was powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW4090 engines. It was delivered new to Asiana Airlines in March 2006 and at the time of the crash had accumulated 36,000 flight hours and 5,000 (takeoff-and-landing) cycles.

The Boeing 777 had a good reputation for safety. This was its first fatal accident, second crash (after British Airways Flight 38), and third hull loss since the 777 began operating commercially in 1995.


On July 6, 2013, Flight OZ214 took off from Incheon International Airport (ICN) at 5:04 p.m. KST (08:04 UTC), 34 minutes after its scheduled departure time. It was scheduled to land at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at 11:04 a.m. PDT (18:04 UTC).

The flight was cleared for a visual approach to runway 28L at 11:21 a.m. PDT, and told to maintain a speed of 180 knots (330 km/h; 210 mph) until the aircraft was 5 miles (8.0 km) from the runway. At 11:26 a.m., Northern California TRACON ("NorCal Approach") passed air traffic control to the San Francisco tower. A tower controller acknowledged the second call from the crew at 11:27 a.m. when the plane was 1.5 miles (2.4 km) away, and gave clearance to land.

The weather was very good; the latest METAR reported light wind, 10 miles (16 km) visibility (the maximum it can report), no precipitation, and no forecast or reports of wind shear. The pilots performed a visual approach assisted by the runway's precision approach path indicator (PAPI).

At 11:28 a.m., HL7742 crashed short of runway 28L's threshold. The landing gear and then the tail struck the seawall that projects into San Francisco Bay. Both engines and the tail section separated from the aircraft. The NTSB noted that the main landing gear, the first part of the aircraft to hit the seawall, "separated cleanly from [the] aircraft as designed". The vertical and both horizontal stabilizers fell on the runway before the threshold.

The remainder of the fuselage and wings rotated counter-clockwise approximately 330 degrees, as it slid westward. Video showed it pivoting about a wing and the nose while sharply inclined to the ground. It came to rest to the left of the runway, 2,400 feet (730 m) from the initial point of impact at the seawall.

After a minute or so, a dark plume of smoke was observed rising from the wreckage. The fire was traced to a ruptured oil tank above the right engine. The leaking oil fell onto the hot engine and ignited. The fire was not fed by jet fuel.

Two evacuation slides were deployed on the left side of the airliner and used for evacuation. Despite damage to the aircraft, "many ... were able to walk away on their own". The slides for the first and second doors on the right side of the aircraft (doors 1R and 2R) deployed inside the aircraft, pinning the flight attendants seated nearby.

According to NBC reports in September 2013, the US government had been concerned about the reliability of evacuation slides for decades: "Federal safety reports and government databases reveal that the NTSB has recommended multiple improvements to escape slides and that the Federal Aviation Administration has collected thousands of complaints about them." Two months before the accident at SFO, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive ordering inspection of the slide release mechanism on certain Boeing 777 aircraft, so as to detect and correct corrosion that might interfere with slide deployment.

This was the third fatal crash in Asiana's 25-year history.

Crew and passengers


The aircrew consisted of three captains and one first officer. Captain Lee Jung Min (Hangul: 이정민; Hanja: 李鄭閔), aged 48, in the right seat (co-pilot position) filled the dual role of a check/instructor captain and pilot in command, responsible for the safe operation of the flight. He had 12,387 hours of flying experience of which 3,220 were in a 777. This was his first flight as an instructor.

Captain Lee Kang Guk (이강국; 李江鞠; variant Lee Gang-guk), aged 45, in the left seat (captain's position) was the pilot receiving his initial operating experience (IOE) training and was halfway through Asiana's IOE requirements. He had 9,793 hours of flying experience, of which 43 were in a 777 over 9 flights, and was operating the controls under the supervision of the instructor in the right seat. This was Lee Kang Guk's first landing at SFO in this aircraft type, although he had previously landed there in a Boeing 747 and other aircraft. This was his first flight with Lee Jung Min.

At the time of the crash, relief first officer Bong Dong-won, 41, was observing from the cockpit jump seat. Relief captain Lee Jong-joo, 52, occupied a business-class seat in the passenger cabin.

The first officer, who had been in the cockpit, received medical treatment for a cracked rib; none of the other pilots needed hospital care.

Twelve flight attendants were onboard: ten South Korean and two Thai. Six flight attendants received physical and emotional treatment. The other six returned to South Korea.


Two 16-year-old girls with Chinese passports were found dead outside the aircraft soon after the crash, having been thrown out of the aircraft during the accident. One was accidentally run over by an airport crash tender after being covered in fire-fighting foam. On July 19, 2013, the San Mateo County Coroner's office confirmed that the girl was still alive prior to being run over by a rescue vehicle, and was killed due to blunt force trauma. On January 28, 2014, the San Francisco city attorney's office announced their conclusion that the girl was already dead when she was run over.

Four flight attendants seated at the rear were ejected from the aircraft when the tail section broke off, and they survived.

Ten people in critical condition were admitted to San Francisco General Hospital and a few to Stanford Medical Center. Nine hospitals in the area admitted 182 injured people. San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White, after checking with two intake points at the airport, told reporters that all on board had been accounted for.

A third passenger, a 15-year-old Chinese girl, died of her injuries at San Francisco General Hospital six days after the accident.

Of the passengers, 141 (almost half) were Chinese citizens. More than 90 of them took Asiana Airlines Flight 362 from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, connecting to Flight 214 at Incheon. Incheon serves as a major connecting point between China and North America. In July 2013, Asiana Airlines operated between Incheon (Seoul) and 21 cities in mainland China.

Seventy students and teachers traveling to the United States for summer camp were among the Chinese passengers. Thirty of the students and teachers were from Shanxi, and the others were from Zhejiang. Five of the teachers and 29 of the students were from Jiangshan High School in Zhejiang; they were traveling together. Thirty-five of the students were to attend a West Valley Christian School summer camp. The Shanxi students originated from Taiyuan, with 22 students and teachers from the Taiyuan Number Five Secondary School and 14 students and teachers from the Taiyuan Foreign Language School. The three passengers who died were in the Jiangshan High School group to West Valley camp.

Survivor and eyewitness accounts

Several passengers recalled noticing the plane's unusual proximity to the water on final approach, which caused water to thrust upward as the engines were spooling up in the final moments before impact.

In the initial moments after the crash, the cockpit crew told flight attendants to delay evacuating the aircraft as they were communicating with the tower. A flight attendant seated at the second door on the left side (door 2L) observed fire outside the aircraft near row 10 and informed the cockpit crew, at which point the evacuation order was given some 90 seconds after the aircraft came to rest. Flight attendants told NTSB investigators that there was no fire inside the cabin when the evacuation began.

The crew also helped several passengers who were unable to escape on their own; a pilot carried out one passenger with an injured leg. One flight attendant said that many Chinese passengers who sat at the back of the plane near the third exit were not aware of the evacuation.

During the evacuation, a pilot used an extinguisher on a fire that had penetrated from the exterior to the inside of the cabin.

Two of the inflatable chutes expanded into the cabin rather than outwards. The first chute, which blocked the forward right exit, nearly suffocated a flight attendant and was deflated by a pilot with a fire axe from the cockpit. The second chute expanded toward the center of the aircraft near the fire. It trapped a second flight attendant until a co-pilot deflated it with a dinner knife.

Some passengers sitting at the rear of the aircraft escaped through the hole left by the missing tail section.

Eyewitnesses to the crash included the cockpit crew and many passengers on board United Airlines Flight 885 (UA 885), a Boeing 747–400 that was holding on taxiway F, next to use the runway. Others saw it from the terminal and near the airport. At least one person recorded it on video. Writing on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network internet forum, the first officer of UA 885 described what he saw:

I then noticed at the apparent descent rate and closure to the runway environment the aircraft looked as though it was going to impact the approach lights mounted on piers in the SF Bay. The aircraft made a fairly drastic-looking pull up in the last few feet and it appeared and sounded as if they had applied maximum thrust. However the descent path they were on continued and the thrust applied didn't appear to come soon enough to prevent impact. The tail cone and empennage of the 777 impacted the bulkhead seawall and departed the airplane and the main landing gear sheared off instantly.

— United Flight 885 first officer, Inside United Flight 885: A pilot's gripping account, Chicago Business Journal

Passengers and others praised the flight attendants' conduct after the crash. Cabin manager Lee Yoon-hye was last off the burning plane. San Francisco fire chief Hayes-White praised Lee's courage, saying, "She wanted to make sure that everyone was off. ... She was a hero."

A firefighter who entered the cabin said that the back of the plane had suffered structural damage, but the seats near the front "were almost pristine" before the cabin fire.


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Sources: wikipedia.org