Two killed and dozens injured when a Boeing 777 with more than 300 people on board crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport.
Two people are dead, more than 180 injured and one is missing after an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport.
Ten passengers are in a critical condition, one of the city’s hospitals said.
‘‘SFGH treating 10 victims of Asiana Airline accident. 6 female, 4 male. 8 are adults and 2 children. Adults range 20-40yrs. All critical,’’ San Francisco General Hospital said on Twitter.
An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 is seen on the runway at San Francisco International Airport after crash landing. Photo: AFP
US media reported that at a news conference held in San Francisco officials claimed 181 of the 307 people on board the plane were transported to hospitals. 49 of these people were seriously injured and transported immediately, and a further 132 were transported later with less serious injuries.
123 people were accounted for at the airport without injuries.
The crash occurred as the plane was landing at a runway that began at the edge of San Francisco Bay. TV news footage showed crash debris right at the start of the landing strip where it met the water.
One survivor said the plane appeared to be coming in too low over the water, and the pilot seemed to be trying to gain height just before the aircraft struck the runway.
A city Fire Department dispatcher said two people were reported killed and between 73 and 103 had injuries, most of them minor. South Korean Deputy Consul General Hong Sungwook in San Francisco told Reuters at the scene one person had died and between 20 and 30 were injured.
Rachael Kagan, a spokeswoman for San Francisco General Hospital, said 15 injured people were being treated there and 10 were in critical condition with burns, fractures and internal injuries. She said most of them spoke only Korean.
She said a total of 270 people had been given some form of medical treatment at the scene of the crash and 75 had been transported to area hospitals.
Aircraft tail broke off, flinging flight attendants out
Overview of the plane wreckage. Photo: Reuters
A survivor of the San Francisco plane crash has described the terrifying moments as the Boeing 777 smashed into the ground, flinging flight attendants out the back as the tail broke off.
"Right when it appeared to coast for the landing, ... (he) sped up, like the pilot knew he was short," Elliott Stone told CNN.
"And then the back end just hit, and flies up in the air, and everybody's head goes up to the ceiling. And then it just kind of drifts for a little bit, for a good 300 yards and then tips over. Fire starts," he explained.
He said he was able to evacuate safely, sitting in the middle of the plane, but the flight attendants sitting in the back "got hammered - because we landed short. And then they all fell out - and it was just the most terrible thing I've seen," Stone said.
He said around 20 minutes after the crash, he and fellow passengers noticed "another five bodies like 457 metres away that nobody saw," adding they alerted emergency workers, but were frustrated at the response. We were yelling at people, yelling at firefighters. Get over here. They were just lagging hard. I don't know."
Images on television station KTVU in San Francisco showed emergency chutes had been deployed from at least two of the aircraft's exits. Fire had burned through the cabin's roof and appeared to have gutted much of the aircraft's interior.
The plane lost its tail in the crash and parts of it could be seen near the start of the runway.
Survivor Benjamin Levy told local a local NBC station by phone that he believed the plane had been coming in too low.
"I know the airport pretty well, so I realized the guy was a bit too low, too fast, and somehow he was not going to hit the runway on time, so he was too low ... he put some gas and tried to go up again," he said.
"But it was too late, so we hit the runway pretty bad, and then we started going up in the air again, and then landed again, pretty hard," Levy said.
He said he opened an emergency door and ushered people out. "We got pretty much everyone in the back section of the plane out," he said. "When we got out there was some smoke. There was no fire then, the fire came afterward."
Ying Kong, of Albany, New York, who was waiting at the airport for her brother-in-law, Fawen Yan, 47, from Richmond, California, said he telephoned her after surviving the crash to say it had been "really smoky and scary."
"He feels it difficult to breathe, but he's okay," she said. She added: "He said a lot of people had to run. He said some people got hurt."
Air traffic at the airport was halted immediately after the crash, which took place under sunny skies with only a slight breeze, but flights resumed on two runways several hours later.
The Asiana flight departed from Seoul at 5:04 p.m. Korean time and touched down in San Francisco at 11:28 a.m PDT, according to FlightAware, a website that tracks flights. The flight lasted 10 hours and 23 minutes, it said.
Deborah Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency was sending a team of investigators to San Francisco and that it is too early to determine the cause of the crash.
"We will be looking at everything," she told reporters. "Everything is on the table. We have to gather the facts before we reach any conclusions."
She was speaking at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington.
The FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said her agency was also sending investigators.
Boeing expressed concern for those on board the flight and added that it will provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.
Eyewitness accounts: 'bellyflop landing'
''I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm OK. Surreal ...'' said passenger David Eun, in a posting to the Path social network.
Local TV station KTVU quoted witnesses as saying that the plane's tail appeared to sheer off as it was coming in to land.
Another witness said the tail broke off almost immediately upon hitting what appeared to be the end of the runway .. "it kind of did a bellyflop landing".
Overhead television video about an hour after the crash showed the plane lying off the runway with its fuselage burnt out. In Eun's photograph the fuselage had not yet caught fire.
Another eyewitness, Anthony Castorani, told CNN that he was watching planes land from his airport hotel when he saw the Asiana Airlines flight coming in for what appeared a routine landing.
''The moment it touched down ... there was a large plume of white smoke, you heard a pop and then you immediately saw a large brief fireball that came out from underneath the aircraft,'' he said.