Courtesy: USA TODAY, via Wei Yeh, AP
William M. Welch, Jon Swartz and Gary Strauss, USA TODAY
San Francisco-- An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul crashed on landing at San Francisco's airport Saturday, killing two passengers, injuring more than 180 and and forcing dozens of frightened passengers and crew to scamper from the heavily damaged aircraft before it was engulfed in smoke and flames.
There were 307 on board, including 16 crew. Officials said 123 escaped without injury and 181 were hospitalized or treated for injuries. Among the injured, 49 are in serious condition and five at San Francisco General Hospital, including a child, remain critical. Among the 47 others at San Francisco General, several were treated for minor injuries, including fractures and abrasions, and were released Saturday night.
"It was all over in 10 seconds," says Vedpa Singh, who suffered a fractured collarbone. "We heard a big bang, and it was over."
The cause of the crash has not been determined, but the FBI has has ruled out terrorism. The Boeing 777 appeared to have touched down tail-first and short of the runway. A sheered off tail section rested several hundred feet from the main body of the aircraft, and debris from the plane littered the runway. Passenger Janghyung Lee told USA Today that the aircraft rattled wildly before landing.
Images from the scene showed smoke billowing from the plane and emergency exits open from the plane's fuselage. A massive, gaping hole blackened by fire stretched along much of the plane's top.
The flight, which originated in Shanghai China before stopping in Seoul enroute to San Francisco, was carrying 61 U.S. citizens, 77 South Koreans and 141 Chinese. All passengers and crew were accounted for by Saturday night. It took several hours to account for everyone on the flight.
"We're lucky we have this many survivors,'' said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.