NORIMITSU ONISHI & RAVI SOMAIYA
The two passengers killed Saturday during the crash of a Korean jetliner while landing in San Francisco were identified Sunday as two 16-year-old Chinese students.
The two students,both women,were believed to have been seated toward the back of the Asiana Airlines passenger jet when it crashed Saturday at San Francisco International Airport,the president of airlines,Yoon Young-doo,said Sunday. At least 180 people were injured.
As federal investigators begin trying to determine what caused the crash,Yoon said Asiana Airlines did not believe there was anything wrong with the Boeing 777,which had been purchased in 2006.
So far,we dont believe that there was anything wrong with the B777-200 or its engine, he said. He also apologized for the crash,saying,We are deeply sorry for causing the trouble.
The flight had originated in Shanghai and left Seoul for San Francisco,the South Korean Ministry of Land,Infrastructure and Transport said. The two students,Chinese media reported Sunday,were from Zhejiang province in eastern China. Of the 291 passengers on board,141 were Chinese,including at least 70 students and teachers on their way to summer camps,Chinese media reported.
Asiana Airlines identified the two killed students as Ye Meng Yuan and Wang Lin Jia.
Smoke billowed out of holes in the fuselage of the Boeing 777 on Saturday afternoon as firefighters rushed to douse the wreckage and passengers scrambled to safety down inflated escape chutes. The planes tail,landing gear and one of its engines were ripped off.
It hit with its tail,spun down the runway,and bounced, said one witness,Stefanie Turner,32. Despite incredible damage to the plane,left dismembered and scarred,with large chunks of its body burned away,many of the 307 aboard were able to walk away on their own.
Joanne Hayes-White,the San Francisco fire chief,said 182 people were injured and 123 were unhurt.
We observed multiple numbers of people coming down the chutes and walking to their safety, Chief Hayes-White said. At least five people were listed in critical condition at hospitals.
The chief said the two bodies were discovered on the runway and that several passengers were found in San Francisco Bay,where,she said,they may have sought refuge from the fire.
One passenger,a South Korean teenager wearing a yellow T-shirt and plaid shorts,said the plane went up and down,and then it hit the ground.
The top collapsed on people,so there were many injuries, he said,referring to the overhead luggage compartments.
The crash comes after a remarkable period of safety for airlines in the United States.
Its miraculous we survived,recalls Indian passenger
Vedpal Singh,an Indian who was on board the ill-fated flight of South Koreas Asiana Airlines and miraculously survived along with his family,has said there was no forewarning before the plane crashed here.
Its miraculous we survived, he said,recalling his ordeal when the plane with 307 people on board hit the runway and engulfed by flames while landing at San Francisco airport Saturday.
We knew something was horribly wrong, he said. But there was no forewarning from the pilot or crew members before the flight touched down hard. Singh said the plane went silent before people tried to get out anyway they could.
Singh,who was sitting in the middle of the aircraft and survived the crash with his family,suffered a fractured collarbone and other minor injuries.