San Francisco crash jet was far below its target speed
Asiana crew had tried to abort landing less than two seconds before hitting sea wall
Investigators examine the landing gear of Asiana Airlines flight 214. Photograph: NTSB/Getty Images
An NTSB investigator examines scattered debris on the scene of the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco, California. The Boeing 777 passenger aircraft from Asiana Airlines coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed landed on the runway at San Francisco International Airport. Two people died and dozens were injured in the crash. Photograph: NTSB/Getty Images
In this handout photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, oxygen masks hang from the ceiling in the cabin interior of Asiana Airlines flight 214 following Saturday’s crash. Photograph: NTSB/Getty Images
Investigators look at wreckage of the tail section of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214. Photograph: Jim Wilson/The New York Times
The Asiana Airlines aircraft that crashed on Saturday at San Francisco airport was travelling at 103 knots just seconds before it hit the seawall in the front of the runway, far below the target speed of 137 knots, according to a flight data recorder recovered by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman told reporters today that three seconds before impact, the aircraft’s engine was at 50 per cent power, and engine power was increasing. At impact, the flight speed was 106 knots.
Earlier it was reported that the crew of the flight that crashed with the loss of two lives had tried to abort the landing seconds before hitting the ground.
The pilot of the crashed plane was still in training for the Boeing 777 when he attempted to land the aircraft under supervision, according to the South Korean airline.
Lee Kang-kuk was the second most junior pilot of four on board the Asiana Airlines aircraft and had 43 hours’ experience flying the long-range jet, according to the airline.
The plane’s crew tried to abort the descent less than two seconds before it hit a sea wall on the landing approach to the airport, bounced along the tarmac and burst into flames.
It was Mr Kang-kuk’s first attempt to land a 777 at San Francisco, although he had flown there 29 times previously on different types of aircraft, said South Korean transport ministry official Choi Seung-youn. Earlier, the ministry said he had accumulated a total of 9,793 flying hours, including his 43 at the controls of the 777.
Two teenage Chinese girls on their way to summer camp in the United States were killed and more than 180 injured in the crash, the first fatal accident involving the Boeing 777 since it entered service in 1995.
Flight 214 crashed after the crew tried to abort the landing with less than two seconds to go, according to the US National Transportation Safety Board yesterday.
Asiana said Lee Kang-kuk was in the pilot seat during the landing, although it was not clear whether the senior pilot, Lee Jung-min, who had clocked up 3,220 hours on a Boeing 777, had tried to take over to abort the landing.
“It’s a training that is common in the global aviation industry. All responsibilities lie with the instructor captain,” Yoon Young-doo, the president and CEO of the airline, told a news conference today at the company headquarters.
Information collected from the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder indicated that there were no signs of trouble until seven seconds before impact, when the crew tried to accelerate, NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman told reporters at San Francisco airport yesterday.