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
A stall warning, in which the cockpit controls begin to shake, activated four seconds before impact, and the crew tried to abort the landing and initiate what is known as a “go around” maneuver 1.5 seconds before crashing, Ms Hersman said.
“Air speed was significantly below the target air speed” of 137 knots, she said. The throttle was set at idle as the plane approached the airport and the engines appeared to respond normally when the crew tried to gain speed in the seconds before the crash, Ms Hersman added.
In a tragic new twist, the San Francisco Fire Department said that one of the Chinese teenagers may have been run over by an emergency vehicle as first responders scrambled to the scene.
“One of the deceased did have injuries consistent with those of having been run over by a vehicle,” fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
The two, Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, were classmates and friends from the same middle school in Quzhou, in the prosperous eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, and had been going to the United States to attend summer camp.
Ms Ye (16), had an easy smile, was an active member of the student council and had a passion for biology, the Beijing News reported.
“Responsible, attentive, pretty, intelligent,” were the words written about her on a recent school report, it added.
Ms Wang, a year older than Ms Ye, was also known as a good student and was head of her class, the newspaper said.
The two girls were among a group of 30 students and five teachers from Jiangshan Middle School on their way to attend the summer camp, the official Xinhua news agency said.
More than 30 people remained hospitalised late last night. Eight were listed in critical condition, including two with paralysis from spinal injuries, according to hospital officials.
The charred hulk of the aircraft remained on the airport tarmac as flight operations gradually returned to normal. Three of the four runways were operating by Sunday afternoon.
Ms Hersman said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the crash. The data recorders corroborated witness accounts and an amateur video, shown by CNN, that indicated the plane came in too low, lifted its nose in an attempt to gain altitude, and then bounced violently along the tarmac after the rear of the aircraft clipped a seawall at the approach to the runway.
Asked whether the information reviewed by the NTSB showed pilot error in the crash, Ms Hersman did not answer directly.