Four years ago, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed on final approach to land at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The Asiana crash and subsequent rescue response killed three teenage girls and left over 180 others with injuries.
New video footage of the incident surfaced today on YouTube, showing a zoomed-in perspective of the incident as recorded from an air traffic control tower at SFO. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released some of this footage months after the crash, but the full 47-minute video had not previously been seen by the public. SFO officials verified the long form video’s authenticity on Wednesday.
The Asiana crash video shows the airliner colliding with a seawall just short of the runway, then spinning around and kicking up dust before coming to a stop. For roughly two minutes after the crash, the doors to the plane remain closed and no emergency chutes are deployed, even as smoke began to plume from one side of the aircraft.
According to the NTSB, the lack of activity in the immediate aftermath of the crash is because the flight captain was disoriented and initially ordered the crew to keep passengers in their seats. The NTSB said the captain wanted to first consult with air traffic control to make sure it was safe for passengers to exit.
Only when a flight attendant noticed fire was an evacuation ordered. Nevertheless, the NTSB concluded that the flight crew followed proper procedures in the aftermath of the crash.
Not everyone shares the belief that the flight crew handled the evacuation properly. “To me, it was a terrible error,” said airline safety consultant Captain Dick Deeds. “They should have started the evacuation as soon as the plane came to a stop…obviously you knew you had a crash, you start the evacuation, you get those people off.”
Deeds also found fault with the flight crew’s inability to keep passengers from milling around the plane once they jumped down the emergency chutes. Of the 12 flight attendants aboard the plane, only five were able to help with the evacuation; two flight attendants were seriously injured after the tail section of the plane broke away after impacting with the seawall.
SFist writer Jay Barmann said it is arguable that a more organized evacuation could have saved the life of 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan, who was injured in the crash and lying on the tarmac. During the frantic evacuation, Meng Yuan became obscured by fire retardant foam and was run over by a San Francisco Fire Department vehicle.
Trial Stemming from Asiana SFO Crash to Start in September
A lawsuit filed by Kyung Rhan Rha on behalf of herself and her minor daughter is slated to go to trial in September. Rha and her daughter were both passengers aboard Asiana Flight 214 who sustained injuries in the crash.
Dr. Rha, an oral surgeon from Northern California, alleges she can no longer see patients as a result of the injuries she suffered in the Asiana crash. Her case, which is the first trial in the aftermath of this crash, names Asiana Airlines and aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company as Defendants. Asiana is accused of negligence and passenger liability. Boeing is also accused of negligence, along with breach of warranty and strict liability. She is represented in her case by Ronald Goldman of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman.