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.
“The fact that the pilot was stressed and nervous following the crash is a testament to the inadequate training he received,” says aviation attorney Ilyas Akbari, who is representing victims in the Asiana crash. “Those responsible for the pilot’s training and for certifying his competency bear some culpability for this tragedy.”
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 Ilyas Akbari and Ronald Goldman of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman.