291 passengers were aboard the Asiana Airlines flight that crashed at San Francisco International Airport around noon today. Video evidence I've seen suggested that either the pilot was coming in too low, or perhaps a microburst of wind shear pushed the plane downward, the tail of the plane apparently striking the end of the jetty, about a hundred yards before the runway proper.
No preliminary reports on injuries, but passengers were observed evacuating the plane.
*** The tail section broke off the fuselage, apparently at the "displaced threshold" of the runway. Exit chutes were deployed. A fire broke out in the cabin that was extinguished by the SFO fire department.
Wiki on Asiana Airlines.
Update: In the video, you can see the escape chutes deployed and smoke pouring from the plane, but the top of the plane is not consumed as earlier picture indicated:
All flights cancelled in and out of SFO. Incoming flights being diverted to San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento.
Capacity of plane= 450. Plane not being full may have contributed to survival rate.
3:00 PM PDT NTSB East Coast presser: In Washington, setting out to investigate. Ignored one question about pilot error. When asked again, stated that "everything is on the table".
Early reports had some witnesses reporting that the plane had "flipped" or somersaulted on landing. I suspect they were observing the severed tail flying up into the air and tumbling.
3:07 PM Approximately two dozen officers walking in a line, doing a search of the runway/crash site
3:18 PM :SF General Hospital holding news conference. They have 10 patients, (8 adults, 2 children) all in critical condition. As many as 231 injured in all, 75 to Bay Area hospitals. Ten critical patients out of ER, into OR or ICU.
3:30PM Interview with pilot "Sully" Sullenberger, construction at airport may have disable the Electronic Glide Slope beacon that aids pilots in landing and sets off alarms when the pilot is coming in too low. (unconfirmed)
SF General Hospital has tent erected outside ER to help contain the chaos and overflow.
4:10 PM -Press conference, Mayor Ed Lee : 9 Hospitals in SF being utilized. SF Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White "Passengers unaccounted for", two confirmed dead. At 2:45, SF Fire investigation turned over to FBI, to coordinate with NTSB
FBI Agent David Johnson: No indication of terrorism involved."
Two runways reopened.
5:41PM Most of what’s coming out now is a rehash of what is already been known. So, a couple of observations, worth every cent you paid for them.
Here in California, we have rumble strips alongside most highways, which cause loud vibration and noise if you drift towards the shoulder. Visually, you drive, keeping it between the lines, but if you drift a little, you have a warning that allows you to correct. Knowing human nature, many of us come to count on things like that being there, maybe even on a subconscious level. Generally speaking, I can see where a fatigued pilot, flying over water, which challenges depth perception, accustomed to hearing that alarm, might “drift out of his lane” and not be able to correct in time. I’ll leave it to the NTSB how much pilot error or a possible wind shear or the lack of a Glide Path beacon may have contributed to the accident.
Regarding the ominous sounding “60 people unaccounted for”: I believe that number is now down to “1”. Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased and to those who were injured. I believe that everyone will acknowledge, it could have been a whole lot worse!
Cross posted at Proof Positive