Speed warning seconds before US plane crash

Airline says pilot was 'in training' on jet which crashed in San Francisco, killing two and injuring 182.

    The pilots of a passenger jet which crashed in the United States tried to abort their landing as stall warnings filled the cockpit moments before impact, according to safety officials.

    Two people died and 182 were injured when the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed late on Saturday at the San Francisco International Airport. The plane was carrying 307 people. 

    Asiana said on Monday that the pilot was "in training" and that it was his first flight into the city at the controls of a 777.

    National Transport Safety Board chief Deborah Hersman said earlier that a recovered cockpit recording showed that the crew received a stall warning and tried to increase speed about seven seconds before the crash.

    Hersman said the plane was travelling at well below the target landing speed of 157mph, and that the crew tried to abort the landing about 1.5 seconds before impact.

    The preliminary investigation had found no other problems with the plane, she added.

    Training pilot

    Asiana Airlines on Monday said the pilot in charge, Lee Kang-kook, was a veteran but it was his first flight into the airport on a 777.

    "He was in training," a spokesman said. "Even a veteran gets training [for a new jet]," a spokeswoman for Asiana Airlines said on Monday. "He has a lot of experience and previously flown to San Francisco on different planes including the B747."

    Lee has 9,793 hours of flying experience, including 43 hours on the 777. His co-pilot, Lee Jeong-min, had 12,387 hours of flying experience, including 3,220 hours on the 777.

    Sequence of events

    The Boeing 777 was coming in to land on runway 28 left when it hit the seawall and crashed at 18:26 GMT on Saturday.

    Witnesses said the tail of the plane appeared to hit the approach area of the runway, which juts out into San Francisco Bay, as it came in.

    The tail came off and the aircraft appeared to bounce violently and scatter debris, before coming to rest on the runway.

    The two passengers killed, 16-year-old Chinese students named Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, of Zhejiang province, were sat in the rear section of the plane.

    Hospitals were dealing with injuries including broken bones, spinal and abdominal injuries and road rash - suggesting some passengers had been dragged.

    The twin-engine aircraft is one of the world's most popular long-distance planes, often used for flights of 12 hours or more.

    The crash was the airline's first deadly accident in 20 years, when a Boeing 737 crashed into a mountain in the southwest of South Korea in 1993, killing 68 people.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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