San Francisco Plane Crash: Asiana Passengers’ 911 Calls Released
Asiana Flight 214 passengers frantically picked up their cells phones to dial 911 in the minutes after the plane crashed in San Francisco, leaving two 16-year-old girls dead.
"We just crashed-landed on the airline and it looks like help's coming, but not too many ambulances," one 911 caller told the dispatcher, reported CBS News. "I think the majority of people got off. I tried to stay back, but I think there were at least a handful of people behind me before everyone was telling us to get out."
Another caller calmly gave details about the state of a fellow crash victim. “There's a woman on the runway who is pretty much burned, very severely on the head, and we don't know what to do," the woman said. "She is nearly burned, she will probably die soon if she doesn't get help ... she needs help. How do I — is there any way I can assist her?"
"There are no ambulances here,” states a third caller. “We have been on the ground 20 minutes." The delay, according to National Transportation Safety Board Chairperson Deborah Hersman, was caused by the need for the ambulances to keep a safe distance from the plane, in case the plane burst into flames.
A fire had, in fact, started on the plane when its fuel began leaking onto the hot engine. This fire was what led to the flight crew deciding they had to get the passengers off the plane. “In previous accidents there have been crews that don't evacuate," Hersman said. "They wait for other vehicles to come to get the passengers out safely. Certainly, if there's an awareness that there's a fire aboard the aircraft, that is a very serious issue. There was a fire, and then the evacuation began."
During the evacuation, the flight attendants released the inflatable slides – two of which malfunctioned, ejecting into the cabin and pinning down two of the stewards. One of the flight attendants who has not been hospitalized said in a press conference, "I hope that all the families who suffered losses from this accident to recover as quickly as possible," lead attendant Yoon Hye Lee said. "They are all in my prayers."
Asiana Flight 214 pilot Lee Gang-kuk only had 35 hours of previous experience flying a Boeing 777, and had never landed at San Francisco International Airport. Gang-kuk’s co-pilot, Lee Jeong-Min, was flying his first time as an instructor pilot.
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