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An Asiana Airlines passenger aircraft coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed while landing, killing two people and injuring scores of others.
An Asiana Airlines passenger aircraft traveling from Seoul, South Korea has crashed while landing, killing two people and injuring more than 180.
The Boeing 777 with 307 people on board crashed and burst into flames as it landed at San Francisco International Airport 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.
A report in Australia's Fairfax newspaper quoted one witness, Stefanie Turner, 32, as saying:
"It hit with its tail, spun down the runway, and bounced."
The tail, landing gear and one engine were reportedly ripped off, and the plane was left dismembered with a large chunk of its fuselage burned away.
Despite the damage, many of the 307 aboard walked away from the wreck of Asiana Airlines Flight 214.
Joanne Hayes-White, the San Francisco fire chief, said 182 people from the 11-hour flight were injured, said 123 people were unhurt.
They were identified by the airline as students Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan, both 16 and seated at the rear of the aircraft.
Most of the 291 passengers and 16 crew members were Chinese, Korean and US nationals.
The AP quoted another witness, Ki Siadatan, who lives a few miles away from San Francisco International Airport, as saying:
"When you heard that explosion, that loud boom and you saw the black smoke... you just thought, my god, everybody in there is gone. My initial reaction was I don’t see how anyone could have made it.’’
CNN citeda passenger on the plane, Benjamin Levy, as saying he felt the plane was coming in too low.
Levy said when he looked out the window from seat 30K he saw the water of the San Francisco Bay about 10 feet below, an "alarming" sight for the San Francisco local.
Another witness described the plane as "out of control," while a survivor said the pilot seemed to be trying to gain altitude just before the crash.
There was no immediate indication of the cause of the accident, although Asiana Airlines said it did not appear that the crash had been caused by mechanical failure.
Federal officials were traveling from Washington to investigate.