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Two killed in Asiana jet crash at San Francisco airport

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SAN FRANCISCO, July 6 (Yonhap) -- An Asiana Airlines passenger jet carrying 307 people crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport Saturday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens of others on board, city officials said.

The Boeing 777 plane, which departed from Shanghai, China and stopped over at Incheon International Airport west of Seoul, was carrying 291 passengers and 16 crew members, according to the airliner, which is South Korea's second largest.

Seventy-seven South Koreans, 141 Chinese and 61 Americans were on board with the nationality of the remainder not confirmed yet.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the crash of Asiana flight 214 occurred at around 11:40 a.m. local time.

Local fire officials said two people were confirmed dead, with dozens of others injured. Reportedly, at least five of them are critically injured.

"We had 48 initial transports from the scene to area hospitals and that was at both San Francisco County and San Mateo County," San Francisco fire department chief Joanne Hayes-White said at a press conference.

Around 190 of the passengers were self-evacuated or left the accident with assistance from emergency responders from San Francisco, and they were categorized as green, meaning having minor injuries, she added.

The exact number of victims, however, is yet to be determined as some passengers are still unaccounted for, she said.

The exact cause of the accident was not known immediately either. Skies over the airport were relatively clear at the time of the accident.

The law-enforcement authorities said there is no indication of any link to terrorism.

"At this point in time there is no indication of terrorism involved. The FBI will be working closely with the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) to determine the cause of this incident," FBI special agent David Johnson said.

The NTSB dispatched a team of investigators to the airport to find out what triggered the crash.

Boeing, the manufacturer of the 777-model jet, and South Korean aviation safety officials are also expected to help the probe.

Television footage showed considerable damage to the plane's fuselage, wings and tail section. One engine may have detached from the plane following the crash. Also posted on the YouTube were some videos showing a plume of smoke from the crashed plane.

President Barack Obama received a report on the accident shortly after it happened, according to the White House.

He ordered his staff to stay "in constant contact" with the federal, state and local partners in response to the crash, it added.

The B777-200ER is a twin-engine, long-range jet, popular with many airlines around the world. Asiana reported 12 of the jets in its fleet.

South Korea's foreign ministry also said that it has set up a task force to check the crash with the consul general in San Francisco ordered to make contact with crash investigators. Diplomats have been sent to hospitals known to have taken in injured passengers and trying to determine the extent of injuries sustained.

Saturday's accident involving Asiana marks the second time in the company's history that one of its passenger jets was involved in a major accident. The last accident occurred in 1993 when a B737-500 crashed while trying to land at Mokpo airport, 410 kilometers south of Seoul. Two crew members and 66 passengers of the 110 on board were killed.

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