At least 2 dead in Asiana jet crash at SF airport

By Sue Chang, MarketWatch

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday. Image provided by KTVU, Oakland, Calif.
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — At least two people died Saturday and another 40 were critically injured when an Asiana Airlines jet crashed as it landed at San Francisco International Airport and caught fire, according to media reports.

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Asiana plane crash lands in SF
An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 made a crash landing at San Francisco International Airport. Raw footage shows smoke coming from the plane. It wasn’t immediately clear if there were any injuries. Photo/Video: YouTube/Scott Trayler

As many as 100 of the reported 303 people on board Asiana Flight 214 suffered injuries, according to media reports. The injured were being treated at hospitals in San Francisco and three nearby counties.

The crash came about 11:30 a.m. Pacific, as the Boeing 777 was landing after a 10-hour, 23-minute flight from Incheon, South Korea.

Buses were seen taking passengers from the airplane, which stopped next to a runaway some distance from the terminals.

Television footage showed much of the middle section of the plane burned out and the jet surrounded by emergency responders.

A traveler at the airport told MarketWatch that all runways are closed and all flights grounded for now. It’s standard procedure in San Francisco to close the runways after such an incident. CNN reported that a number of flights were diverted Saturday afternoon to Los Angeles International Airport, LAX officials said in a post to the airport’s official Twitter account.

San Francisco airport officials said they planned to open two of the hub airport’s four runaways later Saturday afternoon.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it would send a team of experts to the site and Boeing Co. BA +1.27% , the airplane maker, said it would assist in the investigation, The Wall Street Journal reportedf.

Asiana KR:020560 -0.58% is owned by Kumho Asiana Group and is one of the two major South Korean flag carriers.

South Korea’s main international airport is Incheon and serves air traffic out of Seoul. Flights between Seoul and San Francisco are one of the most popular routes and tend to be packed during the summer months.

Kristina Stapchuck saw the dramatic scene unfold in San Francisco from her seat on a plane on the airport tarmac. Soon after Flight 214 touched down, “it looked like the tires slipped a little bit and it rocked back,” CNN reported. Parts of the plane began to break off as it rocked and then began to spin. “It all happened so suddenly,” Stapchuck told CNN.

Anthony Castorani, who saw the flight land from a nearby hotel, said he saw the plane touch the ground then noticed a larger plume of white smoke. “You heard a pop and you immediately saw a large, brief fireball that came from underneath the aircraft,” CNN quoted him as saying. “It began to cartwheel.”

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