Photo via Twitter User David Eun
At 11:27 Saturday morning, Asiana Airlines flight 214 coming out of Seoul, South Korea, crashed during its landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Eyewitnesses and tweeting passengers reported that the tail of the Boeing 777 passenger aircraft broke off, and the plane rolled around strewing wreckage and debris; the FAA suggesting that the plane had struck something on the tarmac. The San Francisco Fire Department confirmed two passengers killed and over 60 injured.
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Taking the BART on my way to SFO, news of the crash spread down the length of the train, multiple couples with luggage looked worried while a black couple in the front stayed glued to their phones updating as we got closer to the airport. The vibe at SFO seemed no more frantic than usual, calm even compared to JFK or LAX, it didn't seem as though news had reached many of the passengers waiting on their flights, and the departure board showed all flights on time. A cop in front of the Reflection Room told me to get away from the area and to go to the Critical Care Area for a Press Conference (which was eventually moved to the SFO Museum of Aviation)
A Samsung executive aboard the flight tweeted via Path, “I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm OK. Surreal...” and, “Lots of activity here. Friends, pls don't call right now. I'm fine. Most people are totally calm and trying to let the fire and rescue do their jobs. Just like during 9/11, most people are great and try to be helpful in crisis...”
Although the number of passengers and crew were not confirmed at a 2 PM Press Conference in the SFO Museum of Aviation, a full 777 can carry up to 295 passengers. South Korea’s Yonhap News reported a total of 307 passengers on the flight, including crew.
At a 2 PM press conference in the SFO Museum of Aviation, Doug Yakel, Public Information Officer thanked first responder Police and Fire crews for arriving on the scene so quickly, and that passengers had been removed from the aircraft, although it appeared that ambulances and fire trucks were still on the tarmac.
Most of the airport crew seemed to be intentionally left in the dark. A line of passengers who had checked luggage for outgoing Asiana flights were waiting around a pile of luggage in front of the ticket counter, a man waiting in line told me that they were not allowed to retrieve the luggage in front of them, and one airport employee shepherding what appeared to be family members of those involved in the crash into the Reflection Room told us she had no idea what the room was being used for, then chastised the members of the press for being "rude" and "heartless".
At the moment, SFO is not accepting any arriving or departing traffic. Passengers are being told to contact their airline and verify the status of their flight or where incoming flights are being diverted.