SAN FRANCISCO - An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 jet with more than 300 people on board clipped a seawall short of the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, snapping off its tail and bursting into flames.
Media reports said at least two people who were aboard Flight 214 from Seoul were killed. At least 10 others, including two children, were in critical condition, one of the city's hospitals said.
Video footage showed the jet on its belly surrounded by firefighters with debris scattered on the runway and in the surrounding area.
There was no official explanation for the crash landing but images appeared to indicate the aircraft struck a rocky area at the water's edge some distance from the runway. Pictures showed the tail detached from the fuselage and the landing gear had also sheared off.
US Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsfor confirmed the crash landing.
"It looked normal at first... the wheels were down," an unidentified man who witnessed the crash told CNN. "It just hit (the seawall) like that and the whole thing just collapsed immediately.
"It just pancaked immediately. The wings caught on the tarmac."
A National Transportation Safety Board team was heading to San Francisco to investigate the crash landing.
"Everything is on the table at this point," NTSB chairwoman Debbie Hersman told reporters in the US capital when asked if pilot error was to blame. "We have to gather the facts before we reach any conclusions," she added.
|Asiana jet crash lands at San Francisco airport
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: AFP, Reuters)