NORMAN — By Terry Collins
SAN FRANCISCO — An Asiana Airlines flight crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing at least two people, injuring dozens of others and forcing passengers to jump down the emergency inflatable slides to safety as flames tore through the plane.
One person was unaccounted for from among the 307 passengers and crew, said airport spokesman Doug Yakel. He said 181 people were taken to local hospitals. There were 291 passengers and 16 crew members.
San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said the investigation has been turned over to the FBI and terrorism has been ruled out.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Flight 214 from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing before noon PDT. A video clip posted to YouTube showed smoke coming from a jet on the tarmac. Passengers could be seen jumping down the emergency slides.
The top of the fuselage was burned away and the entire tail was gone. One engine appeared to have broken away. Pieces of the tail were strewn about the runway. Emergency responders could be seen walking inside the burned-out wreckage.
It wasn’t immediately clear what happened to the plane as it was landing, but some eyewitnesses said the aircraft seemed to lose control and that the tail may have hit the ground.
Stephanie Turner saw the plane going down and the rescue slides deploy, but returned to her hotel room before seeing any passengers get off the jet, she told ABC News. She said when she first saw the flight she noticed right away that the angle of its approach seemed strange.
“I mean we were sure that we had just seen a lot of people die. It was awful,” she said. “And it looked like the plane had completely broken apart. There were flames and smoke just billowing.”