アシアナ航空777 着陸失敗 大破 2人死亡 サンフランシスコ
SAN FRANCISCO — An Asiana Airlines passenger jet traveling from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, smashed into pieces and caught fire, killing at least two people and injuring more than 130 others. Hours after the crash, officials said that several dozen people who were aboard the flight were unaccounted for.
Smoke billowed out of holes in the fuselage of the Boeing 777 on Saturday afternoon as firefighters rushed to douse the wreckage and passengers scrambled to safety down inflated escape chutes. The plane’s tail, landing gear and one of its engines were ripped off.
“It hit with its tail, spun down the runway, and bounced,” said one witness, Stefanie Turner, 32. But despite incredible damage to the plane, left dismembered and scarred, with large chunks of its body burned away, many of the 291 aboard were able to walk away on their own.
Forty-eight passengers were initially taken to area hospitals, said Joanne Hayes-White, the chief of the San Francisco Fire Department. An additional 190 were taken to a safety zone at San Francisco International Airport, 82 of whom were likely to be taken to hospitals, Ms. Hayes-White said.
“We observed multiple numbers of people coming down the chutes and walking to their safety,” she said. At least 10 people, including 2 children, were listed in critical condition at hospitals as of early evening and the fire chief said that 60 people were unaccounted for. Officials said they had searched the wreckage and found no bodies.
One passenger, a South Korean teenager wearing a yellow T-shirt and plaid shorts, said that the plane “went up and down, and then it hit the ground.”
“The top collapsed on people, so there were many injuries,” he said, referring to the overhead luggage compartments, before an airport official whisked him back into the Reflection Room, a quiet center in the airport for thought and meditation.
The crash comes after a remarkable period of safety for airlines in the United States. It had been more than four years since the last fatal crash involving a commercial airliner — a record unmatched for half a century. Globally, too, last year was the safest since 1945, with 23 deadly accidents and 475 fatalities, according to the Aviation Safety Network, an accident researcher.
It was not immediately clear what caused this plane to lose control on a clear summer morning. The National Transportation Safety Board said it had dispatched a team to from Washington, D.C., to investigate, and declined to speculate. But witnesses said that the plane approached the airport at an awkward angle, and seemed to hit its tail before bouncing down the runway. When it stopped, they said, passengers had scant time to escape before a blaze burned through the fuselage.
“I looked up out the window and saw the plane coming in extremely fast and incredibly heavy,” said Isabella Lacaze, 18, from Texas, who saw the crash from the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront.
“It came in at a 30- or 45-degree angle and the tail was way, way lower than the nose,” said another witness, Ms. Turner, 32. The tail hit first, she said, and the plane careened down the runway.
“I remember watching the nose go to the ground and the tail way up in the air and then the tail back to ground hard,” Ms. Lacaze said. At that point, she said, the tail snapped off and the rest of the plane skidded down the runway.
“The smoke was not bad at all at first,” she said. “It was like one cloud. It took maybe a minute or two for the chutes to come out of the side,” she said, and people began to pour out almost immediately.
“The back got the worst of it,” a passenger on the plane, Elliot Stone, told CNN. He said that the plane seemed to be coming in at a sharp angle and just as they reached the runway, it seemed to gain speed. It hit the tarmac with tremendous force, he said, and the people in the back of the plan “got hammered.” “Everybody’s head goes up to the ceiling,” he said.
Some passengers scrambled out of the plane even before the chutes deployed, he said. A number of people lay injured near the wreckage for 20 to 30 minutes before ambulances arrived, Mr. Stone said. Many people got off relatively unscathed, he said, but he saw at least five people with severe injuries.