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Asiana Flight OZ214 San Francisco Crash Updates

Asiana Flight OZ214 Crash

Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman represents 17 Asiana OZ214 passengers for their personal injury claims stemming from the Boeing 777 crash at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. Aviation lawyers at the firm were contacted by the media for expert commentary on the day of the crash and passengers began contacting the firm days later. Baum Hedlund has a tradition of success in handling virtually every major airline disaster in the United States over the past 30 years. Their lawyers have served on more than a dozen Plaintiffs’ Steering Committees that oversee the multi-district litigation that follows a major airline crash such as the crash of Asiana Flight OZ214.

As recognized leaders in the field of aviation accidents, Baum Hedlund’s team of pilot attorneys and engineers has extensive experience and ability to deliver exceptional service to its clients. The firm is capable of representing a multitude of clients from any major airline disaster as demonstrated by their successful representation of 60 passengers killed in the hijacked planes on 9/11, nearly 50 passengers from the 1993 China Eastern Airlines MD-11 accident near Alaska, and 25 passengers from the American Airlines runway crash in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1999. The firm has represented over 650 aviation accident victims.

August 7, 2015

Family of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Crash Victim Drops Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed by the family of a young Chinese girl killed in the aftermath of the Asiana Flight 214 crash at SFO have dropped their lawsuit against the city. Both sides reached an agreement in which the family received no money.

July 6, 2015

53 Passengers File Class Action in South Korea Over 2013 Asiana Airlines Crash at SFO

Foreign passengers from the OZ214 crash have filed a class action lawsuit against the airline in South Korea. The lawsuit involves passengers who cannot file claims in the U.S. because of jurisdiction contained in the Montreal Convention.

October 22, 2014

Asiana Facing Heavy Sanctions in Wake of SFO Crash

In the wake of last year’s crash at San Francisco International Airport, Asiana Airlines is facing sanctions in South Korea. The airline is likely looking at the suspension of their route from Seoul to San Francisco, which would cost the airline millions.

September 24, 2014

San Francisco International Airport Holds Plane Crash Readiness Training

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) held a mock plane crash today to address National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations in the wake of last year’s Asiana Flight 214 crash. The airport shut down multiple runways to conduct the training exercise, with hundreds of volunteers playing the part of injured passengers. Hopefully with exercises like these, SFO and other airports will be prepared if an incident similar the Asiana crash where ever to occur again.

August 7, 2014

NTSB to Hold Emergency Communications Training in Wake of Asiana Flight 214 Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that they will hold a two-day training session in October on how communications professionals working at airports, airlines and corporations with aviation departments can effectively manage emergency communications following an aviation disaster. The training will take place roughly four months after the NTSB cited multiple emergency response and communication problems at San Francisco International Airport in wake of the Asiana Flight 214 crash.

June 24, 2014 | Washington, D.C.

NTSB Finds Boeing Partly to Blame for Asiana SFO Crash

The NTSB determined at today’s board meeting in Washington, D.C., that the probable cause of this accident was the Asiana flight crew’s mismanagement, lack of training, and confusion during the final moments of the flight.

Also noted as a contributing factor to the crash, were the complexities of the Boeing 777 autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems that were inadequately described in Boeing’s documentation and manuals.

May 14, 2014

Boeing Says Asiana Crash Lawsuits Belong in Federal Court

Boeing has asked the Seventh Circuit to reverse a district court’s order remanding lawsuits filed by a group of passengers injured in the July 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214. The passengers claim that the crash resulted from Boeing’s failure to install a low airspeed warning system on its 777-200ER aircraft. Plaintiffs also claim that the aircraft was “defective and unreasonably dangerous” because of faulty flight control computers, automatic throttle systems and other mechanical issues.

Boeing is insisting that the cases go back to California district court, where they can be consolidated in multidistrict litigation because they challenge an aircraft “under federal authority,” according to Law360. In their briefing filed Wednesday, Boeing wrote that the company “properly removed these cases to federal court because they challenge the certification of an aircraft under federal authority delegated from the FAA and they arise from an accident set in motion over navigable water at the conclusion of a trans-oceanic flight.”

May 8, 2014 | Washington, D.C.

NTSB to Determine Probable Cause of Asiana Flight 214 Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will convene on June 24 to determine the probable cause of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash. The meeting, which will be attended by NTSB members, is scheduled nearly one year after the deadly crash occurred.

April 25, 2014

Asiana Airlines Sanctioned for Failing to Divert After Engine Warning

The South Korean government plans to sanction Asiana Airlines for violating flight safety regulations on an April 19 flight from Seoul, South Korea to Saipan. According to Yonhap News, the flight crew of Asiana Flight OZ603 continued to fly for hours after discovering an engine problem, a violation of established safety precautions. Asiana Flight OZ603 was transporting 253 passengers.

March 31, 2013

Asiana Airlines Tells NTSB: Boeing 777s Need Speed Warnings in Cockpit

The Asiana Pilot Union and The Boeing Company recently filed investigative submissions with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), at the NTSB’s request, providing their analyses of the July 6, 2013 crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport. Below are key highlights from each filing.
March 31, 2014

Asiana Acknowledges ‘Probable Cause’ of SFO Crash Likely Pilots Flying Too Slow

Asiana Airlines acknowledged for the first time in a filing with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that the “probable cause” of the Asiana Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) was the pilots flying the plane too slow during approach. In addition to this blunder, the airline’s filing included other errors made by the flight crew before the crash.

March 10, 2014 | San Francisco, CA

Police Documents Reveal Clash With Fire Department in Asiana Crash Investigation

New information has surfaced on the death of Ye Meng Yuan, the 15-year-old girl that was killed after being run over by two San Francisco Fire Department rigs in the aftermath of the Asiana Flight 214 crash. Documents from a San Francisco Police Department investigation has revealed that one of the firefighter drivers that ran over Meng Yuan lied to investigators days after the incident. The documents, which were obtained through a Public Records Act request, also show that investigative guidelines were violated when potential evidence from the Meng Yuan case was not handed directly over to the police.

Asiana Flight OZ214 Articles

February 25, 2014 | Washington, D.C.

USDOT Fines Asiana Airlines $500,000 Over Response to SFO Crash
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on Tuesday that it has fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to adequately assist the families of victims aboard Asiana Flight 214. The fine is the first of its kind, as no other airline has broken the Foreign Air Carrier Support Act of 1997, which requires foreign airlines to adhere to family assistance plans.

DOT officials concluded that some of the victims’ families were not contacted until two days following the July 6, 2013 crash, in which three people died and 181 others were injured. It took five days to reach the families of all 291 people aboard the ill-fated flight. To make matters worse, Asiana lacked translators and the necessary trained personnel to assist in the crash response.

“In the very rare event of a crash, airlines have a responsibility to provide their full support to help passengers and their families by following all the elements of their family assistance plans,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release. “The last thing families and passengers should have to worry about at such a stressful time is how to get information from the carrier.”

Asiana issued a statement on the fine, saying the airline provided extensive support to passengers and their families in the wake of the crash and will continue to do so.

Seoul, South Korea | February 10, 2014

Asiana Seeks to Change Cockpit Culture After SFO Crash
Asiana Airlines has announced that it will be making changes to the company’s pilot training program, specifically to address cockpit culture that U.S. officials believe may have played a part in last year’s Asiana Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). In a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearing on the crash, one of the pilots told investigators he felt that he didn’t have the authority to abort the ill-fated landing, because people at a “higher level” are responsible for those types of decisions.

“It’s a reality that within our country there is a leaning toward a patriarchal culture and many pilots work and fly within the strict military order,” said Asiana Airlines CEO Kim Soo-cheon. In an effort to address this issue, Asiana has set up gatherings outside of work and recommended that flight crew members address each other with honorifics, regardless of their rank, whenever they are on duty. Yamamura Akiyoshi, Asiana’s newly hired senior executive vice president of safety, said that the airline is working to encourage employees to come forward to report work-related problems without fear of reprisal.

The NTSB investigation into the Asiana Flight 214 crash is still ongoing.

San Francisco | January 29, 2014

San Francisco City Report: The City Was ‘Not Negligent’ in Asiana Death
The city of San Francisco has submitted the results of their investigation into last July’s Asiana Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) that left three people dead and dozens injured. The city report gives credit to city emergency crews and firefighters, but contradicts a report issued by the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office last summer, which said that a 16-year-old passenger survived the crash only to be struck and killed by two fire department vehicles on the tarmac.

According to the city report, Ye Meng Yuan, 16, was killed when she hit the ground after being ejected from the back of the plane. The city arrived at this conclusion based on National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports and interviews with federal investigators. Officials conducting the city investigation did not conduct an autopsy, nor did they consult with medical experts.

San Francisco, California | January 9, 2014

Family of Ye Meng Yuan File Claim Against City of San Francisco
The family of Ye Meng Yuan is suing the city of San Francisco, claiming “gross negligence” on the part of firefighters in the wake of the Asiana crash at San Francisco International Airport last July. Ye, a 16-year-old Chinese student, died after being struck by two San Francisco Fire Department vehicles after Asiana Flight 214 crashed just short of runway 28L at SFO. The family accused firefighters of “deliberately and knowingly abandoning” the teen in a place where “they knew she would be in harm’s way in the aftermath of the crash. The claim also states that the San Francisco Fire Department failed to properly train its employees for disaster scenarios.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Ye was on the ground near the plane’s wing when she was struck by the first rig, which was spraying firefighting foam on the aircraft. A spotter on the rig had actually directed the vehicle around the girl but later ran her over. The second rig ran over Ye after she was covered in firefighting foam.

The claim does not specify an amount for damages. The city attorney’s office has 45 days to respond to the family’s claim. At this time, lawyers in the city attorney’s office are evaluating the claim and have yet to comment.

Seoul, South Korea | January 1, 2013

New Year Brings More Personnel Changes for Asiana Airlines
Asiana Airlines has named Kim Soo Cheon as its new CEO, replacing Yoon Young-doo, who has held the post since 2009. The new CEO will report to his new post effective today, a mere week after the personnel change was announced. Mr. Yoon, 62, was the face of the airline in the wake of the Asiana Flight 214 plane crash in San Francisco last July. Though an investigation into the crash is still ongoing, the airline faced a lot of criticism for its lackluster response to the disaster. An Asiana spokesman told the media that Mr. Yoon’s departure was unrelated to the crash: “Yoon has served as CEO for five years and has fulfilled his duties … This personnel change has nothing to do with the accident.”

Kim Soo Cheon previously served as CEO of Air Busan, a part-owned subsidiary of Kumho Group, which also owns Asiana. According to the Centre For Aviation, Asiana is not expected to be profitable for the fiscal year 2013.

December 14, 2013 | San Francisco, California 

SFO Firefighters to Receive Additional Disaster Training in Wake of Asiana Crash
Firefighters stationed at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will receive 40 hours of special training on dealing with air disasters in the wake of the Asiana Flight 214 crash. The fire department at SFO has been the subject of scrutiny, as it was recently revealed that 16-year-old Chinese student Ye Meng Yuan survived the Asiana crash only to be killed after being run over by two different fire department vehicles. The San Francisco Chronicle learned that three of the commanders in charge of the Asiana Flight 214 crash response had never received disaster training, which is a requirement for all firefighters stationed at airports in the U.S.

According to a fire department source, top-ranking airport fire department personnel will now go through a course “specially designed for those who may be in command at a plane crash site.” The airport fire department officers will be enrolling at the Fire Training Research Center at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport next year.

December 12, 2013 | Washington, D.C.

NTSB Releases Interview Summaries with Asiana Flight 214 Crash Victims
A report handed out at yesterday’s NTSB hearing showcased interview summaries of passengers aboard Asiana Flight 214, which crashed into a seawall just short of the runway at San Francisco International Airport on July 6. One of the interviewees was a frequent flyer, familiar with the approach to SFO, who described in detail, the terrifying experience.

December 11, 2013 | San Francisco, California

Young Girl Who Survived Asiana Crash Was Run Over by Two Fire Department Vehicles
Federal documents released Wednesday on the Asiana Flight 214 crash showed that 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan survived the crash only to be run over by two different San Francisco Fire Department vehicles. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, firefighters mistakenly declared her ‘DOA’ without checking her vital signs. Airport firefighter Roger Phillips, who was the first to find Ye, told National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials that the teen “looked dead by appearance,” and added that he thought she looked like “a mannequin because her face looked like wax.” Phillips also told investigators that Ye’s body “looked like a CPR dummy they used for training.”

December 11, 2013 | Washington, D.C.

Asiana Flight 214 Pilot Was ‘Very Concerned’ About Visual Landing
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearing on the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 started today. At the start of the hearing, NTSB officials released an investigative report on their findings thus far. According to reports from the According to CBS Sacramento, Lee Kang Kuk, the pilot at the controls during the landing, told NTSB investigators that he had been “very concerned” about his ability to perform a visual landing. Prior to the flight, Lee, who was a trainee in the Boeing 777, told his instructors about his reservations. He had logged less than 45 hours flight time in this aircraft and had not landed a plane at SFO since 2004.

December 10, 2013 | Washington, D.C.

NTSB Postpones Investigative Hearing on Asiana Crash
Due to inclement weather, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is postponing today’s scheduled hearing on the Asiana Flight 214 crash. The hearing has been rescheduled to take place on Wednesday, December 11 starting at 8:30 a.m. and concluding at 8:00 p.m. Initially scheduled for two days, the hearing has been revised to be completed in one day.

December 9, 2013 | Washington, D.C.

Asiana Crash Hearing Begins Tomorrow
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will begin a two-day hearing at the NTSB’s Board Room and Conference Center in Washington, DC, on their investigation into the crash of Asiana Flight 214 tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. The hearing will focus on pilot awareness in highly automated aircraft, emergency response and cabin safety.

The Asiana NTSB hearing can also be viewed tomorrow and Wednesday live via NTSB’s Capitol Connection page.

December 5, 2013 | San Francisco, California

Next Week’s NTSB Hearing Will Not Include Asiana Flight 214 Pilots
A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told reporters today that next week’s hearing on the Asiana Flight 214 crash will not include the crash pilots. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the only two Asiana pilots that will participate in the hearing are the airline’s chief pilot and the airline’s training manager. Both are scheduled to appear on the hearing’s first day.

When asked about why the hearing will not include the crash pilots, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said, “the NTSB investigative team formed the witness list. That’s who the investigative team decided they wanted to speak at the hearing.” The crash pilots spoke privately to NTSB investigators in the immediate aftermath of the crash, but have yet to publicly address why Asiana Flight 214 crashed into a seawall just short of Runway 28L at San Francisco International Airport.

The hearing will take place at the NTSB’s Board Room and Conference Center in Washington, DC.

December 4, 2013 | San Francisco, California

14 Injured Passengers Sue Asiana and Boeing Over Airline’s Crash at SFO
The aviation attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have filed nine lawsuits on behalf of 14 passengers that sustained injuries on July 6, 2013, when Asiana Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco International Airport. The lawsuits allege that Asiana Airlines negligently operated the Boeing 777 aircraft, failed to provide adequate seatbelts in a majority of the passenger cabin, and failed to hire and train their pilots to safely land aircraft at all of Asiana’s destinations. According to the plaintiffs, recklessness and inattention on the part of the Asiana Flight 214 pilots caused the plane to make an approach to SFO that was both too low and too slow, which led to a crash that should never have occurred.

Additionally, the lawsuits allege that Boeing, which was under contract to train Asiana pilots, failed to adequately train Asiana pilots, as well as monitor and report to the airline concerns about Asiana pilots not being fit to operate the Boeing 777. Plaintiffs in the lawsuits claim that Boeing knew or should have known that the aircraft they designed, manufactured and sold to Asiana Airlines was defective. These defects, the lawsuits claim, included an inadequate auto-throttle control system that did not sufficiently warn the pilots about low airspeed.

The 14 passengers in these lawsuits are seeking punitive damages against both Asiana and Boeing. Additionally, plaintiffs are seeking damages for past and future medical care, loss of consortium, loss of personal property, loss of future earnings and other general damages.

December 3, 2013 | San Francisco, California

South Korean Government Seeking Stricter Penalties for Air Accidents
In the same week that Asiana Airlines announced a “fundamental improvement” to their safety system, the South Korean government is considering imposing stricter penalties for air accidents, as well as other restrictions to improve air safety. Under current rules, South Korean carriers that have an accident resulting in less than five deaths can be ordered to cease operations for 30 days, though the punishment more frequently handed down is a 500 million won fine (roughly $471,120).

According to South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the government is also considering restrictions on the issuance of operating licenses for budget airline carriers, as well as banning airlines that have been black-listed in the United States and the European Union.

Asiana’s improved safety system and the South Korean government’s efforts to strengthen aviation regulations come on the heels of the July 6, 2013 Asiana Flight 214 crash in San Francisco. So far, a probe into the crash has focused on the pilots’ manual flying skills and their inability to land safely after instruments proved insufficient, according to Bloomberg.

December 1, 2013 | Seoul, South Korea

Asiana Airlines Hires Former All Nippon Airways Safety Officer
Asiana Airlines announced that Akiyoshi Yamamura, a pilot and safety officer who previously worked for All Nippon Airways (ANA), has begun work for Asiana as a senior executive vice president of safety and security management. According to the Korea Times, the move to hire Yamamura was made to enhance safety in the wake of the fatal Asiana Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in July.

After his hiring was announced, Yamamura told reporters that “fundamental and original improvements in the company’s safety systems will be made.” Though he refused to comment on the Asiana Flight 214 crash, he did address criticism of Asiana pilots having to fly longer hours every year compared to other airlines. “Pilots’ longer flight hours do not directly affect an aircraft’s safe flight. Rather the safety is more affected by the flight manual.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is scheduled to begin a hearing next week to discuss the ongoing Asiana Flight 214 crash investigation. Yamamura said he plans to attend the hearing.

November 21, 2013 | San Francisco, California

In Wake of Asiana Crash, FAA Says Pilots Rely too Heavily on Automation
On July 6, 2013, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed during a failed landing attempt at San Francisco International Airport. Three young girls were killed and dozens of people sustained injuries in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still in the early stages of their investigation, though officials have so far intimated that the Asiana pilots’ heavy reliance on automated cockpit equipment likely contributed to the plane’s ill-fated approach.

In response to recent high-profile crashes, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to release a report showing just how much commercial pilots rely on automation. Computer navigation systems, autopilot, auto-throttles and other automation are supposed to improve safety by eliminating the potential for pilot error. But the technology comes with some downside since pilots that rely too heavily on these technologies run the risk of having their manual piloting skills deteriorate over time.

According to aviation expert Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, pilot reliance on automation systems is a “growing concern worldwide” for the aviation industry. Sullenberger told CBS ‘This Morning’ that airlines in the U.S. currently “only provide the FAA-mandated amount” of training, which Sullenberger believes is “not enough.”

October 8, 2013 | San Francisco, California

Pilots of Asiana Flight 214 Claim ‘Throttle Glitch’ May Have Played a Role
The Asiana Airlines pilots that were in the cockpit during a crash at San Francisco International Airport earlier this year are claiming that an automated speed-control system failed just before the plane dramatically slammed into a seawall at the edge of one of the airport’s runways. According to TIME, the pilots told investigators that this mechanical or electronic failure played a major role in the crash. This new bit of information is contrary to what the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) preliminary findings indicated at the start of their investigation. NTSB officials did not find any mechanical or electrical problems with the Boeing 777 prior to the crash. The agency initially reported that based on preliminary findings, the pilots likely failed to correctly activate the auto-throttle system, which caused the plane to lack the necessary speed to land the plane. The NTSB is still investigating the crash, and a full report is not expected until next year.

October 2, 2013 | San Francisco, California

Prosecutors to Decide if Charges Will be Filed Against Firefighter for Running Over Asiana Crash Victim
Prosecutors with San Mateo County are currently deciding whether a 49-year-old veteran firefighter will face charges for running over a victim of the Asiana Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport. Officials will be looking into whether firefighter Elyse Duckett broke any laws or whether the incident was simply an accident with tragic consequences.

Elyse Duckett was buying food for the fire house when the Asiana crash happened, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Once she realized what was happening, she jumped into a reserve fire truck and drove out to the crash site. Ye Mengyuan, a 16-year-old Chinese student, survived the Asiana crash and was removed from the burning wreckage. She was reportedly laying down on the tarmac, covered with firefighting foam before she was struck by Duckett’s truck. Ye was one of two other young girls to die from that crash.

September 25, 2013

Federal Transportation Officials Investigating Asiana’s Response to SFO Crash
Officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation are currently investigating the response of Asiana Airlines following a crash of one of their planes at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) that left three Chinese students dead and dozens of others seriously injured. Investigators are looking into whether Asiana met their legal obligations to provide an array of services in accordance with The Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996, to the families of the 291 passengers aboard Asiana Flight OZ214, which crashed during a failed landing attempt at SFO on July 6, 2013.

August 16, 2013

In an article entitled Asiana Airlines Flight OZ214 and the Montreal Convention, Ronald Goldman explains the procedures of the Montreal Convention which will determine whether or not the Chinese, South Korean and other non-U.S. Asiana Flight OZ214 passengers will be able to file suit against Asiana Airlines in the United States.

August 15, 2013

Ronald Goldman wrote Are Asiana Victims Being Misled? “It is my opinion that it was, and is, the obligation of Asiana Airlines, and its attorneys, to inform the people that suffered from its conduct, many in horrific ways, about the conflict of interest Condon & Forsyth has with them, and that anything they say to lawyers in that firm can, and will, be used against them in a court of law.”

August 14, 2013

Ronald Goldman wrote Asiana Passengers Can Accept $10,000 without Jeopardizing Their Right to Sue “Accepting the $10,000 payment does not prevent passengers from filing a lawsuit against Asiana or other defendants. It is a typical for an airline to offer immediate compensation to assist the victims of an airline accident. According to an email Asiana sent to one of our clients, they have ensured that acceptance of this money in no way prevents passengers from seeking additional compensation in the future.”

August 8, 2013

NTSB Publishes Asiana Preliminary Crash Report
Today, the NTSB released the Asiana Airlines Flight OZ214 preliminary crash report on its website. The report does not provide any new information but simply documents the crash and provides a synopsis of the basic information that is known at this time. A “Factual” report will eventually replace the “Preliminary” report and will contain a final and full narrative description of the accident and the NTSB’s official probable cause.

July 30, 2013

FAA Changes Landing Protocol for Foreign Air Carriers at SFO 
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Tuesday that foreign airlines landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will no longer be allowed to land alongside another plane on the airport’s parallel runways. The announcement was made in the wake of the Asiana OZ214 crash, which killed three people and injured over 180 others.

Prior to Sunday, when the new landing protocol went into effect, two planes could make their approach to SFO’s main parallel runways at the same time during clear weather conditions. While domestic carriers are still free to make parallel approaches, the FAA says air traffic controllers will now stagger the arrival of foreign carrier flights. According to the FAA statement, the change to landing protocol will “minimize distraction during a critical phase of flight.” The FAA also recommended that foreign carriers use aircraft GPS systems when landing at SFO, rather than relying on visual reckonings, as the agency observed an increase in aborted landings by foreign airlines making visual approaches.

July 26, 2013

Did the Asiana Crew Fail to Monitor Air Speed?
Air speed monitoring takes on critical importance because the aircraft had slowed to 103 knots (119 miles per hour) just before it crashed, significantly below the 137 knots (approximately 158 miles per hour) the pilots thought they were maintaining – the speed to which the auto throttle had been set. There is some question as to whether the auto throttle was actually engaged during the final few minutes of the flight (although the latest information is that it was armed, but there is still some question about what mode it was in), but there is no question that the aircraft was flying much too slowly (dangerously close to stalling), and no one appeared to notice until it was too late.

July 25, 2013

Safety on an Airplane Should Not be Restricted to Those Who Can Afford It
Some of the information that has been gathered following the Asiana crash has revealed a discrepancy between the safety features in first class and economy. One surviving passenger credits the shoulder strap of his seat’s safety belt for saving him from serious injury. The people seated in the economy section of the passenger cabin sat in seats that only had a lap band seat belt.

Are First Class Seats Safer than Economy Seats on Airplanes?

As an economy traveler, there are things about your flying experience that you know will be different from those flying first class — a smaller seat, less leg room, more lines to use the facilities, and probably the food is not as good. What many don’t expect to be different are the safety features of an economy seat versus a first class seat. Based on some of the information that has been gathered following the Asiana crash, however, we are seeing that there is indeed a discrepancy between the safety features in first class and economy.

Eugene Rah, who was sitting in the first class section of Asiana OZ214 when the tail section of the Boeing 777 slammed into a seawall at SFO, issued the quote above in the aftermath of the crash. He credits the shoulder strap of his seat’s safety belt for saving him from serious injury, and rightfully so. The people seated in the economy section of the passenger cabin sat in seats that only had a lap band seat belt. Do shoulder belts provide more protection? If you were to pose that question to a survivor of Asiana OZ214 that was seated in the economy section, the answer would probably be a resounding ‘yes,’ because many economy passengers suffered serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, abdominal trauma and spine fractures.

A surgeon at San Francisco’s St. Mary’s Medical Center told the Wall Street Journal that he treated an elderly crash victim brought to the hospital with major spinal fractures. “Because there was no shoulder component to his seat belt, that allowed him to violently slam [his] forehead into the seat in front of him, and then this resulted in some head trauma,” said Dr. Dimitriy Kondrashov. The blunt force of this blow to the head “dissipated across his neck, and that’s why he sustained a very unstable fracture of his cervical spine.”

Airlines have long dragged their feet on installing shoulder belts in the economy cabin because, according to Time Magazine, they feel that “there simply isn’t the data to support that adding a chest strap would protect passengers from further injury.” The industry also believes that adding shoulder belts to economy seats would require the economy section to be drastically redesigned to include a heavy mounting system and the seats themselves would need to be heavier. This added weight, of course, would add to fuel costs for the airlines, which is likely the biggest reason that airlines have been reluctant to install shoulder straps in economy — they don’t want to pay for it.

This certainly defines second class — it is not economy for the passengers at all, but economy for the airline. The airlines are saving money by refusing to do the hard work of designing shoulder belts for the majority of passengers. Or maybe they believe the wealthy passengers in first class are more worthy of protection? No one should ever have to pay extra to be safe.

July 12, 2013

1:00 PM – Teen Girl That Died in Asiana Crash Was Struck by Fire Truck 
Ye Meng Yuan, a 16-year-old girl that died in Saturday’s Asiana Flight OZ214 crash, was struck by a fire truck in the immediate aftermath of the crash, according to CBS News. The young girl had been covered by foam that firefighters were spraying on the Boeing 777 to extinguish the flames that erupted in the aftermath of the crash. The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office is still determining the cause of death to see if Ye Meng Yuan was still alive before she was struck by the fire truck.

10:30 AM – Death Toll in Asiana Crash Rises to Three
A young girl that had been in critical condition since last Saturday’s Asiana Flight OZ214 crash at San Francisco International Airport was pronounced dead today. She was pronounced dead this morning in a San Francisco hospital. The identity and the age of the young girl have not been released, as it was the family’s wish to not reveal any information at this time.

“The patient was a girl who had been in critical condition and died as the result of her injuries,” said a San Francisco General Hospital spokesperson in a statement. “Her parents have asked that we reveal no further information at this time. We will respect their wishes while they grieve.”

July 11, 2013

10:35 AM – 911 Calls by Passengers
The 911 calls made by passengers in the aftermath of the Asiana Flight 214 were released today. They paint a picture of chaos in and out of the Boeing 777. A common refrain among callers was that too few ambulances appeared to be coming to the scene to help the injured and offer assistance.

“We’re almost losing a woman here,” one woman said to a dispatcher. “We’re trying to keep her alive … we’ve been on the ground and we have not seen one ambulance the whole time.”

July 10, 2013

9:00 PM – Peers Mourn the Loss of Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia
A candlelight vigil organized by fellow classmates of Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan, two 16-year-old Chinese exchange students who died in Saturday’s Asiana crash, was held on Monday in their hometown of Jiangshan.   Read More >>

6:00 PM – NTSB Briefing – Pilots Time at Controls
In today’s press briefing, NTSB chair Deborah Hersman said the two pilots at the controls for the ill-fated landing of Asiana Flight OZ214 both received eight hours of sleep prior to the flight. The two main pilots, Lee Jeong-min and Lee Kang-guk, flew the plane for the first 4 hours and 15 minutes of the flight before the relief pilots took over mid flight. Lee Jeong-min and Lee Kang-guk then took back the controls for the last hour and a half of the flight.

One of the pilots also reportedly saw a “flash of bright light that temporarily blinded him at a round 400 or 500 feet,” according to NPR. Hersman said this is under investigation.

5:30 PM – Pilot told Attendants Not to Evacuate
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says one of the pilots of Asiana Airlines Flight OZ214 told passengers in the immediate aftermath of the crash not to evacuate the plane. Deborah Hersman told reporters today that it was actually one of the flight attendants that initially insisted that passengers evacuate the aircraft. “He could see fire out of the window,” Hersman said. “He sent the flight attendant who was sitting with him up to the front of the cabin to let them know that there was a fire and that they needed to evacuate.”

July 9, 2013

7:00 PM – Pilots Not Tested for Drugs/Alcohol
The pilots of Asiana Flight OZ214 were not tested for drugs or alcohol in the aftermath of the crash, according to USA Today. Federal regulations require crewmembers to be tested for drugs and alcohol after an aviation accident, however, these regulations do not apply to pilots with foreign licenses.

5:00 PM –Location of Pilots During Crash
In the NTSB briefing today, Deborah Hersman told reporters that there were three pilots in the cockpit and one in the passenger cabin at the time of Saturday’s crash. In the cockpit, two pilots were at the controls, with the third seated in the jump seat (a relief officer, off-duty at the time of the crash). The other relief pilot seated in the cabin was also off-duty. Here’s what Hersman said about the pilots in control of the aircraft:

  • Lee Kang-guk – The pilot at the controls during the landing, Lee Kang-guk, had never before before landed a Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport. Mr. Lee, who was the training pilot on the flight, had completed only 10 legs and about 35 hours of flying time on the 777. He had also never flown with instructor pilot Lee Jeong-min before Saturday’s flight.
  • Lee Jeong-min – This was Lee Jeong-min’s first flight as an instructor. He has over 13,000 hours of total flight time, with 3,000 hours in the Boeing 777.

July 8, 2013

7:00 AM – Victim Possibly Run Over by Rescue Truck
The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office is currently investigating whether one of the two deceased victims in the SFO crash actually survived the crash only to be run over by a rescue vehicle rushing toward the burning plane. Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, both 16-year-old female students from China, were pronounced dead at the scene on Saturday.

July 7, 2013

8:31 PM – Pilot was Training
The pilot of Asiana Airlines Flight OZ214 had only logged 43 total hours of flight time in the pilot’s seat of the Boeing 777 prior to Saturday’s crash at San Francisco International Airport, according to ABC News. Additionally, Saturday was the pilot’s ninth training flight for the Boeing 777, which is “11 flights shy of the worldwide standard to get licensed.” The pilot had also never landed the Boeing 777 at SFO prior to Saturday’s crash.



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