Its reported that two people may have been killed with a further 12 admitted to hospital in critical conditions, when an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 with more than 300 people on board crashed while landing at San Francisco airport after a flight from Seoul.
The fatality and injuries were confirmed by South Korean Deputy Consul General Hong Sungwook in San Francisco, who spoke with Reuters at the scene.
The plane was carrying 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans and 61 U.S. citizens, an official at the airline’s head office in Seoul said. The official could not immediately confirm the nationalities of the remaining passengers.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency in Seoul said the plane had carried 292 passengers and 16 crew members.
Rachael Kagan, a spokeswoman for San Francisco General Hospital, said 10 critically injured people had been taken there, including two children, six women and four men. She said most of them spoke only Korean.
Pictures taken immediately after the crash showed passengers streaming off the plane. TV footage from the air later showed the badly damaged fuselage of the Boeing 777 blackened by fire.
Ying Kong, of Albany, New York, who was waiting at the airport for her brother-in-law, Fawen Yan, 47, from Richmond, California, said he telephoned her after surviving the crash to say it had been “really smoky and scary.”
“He feels it difficult to breathe, but he’s okay,” she said. She added: “He said a lot of people had to run. He said some people got hurt.”
The plane’s passenger slides were deployed when the plane was on the ground, CNN reported.
Flights into and out of San Francisco have been canceled, CNN reported.
Several San Francisco-bound flights through O’Hare International Airport have been canceled, but there has been no impact on Midway Airport flights, Chicago’s Department of Aviation reported.
In a brief phone interview, a passenger from the flight who didn’t want to give his name told The Los Angeles Times that most passengers on the flight were unharmed.
“I just want their families to know,” he said. “Most of the people seem OK and we’re just letting the paramedics do their job.”
An observer from a nearby hotel said he saw the plane cartwheel down the runway and the tail and a wing fly off.
“You heard a pop and you immediately saw a large, brief fireball that came out from underneath the aircraft,” Anthony Castorani said on CNN.
“At that moment, you could see that that aircraft was again starting to lift and it began to cartwheel. The wing broke off on the left hand side. You could see the tail immediately fly off of the aircraft. As the aircraft cartwheeled, it then landed down and the other wing had broken,” he said.