An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday morning, 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.
The two dead were both Chinese students who had been seated at the rear of the aircraft, according to government officials in Seoul and Asiana.
Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, both 16, were students at Jiangshan Middle School in Zhejiang province bordering Shanghai, reported China Central Television, citing a fax from Asiana Airlines.
Five people were in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital, according to spokeswoman Rachael Kagan. She said a total of 52 people were treated for burns, fractures and internal injuries.
Three people were in critical condition at Stanford Hospital.
The flight was 10 hours and 23 minutes, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking service. The 777 is a smaller, wide-body jet that can travel long distances without refueling and is typically used for long flights over water.
Asiana Airlines issued a statement that listed the number of passengers and their nationalities: 77 Korean citizens, 141 Chinese citizens, 61 U.S. citizens and 1 Japanese citizen.
According to Xinhua net, the Chinese citizens included a teacher and 34 high school students, diplomats with the Chinese Consulate General said.
Asiana Airlines wrote, "Asiana Airlines is currently investigating the specific cause of the incident as well as any injuries that may have been sustained to passengers as a result. Asiana Airlines will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation of all associated government agencies and to facilitate this cooperation has established an emergency response center at its headquarters." The statement concluded that no additional information has been confirmed.
President Obama expressed his gratitude to the first responders at the scene of the airliner crash in San Francisco. The White House says in a statement that Obama has directed his team to stay in constant contact with federal, state and local partners as they investigate and respond to the accident.
"The president's thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost a loved one and all those affected by the crash," the White House said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of investigators to San Francisco to probe the crash. NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said Saturday that NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman would head the team.