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Asiana Airlines Crash Pilot Was Still in Boeing 777 Training

( [email protected] ) Jul 08, 2013 09:44 AM EDT
The pilot of the Asiana flight 214 that crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday was still in training for the Boeing 777, the South Korean airline said.
Interior damage to the plane was extreme, NTSB chairwoman Hersman said on CNN earlier on Sunday.

The pilot of the Asiana flight 214 that crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday was still in training for the Boeing 777, the South Korean airline said.

Lee Kang-kuk was in the pilot seat during the landing. He was the second most junior pilot of four on board the Asiana Airlines plane and had just 43 hours of experience on the Boeing 777, though he had significant flight time on other jets, airline officials said on Monday.

It was not clear whether the senior pilot, Lee Jung-min, who had clocked up 3,220 hours on a Boeing 777, had tried to take over to abort the landing.

Lee Kang-kuk had flown a Boeing 777 nine previous times to other airports, but was flying the jet to SFO for the first time, Asiana Airlines spokeswoman said.

"He is a veteran pilot with almost 10,000 hours on other aircrafts like the 747," she said. "He was in the process of getting a license for the new 777."

Meanwhile, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate the cause of Saturday morning’s crash.

Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the NTSB, stressed that the investigation would probably take more than a year and that “everything is on the table right now. It is too early to rule anything out.”

Data on the black boxes recovered from the jet showed that the pilots learned the plane was about to stall and tried to abort the landing just seconds before it crashed on the runway, Hersman said today.

Analysis of the plane's recovered black boxes revealed that the control yoke shook in the pilot's hand at approximately four seconds before the plane crashed, she said. The pilots then attempted a "go around" to abort the landing, less than two seconds before the plane hit the runway.

The Boeing 777 aircraft was traveling at a speed "significantly" below the target speed of 137 knots. Hersman said, "it wasn't just give or take a few knots, they were very slow in this critical phase of flight."

Interior damage to the plane was extreme, Hersman said on CNN earlier on Sunday.

The crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 killed two passengers, injured 180 others. 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.

Most of the 53 patients treated at San Francisco General had been sitting near the back of the plane.

Stanford hospital treated 55 patients from the crash, 11 of whom were admitted. Two remained in critical condition. Seven others were admitted to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford; all were listed in good condition.