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Asiana Flight 214: NTSB says Asiana pilots delayed evacuation until fire broke out

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The NTSB held a news conference Thursday, with new details about the Asiana Airlines crash that killed two passengers in San Francisco last week.

NTSB investigators said the pilots initially had passengers stay in their seats, delaying the evacuation of the airliner for about 90 seconds until fire was spotted.

Dramatic 911 calls were made by passengers of Asiana 214, pleading for help in the minutes after the airliner crashed onto a runway.

One caller said, “There are people laying on the tarmac with critical injuries; head injuries. We're almost losing a woman over here. We're trying to keep her alive.”

The dispatcher answered, “Okay, we have help started that way. You say that there is help, but there is not enough people, correct?”

“Yes, she is severely burned and she pretty much will die soon if we don't get any help,” the caller said.

After survivors of Flight 214 visited the crash site yesterday, crews spent the day removing wreckage from the runway.

NTSB investigators report the pilots may have thought the plane's engine's were essentially in cruise control, but that may not have been the case, leaving the jet without enough momentum to reach the runway.

The pilot, making his first landing at SFO in a 777 told investigators about 34 seconds before impact he saw a light, at about the same time as the plane began to slow and drop in altitude.

"The bottom line is when asked if he could see, if it affected his vision, he said no,” said Deborah Hersman, NTSB Chairman. “He said he could see the instruments, he could see outside of the plane."

Called heroes for evacuating the plane--even using fire extinguishers to fight back the flames, several members of the cabin crew returned home to south korea today.

"I’m happy that we are here now, but my heart breaks when I think of our colleagues and patients at the hospital," said Lee Yoon-hye, Asiana Airlines 214 Cabin Manager, in translation.

At last report a dozen survivors are still hospitalized. Six of those are members of the cabin crew. Three flight attendants were ejected from the plane during the crash.

 

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