Asiana flight attendants praised for actions after crash

July 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Since Saturday's crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport, there have been many stories about the heroics of firefighters and other emergency crews who rushed to the scene. But mostly overlooked have been the very first responders -- the flight attendants who are trained to do exactly what the crew aboard the Asiana flight did, help get as many people as possible off the plane safely.

A flight attendant with more than 25 years of experience told ABC7 News on Monday that she has seen a lot over the years and nothing made her prouder for the professional men and women who hold the title of flight attendant than the heroic actions demonstrated by the crew of Asiana Airlines Flight 214.

As president of the San Francisco Association of Flight Attendants, Chris Black says the actions of the Asiana flight attendants in getting passengers safely off the plane after it crashed landed is nothing short of heroic.

"We're trained, we never think this type of event is going to happen and then it does," Black said.

Cabin Manager Lee Yoon Hye was the last person to leave the burning plane and the first to be recognized for her efforts to lead dozens of passengers to safety. She's being praised for helping to put out fires and even carrying more than one injured passenger out on her back. People say she carried people twice her size to safety.

"This child was afraid to go down the slide, so I tried to encourage the child, put him on my back and slid down," said Yoon Hye.

Yoon Hye said the only thing on her mind was rescuing the next passenger.

"She was so tiny and skinny, I couldn't believe how powerful, how strong she was. She was helping other flight attendants and even outside the plane, even after she got outside the plane, just running around the plane, without any fear. She was being very brave," said passenger Eugene Rah.

So brave, she stayed to make sure everyone was OK, watching over as paramedics treated the passengers she had just saved.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman is also praising the role of the flight crew.

"What this accident reminds us of is that plane crashes are survivable; the majority that we investigate are survivable," she said.

The investigation will include a close look at the emergency chutes. Survivors have said one the slides inflated inward near flames, pinning one flight attendant's leg.

Too busy saving lives, it wasn't until Yoon Hye was examined at the hospital that she learned she had broken her tailbone during the crash.

"It's amazing that someone was able to get people off of the airplane with a broken tailbone, it speaks volumes for flight attendants," Black said.


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