NTSB hearing produces new details and video of Asiana crash

New photos and video were revealed during the NTSB hearings on the Asiana crash.
December 11, 2013 10:39:32 PM PST
Federal investigators say a teenage girl who survived the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco only to be fatally struck by a fire truck actually was run over by two rescue vehicles in the accident's chaotic aftermath.

Authorities in California revealed months ago that 16-year-old Chinese student Ye Meng Yuan was alive on the runway and covered in firefighting foam when she was hit by an emergency vehicle and suffered the multiple blunt injuries that killed her.

But documents released at a National Transportation Safety Board hearing in Washington on Wednesday reveal that the motionless girl was struck twice - once by a fire rig spraying foam and again 11 minutes later by a second truck that was being turned around to fetch more water.

Aviation experts, representatives from Asiana and those involved in the emergency response testified at the day-long hearing.

San Francisco fire officials said the radios on their trucks had problems communicating with other mutual aid agencies during the crash response.

"Because of some recent rebanding of radios, which was part of that process, we weren't ultimately able to have those elements communicate on the same radio frequencies," San Francisco Fire Assistant Deputy Chief Dale Carnes said.

Two other teen girls from China died in the crash.

Lee Kang Kuk, the 46-year-old pilot who was landing the big jet for his first time at San Francisco, "stated it was very difficult to perform a visual approach with a heavy airplane."

The trainee captain told investigators that he realized others had been landing at San Francisco without the glide slope indicator, a technology that helps pilots land at the airport. That system was out of service while the runway was expanded, and has since been restarted.

When asked if he was concerned about his ability to perform the visual approach, he said "very concerned, yea."

A former Boeing 777 foreign captain at Asiana told investigators he found it "extremely difficult" to get pilots to fly visual approaches, and that they usually wanted to take off rather than land. In clear weather, it's not unusual for pilots to make a visual approach, using the view through their windshield.

Some relatives of the survivors of Asiana Flight 214 came to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Burlingame to watch a livestream of the hearings in Washington.

One family member said she isn't looking for vengeance, just for some empathy from Asiana.

"We're hoping that Asiana will take this opportunity to say, 'Hey, we're here to support you guys, we're here to work with you. This is the beginning of a very long process but let's do this together,' and we still haven't had that conversation yet," Eunice Rah, whose father survived the crash, said.

Rah also said her dad, who injured his jaw, back and neck in the crash, isn't looking to point fingers at Asiana's pilots. They both just want to know the company is on their side.

The hearing was originally scheduled to run for two days, starting Tuesday, but it was postponed because of wintry weather in Washington, D.C. New photos and surveillance video of the crash were also shown during the hearing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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