, SAN FRANCISCO, July 7 – An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 passenger jet crashed and burst into flames as it landed short of the runway at San Francisco International Airport, killing two people and injuring 181 others.
Investigators said they could not yet offer an explanation for the crash of Flight 214, which had 307 people 291 passengers and 16 crew on board when it left Seoul.
But images appeared to suggest the aircraft struck a rocky area at the water’s edge short of the runway at the airport a major international hub, especially for flights to and from Asia.
Pictures showed the tail detached from the fuselage, and the landing gear had also sheared off.
“At this time there are two fatalities,” the city’s fire chief Joanne Hayes-White said.
One person was still unaccounted for, officials said, revising downwards an earlier estimate of dozens. The remainder of those on board were uninjured.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said there was no indication that terrorism was to blame for the crash.
Survivor Elliott Stone told CNN that as it came in to land, it appeared the plane “sped up, like the pilot knew he was short.”
“And then the back end just hit and flies up in the air and everybody’s head goes up to the ceiling.”
Video footage showed the jet on its belly surrounded by firefighters with debris scattered on the runway and in the surrounding area.
“It looked normal at first the wheels were down,” an unidentified man who witnessed the crash told CNN. “It just hit (the seawall) like that and the whole thing just collapsed immediately.
“It just pancaked immediately. The wings caught on the tarmac.”
A team of experts from the National Transportation Safety Board was heading to San Francisco to investigate the crash landing.
“Everything is on the table at this point,” NTSB chairwoman Debbie Hersman told reporters in Washington when asked if pilot error was to blame. “We have to gather the facts before we reach any conclusions.”