Why did flight 214 crash at SFO?

SFO flight 214 Crash, injury lawyer SF Eric Abramson“Asiana Air flight 214 from Seoul Korea crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday morning, July 6, 2013.  There were 307 people aboard the Boeing 777 twin engine jumbo jet when it undershot the runway while attempting to land after an 11 hour flight. The tail section of the airplane struck the rip rap rock seawall and broke off, and the plane’s fuselage slammed down on the tarmac then slid along the runway, finally coming to rest in an adjacent dirt area.  It appears that some passengers were ejected from the airplane during the horrifying event.

Amazingly, only two people died.  Many of the passengers dodged injury, although dozens suffered serious and critical injuries ranging from broken bones, spinal injuries, internal injuries, and paralysis.  The flight attendants performed heroically in helping people out of the wreckage and away from danger, and the first responders saved lives by their amazing triage efforts according to the San Francisco General Hospital spokesperson.

The weather was clear and the winds were calm.  The airport’s glide slope system, which assists pilots with descents and landings in bad weather, was not operating, but it had been inoperable since June and hundreds of flights had successfully landed without it, so this probably was not a factor.

The plane’s “black boxes” – flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder – have been evaluated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in Washington, D.C., and the preliminary findings show that the plane was approaching runway 28L at an unusually slow speed and low altitude, which caused the plane to miss the runway. Apparently, the Pratt and Whitney engines were idling during the approach rather than being under power which is the normal approach procedure.  When the pilots realized that they were not going to make the runway they applied throttle to the engines, but because of the lag time between applying throttle and the engines reacting, it was too late.  The plane crashed.

Jim Tillmon, a former commercial pilot and aviation consultant in Arizona, said the plane appeared to be “behind the power curve” –  when the crew tried to throttle up the engines and they may not have had enough altitude to stop their descent.”

“It sounds like too low, too slow, too late,” Tillmon said.  “Airspeed is your lifeblood.”

Pilot error is strongly suspected.  However, it is too early to rule system malfunctions like avionics (cockpit instruments), engines, computers, flight controls, and many other potential causes.

All of the injured passengers, and the heirs of the two 16 year olds who died, have legal rights to compensation for their losses.   Aviation litigation, especially involving international flight, is extremely complex and should be only be handled by attorneys with experience in this specialty area.”

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