Asiana CEO rules out mechanical failure in deadly plane crash

2:04 PM, Jul 7, 2013   |    comments
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The CEO of Asiana Airlines on Sunday ruled out engine or mechanical problems in the crash of a Boeing 777 at San Francisco airport that killed two 16-year-old Chinese students and injured more than 180 people after it appeared to touch down tail-first short of the runway.

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Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday that the black boxes from the Boeing 777 had been recovered were already en route to Washington, D.C.

San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee said Saturday evening that all 291 passengers and 16 crew members aboard Asiana Flight 214 when it went down Saturday morning had been accounted for.

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The two teenage girls who died were identified Sunday as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia from China's eastern Zhejiang province, according to China Central TV. They among a group of 29 middle school students and five teachers heading for a two-week summer camp in the United States. Their bodies were found outside the plane, which had come to rest between runways.

Officials said 123 escaped without injury and 182 were hospitalized or treated for injuries. Among the injured, 49 are in serious condition and five at San Francisco General Hospital, including a child, remain in critical condition. Among the 47 others at San Francisco General, several were treated for minor injuries, including fractures and abrasions, and were released Saturday night.

Images from the scene showed smoke billowing from the plane and emergency exits open from the plane's fuselage as frightened passengers scampered to safety. A massive, gaping hole blackened by fire stretched along much of the plane's top.

"We're lucky we have this many survivors,'' said Lee.

It was the first fatal crash of a commercial airline in the U.S. since February 2009.

The flight, which originated in Shanghai China before stopping in Seoul en route to San Francisco, was carrying 61 U.S. citizens, 77 South Koreans and 141 Chinese.

Yoon Young-doo, the president and chief executive of the airline, speaking at company headquarters Sunday, said, "I bow my head and sincerely apologize for causing concern to the passengers, families and our people."

"For now, we acknowledge that there were no problems caused by the 777-200 plane or engines," Yoon told reporters Sunday at the company headquarters.

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