The Asiana Airlines Pilot was trying to land the Boeing 777 when he received an automatic warning that the engines were running too slowly and were about to stall.
This has been confirmed by an analysis of the aircraft’s flight data recorder. The pilot’s response, as captured on the cockpit voice recorder, was an urgent request to air traffic control to abort the landing. But there was not enough time.
National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Deborah Hersman, who is leading the crash probe, announced that only 1.5 seconds elapsed between his request and the crash. She also commented on the stall factor:
“We have to take another look at the raw data and corroborate it with radar and air traffic information to make sure we have a very precise speed.” She added that the plane’s airspeed of 137 knots was way below the required minimum.
Further information about what happened is constantly emerging. CNN showed a video of the plane hitting part of a wall just short of the runway as it made it’s final approach. This deflected the plane just as it touched down, causing it to slide out of control.
It seems that the tail of the Boeing hit the runway first, causing it bounce before spinning around. The landing gear was torn off and the plane burst into flames.
The CEO Of Asiana Airlines stated that the plane did not have any mechanical problems and was being flown by an experienced flight crew. This is somewhat at odds with new claims that the pilot in control of the landing was actually a trainee with only 43 hours experience on a Boeing 777.
There are also reports that this was the first time he had attempted a landing at San Francisco Airport.
Nevertheless, it too soon to establish the actual cause of this tragedy, which resulted in two dead and almost two hundred injured, many of them critically.
Deborah Hersman stated that the Safety Board was in the early stages of its investigation and would need to interview the Asiana Airlines pilot before forming any preliminary conclusions.