The pilot of the Asiana Airlines plane that crashed in San Francisco on Saturday saw a bright light shortly before the Boeing 777 hit the seawall, rotated counterclockwise, then landed off its targeted runway.
But federal crash investigators on Thursday stated that the flash of light didn’t affect the plane’s approach into San Francisco International Airport.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman initially mentioned the light at a press briefing on Wednesday, saying that the Asiana pilot told them a bright light temporarily blinded him during final approach to SFO.
However, Hersman clarified on Thursday that the light was seen about 500 feet in the air and that it could have been the sun reflecting off of San Francisco Bay. Neither or the pilots mentioned the light during interviews and there isn’t any discussion about the incident on the plane’s cockpit voice recorder.
Initially, Hersman explained that the Asiana pilot’s bright light would have to be looked into. She added, “We need to understand what he’s talking about.”
But the next day it appeared some of that clarification was given. The NTSB chairwoman explained, “The light source was straight in front of the airplane but not on the runway. He stated that he did not think the light affected his vision.”
Investigators have already announced that Asiana Flight 214 was too low and too slow on its approach. Hersman also added on Thursday that the plane’s target landing speed was 137 knots, but it had slowed to 103 knots right before impact. It was also going 134 knots 500 feet above ground.
The Asiana plane crash killed two teenage Chinese girls who were traveling to Los Angeles for a summer camp. Almost 200 more were sent to area hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to critical. Emergency responders have been credited with their quick work to prevent a higher death toll.
While the NTSB has released some information about the plane crash, including the Asiana pilot’s bright light, it will take between 12 and 18 months for investigators to determine what exactly caused the incident.
[Image via Twitter]