Thursday, December 05, 2013

Investigative hearing on San Francisco International Airport airline crash will not include pilots

Survivors of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 that crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport last summer, killing three teenage girls and injuring dozens of passengers, will not hear from the pilots who were at the controls of the Boeing 777 when the National Transportation Safety Board convenes an investigative hearing next week. 

The four pilots on board -- including a veteran making his first landing at SFO in a Boeing 777 and his supervisor on his inaugural training flight -- spoke privately to NTSB investigators in the days following the crash but have not publicly addressed why the "Triple 7" slammed into the sea wall that abuts Runway 28 Left on July 6 while trying to land after a nearly 11-hour flight from Seoul.

"Everybody is still scratching their heads wondering why a 'Triple 7' with clear weather and no cross winds just missed the airport," said Walnut Creek attorney Michael Verna, who filed the first lawsuit stemming from the crash and represents three injured passengers. "The ultimate question that everybody has is, 'What were the pilots thinking?"

The only two Asiana pilots who are scheduled to speak at the two-day hearing in Washington, D.C. will be the airline's chief pilot and training manager who will appear on the first day, Tuesday, during a discussion of Asiana pilot training in the Boeing 777 and automated systems and visual approach procedures.

Asked about the absence of the pilots flying the plane, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said, "The NTSB investigative team formed the witness list. That's who the investigative team decided they wanted to speak at the hearing."

Asiana spokesman Ki Won Suh said in an email to this newspaper that, "We hope that the upcoming investigative hearing will assist in determining the cause of this accident and lead to a productive discussion on actions the entire industry can take to improve the safety of air passengers." 


The full agenda, including a list of witnesses is available at

Investigative exhibits for the hearing will be placed in the electronic docket at the start of the hearing and will be available at


NTSB Identification: DCA13MA120
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 129: Foreign operation of Asiana Airlines
Accident occurred Saturday, July 06, 2013 in San Francisco, CA
Aircraft: BOEING 777-200ER, registration: HL7742
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 6, 2013, about 1128 pacific daylight time, Asiana Airlines flight 214, a Boeing 777-200ER, registration HL7742, impacted the sea wall and subsequently the runway during landing on runway 28L at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California. Of the 4 flight crewmembers, 12 flight attendants, and 291 passengers, about 182 were transported to the hospital with injuries and 3 passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The regularly scheduled passenger flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 129 between Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea, and SFO. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.