New surveillance, eyewitness footage of Asiana Flight 214 crash released

EXCLUSIVE: The Desk obtained numerous, previously-unreleased videos showing the crash of an Asiana Airlines passenger jet at San Francisco International Airport in 2013.
A still frame from a surveillance video following the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in July 2013. (Image exclusive to The Desk)

Nearly seven years after the crash crash of an Asiana Airlines passenger jet at an airport in California, The Desk is publishing numerous never-before seen videos clips filmed from multiple angles that captured the incident and its aftermath.

Totaling more than six hours in length, the various video clips offer a start-to-finish account and multiple perspectives of the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in July 2013.

The clips, obtained by The Desk in April and published here for the first time, include a previously-unknown eyewitness video shot by a crane operator moments after the jet crashed on runway 28L. In the video, the operator could be heard describing the incident as it unfolded to a nearby worker.

“Look at the plane crash at the end of the runway,” the crane operator says. “I saw him coming in low, and his tail — he didn’t quite make the runway.”

From his vantage point, the operator was able to make out the words “Asiana Airlines” on the side of the passenger jet. A few minutes later, he told a co-worker that it appeared everyone had gotten off the plane unharmed.

It would be several hours later before the public would learn that there were three fatalities among the 307 passengers on board, including a teenage girl who was crushed by a responding San Francisco Fire Department engine.

The cache of footage obtained by The Desk (excerpts of which are being published for the first time today) includes several videos captured by surveillance cameras throughout San Francisco International Airport. The footage shows airport crew and other planes scrambling to react to the crash on runway 28L mere seconds after it occurred.

At least two planes — both passenger jets for Virgin Airlines — were forced to stop on nearby taxiways immediately after the crash. A third passenger jet on nearby runway 28R quickly aborted its takeoff.

Some of the videos obtained by The Desk were examined by the National Transportation Safety Board during its year-long investigation. Federal investigators ultimately concluded pilots error was to blame for the crash.

In 2014, the NTSB said the plane four-person cabin crew over-relied on automated systems aboard the aircraft despite not having enough technical knowledge or training on them. Relying on cockpit voice recorders, federal officials said it appeared the crew was confused as to whether the plane was at the correct altitude and speed for landing at the airport.

On landing, the plane was flying too low and going too fast. It struck a seawall separating the airport from San Francisco Bay, the force of impact shearing off the tail and flipping the plane in the air.

In a statement, an Asiana Airlines official said the company accepted the NTSB’s findings.

“We again express our great sorrow for the accident, the loss of life and the injuries sustained by the passengers and crew,” the official said, adding that the company had already implemented numerous safety and operating practices recommended by federal investigators.

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