Investigators Work To Understand San Francisco Crash

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are trying to determine what caused the crash of Asiana Flight 214. The Boeing 777 was flying from South Korea to San Francisco on Sunday with 307 passengers on board.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board have recovered the flight data and voice recorders from flight 214. They are awaiting analysis of the so-called black box, as they investigate the cause of yesterday's crash in San Francisco. The Boeing 777 was flying from South Korea to San Francisco with 307 people on board.

(SOUNDBITE OF AIR TRAFFIC RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: SkyWest 5427 fly runway, and contact Norcal departures.

MARTIN: Recordings from the San Francisco air traffic control tower initially seemed to suggest no cause for alarm. That changed as flight 214 started to make its landing.

(SOUNDBITE OF AIR TRAFFIC RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Asiana 214, heavy emergency vehicles are responding. We have everyone on their way.

MARTIN: The aircraft hit just shy of the runway, shearing off the plane's tail.

Krista Seiden was waiting to board a flight to Phoenix inside the airport when she saw the crash.

KRISTA SEIDEN: On this side and the plane was beginning to land and then it was skidding on the runway and billowing tons of black smoke. I was actually the first person in the area to really see it and was basically like, oh, my God. A plane just crashed.

MARTIN: She and others stood by the windows as emergency crews responded.

SEIDEN: So we were probably 400 yards from the plane crash. We could see the emergency slide out. It was really hard to tell from where we were if they were actual people coming down the slide.

MARTIN: Many passengers on board the burning aircraft were able to exit to safety. Authorities say that two people were killed. The San Francisco fire chief said that 182 people were injured and nearly 50 are in serious or critical condition.

We'll continue to bring you more on this story as it develops throughout the day here on NPR.

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