Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Asiana Airline pilots 'stayed silent until two seconds before crash' at San Francisco airport

Lee Hang-kook and co-pilot did not say a word to one another until shortly before plane's tail section clipped the seawall at the end of the runway
  • @timwalker

The investigation into the fate of Asiana Airlines flight 214 has turned to the communications in the cockpit of the Boeing 777 shortly before it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday morning.

The plane’s pilot, Lee Hang-kook, had never landed a 777 at SFO before, part of the airport’s automated landing system was temporarily out of service, and the aircraft was flying significantly slower than its optimum landing speed as it approached.

Yet according to cockpit voice recordings, Lee and his co-pilot did not say a word to one another about their increasingly dangerous situation until less than two seconds before the plane’s tail section clipped the seawall at the end of the runway, slamming the fuselage to the ground.

Meanwhile, flight attendant Lee Yoon-hye, the last person to leave the aircraft, has recounted what happened in the aftermath of the crash. The 40-year-old cabin manager told reporters that during the evacuation, two of the plane’s emergency evacuation slides inflated inside the cabin, trapping a pair of flight attendants beneath them. The first was freed by a pilot, who deflated the slide with a “crash axe” from the cockpit. The second attendant was pinned close to the fire that broke out in the cabin; a pilot punctured the slide using a knife from the food service cart.