US federal authorities investigate plane crash

Updated: 2013-07-08 05:52


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WASHINGTON - US federal transportation authorities are still in the initial stages of their investigation into the cause for Saturday's deadly crash landing of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 commercial plane at San Francisco International Airport, an official said Sunday.

Deborah Hersman, the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said the investigators have already talked to law enforcement officials who spoke to the pilots Saturday night and hope to interview the pilots of the aircraft in the coming days.

"It's really important to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together, to not just understand what happened, but understand why it happened so we can prevent accidents like this from occurring in the future," Hersman said in an interview aired on CNN's "State of the Union."

She said the investigators would have to corroborate "a lot of information," including the radar data, the air traffic control information, and the flight data recorder parameters.

Two Chinese teenagers were confirmed killed and more than 180 others injured after the Asiana Airlines flight 214 crashed in landing Saturday. The Boeing 777-200 aircraft carried 16 crew members and 291 passengers, including 141 Chinese nationals, many of whom are students and teachers heading to summer camps, 77 citizens from the Republic of Korea (ROK) and 61 Americans.

According to Hersman, the black boxes of the crashed aircraft -- the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder -- have been sent back to the federal agency's headquarters in Washington DC for lab work.

Asiana Airlines is a ROK air company, second in size to the national carrier Korean Air.

The 777-200 is a long-haul plane from Boeing. The twin-engine aircraft is often used for flights from one continent to another because it can travel 12 hours or more without refueling.

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