On Sunday night, Chinese state media identified the two people who died as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, two middle school students from China’s eastern Zhejiang province, the Associated Press reported.
At an earlier news conference, the San Francisco fire chief had said that 60 people were unaccounted for, but officials reported later that they all had been located.
The crash was the first large plane to go down in U.S. airspace since November 2001, when an American Airlines Airbus A300 crashed on takeoff from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 people aboard as well as five people on the ground.
In Saturday’s crash in San Francisco, passengers described a normal approach that was punctuated by a sudden acceleration of the engines just as they expected the wheels to touch down. That conformed to the observation of witnesses who said the plane struggled to reach the beginning of the runway.
After the landing, the red-and-white jet was scorched from the cockpit area to just behind the wings, the aluminum skin peeled from the top of the aircraft. Emergency escape slides were deployed from the doorways, and some people who had been on board were seen moving away from the aircraft.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) launched an immediate investigation into the cause, sending a team headed by the board’s chairman, Deborah A.P. Hersman, to San Francisco. The investigators should be helped by the likelihood that the plane’s flight recorder is intact and should be relatively easy to locate.
Just after the Asiana Airlines plane crash-landed, airport tower personnel could be heard talking with the cockpit crew, with a controller saying: “Emergency vehicles are responding. Everyone is on their way.”
The tower also heard from the pilots of a United Airlines flight awaiting takeoff, with one pilot saying, “We can see people . . . and they are alive and walking around.”
A second pilot said, “Between the runways we can see two or three people, and they are moving and have survived.”
The airline said Flight 214 originated in Shanghai, flew to Seoul and then took off for California. Among the passengers were 61 from the United States, 77 from South Korea and 114 from China.
Witnesses said that the plane’s tail struck the ground first and that the aircraft braked suddenly and spun around. They said the seven-year-old plane did not appear to catch fire until it came to a halt.