SF Crash Passengers: Plane Was Dangerously Low

NTSB recovered flight recorders; Facebook honcho was supposed to be aboard

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 7, 2013 7:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Asiana Airlines Flight 214 swept in to land at San Francisco's airport at such a dangerously low altitude that passengers could see the ocean 10 feet below them. "I don't see any runway, I just see water," one tells CNN. Seconds later, the plane plowed into the runway, in yesterday's crash that killed two 16-year-old girls from China and left officials saying only that it should have been much worse. "We're lucky there hasn't been a greater loss of life," says San Francisco's fire chief; 305 people made it out of the wreck alive.

Asiana identified the dead as students Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan; some 70 Chinese students were aboard the flight, en route to summer camp. The NTSB says it has recovered both the plane's black boxes, and that they're on their way to analysis in Washington, DC. There's no cause for the crash as yet, though Asiana's CEO is saying it apparently wasn't engine failure. And in an interesting side note, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says that she was supposed to be on Flight 214. "Taking a minute to be thankful," she said in a post, adding that she "switched to United so we could use miles for my family's tickets." She was in South Korea promoting her book, Lean In. The AP has more on the crash here.

People look at the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 where it crashed at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.
People look at the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 where it crashed at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, LiPo Ching)
People look at the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 where it crashed at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.
People look at the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 where it crashed at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, John Green)
This aerial photo shows the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday,  July 6, 2013.
This aerial photo shows the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The detached tail and landing gear of Asiana Flight 214 rest on the tarmac after the plane crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013.
The detached tail and landing gear of Asiana Flight 214 rest on the tarmac after the plane crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Investigators pass the detached tail and landing gear of Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013.
Investigators pass the detached tail and landing gear of Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A fire truck sprays water on Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013, in San Francisco.
A fire truck sprays water on Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
This aerial photo shows the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.
This aerial photo shows the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Fire crews work the crash site of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.
Fire crews work the crash site of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, John Green)
Fire crews work the crash site of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.
Fire crews work the crash site of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, John Green)
Smokes rises from Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.
Smokes rises from Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.   (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, John Green)
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