Asiana Airlines CEO Yoon Young-Doo says it does not appear – at least so far – that mechanical issues with the plane or engines caused the crash of a Boeing 777-200ER at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.
This was a surprisingly frank comment from the top Asiana executive during a press conference relatively soon after the crash. It certainly went further than what U.S. officials have been saying about possible causes.
Media reports varied as to exactly what Yoon said. However, the gist was that at this early stage of the investigation, aircraft or engine faults do not seem to be the problem. Yoon stopped short of identifying pilot error as a cause, however, and he stressed that the pilots on board were very experienced.
Here is the Reuters report on the press conference:
CNN reported that the pilot who was at the controls at the time of the crash had been flying for Asiana since 1996.
Apparently the glide path system for the runway in question was not operating at the time of the incident, although various experts have been quick to stress that this should not cause a crash.
Previously, Asiana had issued this press statement with details of the flight, and more information on the passenger tally. According to the carrier, there were a total of 291 passengers and 16 cabin crew aboard. There were 19 business class and 272 economy class passengers. Of nationalities released so far, there were 77 Korean citizens, 141 Chinese, 61 U.S., and one Japanese.
According to information from Asiana and other officials, the two confirmed fatalities were both female Chinese nationals seated near the back of the plane, and were found on the runway.