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Jul 072013
 

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) – An Asiana Airlines passenger jet crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing two people and injuring 181 others.

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White described it as a “fluid situation” and said that “not everyone has yet to be accounted for.”  She initially said that “upwards of 60 people were unaccounted for,” but officials later said everyone had been accounted for.

The two passengers who died were 16-year-old girls from China, the San Mateo County coroner’s office confirms. Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan were part of a student group from at Jiangshan Middle School in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, according to Chinese news media reports. They were reportedly heading here to the Bay Area  to attend a Summer program. Their bodies were found on the runway.

The injured were being cared for at several hospitals and at least 22 were in critical condition.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 originated in Shanghai, China, and had a stopover in Seoul, South Korea, before it crash landed on the runway in San Francisco.  

The Boeing 777 was carrying 291 passengers, including an infant, plus at least 16 crew members, according to the airline.  An Asiana Airlines official in Seoul told ABC News that 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans and 61 U.S. citizens were on board.

Stephanie Turner saw the Asiana Airlines flight crash and said she was sure that she “had just seen a lot of people die.”

Turner said that when she saw the plane preparing to land on the runway, it looked as if it was approaching at a strange angle.

“As we saw the approaching Asiana flight coming in, I noticed right away that the angle was wrong, that it was tilted too far back,” she said.  “The angle didn’t manage to straighten out and the tail broke off.”

“It looked like the plane had completely broken apart,” Turner said.  “The flames and smoke were just billowing.”

Aerials of the crash, provided by ABC News’ San Francisco station KGO-TV, showed the plane’s tail severed from its body, as well as the majority of the aircraft’s roof completely charred away.  One of the plane’s wings appears to have snapped upon impact.  Debris from the crash landing was scattered across the airport’s runway 28.

The San Francisco International Airport closed at approximately 1:10 p.m. as a result of the crash, according to the FAA website.

Some of the injured were taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

“We have burns, fractures and internal injuries,” said hospital spokeswoman Rachel Kagan.

She said the hospital had also put out a call for its Korean speaking staff and translators to come to work.

A video posted on YouTube showed gray smoke billowing from the plane, which was lying on the runway on its fuselage.  Chutes had been deployed from the plane’s emergency exits.

Law enforcement officials told ABC News that the crash appeared to be an accident, but that they were investigating.  The National Transportation Safety Board immediately sent a team of investigators to the crash site.

Investigators plan to collect the cockpit voice and data recorders from the plane, NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said at a news conference.

Hersman said the NTSB is working with Boeing, the FAA, as well as the Korean Air and Accident Investigation Board to investigate the crash.

The Boeing 777 is one of the safest airplanes in use, ABC News aviation analyst John Nance said.

“These airplanes are over the water, over the ocean all the time and Asiana has been running them for many years very successfully,” Nance said.

Boeing issued a statement to ABC News on the news of the crash.

“Boeing extends its concern for the safety of those on board Asiana Airlines Flight 214,” the company said.  “Boeing is preparing to provide technical assistance to the National Transportation Safety Board as it investigates the accident.”

The last Boeing 777 to crash was a British Airways jet en route from Beijing to London’s Heathrow airport, which crash landed short of the runway in January 2008.  There were no fatalities, but 47 people on board sustained injuries.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jul 062013
 

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — A plane crashed Saturday afternoon at San Francisco International Airport, according to the FAA.

The plane was an Asiana 777 coming from Seoul, South Korea. The crash occurred as the plane was landing on SFO’s runway 28.

San Francisco EMS reports that 290 passengers were onboard along with one infant and 12 crew members. It is unknown if there were any casualties.

A video posted on YouTube showed gray smoke billowing from the plane, which was lying on the runway on its fuselage.

A witness described to ABC News what he saw when the plane was landing.

“The nose of the plane was higher than usual for a plane coming in to land and I thought that was odd,” Stephen Dear said. “It got closer and closer. I saw the back tail hit the ground.”

“All of a sudden we heard five ambulances and we knew something was wrong,” said another eyewitness on the ground. “Then we looked behind us back at the airport… and we just saw this big explosion, black smoke, everything.”

The plane’s tail section is missing and the landing gear has been sheared off, though the fuselage and wings are relatively intact.

Inflatable evacuation slides have been deployed and passengers are exiting the plane, according to eyewitnesses.

Weather conditions were good at the time of the crash.

Story developing…

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jun 302013
 

iStockphoto(SAN FRANCISCO) — Nearly half a million commuters in the San Francisco Bay area could wind up beginning the work week stranded at the station if Bay Area Rapid Transit workers go on strike Sunday night.

Josie Mooney, a chief negotiator for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, says there’s a 95 percent chance her union, along with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555, will go on strike after their contracts expire late Sunday. The two sides have been debating over issues involving wages, health and safety regulations and pension contributions.

The unions walked out on negotiations Saturday night. BART says they have a new proposal to give the union, but members need to come back to the table to receive it.

“We have a document, an offer, ready to make to them and we will deliver that. We will also review the document that they gave us and respond to it,” said BART spokesman Rick Rice.

Before they left, the Unions did say that the 400,000 BART riders should be prepared to find other modes of transportation to work come Monday morning. They gave commuters 72 hours warning of the potential strike. They were not required to give any warning by law.

The last time BART members decided to strike was 1997. That strike lasted six days.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 252013
 

ABC News(SAN FRANCISCO) — The U.S. Coast Guard intensified its search Monday for a family of four, including two young children, who may be clinging to a life ring and a cooler off the Northern California coast after their sailboat took on water.

A distress call came into the Coast Guard Sunday afternoon that the 29-foot vessel, believed to be named Charmblow, was sinking in choppy waters.

The sailboat’s failing electronics system was unable to provide the Coast Guard with clues to its exact location, which rescuers initially believed was 65 miles from Pillar Point, just south of San Francisco, Lt. Heather Lampert said.

After reviewing radio tapes and making new calculations, Lampert said the search effort Monday has been shifted slightly south to 65 miles off the coast of Monterey Bay.

The names of those on board and their destination were unknown, however the missing are believed to include a man and a woman, their 4-year-old son, and his cousin, Lampert said.

A National Weather Service advisory warning of strong winds and choppy waters in the San Francisco Bay Area had been in effect Sunday afternoon when the boat’s operator first radioed the Coast Guard.

Lampert said the captain indicated at 4:20 p.m. that the sailboat was “taking on water” and the electronics system was failing.

At 5:30 p.m., the operator reported they were abandoning the sailboat, Lampert said.

After losing communication with the vessel, the Coast Guard sent an urgent broadcast to boaters in the area to be on the lookout.

Crews searched overnight by air and by sea, however they found no signs of the missing family.

“[There were] pretty rough conditions, especially without any lifesaving equipment,” Lampert said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 172013
 

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — If six of the 11 San Francisco Board of Supervisors sign off on a ballot initiative to rename the city’s current airport to the Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport, they could be making history.

“We have not found any legislation nor was there ever an actual naming of an openly gay official for an airport,” said Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk’s nephew.  “Harvey never had a citywide election because he was elected to a supervisory district, so this has a real synergy to it that the people of San Francisco are going to be voting for Harvey Milk.  I think he would have loved that.”

Harvey Milk was the city’s first openly gay elected politician and a champion of gay and civil rights in the 1960s and ’70s.  After serving for a mere 11 months as District 5 supervisor, former supervisor Dan White shot and killed Harvey and Mayor George Mascone on May 27, 1978, inside San Francisco City Hall.

As of Jan. 16, District 9 supervisor David Campos had the support of five from the Board of Supervisors, including his own.  Campos needs the support of one more to qualify for the majority six signatures needed to push the initiative onto the November ballot.  The legislation would be voted on as a charter amendment since the San Francisco Airport, more commonly known as SFO, is referenced within the charter of the city.

Campos said in the U.S. alone there are over eight airports named after individuals, and many more throughout the world.  But when he realized none of those airports featured the name of an LGBT person, he decided to act.

On Jan. 15, he formally introduced the initiative to the board, and the response was “very well received.”  If the initiative passes in November, it will not only be a professional success but a personal victory for Campos.

“I believe as an openly gay man that we, as a community, have made contributions to a community like anyone else — that someone, somewhere name an airport after someone in this community,” said Campos.  “It seemed to me that San Francisco would be the right place.  If not in San Francisco, then where?”

SFO acting airport spokesman Doug Yakel said, “From the perspective of the airport, we don’t have an opinion on the matter.”

Yakel told ABC News during an SFO airport commission meeting on Jan. 15, that commissioner members said it was “an issue that requires careful consideration; it requires a thorough understanding of the financial impact, meaning, What does it cost to rename an airport?  And there are many individuals who have made a contribution to San Francisco from a political perspective that warrants consideration.”

Campos said this initiative is a process and would not be “something that would happen automatically.”

“Nothing has been easy in the fight for LGBT rights or in Harvey’s life,” said Campos.  “I’m hoping to have a dialogue and I think there’s some resistance from people who don’t want to see change.  We just hope to engage in a dialogue with people, and so I’m optimistic.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio