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NTSB: Ill-Fated Asiana Jet's Landing Gear Hit Seawall in SF


Lead Pilot in S. Korean Plane Crash was New Flight Instructor
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U.S. government investigators say the landing gear of the Asiana Airlines jet that crashed Saturday at San Francisco airport hit a seawall at the end of the runway, sending the fuselage skidding down the airfield.

The chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, told a news conference in San Francisco Tuesday that seconds before the crash, the pilots on board tried to correct the plane's speed and elevation.

Two Chinese schoolgirls were killed and about 180 of the more than 300 people on board were injured when the Boeing 777 crashed-landed.

Information from the plane's flight data recorder shows the plane was traveling far too slowly as it came in for a landing. Hersman declined to speculate on the cause of the crash, but much of the information released by the NTSB suggests pilot error as a main focus of the investigation.

A final determination on the cause of the crash is months away, and she cautioned against drawing any conclusions yet.

The NTSB chairwoman said the pilot at the controls was only about halfway through his training on the Boeing 777 and was landing at San Francisco airport for the first time. She said his co-pilot was also on his first trip as a flight instructor.

The flight originated in Shanghai and stopped in South Korea before heading to San Francisco.
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