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Witnesses, survivors describe San Francisco plane crash

Krista Hostetler

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Witnesses, survivors describe San Francisco plane crash

CREATED Jul. 7, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- As investigators try to determine what caused the crash of South Korean jumbo jet that killed two passengers Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, passengers are describing a frightening scene inside the aircraft as it caught fire.

Passengers and witnesses say the plane appeared to come in too low and may have clipped a seawall at the end of the runway. Police officers on the scene threw utility knives up to crew members inside the burning wreckage of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 so they could cut away passengers' seat belts. The passengers jumped down emergency slides to escape the thick smoke.

Chinese state media are identifying the two people killed in the crash as a pair of 16-year-old girls from a school in eastern China. Their bodies were found outside the wreckage of the jumbo jet.

More than 180 people were taken to hospitals with injuries, 49 of them critical.

Asiana Airlines describes the pilots as a "skilled," veteran crew, three of them with more than 10,000 hours each of flight time and a fourth with 5,000.

The flight originated in Shanghai, with a stop in Seoul, South Korea. There were 16 crew members and 291 passengers aboard, including 61 Americans and 141 Chinese, about half of them students and teachers.

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