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Asiana CEO Dismisses Speculations On Pilot's Inexperience In Deadly Crash

posted 8 Jul 2013, 03:38 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 8 Jul 2013, 03:39 ]

The Asiana Airlines CEO says a senior pilot was in charge of the flight, during the deadly plane crash at San Francisco airport and dismisses speculations about the junior pilot's inexperience.

SEOULSOUTH KOREA (JULY 8, 2013) (REUTERS) - The Asiana Airlines CEO, Yoon Yong-doo, on Monday (July 8) dismissed speculation of inexperience about the junior pilot who flew the Boeing 777 plane that crashed at San Francisco airport over the weekend.

Two Chinese teenagers were killed and more than 180 injured in the crash, the first fatal accident involving the Boeing 777 since it entered service in 1995.

The pilot of the crashed Asiana plane was still "in training" for the Boeing 777 when he attempted to land the aircraft under supervision on Saturday (July 6), the South Korean airline said.

Lee Kang-kook, the second most junior pilot of four on board the Asiana Airlines aircraft, had 43 hours' experience flying the long-range jet, it said on Monday. The plane's crew tried to abort the descent less than two seconds before it hit a seawall, bounced along the tarmac and burst into flames.

It was Lee's first attempt to land a 777 at San Francisco, though he has flown there 29 times on different types of aircraft, said South Korean transport ministry officialChoi Seung-youn.

Asiana said Lee Kang-kook was in the pilot seat during the landing, although it was not clear whether the senior pilot, Lee Jeong-min, who had clocked up 3,220 hours on a Boeing 777, had tried to take over to abort the landing.

"A senior pilot was in charge of the flight. So I cannot tolerate the speculation. I would appreciate if you understand that it is not true," Asiana Airlines' Yoon said at a news conference.

Information collected from the plane's cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder indicated that there were no signs of trouble until seven seconds before impact, when the crew tried to accelerate, U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said at a news conference at the airport.

Yoon said the airline is waiting for more information.

"We expect all flight records and analysis would be available after decoding of the black box," Yoon said.

Asiana said mechanical failure did not appear to be a factor. NTSB confirmed that a part of the airport's instrument-landing system was offline on Saturday (July 6) as part of a scheduled runway construction project, but cautioned against drawing conclusions from that.