SAN FRANCISCO - An Asiana Airlines flight crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing at least two people, injuring dozens of others and forcing passengers to jump down the emergency inflatable slides to safety as flames tore through the plane.
One person was unaccounted for from among the 307 passengers and crew, said airport spokesman Doug Yakel. He said 181 people were taken to local hospitals. There were 291 passengers and 16 crew members.
San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said the investigation has been turned over to the FBI and terrorism has been ruled out.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Flight 214 from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing before noon PDT. A video clip posted to YouTube showed smoke coming from a jet on the tarmac. Passengers could be seen jumping down the emergency slides.
The top of the fuselage was burned away and the entire tail was gone. One engine appeared to have broken away. Pieces of the tail were strewn about the runway. Emergency responders could be seen walking inside the burned-out wreckage.
It wasn't immediately clear what happened to the plane as it was landing, but some eyewitnesses said the aircraft seemed to lose control and that the tail may have hit the ground.
Stephanie Turner. staying a nearby hotel, told ABC News, "I mean we were sure that we had just seen a lot of people die. It was awful.
"And it looked like the plane had completely broken apart. There were flames and smoke just billowing."
Kate Belding was out jogging just before 11:30 a.m. on a path across the water from the airport.
"I saw what looked like a cloud of dirt puffing up and then there was a big bang and it kind of looked like the plane maybe bounced (as it neared the ground)," she said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of investigators to San Francisco to probe the crash. NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said Saturday that NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman would head the team.