Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Crash investigators turn to cockpit decisions

SAN FRANCISCO — Investigators trying to understand why Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash landed focused Monday on decisions made in the cockpit of the giant jet, where an experienced pilot was learning his way around a new aircraft and fellow pilots were supposed to be monitoring his actions.

Authorities also reviewed the initial rescue efforts after fire officials acknowledged that one of their trucks may have run over one of the two Chinese teenagers killed in the crash at San Francisco International Airport. The students were the only two fatalities.

The teenagers were close friends and top students.

Wang Linjia showed talent in physics and calligraphy; Ye Mengyuan was a champion gymnast who excelled in literature.

National Transportation Safety Board chairman Deborah Hersman said investigators watched airport surveillance video to determine whether an emergency vehicle ran over one of students. But they have not reached any firm conclusions.

The students had been seated in the rear of the aircraft, where many of the most seriously injured passengers were seated, Hersman said.

The NTSB also said part of the jet's tail section was found in San Francisco Bay, and debris from the seawall was carried several hundred feet down the runway, indicating the plane hit the seawall on its approach.

Investigators have said Flight 214 was flying "significantly below" its target speed during approach when the crew tried to abort the landing just before the plane smashed onto the runway. Authorities do not know yet whether the pilot's inexperience with the Boeing 777 and landing it at San Francisco's airport played a role.

The airline acknowledged Monday in Seoul that the pilot at the controls had little experience flying that type of plane and was landing one for the first time at that airport.

Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyomin said pilot Lee Gang-guk had logged nearly 10,000 hours operating other planes but had only 43 hours in the 777.

NTSB lead investigator Bill English said pilot interviews were going slowly because of the need for translation. The interviews began only after agents from the Korean Aviation and Rail Accident Investigation Board arrived from South Korea.

New details of the investigation have also raised questions about whether the pilots may have been so reliant on automated cockpit systems that they failed to notice the plane's airspeed had dropped dangerously low, aviation safety experts and other airline pilots said.

Information gleaned from the Boeing 777's flight-data recorders revealed a jet that appeared to be descending normally until the last half-minute before impact.

The autopilot was switched off at about 1,600 feet, according to an account of the last 82 seconds of flight provided by Hersman.

A key question raised by the NTSB's account is why two experienced pilots apparently didn't notice the airspeed problem.

Part of the answer may lie in whether the pilot, after switching off the autopilot, still had the plane's autothrottle engaged.

More than 180 people aboard the plane went to hospitals with injuries. Remarkably, 305 of 307 passengers and crew survived. Only a small number were critically injured.

Many survivors have a surprising pattern of spine injuries that a doctor says shows how violently they were shaken despite wearing seat belts.

So far, two people are unable to move their legs — doctors don't yet know if the damage is permanent — and several others have needed surgery to stabilize their spines, said Dr. Geoffrey Manley, neurosurgery chief at San Francisco General Hospital.

Among the worst injuries are crushed vertebrae that compress the spinal cord, and ligaments so stretched and torn that they can't hold neck and back joints in place, Manley said.

Even among those who suffered mild spine trauma, Manley said he is struck by a pattern that shows how their upper bodies were flung forward and then backward over their lap belts.

Three firefighters and two police officers without safety gear rushed onto the plane to help evacuate trapped passengers, including one who was trapped under a collapsed bulkhead.

They had gotten everyone off the craft except one elderly man, who was in his seat, moaning and unable to move.

"We were running out of time," San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Dave Monteverdi recalled Monday at a news conference. "The smoke was starting to get thicker and thicker. So we had no choice. We stood him up and amazingly, he started shuffling his feet. That was a good sign . . . We were able to get him out and he was pretty much the last person off the plane."

 
Comments
Shaquem Griffin is about to join a long line of NFL draft picks from Lakewood

Shaquem Griffin is about to join a long line of NFL draft picks from Lakewood

ST. PETERSBURG — Former Lakewood High coach Brian Bruch started each season with the same spiel. He cautioned his players about not becoming obsessed with a professional football career, reciting statistics to emphasize the difficult the odds o...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Former Ohio State, University of Tampa coach Earle Bruce dies

Former Ohio State, University of Tampa coach Earle Bruce dies

Former Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce, whose nine-year tenure in Columbus came after one season as coach of the University of Tampa's now-defunct program, passed away earlier this morning at age 87.Mr. Bruce reportedly had been battling Alzhei...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Wall Street Journal: Baseball in Florida ‘has been a disaster’

Wall Street Journal: Baseball in Florida ‘has been a disaster’

The Rays and Miami Marlins "are at a moment of reckoning" after histories of low attendance and an offseason in which they sold off many of their top players and were singled out by the MLB Players Association for failing to spend revenue-sharing mon...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Parents sue Tampa football league, former coach accused of lewd conduct

Parents sue Tampa football league, former coach accused of lewd conduct

The parents of two teens have filed a lawsuit against the Tampa Bay Youth Football League and the man accused of harassing and molesting them while he was their coach.The parents say the organization and Davarius Durham were negligent and caused phys...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. In preliminary findings of ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways.In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall for...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida continues to coast with relatively low unemployment and modest job gains. In March, for the sixth straight month, the state’s jobless rate was 3.9 percent. Florida added 13,800 jobs over the month.Tampa Bay’s unemployment rate was 3.6 percent...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A state trooper kept pulling women over to ask for dates

A state trooper kept pulling women over to ask for dates

TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey State Police trooper accused of repeatedly pulling over women to ask them out on dates has been indicted. The state attorney general’s office announced Thursday that 32-year-old Eric Richardson faces charges including off...
Updated: 2 hours ago