CAMARILLO (CBSLA.com) — Passengers aboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214 say there was no indication the plane was in trouble before it crash-landed Saturday morning at San Francisco International Airport. In fact, the ten-hour flight from South Korea was relatively smooth until its fateful end.
Two teenage girls were killed, 17 people were critically injured and more than half of the 307 people on board were sent to hospitals.
Aviation expert and author Barry Schiff tells KCAL9’s Cristy Fajardo that pilot error was likely to blame.
Asiana Airlines confirmed that the veteran pilot was training on this particular Boeing 777 for only his 43rd hour. And while the pilot had also flown into SFO many times, this was the first time on this particular aircraft.
However, Shiff says none of that should have mattered, as all jets have co-pilots.
Watching cell phone video of the crash, Schiff has “no doubt” the plane was coming in too low, and too slow.
“The pilots finally realized that they were too low and too slow, but realized it too late. The power was not applied to the engines until a second-and-a-half before impact. That’s way too late,” Schiff says. He told Fajardo, the crash makes no sense.
Even though the airport’s instrument landing system was inoperable, he believes runway warning lights would have also alerted the pilots they didn’t have the proper altitude. He also insists that inside the cockpit, they should have heard warning systems.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Sunday that inside the cockpit, the pilot had to have felt a violent shaking that said he was too slow and in danger of stalling.
Schiff believes, even at that late moment, the pilot had a chance to keep the plane from crashing.
“They had ample time and opportunity to shove the throttles forward, pick up speed, climb up, go around and come up for a normal approach and landing,” said Schiff.
IMAGES: NTSB Releases Photos Of Deadly Crash
Inside the cabin, a passenger said that even her child sensed the plane was too close to the water.
While Schiff still believes pilot error was to blame, he is baffled and puzzled by the crew’s reaction. Even if the pilot was training on the 777, he believes the co-pilot certainly should not have missed the warning signs.
As a standard procedure, the pilot and co-pilot were both tested for drugs and alcohol. Schiff also says the NTSB will also go over their mental, medical and flight records. The investigation could take as long as a year.