Asiana Flight 214 Incident at SFO

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Amberjack
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Asiana Flight 214 Incident at SFO

Now almost four hours ago, Boeing 777-200 appears to have landed short at SFO (San Francisco Int'l) airport.

Although the media is all over the map with casualty reports, I won't speculate.

For those of you, like me, that have landed at SFO, know that some of the runways jut out into the bay.  Appears that this flight hit the rocks at the land/water line before coming to a rest further down runway 28 left.

Just thought I'd start a thread for prayers, thoughts and commentary.

AJ

Edited by admin on 11/08/2014 - 06:01
Strongsidejedi
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Turdite Travel Warning on SFO

To my fellow Turdites,

Based upon reports aired on CNN in the last hour and on reports from friends, family, and my own personal experiences travelling through SFO, I am issuing a Turdite Travel Warning on SFO.

This is the first such travel warning and is based upon the observation of dangerous circumstances on site and around the facility.

Regarding today's accident, CNN just interviewed a former NTSB investigator who stated that the instrument landing system and the runway visual indicator light systems were NON-FUNCTIONAL during this morning's incident.  Apparently, the FAA had issued a warning (NOTAM) to pilots that the ILS and visual lighting indicator systems were non functional.  Therefore, the pilot of Asiana was attempting to land the 777 on purely visual cues and cockpit indicators. 

The pilot may have been fatigued (my conjecture) based upon the fact that the accident occurred at around 11 AM PST.  11 AM PST is the equivalent of 3 AM in Seoul, South Korea.  It is well-known in the aviation medical circles that the human mind and body are the weakest at these early morning hours.  The pilot was attempting a visual landing with a 777 jet after an 11 hour flight from Korea with NO assistance from ILS or visual indicator lights.

If you have ever driven a truck or SUV at 3 AM on an interstate, you know what can happen when you are overly tired.  When that happens with a jet, the few seconds of loss of concentration or vision can result in death and compromise of the aircraft.  NTSB will doubtless analyze these factors, but a huge contributing factor is that the SFO airport and FAA had previously issued a NOTAM about the inoperative landing systems.

These landing systems should be required on international runways especially for long-distance flights because the flight crews are very tired after flying 10+ hour missions.

More over, there are several other factors that have led me to conclude that SFO requires a Turdite warning.

1.  Recent Bay Area workers strikes on mass transit (Bay-Area Rapid Transit) rail lines have compromised travel in the Bay Area.  These workers strikes are for higher pay and shorter work hours and more benefits.  However, the effect is that some work in the Bay Area has been delayed.  I am now wondering if the BART Strike had a role to play in the loss of the ILS and VFR landing assistance lighting systems at SFO today.  Was the traffic congestion on the bay bridges responsible for delayed repair work and delays in getting these systems operational?

From http://ourairports.mobi/airports/KSFO/notams.html
!SFO 07/047 SFO RWY 10R/28L CLSD WEF 1307062309
CREATED: 06 Jul 2013 23:09:00 
SOURCE: KOAKYFYX
NOTAM SFO 07/046
!SFO 07/046 SFO RWY 28L PAPI OTS WEF 1307062219
CREATED: 06 Jul 2013 22:19:00 
SOURCE: KOAKYFYX
NOTAM SFO 07/039
!SFO 07/039 SFO NAV ILS RWY 28R LLZ/DME OTS 0700-1500 DLY WEF 1307080700-1307121500
CREATED: 06 Jul 2013 00:28:00 
SOURCE: KOAKYFYX
NOTAM SFO 07/038

2.  The County of San Mateo permits TSA to hire contractors for their check points.  There is a current problem with the SFO TSA check points.  One, the TSA check points do not have TSA Pre-Check integration.  Therefore, even if you have pre-registered with the TSA, you not be able to take advantage of those registrations at SFO.  SFO does not have a line for Pre-Check TSA.  Two, TSA lines are staffed by sometimes untrained private employees.  These employees are not familiar with standard US Federal customs and border patrol systems like Global SENTRI, NEXUS, and others.  Therefore, they are unable to appropriately guide passengers with those registrations and clearances.  Third, the TSA employees are not uniformed and the people in TSA uniforms are NOT TSA employees (they are the TSA contractors instead).  Therefore, you are unable to clearly evaluate the authority of the individuals with whom you are speaking at the SFO security points.

3.  SFO runway delays are partly related to the sequestration.  SFO authorities state that their airport is at the mercy of federal budget constraints.  KQED, a local bay area PBS station, published a story on the impact of sequestration.  I have personally had more flight delays at SFO than any other airport in the last year.  I traveled on several occasions through SFO.  Last year, the delays were attributed to runway and airport construction programs that had compromised visual contact for Air Traffic Controllers on the tarmacs around SFO.  This meant that some planes needed to taxi through smaller access points in order to safely reach the gates. 

http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/04/22/airlines-warn-of-delays-at-sfo/

Therefore, due to the continuing evidence of ground traffic delays, runway delays, airport construction programs, airport security issues, and regrettably now NOTAMS related to SFO ILS and runway landing systems; I am issuing a Turdite Travel Warning TTW on SFO.

This TTW will remain in effect until further notice.

It will not be lifted until SFO authorities clarify each issue on this list in public comments.

Thank you for your attention.

Strongsidejedi
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Follow-up to Turdite Travel Warning on SFO

The TTW (Turdite Travel Warning) on SFO remains in effect until the extenuating circumstances are fully addressed by SFO authorities.

The possibility is raised in this LA Times story (a rebroadcast of reporting by San Francisco Chronicle) that one of the two deaths may have been due to being hit by a rescue vehicle. 

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-plane-crash-victim-over-20130707,0,1489011.story

July 7, 2013, 5:04 p.m.

 

One of the teenage passengers who died in the Asiana jetliner runway crash at San Francisco International Airport may have been run over by an emergency vehicle, officials said Sunday.

Two 16-year-old schoolgirls from China were found dead on the tarmac. One appears to have been ejected from the plane when it hit the seawall and began to fall apart, San Mateo County Coroner Robert J. Foucrault said. The other was found where the wreckage came to rest, near an escape chute.

The San Francisco Chronicle first reported that the second victim may have been run over by first responders. San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge on Sunday confirmed that the girl "did have injuries that were consistent with having been run over by a vehicle."

"There were multiple agencies on the field yesterday and the NTSB is conducting a thorough investigation of the entire accident scene," Talmadge said in an e-mail to The Times. "The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death of both deceased girls."

In a follow-up interview, Foucrault said fire officials had brought the possibility to the attention of his investigators, but the girl's cause of death is not yet known. An autopsy could be complete by Sunday night.

Strongsidejedi
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NBC News on Asiana Flight

I'm writing this posting about six days after the Asiana SFO accident and several days after my initial response.

NBC News has posted more stories which appear to question the behavior of the SFO rescue teams.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/11/19419823-asiana-crew-twice-called-to-abort-landing-before-sf-crash

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/10/19403360-were-trying-to-keep-her-alive-911-calls-reveal-drama-of-asiana-crash

The most pertinent paragraphs are as follows:

"Fire officials told NBC's TODAY that ambulances responded within 13 minutes and that private ambulances were already on the scene. The incident commander initially told them to keep away from the plane because of fears it could explode, they said."

"A spokesman for American Medical Response, which provides ambulance services in 42 states, said ambulances had gone to a staging area before continuing to the wreckage in groups of five in accordance with a crash response plan."

This story adds to my concerns about SFO's organization and operations.

News reports have indicated that one of the two fatalities in this accident was caused by trauma from an emergency rescue vehicle running over and/or impacting the victim.

The fact that airplane crash victims are calling 911 instead of being transported to regional medical facilities shows the significant delays in emergency response.

The AMR spokesperson (AMR is a privately owned ambulance company and not to be confused with AMR the parent of American Airlines) claimed that they did not want to have their personnel in the zone if the airplane exploded.  Having that type of statement from an ambulance company reflected such a weakness that it was shocking.  If you are a paramedic or fire rescue person, you train to go into those situations as part of your job!  Why in hell you would withhold personnel from doing their job in the largest mass casualty event in their career is frankly so patently irresponsible that it is worthy of investigation itself!

I have several responses to these reports by Tom Costello and the NBC team.  First, generally, Costello is a strong reporter and does not write things unless he truly has reports to substantiate the story.  Second, there is no motive for Costello and the NBC News team to be critical of SFO or the rescue teams.  They are only reporting on the situation on the ground.  More significant is the fact that their reports match the mismanagement that I posted PRIOR TO their stories being published.

Third, and this is my main point in this comment, the SFO rescue personnel were clearly not following a properly prepared triage and disaster plan.

This accident is likely one of the largest mass casualty events in the last ten years.  So, let me first state, that it is very difficult to triage and medically address 300+ people injured simultaneously.  It obviously requires alot of medical personnel and transportation out of the emergency zone.

However, as all trained emergency responders and personnel know, the rule of the Golden Hour is of utmost relevance.  The Golden Hour is the 60 minutes between the trauma and when you have the patient in the OR.  If you get the trauma victim to definitive care and the OR in the 60 minutes or less, the patient has much better odds of living and recovering.  Therefore, ALL US armed forces personnel are trained with this in mind.  ALL US Medical personnel are trained with this in mind.

I have no idea why this AMR representative is stating otherwise.  I have no idea why an incident commander would prioritize to protect AMR or their personnel ahead of rescuing the victims of the accident in a timely fashion.

Not only has NTSB appropriately pointed to the 90 second delay in plane evacuation, but I would like to point out that the 10 to 20 minute delay in the transport of critically ill patients is 100% unacceptable.  There is NO emergency system that would tolerate this 20 minute delay in reaching citizens in dire need of emergency management.

Did the County of San Mateo and the City of San Francisco have emergency planners and/or emergency drills to train and drill on earthquakes, building fires, building collapses, and airport accidents?  Yes?

Was it part of the drill and training to drive a fire rescue vehicle so close to the vehicle that you can not visualize where the injured are laying in the dirt?

Was it part of the drill to hold off critically needed transportation for 10-30 minutes while you figure out "if the plane is going to explode"?

Or, alternatively, was there no real plan at all and no real drill for one of the busiest airports in the world?

An actual mass casualty emergency plan is typically a multi-agency plan.  The whole federal funding process after Sept 11, 2001 was revamped and literally BILLIONS of US tax dollars were spent on these plans nationally.  So, how much money did San Mateo get from Nancy Pelosi's congress?  Did Ms. Pelosi work with City of SF and County of San Mateo to get those funds?  How much was appropriated and how much was spent?  This should all be a matter of public record!

These plans are supposed to be coordinated on a county level with local authorities involved in multi-agency planning to not only create the plan, but then test the plan in actual drills.

When was the last SFO disaster plan review and when did SFO last conduct a drill to test the plan?

I can not believe that the SFO incident commander elected to hold off the critically needed transport for 15-20 minutes!  With 300+ casualties requiring immediate triage and people literally dying, the incident commander's first instinct should be the evacuation of people from the disaster zone, ESPECIALLY if fire and/or "explosion" was possible.

Any person with US military experience, experience in disaster planning, and/or experience in mass casualty events knows how to perform in this situation.  In fact, if you are in healthcare or the military, you already know exactly what you need to be doing, where you should be standing, and where you do NOT want to be putting your vehicle.  It's plain common sense for those people.

Most disaster plans include establishment of a triage zone.  Most fire and paramedic rescue personnel already know that they will be driving into a fire zone and need to control the scene.  So, while the incident commander has a requirement to supervise and position their crew, you are not supposed to be withholding support that allows 300 victims to sit and wait for 20 minutes for transport.  That's just ridiculous and poor!

If you are an aerospace engineer, you already know that commercial aircraft do not "explode".  Has there been one incident over the past 30 years of aviation where a plane that is powered off, having lost its gear and engines, sitting in dirt, and leaking fuel has "exploded"?

Even after a major accident, the plane does not blevy because the plane is specifically engineered to NOT blevy.  How in the hell a plane that is already missing engines "explodes" is beyond my physics.  While there is a flammability issue because jet fuel is leaking, commercial jet liners have systems to limit fuel spreading and leaking.  An aircraft would have to sustain huge structural failure to compromise fuel tanks and lines to have a fuel leak.  The engines falling off is a huge structural failure and shows that the engine pylons tore on impact with the ground.  But that is appropriate engineering at that point because the structure of the plane took the impact so that the people inside would survive.  The flammability risk was diminished for several minutes which is as designed by Boeing.  Those minutes were wasted by the delay by the flight crew electing to not evacuate the plane.  Conversely, the decision to evacuate the plane put the passengers at risk of rescue personnel running them over with their rescue trucks.  This is why there is supposed to be disaster planning and drills.

Both the NTSB and FAA need to get better plans on when planes should be evacuated or not.  More importantly, the local airport authority needs to plan and drill, which does not seem to have been done correctly. 

Fire suppression was being provided on scene and since the plane was being evacuated by SFFD personnel, you already have rescue personnel in the fire zone.  If you have already risked those personnel, does it make sense to leave 300+ civilians in the danger zone WITHOUT ANY WAY of getting out?  How the hell does SFO expect to get 300+ civilians from the runway threshold to the building anyway?

The AMR ambulance spokesperson stated that 20-30 ambulance vehicles were held off and entered the zone 5 at at time.  If you are transporting 5 people at a time and you only have 30 ambulances, you are making 6 sorties.  Each sortie across the airport is about 10 minutes drive round trip.  You can only evacuate 30-40 people in an hour.  The NBC reporting is consistent with the math.

Someone at SFO and the SFO personnel did not do the math.  They clearly did not plan and did not drill on a mass casualty event.  If they had drilled and planned and redrilled on this type of event, they would have immediately seen that 20-30 ambulances for a plane accident is totally inadequate if a passenger plane crashes at the airport.

If you have to triage and transport 300 patients within 30 minutes, you must triage 10 patients a minute.  That means you need 5-10 medics doing triage simultaneously and each medic will have 5-10 seconds to make the triage decision for the life of the patient.  The more medics coordinated on scene means each medic can take more time to treat each patient.  But, this is triage only.  The medics are supposed to be doing a "scoop and run" operation in order to move those injured to the hospital as quickly as possible.

If you are trained in the armed services, you know what I'm talking about.  If you are civilian and have no emergency training, then hopefully this posting is helpful to your insight into how your safety and your life protected by emergency personnel.

In conclusion to this posting, I must say that I greatly appreciated Tom Costello's reporting.  I can only hope that Costello is continuing to watch and gather info on this aspect of the story.

The apparent lack of mass casualty plans, emergency planning, and emergency drilling is very clear.

SFO needs to address these issues immediately.

I can only hope NTSB includes these circumstances in their reporting and investigation.  These factors play a contributing role in one of the two deaths related to this accident.

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