Plane terror as tail snaps off
TWO people died when a jet crash-landed on a US airport runway last night — with another 60 unaccounted for.
The Boeing 777 had its tail, landing gear and engine ripped off as it skidded across the runway at San Francisco Airport.
Many of the 291 passengers and 16 crew on board Flight 214 clambered safely from the burning wreckage — but at least 48 were injured, some of them critically.
Witnesses said the plane had flipped over and “cartwheeled” across the tarmac before coming to a standstill.
Terrified passengers escaped by sliding down the plane’s emergency slides as fire trucks doused the cabin with foam.
Debris was strewn hundreds of yards away and most of the cabin’s roof appeared to have been destroyed by the heat.
There was confusion last night as San Francisco fire chief Joanne Hayes-White said 60 passengers were still missing after the crash.
But she added: “They are not assumed dead.”
Passenger David Eun tweeted moments after the devastating impact: “I just crash-landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I’m ok. Surreal…”
He added: “Fire and rescue people all over the place. Haven’t felt this way since 9/11.”
Shocked witnesses described seeing the Asiana Airlines jet — arriving from Seoul, South Korea, after a 10hr 23min flight — tear apart as it came into land.
One called Isabel said the plane clipped an airport car and then smashed into another aircraft.
She added: “I saw the plane coming in extremely fast and heavy.
“The wing clipped one of the working cars on the runway which caused it to spin and hit another plane, making it flip and cartwheel out of control and crash on to the runway.”
Witness Stephanie Laine said: “A landing plane came in at a bad angle, flipped and exploded.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of investigators to probe the crash.
The Boeing 777-200 is a twin-engine aircraft and one of the most popular for long-haul flights.
Flights from the UK to San Francisco were being diverted last night.