Tue, Jul 16, 2013 - Page 6 News List

S Korea to probe Asiana airlines after US disaster

SEOUL SEARCHING:The investigation is seeking to determine if the carrier broke any operation or training rules that lead to the crash that killed three

AFP and Reuters, SEOUL AND BEIJING

South Korea’s Asiana airlines will be subject of a three-week government investigation after one of its passenger jets crash landed in San Francisco, California, officials said yesterday.

The South Korean Ministry of Transport also ordered all South Korean airlines to step up safety measures and provide additional training for their pilots and crew.

“South Korean airlines are required to strengthen safety measures in all areas, from flight operation, maintenance and their operation manuals to facilities,” South Korean Vice Minister of Transport Yeo Hyung-koo said in a statement released by his office.

The order came yesterday at talks between ministry officials and executives from the country’s eight carriers.

The probe will investigate whether Asiana violated any rules in its operation and training, the ministry said.

Four pilots from the Boeing 777 that crashed on July 6 will be questioned starting tomorrow. The pilots returned home on Saturday after being quizzed by US aviation officials.

Questions have been raised about whether their perceived lack of experience in flying the B777 played a role in the accident — the carrier’s first passenger jet crash in 20 years.

The Asiana jet from Shanghai via Seoul clipped a sea wall with its tail as it came in to land at the US airport and skidded out of control before catching fire, leaving three dead and more than 180 injured. Two teenage Chinese girls died immediately after the accident and another girl, also Chinese, died from her injuries on Friday.

The three victims of the crash attended the same school in eastern China. Liu Yipeng, (劉易芃), 15, has been described as a star student in math, physics and essay writing, as well as a fan of video games.

Wang Linjia (王琳佳), 16, was a star student in physics and calligraphy and was described by neighbors as quiet, courteous and hardworking.

Wang was among a group of injured passengers who did not get immediate medical help. Rescuers did not spot her until 14 minutes after the crash, finding her along with three flight attendants who were flung onto the tarmac but survived the crash.

Ye Mengyuan (葉夢園), 16, was a champion athlete who excelled at literature, piano, singing and public speaking. Ye was Wang’s close friend, and pictures posted online by friends show the two girls, smiling and mugging for the cameras. Local media said she recently won a national aerobics competition and routinely received honors at her school’s annual speech contests.

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