The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

July 11, 2013

Asiana passengers called 911 begging for help

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Passengers aboard a plane that crashed at San Francisco International Airport called 911 and begged for help, saying ambulances hadn't arrived more than 20 minutes after the crash and that they were doing their best to keep the critically injured alive, according to 911 calls that portray a scene of desperation.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed Saturday when it came in too low and too slow, killing two passengers and injuring many others as it skittered and spun 100 feet.

"We've been on the ground, I don't know, 20 minutes, a half hour," one woman said in a 911 call released late Wednesday by the California Highway Patrol. "There are people laying on the tarmac with critical injuries, head injuries. We're almost losing a woman here. We're trying to keep her alive."

Another called told a dispatcher: "There's not enough medics out here. There is a woman out here on the street, on the runway, who is pretty much burned very severely on the head and we don't know what to do."

The dispatcher told the caller: "OK. We do have help started that way. You said that they're there, but there's not enough people, correct?"

"Yes," the caller said. "She is severely burned. She will probably die soon if we don't get help."

The dispatcher responded: "We are working on getting additional ambulances to you."

San Francisco officials say ambulances could not come too close out of concern that the plane would explode.

Investigators are examining the cockpit interaction of two Asiana Airlines pilots who had taken on new roles before the crash of Flight 214 — one of whom had seldom flown a Boeing 777 and an instructor who was on his first training flight.

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