Investigators seek cause of deadly plane crash in San Francisco

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NTSB officials arrived on Sunday at the scene of the deadly crash at San Francisco International Airport to begin a formal investigation into the cause of a Boeing 777 plane from South Korea that crash-landed into the runway, killing two and injuring dozens.

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman told Fox News the agency is assessing the damage and has recovered the black box recordings from the plane’s cockpit.

“The cockpit data recording gives a sense of the conversations, the workload and what was going on between pilots not just in the moments of the crash but in the minutes and hours before,” Hersman said. “If the data’s good, it will help guide our investigation.”

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 slammed into the runway on Saturday, breaking off its tail and catching fire before coming to a stop that allowed some passengers to flee down emergency slides.

During a televised news conference, Asiana CEO Yoon Young-doo offered an apology where he bowed while saying, “I am bowing my head and extending my deep apology” to the passengers, their families and the South Korean people over the crash.”

Yoon said that it will take time to determine the cause of the crash. But when asked about the possibility of engine or mechanical problems, he said he doesn’t believe that could have been the cause. He said the plane was bought in 2006 but didn’t provide further details or elaborate.

Asiana officials later added the plane was also built that year.

Yoon also said that the Flight 214 pilots are all veterans, with more than 10,000 hours of flight experience. “And one pilot has 9,000, almost 10,000 hours’ experience,” he said.

It was not immediately clear what happened to Asiana Flight 214, but witnesses said that the plane appeared to sway back and forth, and kick up dust during the landing. Initial reports indicated that the plane’s tail broke off from some impact. An aviation safety expert interviewed by the Associated Press suggested that part of the plane may have hit a seawall at the end of the runway.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said at a news conference Saturday evening that all 291 passengers and 16 crew members had been accounted for.

Chinese state media identified the two passengers killed as Ye Mengyuan and Wan Linjia, students from Jiangshan Middle School in eastern China. The girls are both reported to be 16 years old.