Baum Hedlund has been retained to represent 17 passengers who were injured when Asiana Airlines Flight OZ214 from Seoul, South Korea crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday morning, July 6, 2013, leaving three young girls dead and 181 injured. The fatal crash, which was captured by amateur videographers and broadcast on YouTube, occurred at 11:27 a.m. on runway 28L at SFO. The flight originated from Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN).
There were 291 passengers and 16 crewmembers aboard the Boeing 777 when it went down. According to a statement made by Asiana Airlines in the wake of the crash, the airline said 141 passengers were Chinese, 77 Koreans, 64 Americans, three Canadians, one French, one Vietnamese and one Japanese.
The three deceased victims have been identified as 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan, 16-year-old Wang Linjia, and 15-year-old Liu Yipeng, all female students from China. Wang Linjia and Ye Meng Yuan, who had been friends and classmates since middle school, were participating in a summer exchange program in the U.S. with 28 others students, including Liu Yipeng. The 15-year-old actually survived the crash only to succumb to her injuries six days later. She was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital on Friday morning. Law enforcement officials are still investigating whether Ye Meng Yuan actually survived the crash only to be run over by a rescue vehicle rushing toward the burning wreckage.
A total of 182 people were rushed to area hospitals following the crash, with two people remaining in critical condition. The injuries reported range from paralysis to road rash, which seems to indicate that some might have been dragged as the plane skidded down the runway.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was dispatched to San Francisco to begin their investigation immediately following the crash. NTSB chair Deborah Hersman is leading the investigation. So far, their preliminary analysis of the crash shows that the Boeing 777 was flying below the target speed of 137 knots (159 mph) during its approach for landing. The flight crew acknowledged the target speed, but according to Hersman, the plane was flying significantly below this target speed. "We are not talking about a few knots," she added.
Additionally, the cockpit voice recorder captured the pilots considering a "go-around" roughly 1.5 seconds before impact with the ground, which means they considered aborting the landing to go around for another try. The NTSB also ruled out weather as a problem, stating conditions were right for a visual landing.
Finally, the pilot landing the plane received a warning known as a "stick shaker" roughly four seconds before impact with the ground, indicating the aircraft was on the verge of an aerodynamic stall. This simply means the plane was losing its ability to create lift and stay airborne, likely due to the lack of thrust from the engines, which had been throttled down to "idle."
The NTSB has found that Lee Kang-guk, the pilot flying the plane at the time of the crash, had only logged 43 total hours of flight time in the pilot's chair of the Boeing 777 prior to Saturday's crash at SFO. Additionally, Saturday was only the ninth training flight for the pilot, which is "11 flights shy of the worldwide standard to get licensed," according to ABC News. Saturday's flight was also the first time Mr. Lee had attempted to land a Boeing 777 at San Francisco.
Born in 1967, Lee Kang-guk started his career with Asiana in 1994 as a trainee, before earning his pilot's license in 2001. He has logged nearly 10,000 hours of flying time in his career.
The Boeing 777-28EER that crashed is a long-range twin-engine jet liner with a typical seating capacity of between 314 and 451 passengers. The wide-body plane, which debuted commercially with United Airlines in 1995, is the first entirely computer-designed commercial aircraft. The Asiana plane, registered HL7742, is made with a turbofan Pratt & Whitney PW4090 engine.
This is not the first time that a Boeing 777 has crashed. In 2008, a 777 operated by British Airways crashed short of the runway at London Heathrow Airport in a similar manner to Asiana Flight OZ214. British Airways Flight 038 from Beijing, China lost power during its approach to Heathrow and lacked the thrust necessary to safely land the aircraft. The subsequent investigation of the British Airways crash revealed that ice crystals were found in the fuel, which was ruled as the cause of the crash.
The aviation attorneys at Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman have extensive experience handling the complex litigation following airline disasters. Baum Hedlund has successfully handled over 60 airline crashes and has represented over 600 passengers, ground victims and flight crew in aviation accidents across the United States and abroad.
The firm has also successfully handled many runway crash landings, similar to the San Francisco crash, including the 1997 Korean Air Lines Flight 801 crash that occurred in Guam. The firm represented the families of a Korean passenger and an American passenger killed in the crash. Only 26 out of the 254 people on the aircraft survived when the plane crashed on its approach to the runway at Guam International Airport.
In that case, the flight crew of KAL 801 was negligent and failed to properly monitor their position and altitude during the progress of a Localizer Only approach to Runway 6 Left. The pilots deliberately ignored numerous and continuous low altitude warnings from their Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) and Radar Altimeter, as well as the aircraft's Distance Measuring Equipment and other position indicators, which showed that the aircraft was below all minimum safe altitudes during each and every phase of the final approach, culminating in this tragic crash.
Compounding the flight crew's problems was a lack of Crew (Cockpit) Resource Management (CRM) training. This resulted in the co-pilot's hesitation to criticize the judgment of his superior, the captain flying the aircraft.
Air Traffic Control (ATC) also failed to monitor the progress of KAL 801. ATC had radar showing the aircraft's position and altitude during the entire approach. ATC failed to warn the crew of KAL 801 they were below minimum safe altitudes.
Baum Hedlund also represented 47 Chinese nationals injured and killed as a result of the 1993 China Eastern Airlines Flight 583 accident over the Pacific Ocean near Alaska. The MD-11, flying from Shanghai to Los Angeles, violently pitched up and down due to the aircraft's accidental slat (flaps on the front of the wing) deployment. Two people died and 156 passengers and crew sustained injuries.
The firm went above and beyond its legal duties when lawyers handling the China Eastern Airlines case, arranged to have the lead flight attendant, who was severely brain damaged from the accident, flown back to the United States to undergo advanced medical care and rehabilitation by a world-renowned neurologist in Los Angeles.
The crash landing at SFO on Saturday was the first fatal accident involving a major commercial carrier in the U.S. since November 2001, when American Airlines Flight 587 to the Dominican Republic crashed on takeoff in Queens, N.Y., killing all 260 people on board. The last fatal accident involving a commercial flight in the U.S. was Colgan Air Flight 3407, which crashed near Buffalo, killing 50 in 2009. Baum Hedlund represented 12 passengers killed in these two crashes.
By Paul J. Hedlund Google+