Transcript: Press briefing remarks by NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman on Asiana Flight 214 – July 8, 2013 – Part 3

Part 3: Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Deborah Hersman, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, on the crash of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco Airport on July 6, 2013. The press briefing was held on July 8, 2013:

We will also start the recovery process as well. We’ll be separating the materials that are of particular interest to our accident investigators from the parts that are not. The parts that we are focused on – sections of the aircraft that we want to retain for further examination – will be transported in the future to a secure location. But we still got quite a bit of work on scene to do before that takes place.

They’re going to be identifying the way that certain aircraft parts came off, the way that the gear separated from the aircraft, the landing gear, and documenting the rest of the airplane or how it broke up or how it maintained its structural integrity. All of this information can help all of us in the aviations community plow lessons learned back into aircraft design.

Our team has walked the full wreckage path – in addition to all the documentations I’ve talked about – they started at the sea wall and they moved to the accident site. I’m going to describe to you a little bit about what they have seen, what they have observed.

The lower portion of the tail cone is in the rocks at the sea wall and there was a significant piece of the tail of this aircraft that was in the water. Our investigators have also documented additional aircraft parts that are visible when low tide occurred.

Walking forward from the sea wall and the very beginning of the pavement along the wreckage path, you can see the horizontal stabilizers, the vertical stabilizer, and the upper portion of the tail cone.

Next, as you proceed down runway 2-8-left, you see portions of the main landing gear and many fractured pieces of the fuselage. There’s also debris from the seawall located several hundred feet up the runway.

We have many witness marks for ground scars from the gear, from the landing gear, from the sliding engines, and from contact with the fuselage once the fuselage broke away and was contacting the ground. These ground scars, witness marks are consistent with some of the twisting motion that many of you have observed in the videos that have been posted publicly or on YouTube.

The main portion of the wreckage is off to the left side of the runway, and it’s pointed towards the right. The right engine is tucked in adjacent to the wing of the aircraft, and the left engine is on the opposite side away from the aircraft; it slid away from the aircraft and it’s forward of the aircraft.

While the tail portion is missing from the aircraft, you can see the breached [incomprehensible audio] pressure bulkhead in the back of the airplane.

And we have already talked about some of the internal and external observations of the aircraft. You all have had a lot of shots of the external portion of the aircraft. We also have provided some photographs from the internal portion of the aircraft. You can see there’s significant damage inside and the damage is different depending on what part of the aircraft you’re looking at.

Our survival factors team is going to be documenting over 300 seats on the aircraft. We want to identify their condition and their performance, how they were damaged. And we also want to understand where the occupants were sitting, how they were injured, what the injury mechanism was, and if they were using restraints.

We will be documenting the operation of the doors and the slides and the conditions of the interior compartment. And the interior compartment is pretty much everything else from the overhead luggage racks to the side walls.

This same group also works on emergency response issues, and they’re examining video and data associated with the emergency response activities and the emergency vehicle activities.

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