Transcript: Press briefing remarks by NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman on Asiana Flight 214 – July 8, 2013 – Part 5

Part 5: 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:

That being said, let me give you a few more data points that have come off the flight data recorder. Remember these are very early reads off the flight data recorder. We have a group that we’re convening. We want to make sure that all of these different parameters are correct.

But here are a few more points for you:

At about 1,600 feet, the autopilot was disengaged and this was about 82 second prior to impact.

At about 1,400 feet, their air speed was approximately 170 knots. This was 73 seconds prior to impact.

At about 1,000 feet, the air speed was approximately 149 knots, and this was about 54 seconds prior to impact.

At about 500 feet, the air speed was approximately 134 knots, and this was 34 seconds prior to impact.

At about 200 feet, the air speed was approximately 118 knots, and this was about 16 seconds prior to impact.

At about 125 feet, the throttles started moving forward and air speed was approximately 112 knots. This was 8 seconds prior to impact.

About 3 seconds prior to impact, the flight data recorder recorded its lowest speed of 103 knots. At this time, the engines were about 50% power and engine power was increasing.

At impact, air speed was approximately 106 knots.

I share this information with you, remember it is from the flight data recorder. It is recording data parameters. We want to validate all those parameters. We want to synchronize all of those parameters that we’ve got with other information – air traffic control, radar data, cockpit voice recorder, and that will help us have a better picture of what happened. What I’m sharing with you is some information to help you get some context.

We talked yesterday about this aircraft significantly slower than their [incomprehensible audio] target approach speed of 137 knots. 137 knots is the speed that they want to have when they cross the threshold into the runway.

There is another component to the work that we do. The NTSB is required by the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance act of 1996 and the Foreign Carrier Family Support Act of 1997 to provide and coordinate the assistance for family members of victims and also of survivors and their families post-crash.

This act requires domestic and foreign air carriers for scheduled passenger service to have plans in place to meet the needs of aviation accident victims and their family members. It requires the NTSB to help coordinate with the air carrier and local and state authorities – and those authorities would be individuals like the coroner’s office – to ensure the needs for services and information regarding the accident is being provided to victims’ families and to survivors of the accident.

Our team is working with the American Red Cross, with the State Department. We have several nationalities involved in this crash. It’s required providing some translation services. We want to make sure that they have a place to go – a safe place to go to recover, to grieve, and to have support from people who care about them.

The carrier, in this case Asiana, has responsibilities to provide notifications to family members about involvement in an event. They are responsible for arranging travel and lodging for those families and survivors and recovering and managing or retaining personal effects from the aircraft.

There are 120 passengers and family members that are making use of the family assistance center that has been set up. There are 70 Asiana and United Airlines employees – United Airlines is a co-share partner with Asiana – who are providing support for those family members. And there are 7 state, federal, and local agencies, including the NTSB, who are providing for the family members’ needs. They’re making efforts to providing for their security, transportation, food, and lodging. They also want to help with facilitating the reunification of individuals who are involved in the crash with their family members who might be coming to be with them.

There are a number of people who are still hospitalized and so there are efforts to make sure their families are being supported as well. That’s the end of the official portion of my briefing…

I did want to introduce you all to a very important person associated with this accident investigation, and that is our investigator-in-charge, Mr. Bill English. He’s responsible for the conduct of the investigation…and he is leading a team of 20 NTSB investigators and many more who are involved in our party process. So Bill, I just wanted to thank you for all the hard work you and your team have been doing.


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