Hospital: 3rd San Francisco airport crash victim dies

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jul 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-12 19:26:15-04
By Greg Botelho and Amanda Watts

(CNN) — A third person — identified only as a girl — has died from injuries sustained in last week’s crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, officials at the San Francisco hospital where she was being treated said Friday.

San Francisco General spokeswoman Rachael Kagan identified the victim as a “minor girl” who had been in critical condition at the Bay Area hospital since last Saturday’s crash. The hospital didn’t release any information about the girl — including her name, exact age or ethnicity — who died Friday morning, according to Dr. Margaret Knudson, the hospital’s chief of surgery.

“It’s a very, very sad day today at San Francisco General Hospital,” said Dr. Geoffrey Manley, San Francisco General’s chief of neurosurgery. “We have all done everything we could.”

Two other people — both 16-year-old girls from China — were reported dead soon after the Boeing 777 crash landed at San Francisco Airport.

Of the passengers and crew on board, 304 people survived — 123 of whom walked away relatively unscathed and 182 who were sent to local hospital, including the girl who died Friday.

A handful of them remained hospitalized Friday, including six patients at San Francisco General as of 3 p.m. (6 p.m. ET) Friday. That hospital’s figure include two adults in critical condition with spinal cord injuries, abdominal injuries, internal bleeding, road rash and fractures.

Besides the passengers and crew members’ physical recovery, San Francisco International Airport is working to get back to normal as well.

The airport was shut down to incoming and departing traffic for several hours after the Asiana crash, which occurred around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Two of its four runways reopened later that day, but — as late as Friday — the runway around which the Boeing 777 finally settled was still closed.

That should change Sunday, when that third runway should reopen, airport director John Martin said late Thursday. This will follow repair and the removal of what’s left of the stricken aircraft, which began Friday.

Why did it crash? Investigators are still working to determine that, having sifted through the wreckage and interviewed many of those closest to the scene, including the flight’s four pilots and many of its flight attendants.

An in-depth review of the cockpit voice recorder shows two pilots called for the landing to be aborted before the plane hit a seawall and crashed onto the runway, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.

The first internal call by one of the three pilots in the cockpit to abort the landing came three seconds before the crash and a second was made by another pilot 1.5 seconds before impact, NTSB chief Deborah Hersman said.

The agency has begun wrapping up its investigation at the airport and crews are cleaning up the debris left by the crash. Investigators turned the runway back over to the airport. The runway has been closed since Saturday’s crash.

The investigation is slowly shifting back to NTSB headquarters in Washington, where authorities will work to find a more definitive answer about what led to the crash.

The passenger jet’s main landing gear slammed into the seawall between the airport and San Francisco Bay, spinning the aircraft 360 degrees as it broke into pieces and eventually caught fire.