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A year later, survivors recall Asiana Flight 214 crash

By Michael Martinez, CNN
July 6, 2014 -- Updated 2238 GMT (0638 HKT)
  • "We were all bouncing all over the place," one survivor says
  • "It was so shocking that we could miss the runway," another says
  • Just last month, U.S. officials cited pilot crew errors

(CNN) -- A year ago Sunday, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco's airport, killing three passengers and injuring 187 more.

Survivors remember the incident, in which the plane clipped a seawall just short of the runway, spun violently for 330 degrees, broke into pieces and caught fire. It all occurred on a clear day.

"It was like we were all bouncing all over the place. I just remember there being dust everywhere, and I was freaking out and then it just stopped," said Esther Jang, 15.

In this handout photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 sits just off the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday, July 7. The Boeing 777 coming from Seoul, South Korea, crashed on landing on Saturday, July 6. Three passengers, all girls, died as a result of the first notable U.S. air crash in four years. In this handout photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 sits just off the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday, July 7. The Boeing 777 coming from Seoul, South Korea, crashed on landing on Saturday, July 6. Three passengers, all girls, died as a result of the first notable U.S. air crash in four years.
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
Asiana: Pilot error was a factor in crash

Said another passenger, Ben Levy: "And there was no wind, no fog. I'm a regular at the San Francisco airport. So, yeah, it was so shocking that we could miss the runway by so much."

The crash marked the first time that the new Boeing 777, one of the most sophisticated airliners, was involved in a fatal crash.

Since then, another Boeing 777, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, disappeared after takeover from Kuala Lumpur on March 8. Authorities have yet to solve the mystery of what became of the plane carrying 239 passengers and crew.

In the Asiana crash, one of the three people killed was Ye Meng Yuan, 16, who died on the ground when she was apparently hit by a rescue truck responding to the scene, according to the San Mateo County coroner.

A subsequent video suggested that at one point emergency workers saw Ye's body on the tarmac during the chaos.

But a January report by San Francisco authorities asserted that Ye was already dead when two fire trucks ran over her on the airfield.

Earlier this year, a lawyer for Ye's family said a video shows that several firefighters saw her lying on the tarmac, but none "did the basic step of checking if she was alive."

The teenage girl was on her way to an American summer camp from her home in China when the crash happened.

Last month, U.S. safety investigators determined that the pilots erred on the approach and landing of the plane.

Also contributing to the disaster was crew training and the complexities of a key flight system on the Boeing 777 and how it was described in operating manuals, the National Transportation Safety Board found.

Investigators, however, primarily faulted the crew of the South Korean-based carrier for not fully executing intricate systems of the jetliner packed with more than 300 people.

The flight crew mismanaged the plane's descent being carried out without the help of navigational instruments, and one of the pilots unintentionally deactivated a system that automatically regulates airspeed, the board's final report said.

The crew also delayed its decision to abort the landing with the plane flying too slowly to avoid catastrophe, investigators found.

Of the 307 people on board, almost 200 of them were taken to local hospitals with injuries such as bruises, broken bones and spinal damage.

Passenger Eugene Rah broke his jaw and injured his back and hip. A year later, he's still dealing with the fallout.

"I'm grateful that I'm still alive. The problem is the consequences change some of my life," he told CNN. "I couldn't really do much normal activities and work as before."

The flight originated in Shanghai, China, made a connection in Seoul, South Korea, and then flew 10 hours to San Francisco International Airport.

Pilots blamed for Asiana crash

CNN's Dan Simon contributed from San Francisco.

Part of complete coverage on
Asiana Flight 214 crash
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Pilots botched the approach and landing of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco nearly a year ago, causing a crash that killed three people and injured 187 others, investigators concluded.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 1809 GMT (0209 HKT)
The National Transportation Safety Board held a hearing to determine the cause of the 2013 Asiana Flight 214 plane crash.
January 19, 2014 -- Updated 1836 GMT (0236 HKT)
A group of passengers who were aboard an Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed has sued aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
October 20, 2013 -- Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT)
The firefighter who accidentally ran over and killed a 16-year-old girl who survived the crash will not be charged in the case.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
The U.S. Department of Transportation fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to assist families following the crash of Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco in July.
July 9, 2013 -- Updated 0943 GMT (1743 HKT)
The two teen girls were close friends, each looking forward to a summer trip to California to improve their English.
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July 10, 2013 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
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Shortly after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed in San Francisco, passengers and witnesses pleaded with 911 responders to send help -- some frantically, some insistently.
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July 9, 2013 -- Updated 1429 GMT (2229 HKT)
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July 10, 2013 -- Updated 0600 GMT (1400 HKT)
Veteran flight attendant Lee Yoon Hye sensed something was awry as Flight 214 neared the San Francisco International Airport runway.
July 10, 2013 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
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Photos from the scene show a trail of debris down the runway and people waiting for their loved ones.
July 8, 2013 -- Updated 0019 GMT (0819 HKT)
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