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CNN NEWSROOM

Boeing 777 Crashes in San Francisco; Updating the Egyptian Situation; Edward Snowden Continues to Seek Asylum

Aired July 6, 2013 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN: I'm Don Lemon in New York. We have breaking news to update you on right now. The latest details from the scene of an airline crash in California. Here's what we know right now. At least two people are confirmed dead right now after the crash landing of Asiana Flight 214. A Boeing 777 on the runway at San Francisco International Airport. 181 others were injured. 49 seriously. But looking at what's left of the plane, it really boggles the mind that so many people walked away from this violent crash. Witnesses say the plane was landing and the back of the plane hit the ground and then a fireball. Then the plane spun around throwing aircraft parts and debris in all directions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looked normal at first. It was taking the same angle that they always come in, like, like this, and then the wheels were down. And then I knew something was wrong about three or five seconds out. I said, I started calling to my fiancee, says, this doesn't look right, this doesn't look right. And the wheels, they were too low too soon. So if this is the runway, it came in like this and I was just watching the wheels and it just hit like that and the whole thing just collapsed immediately. It never really had a chance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: You can see people, obviously, very emotional there. Passengers escaped the burning plane on those inflatable emergency slides. 291 passengers and 16 flight crew were onboard at the time. The wide-body aircraft came to a stop just off the runway on its belly. The landing gear broken off. On everybody's mind tonight, what happened? What made that plane smash into the runway after crossing the Pacific? Right now, the crash scene is crawling with investigators, and the NTSB leadership in route to San Francisco right now. Their job, find out the cause of that crash and prevent it from happening again. Of course.

And some friends and family of passengers on flight 214 saw the plane crash and afterward could only wait to learn the fate of their loved ones. Eunice Burd Rjah (ph) was among them. Her father was on that plane and took this incredible photo. And she joins me now from San Francisco. How is your father?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Don. He's fine. I actually lost contact with him after several hours of getting those photos, and he just texted me and I just arrived at the airport. LEMON: So he just texted you. He's OK. I would imagine his phone, the battery may have died. Is that one reason you lost touch with him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. I'm assuming. He has an iPhone and for a couple of hours I wasn't able to i-message him, which told me his phone might have died or he might have been disconnected.

LEMON: Yeah. Was he injured at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what, to tell you the truth, I don't know. Like I said, he's usually a very articulate man. He's very detailed. You know. Even over text. But he's been very vague. He said he bumped his head a couple of times. So I won't know until I see him. And he said he was just released to the red carpet area for United Airlines just now. So that means he's been under medical care at the airport, at the original terminal. So I'm -- you know, the funny thing, Don, is I've been trying to reunite with my dad for the last couple of hours. I've called SFO, the TSA. I mean I've called literally everyone. I even called SFPD and nobody - and I've called General Hospital in San Francisco. Nobody has been able to assist me in any way, but coincidentally, a news team has just picked me up and is trying to get me past all those security lines to reunite with my dad as we speak right now. So ...

LEMON: So what are you saying, you would like better information? Or them to be more reactive?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They could have contacted maybe the families first before anybody else. Especially for, you know, people that they've identified for a crew and passengers. They could have at least, you know, tried to reach out to the families, let them know they're OK or how, you know, this procedure is going to work. Because so far, I don't know how to get into the airport, I can't get into the airport even if I wanted to. I didn't know where he was located. And thank God his phone is on, because nobody else has been really been in contact with my family.

LEMON: Yeah. I know that I would be very upset if I had a family member involved. But you understand, I'm sure, there's probably - there's chaos, I'm sure, in customs and arrivals and then with different ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. You know. And we just pulled up toward -- yeah, we just pulled up toward the front terminal and I just saw a whole bunch of news camera cars. Everything is blocked off. I mean, it was horrifying. It's every daughter's nightmare. You know, my father has been flying for 30 years. Once I became an adult, I've been flying, you know, every day of my life. And, you know, since I was a little girl, this is something, you know, daddy -- this is never going to happen. And just being -- just seeing the wreckage from my balcony was very difficult because I could see, you know, medics and everything. But I didn't know what was going on and I didn't know how to get there. So and watching it from my home, was, you know, very sad and very scary. LEMON: Yeah. Did he say -- when we spoke earlier, you talked about sort of a warning that he thought that there was trouble with the plane?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, he texted me and he said he had a feeling -- he just knew that it's something was going to go wrong as soon as he thought that the plane was just too low. He said it - the back part of the plane had bounced extremely hard making a huge booming noise. But right before that, when they were really low on the runway, he knew that it was going to happen and he's a very smart, smart, quick man. I mean, he's the type of guy that, you know, reacts very, very quickly and knows what's going on around him. So, you know, I think what he was trying to say was he knew something was going to go wrong.

LEMON: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like I said, he's been flying for 30 years. So ...

LEMON: Yeah. If you fly a lot, you know, sometimes you say, hey, we're going in pretty fast. You kind of know. You get used to it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

LEMON: And right? If you become accustom to it. Eunice, what's your dad's name? His first name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eugene Anthony-Rjah.

LEMON: Eugene. Eugene. So, we're glad that Eugene is OK. We're glad that you're OK. If I'm reading correctly, I hear that you are concerned, but there's also a bit of relief in your voice. Am I correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. I'm trying -- I'm actually at the airport. We're -- so I'm just yards from him. I'm going to go and try and find him and reunite with him and just see him for the first time today.

LEMON: You hug him a lot, and if you don't mind, just for the sake of those who would like to make sure that you reunited and hear about it -- you reunite with your father and hear about it, can you hand him the phone and have him call in to us for a moment if he will do it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. Thank you, Don, sir, for everything that you're doing. I really appreciate it.

LEMON: Thank you. We wish you all the best, you and your dad, Eugene. And hopefully we'll hear from you very soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

LEMON: All righty. Flight 214 was so close to the runway when something went horribly wrong. The plane smashed into the ground. It spun around and it burst into flames. Fire crews doused the plane's charred roof. Now at least two people are dead. The NTSB has said everything is on the table in terms of an investigation right now. I want to go to my colleague, CNN's Dan Simon. He's live in San Francisco, he's at the airport where all of this is going down. Dan, what are you hearing from investigators right now?

SIMON: Well, Don, first of all, you know, such a range of emotions. We've all been feeling at the airport in the last few hours. You know, I guess we can all just feel unbelievably glad that we're now dealing with one person unaccounted for at this point, you know, especially when you look at that plane wreckage. One would think that you'd be dealing with a much higher death toll, but at this point, two confirmed dead and we have 181 people at the hospital. Of those 181 people at the hospital, 49 of them, Don, are in serious condition. Now, in terms of the investigation, we know that the NTSB, the National Transportation Safety Board, has a crew on the way to San Francisco. They should arrive sometime this evening. We also know that the equivalent of the NTSB in South Korea, Korean investigators also sending a team here to San Francisco to investigate it along with airline personnel. At this point, we still don't really have a good sense in terms of what may have caused this. Of course, a lot of theories abound, but we don't want to speculate at this point. We just want to go with what we know. And at this point, we can't really draw any conclusions at this point, Don, in terms of what happened.

LEMON: We still want to talk a little bit more about the investigation, though, Dan. I mean, we can see for our eyes, I mean from our eyes, that just from the pictures here that the plane's tail appears shattered into pieces. Does that tell investigators anything right off the top? Did they speak about that?

SIMON: You know, at this point, they haven't. Some of the experts that we've had on the air, you know, seem to be suggesting that the plane may have been a little too low. May have landed or at least tried to land a bit early. I think, you know, you can make a reasonable inference from that because the tail snapped off. But what exactly caused the plane, or, you know, let's just say, was this a pilot error, or was there some other problem with that, with that airplane that may have caused that to happen? Of course, those are the things that the folks were talking about and that's going to be the investigators' job, if you will, as soon as they get here on the ground. To sort of piece everything together.

LEMON: And, Dan, you can't hold anyone if they're not willing to allow you, especially in a situation like this. I would imagine the passengers who are not hurt, they're being allowed to leave the airport, yes or no?

SIMON: You know, to be totally honest, we don't know. I would assume that they'll want to be interviewed by somebody here at the airport, whether it's the airline or if, in fact, you know, they'll take down their name and number and be interviewed at a later time. But I was sort of under the impression that they were not allowed to leave at this point. But to be truthfully honest, I do not know that. We know that some folks have gathered in an airport lounge where they've talked with officials and where they've received some sort of care. We know that family and friends of the passengers were sort of segregated to the second floor of the international terminal where they met with airline officials. But in terms of where all those people are at this particular moment, I just don't know the answer to that question, Don.

LEMON: Yeah. Of course, this is me, Dan, but my first inclination would be to get out of there and go and hug as many family members as possible. Thank you, Dan Simon. We'll get back to you throughout the evening here on CNN. Right now, 34 patients are being treated at San Francisco's only level-one trauma center, San Francisco General Hospital.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL KAGAN, SPOKESWOMAN, SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL HOSPITAL: Of those patients, 11 are children and 23 are adults. We have five in critical condition from the original ten you may recall that at the 2:00 update we had ten critically injured patients. Five of those remain critically injured. Five, the other five have been upgraded to serious. For the rest of the group, getting up to a grand total of 34, we do not have condition breakdowns yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And if you've been watching our coverage throughout the evening here on CNN, we've been reporting to you this, a trauma center has set up tents outside the emergency room to help deal with the sudden influx. A hospital spokeswoman says a spontaneous wave of off- duty staffers showed up to help. Doctors, nurses, social workers. Dozens of other injured passengers are being treated at area hospitals, and you can see some patients being wheeled in just hours ago.

Well, some of the most remarkable images in the aftermath of the crash coming from social media. A photograph posted to Twitter by David Eun shows what appears to be passengers walking off the plane. Some of them toting bags as smoke rises from other side, from the other side. He writes, "I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm OK. Surreal." I bet it was. And within moments of the crash, fire crews were on the scene dousing the charred fuselage with water and with foam.

Anthony Costerani who witnessed the landing from a nearby hotel said he saw the plane touch the ground then noticed a larger plume of white smoke. He told CNN that he saw a large, brief fireball that came from underneath the aircraft. CNN I-reporter Timothy Clark was also in a nearby hotel when he heard a loud crashing sound from outside. He told CNN, this is very unnerving. We have a long flight home on Monday.

Do you have videos, pictures of that crash? You, too, can become an I-reporter. Simply go to Ireport.com to post and to share. And we'll get them on the air.

We'll be back with more on our continuing coverage. How many people are still missing? We understand now according to officials two people, at least, have died. But one is still unaccounted for. The very latest on this situation coming up after a very quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: New developments coming into the CNN Newsroom, at every moment now the crash of that Boeing 777 at San Francisco International, suddenly put the tower on crisis mode. Its first job to get emergency crews headed to the crash site and reassure the pilot. Here's some of the tower traffic with Flight 214 referred to as 214 Heavy. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOWER: 214, out of San Francisco tower, (INAUDIBLE) to land.

PILOT: (INAUDIBLE) 214/

TOWER: 214 heavy emergency vehicles are responding.

PILOT: (INAUDIBLE)

TOWER: Asiana 214 heavy, San Francisco tower.

PILOT: (INAUDIBLE)

TOWER: Asiana 214 heavy, emergency vehicles are responding. We have everyone on their way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, they were on their way to this. The pictures were taken by a passenger who rushed off the plane after it crashed. The camera captures a frightening scene. But the tower traffic controller and the pilot seem focused almost matter of fact. But no help is on the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASIANA 214: (INAUDIBLE)

TOWER: 214 heavy, emergency vehicles are responding.

ASIANA 214: (INAUDIBLE)

TOWER: Emergency vehicles ...

ASIANA 214: (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, the crash shut down San Francisco International for a while. Before two runways were finally re-opened. You know, the question immediately raises a question of Asiana's flight history. What other problems has it had before today? Our Richard Quest live in London. He is the perfect person to ask about this and to answer for us. He joins me now again, as I said from London. So, Richard, what have you found out about the history of this airline? RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the airline has a safety record as good as any other airline. It's had five incidents in the last 15, 20 years. One of which was a major fatality. The rest of them have been isolated where this has been the worst. Although looking at the numbers, of course, it doesn't reflect that tonight. I don't think that we can say too much about this. This is a major airline with an impressive performance. It has a new fleet and all things considered, yes, it had a - it had - it lost a 737 some years ago. It's had trouble once before with a freighter. And it's had two other incidents, but, you know, the numbers are small and it's a very, it's a large stretch to say that actually, to start talking about unsafe in some shape or form.

And what I think will be fascinating about this incident, and first of all, the attention now shifts completely. If the numbers are as we're saying, Don, then this really does become once again a story of "A" why did the incident happen? And I think they'll be looking at things like instrument landing systems. They'll be looking at the glide slope. They'll be looking at the approach and they'll be looking at the way the pilot flew the aircraft and thereafter we'll be looking at the training onboard to get the passengers off as fast as they can. This is now turning into an incident very similar to that, which we saw in Toronto some years ago, at Pearson International, where an Air France plane crashed. There was a horrendous fire, but everybody managed to get off, which proves the point, Don, aircraft crashes like this are known as survivable incidents providing you know where your nearest emergency exit is, you don't try and take your belongings with you, and you get off the plane because that's what it's been designed for you to do.

LEMON: Listen, it's terrible news when anyone loses their life, and when anyone is hurt, right, in an incident such as this. But yes, it is incredible that most of the people got off. And Richard, I do have to say for someone who flies a lot, a lot of people watching fly a lot. This is very heartening to know that, you know, you can survive in a situation like this.

QUEST: Oh, absolutely. I think you and I talked about it earlier, but I'm going to go through the numbers again. The aircraft is certified that it can get everybody off the plane within 90 seconds with half the doors inoperable. So very basic. And they work on that basis. Because as you see from this particular incident, the right side of the aircraft was worse damage. That was where the fire was. So you didn't really want to open the doors on the right, so the plane is designed, but you've got to take some care for yourself. You've got to know where the emergency exit is. Personally I sort of mentally count, so I know roughly whether it's before or behind me, and you've got to be - I mean not - you don't obviously try and take your belongings. There are some pictures here suggesting some people did. But the plane is designed that you can get out within 90 seconds. That's the way they build them. That's the way they certify them. And tonight, in San Francisco, we're seeing evidence of that.

LEMON: Yes. And I will be paying attention to the emergency recording video when I enter a plane and when the plane is about to take off. As we all should. As we all should. Thank you very much, Richard Quest. You know, that brings us now to the investigation, itself. The NTSB has a reputation for being painstakingly thorough. My next guest can talk about what those inspectors will be looking for and he knows all about that particular plane. Joining me now is Dr. Todd Curtis, he is the former Boeing safety engineer and your website is Airsafe.com as well. What are they going to focus on first?

TODD CURTIS, FORMER BOEING AVIATION-SAFETY ENGINEER: Well, they'll focus on the history of the aircraft. That is, in the days leading up to the event, were there maintenance issues that were either corrected or not corrected? Were there issues with the flight crew? Whether they have proper rest and proper fuel for the aircraft, et cetera? They'll also look at the actual procedures for this landing. Were they doing the right approach with the right frequencies for the instrument landing system, let's say. And a variety of other aspects of the flight.

Looking at the video, what initial conclusions do you draw about the breakup? I mean, the missing tail section, et cetera?

CURTIS: Well, the biggest conclusion I drew looking at the debris trail was that there was debris going right to the water's edge. It appeared as though a part of the aircraft struck the seawall that's off the end of the runway. And you had the aircraft breaking up from that point. And, in fact, major significant structure. The two horizontal stabilizers and the vertical fin, were in pieces near the end of the runway. And, of course, the rest of the plane kept on going.

LEMON: Yeah. An interesting question, too, I think that because we were reporting earlier about the Coast Guard transporting someone. And you think if the Coast Guard -- I'm just -- that that person would be in the water, and near the water, what have you. What happened to that particular person? I just thought about that, that this was a question to be answered here. The missing tail section, that's usually where the recording devices are.

CURTIS: Well ...

LEMON: But that can withstand, they can withstand a lot of pressure, a lot of damage.

CURTIS: That's correct. It's not necessarily in the very back of the aircraft where you saw those three major pieces. It is in the rear of the aircraft. And it's designed to survive that kind of crash and even the post-crash fire.

LEMON: How long do you think this investigation will take?

CURTIS: Depending on the circumstances, it may take upwards of a year or more. And typically a major accident like this, it's about a year between the time of the accident and the time that the NTSB has a probable cause statement as to what caused this.

LEMON: As we look at this video, look at the fanning out on this airfield here, they were fanning out not only on the runways, but also near the water as well. And it's just interesting to me about where they are looking -- I wanted to know if they were looking in water for debris, they were looking for people. It could probably be both, correct?

CURTIS: It probably could be. Because at the time, put yourself in the shoes of these first responders. All they know is there's a very serious event that happened and they're going to be looking for every possibility including people in the water.

LEMON: Dr. Todd Curtis, thank you. Stand by. We'll be using you, getting back to you throughout the evening here on CNN as well.

Again, we're still trying to figure out one person unaccounted for. One person missing we're being told. And then two people dead at this point. There's still more information to come, and details to develop and we'll bring it to you right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the San Francisco plane crash. We're going to get back to the plane crash in just a moment. But first, here are some other stories we're working on for you on CNN. Including a Mexican volcano active for more than a year finally blowing its top. Here's what it looked like. The volcano has an Indian name meaning appropriately enough, smoking mountain. The molten incandescent rock spewed a mile high. International flights out of a nearby Mexico City were grounded in order to avoid the volcano's ash cloud.

Nearly 12 years after the attack on the World Trade Center, the remains of one of the firefighters killed that day have finally been identified. 37-year-old Jeffrey Walz was identified after the New York City medical examiner's office retested the remains. Walz was last seen in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. More than 2,700 people were killed in the attack.

Edward Snowden in the never ending layover, he's been camping out at the airport in Moscow for two weeks. Well, news today that the man who's wanted in the United States for leaking government secrets may have found a country willing to protect him from prosecution. Three maybes. All in South and Central America. Bolivia and Venezuela. The presidents are extending offers of asylum. Nicaragua is thinking about it, but offers are on - are one thing wherever he goes. Edward Snowden still has to get there. And that's trickier than just hopping on a plane. CNN's Rene Marsh has more now from Washington.

MARSH: Well, Don, if it were only that simple.

He's believed to be hiding out in the Moscow airport, but there are a number of hurdles Edward Snowden has to get over before he's in another country.

Hurdle number one, he's got to get out of that airport and on to a plane, but he has no passport. The U.S. revoked it.

Then there's the logistics. It's believed his most likely destination is Venezuela, but there are no direct flights to Venezuela from Russia, so he'll likely go through Cuba.

That raises the question, what will Cuba do? Will they hand him over?

So it's not an easy trip, but here's the bottom line. If he does make it to Venezuela and they refuse to extradite him, the U.S. simply can't do very much at that point.

Now, no official comment coming from the White House and the State Department is only speaking in general terms, saying they've been in diplomatic talks with other countries urging them to arrest and extradite Snowden if he steps foot on their soil.

Of course, these three countries welcoming Edward Snowden certainly does complicate things.

Don?

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much, Rene.

How did this happen? How did so many people get off that burning plane? And what happened to that one person who's missing?

After the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MURPHY, WITNESSED CRASH: Just as it was coming in to land at the last minute, you could see the front end pop up and then slam down.

I saw the plane sort of flip up, slam down and then a little bit later it exploded and there was black smoke all over the place and some flames.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Witnesses to that crash.

Let me update you now on the airline crash that happened just a few hours ago in San Francisco.

It was Asiana Airlines Flight 214. No major issues on the 10-hour flight from Seoul, but the landing was a disaster, obviously.

The Boeing 777 made it to the runway, but just barely. The tail snapped off. The landing gear broke away. The plane caught fire with more than 300 people onboard.

Two of those people are dead tonight. We don't know if they're passengers o crew members. One-hundred-eighty-one others are in San Francisco hospitals. We know that at least five people are in critical condition tonight.

Emergency crews were on the crashed plane immediately, putting out the fire and racing people to medical help. The scene is swarming with accident investigators and the NTSB is on the way to San Francisco.

I want to get someone in here who can tell us what's going on and what's going to happen next in this investigation, Mary Schiavo.

She was an inspector general under the first President Bush and President Clinton. In times like these, we really appreciate your expertise.

You know, air safety was a priority of yours during your government service and it still is now.

Give me your initial impressions of this accident from what you have seen on television today.

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Well, from what I've seen on television today, there have been -- I've worked on at least five other cases similar to this one, including two which were American Airlines, one in Jamaica, one in Little Rock; a Pearson Toronto which was Air France.

There was one in London City with British Airways, and then Singapore Airlines in Taiwan.

And the similarities that they have is that passengers acted to get themselves off the plane. They helped each other. They escaped.

In many case, there were no alarms or no instructions from the pilot or crew how to do that, and that does come from passengers being aware, being savvy, paying attention, you know, getting their shoes on and ready to land or leaving their shoes on when they're taking off until they're up to a safe altitude. And that's a hallmark of these.

Now, what is not typical in this accident is that there is no weather. In most of the other accidents I've mentioned that I worked on that are similar to this, weather was a factor. So here that's a very different scenario.

Coming in, there were other planes landing, only eight-knot wind. That's light wind. And so that's going to be a real issue for investigators.

They'll be looking at the landing, instrument landing systems, the pilot coordination, and they probably have -- they'll, within by tomorrow, have that cockpit voice recorder and replay it.

LEMON: Miss Schiavo, I want to ask you -- you touched on this just a little bit. But how to you think so many people survived the terrible crash and the fire?

I mean, how much should the flight crew be credited here during these emergencies?

I mean, you mentioned making sure people don't have their shoes off, making sure that they're paying attention during the landing.

But what do you attribute this to? SCHIAVO: Training and passengers are so savvy nowadays. You know, in just the space of 15 years, people on planes, you know, we find it commonplace. It's like our second car.

And we do see things and we do know that we have to act. And in many incidents, it has been the passengers. A couple that I mentioned, there was literally no instruction.

You have to push a button in the cockpit. You have to actually activate the emergency exit. And in many cases, that never comes, and it's passengers who get up and say, I'm going to get myself out of here, and I'm going to save several people.

Many of these crashes, similar crashes, there have been true heroes who have gotten themselves and others out, and I think it is because passengers do pay attention and they do know that you have to help yourself, particularly in this place.

And God rest their souls if they're among the deceased, the flight attendants were in the back. They might have not been able to help.

LEMON: Yeah. I know, you know, I fly with a lot of people who fly a lot. And I look around and not many people are paying attention. I'm just being quite honest.

SCHIAVO: That's right.

LEMON: But maybe more people will pay attention now if there's anything to come out of this, Mary.

SCHIAVO: Well, particularly since passengers did notice that the plane seemed low.

And on a clear day, there's not a lot of excuse for that, and they're going to be wanting to find out what is going on in that cockpit. And that it was low and fast.

LEMON: Right.

SCHIAVO: Now, usually they call it high and hot. And that's dangerous, too. But here that's going to be a real issue.

And some people noticed, and maybe they were on alert.

LEMON: Good stuff. Thank you, Miss Schiavo. We appreciate you joining us here on CNN.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

LEMON: All right.

CNN's Diana Magnay is in Seoul, South Korea, where that flight originated and where Asiana Airlines is headquartered.

What is the response to what happened in San Francisco today? DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been setting up a hotline. It's actually after really quite a few hours because the accident happened seven hours ago now, really, and it's taken until now for Asiana actually to issue a press release in English.

But it just gave us details that we already know and information for people who are calling about loved ones and it really is amazing when you look at though pictures and the extent of the damage presumably from that fire that the numbers that we now have, two dead, and one unaccounted for.

We know from the Korean air and railway accident investigation board, they're sending four investigators to help with the -- to help the NTSB find out what happened.

So, you know, the NTSB is taking the lead there. But this afternoon, Seoul time, four inspectors will be going over from the Korean side alongside officials from the Asiana as well.

And what else can I tell you? The flight actually originated in Shanghai which is why you have so many Chinese onboard. One-hundred- seventy-one of those onboard were from China, 77 South Koreans, and 61 U.S. citizens.

It left here yesterday afternoon. It's a 10-hour direct flight. And just had those problems on landing.

But I think people here will be extremely relieved by the news that, however terrible any deaths are, it's not worse when you look at those pictures, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. So very tragic, obviously, as I said, if one person, if anyone loses their life.