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Continuing Coverage of the San Francisco Crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214

Aired July 6, 2013 - 22:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN: The breaking news here on CNN at the top of the hour, I'm Don Lemon in New York.

CNN is all over the breaking news tonight. A commercial airliner crashed and burned on the runway in San Francisco.

People are dead, many people are hurt, and here's what we know. At least two people confirmed dead now after Asiana 214, a Boeing 777 slammed hard into the runway and caught fire. More than 180 other people are injured.

Witnesses who saw the crash say, the landing looked normal enough before the plane hit the ground, hit it hard, spun around, slid off the runway and started to burn.

Passengers jumped on those inflatable emergency slides. More than 300 people were on board. So, something happened, something very wrong, and right now the crash scene crawling with investigators, picking up the pieces, and looking for clues right now.

Flight 214 was so close to the runway when something went horribly wrong. The plane smashed into the ground, spun around, burst into flames. The national transportation safety board has said everything is on the table in terms of the investigation.

Today, to Dan Simon now at the San Francisco airport, Rene Marsh is in D.C.

Rene, we have a new graphics showing a debris trail from flight 214. Tell us what we are looking at.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, we have partially re- created the crash scene based on what we have been able to see in the pictures and video so far. So I want you to follow me from the left side of your screen to the right. We have debris in the water, as you can see there. And a debris trail where the land meets the water.

Now, in the same vicinity the wheels of the plane and the tip of the tail, now, shift your eyes, again slightly to the right, and there you will see what is the vernal (ph) stabilizer. And I just want to show you briefly, this part is what is the vernal (ph) stabilizer. This is not the exact plane but this gives you an idea of the section of it. It's the part that goes up and down. And too right of that is the horizontal stabilizer, that's this part here that goes from side to side. Another part of the plane that they're going to be looking at is the landing gear. And you can see that's slightly to the right of the wing piece, the tail pieces that we just showed you, the landing gear.

Now, move your eyes, again, to the far right of your screen. That is where the fuselage ended up. And, Don, simply when these investigators, the NTSB investigators, get on the scene, this is what they're going to be looking at. They're going to be looking at how close these parts are in relation to each other, which part came off first, which part came off second, and no detail truly will be too small as they try to piece this altogether.

Also, they're going to look for the crucial piece of evidence and that is the data as well as voice recording boxes. Those hold, some critical information that will need to be analyzed -- Don.

LEMON: All right, Rene, stand by. I want to go to Dan now.

Dan, what are you hearing from investigators?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, we know that investigators are on their way here to the San Francisco international airport. You know, from what we're hearing from passengers, things seem to be perfectly normal as they were approaching the runway. In other words, everything was happening the way it was supposed to. And then for some reason, the tail seemed to hit the ground first, and then broke into pieces and then the plane started tumbling down the runway or bouncing down the runway.

Now obviously, witnesses or survivors really had no time to get out of the plane before that fuselage started burning. You look at that wreckage and obviously you know it's unbelievable that at this point you only have two people confirmed dead.

As I said, investigators are on their way to the scene. We are told the FBI has secured that scene. They're in charge of things right now until the NTSB arrives and they start piecing the area together for clues -- Don.

LEMON: A question, Dan. I'm not sure if you're able to answer it. I had it myself, people on social media are asking the same thing. The coast guard confirmed they transported one person to the hospital earlier. Do we know where they found that person? It is interesting because it is a coast, if they were in the water, near the water? Do we know what happened with them?

SIMON: Excellent question. I don't know the answer to that question. I do know, I have the same information that you have, and that is that the coast guard was able to pick up a victim from the flight. We don't know if that person was found in the wreckage or found in the water. But obviously, that would be a good detail to know, Don.

But just to reiterate in terms of numbers, 123 people were brought here to the terminal or apparently may still even be here at the airport talking to investigators, meeting up with friends and family. We don't know the status of those people, if they've been allowed to leave. And then 181 people transported or treated at various local hospitals -- Don.

LEMON: And, Dan, you're there in San Francisco. Apparently, San Francisco general's the only level I trauma center in the area. Do they are, I mean, equipped very well to deal with this but there are number of hospitals in the area as well that some of the people were taken to.

SIMON: Yes. Lots of different hospitals in the bay area, you know, some were taken to Stanford, for example, basically everybody is on call, if you will accepting passengers. But the most immediate hospital at least closest to the airport that is a level I trauma center is San Francisco general. That's where the most critically injured patients are at this hour, Don.

LEMON: Great reporting, Dan. Thank you for answering that question.

We don't know the answer to it. You knew the answer to it. But I think it's a very important question, what happened to the person the coast guard transported and where exactly did the coast guard find that person? Of course, I'm sure we will get the information in coming hours.

Again, our thanks to Dan Simon there at the airport.

Right now, 34 patients are being treated San Francisco's only level I trauma center, as I mentioned in that San Francisco general hospital.


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 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.


LEMON: The trauma center has set up tents outside the emergency room to help deal with the sudden influx. The hospital spokeswoman says spontaneous wave of off-duty staffs are showed up to help, doctors, nurses, social workers.

Kyung Lah outside San Francisco general for us right now.

And Kyung, we are waiting a news conference to happen at any moment. They have been updating us periodically, updating viewers and updating the general public. How are patients holding up mentally after such a traumatic experience?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the hospital says that there is a lot of work to be done. That's why they're trying to take care of the patients' physical wounds but emotional wounds and logistical issues that they now face because many of them are not U.S. nationals. They are from other countries and they're going to need counselor help and they are going to need help figuring out what to do trying and in trying to replace passports, something that's simple but it is a little more difficult when you've been in a plane crash.

What the hospital here says that they're dealing with, you have heard the numbers. They are also dealing with 11 children. The oldest patient here is 76-years-old, some don't have family members here. So there's a lot of work to be done here.

The head of ER said as far as the types of physical wounds that they are looking at, many bumps and bruises, some fractures, what concerns on the most right now are some of those spinal injuries. These injuries according to the head of the ER, it's consistent with a hard landing, dropping at a high rate of speed and crashing and that's something they are quite worried about.

So, they are also worried about how they're doing emotionally. Here's what the ER doc told us.


DOCTOR CHRIS BARTON, CHIEF OF EMERGENCY SERVICES, SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL HOSPITAL: Some of them are in shock. Some are very tearful. Some look stunned. Overall, I think it's amazing how well most of the patients are coping. So we're trying to do the best we can with social services and support for all of the patients.


LAH: And they're also helping them try to figure out how to get in touch with their embassy, try to get those passports, try to figure out what to do with their luggage as well as doing simple things like helping them with their shoes. Some of these patients, Don, arrived without shoes on their feet because of the confusion and the force of the crash. And as you were mentioning, they are getting ready to do a news conference in just a short period of time. You see that the public information officer for the hospital gathering in front of microphones.

The reason why they're doing all of these updates every hour is because the patient numbers are changing so quickly. They were, at one point, expecting another busload of patients. They're not expecting them to be seriously injured, but another busload of patients who needed to be looked at. So, we are hoping to learn just a little bit more information and get back to you with that.

LEMON: Stand by. We'll listen in.

RACHEL KAGAN, SPOKESWOMAN, SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL HOSPITAL AND TRAUMA CENTER: OK. Everyone, ready? OK. Rachel Kagan, San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. It's now 7:00 on Saturday. This is the evening update.

Currently our grand total number of patients from this Asiana airlines accident is 52. When we last spoke it was at 34. Since that time 18 additional patients have come. This last wave or most recent wave of patients has been in much better shape than the previous three waves. Most of them can walk in on their own. They can talk. They are conscious. They were all brought in by ambulances in groups of three or five. But they are here being assessed and converted, it's our pediatric urgent care center converted to day to manage this large volume of patients.

I don't know the breakdown at this time of men and women or ages or conditions. They're all being assessed now. But I do know that they're in generally better health than any of the previous patients from earlier today. So just to recap the day, we now have 52 patients total. The very first groups, the first wave, were ten critically injured patients who came at about 12:30 this afternoon. Of -- they were all in critical condition when they arrived and now five are critical and five are upgraded to serious. Since that time, we have had additional waves. We had a wave of 17. We had a wave of seven. We have a wave of 18. Roughly speaking, they have been in declining degrees of acuity, right? So, the most injured came first.

The second two batches, there's been a lot of variation. I don't have any other listed as critical but some are still being worked up, assessed, or having x-rays, or having various tests. So we don't have the full breakdown of whether people are critical, serious, fair, or good. But it's safe to say there will be people in each of the categories, but hopefully and probably not so many critical. This last group, 18 people, is the healthiest yet, but again I don't have conditions for them at this time.

So that's the recap of the day. I may have more information about the male/female breakdown, age ranges in an hour. I would be happy to do a final update at 8:00 if folks will be here for that. I don't believe we're expecting any more patients.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you know where the patients were prior to the wave was waiting prior to coming here?

KAGAN: I don't know that. I believe -- you can check with EMS and the airport. But in the field the triaging, you know for most urgent to least. So there may have been a group of patients that could wait several hours while other patients were being transported. I would imagine they were being cared for in the field to some degree by paramedics, but I don't know specifically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Is the idea bringing them in waves, is that due to ambulance capacity or --

KAGAN: It's not our call. We were ready all day. The first group was the most critical. And then since then it's been declining.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are you indicating the bumming of the -- bulk of the patients here.

KAGAN: I don't know. That's a good question, though. I can try to find it out.


KAGAN: So, one remains critical and one is upgraded to serious of the first ten, two are children, one is still critical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you know how many are children?

KAGAN: Some are children and some are adults. I'm trying to add these grand totals together but I just don't know how to have all of the information at once. So no, we definitely have a mix of children and adults, a mix of patients who will be not ever admitted to the hospital. They'll be assessed now. They will be treated. They will be discharged. That will certainly happen. And then there will be patients who are admitted, some will be in fair condition, some will be in serious condition, and some will be in critical condition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Talk about the injuries, kind of things you've seen.

KAGAN: Well, the kinds of injuries we have seen starting with the most acutely ill, the most critical, some of them had burns, they have fractures, they had -- excuse me -- internal injuries, and internal bleeding. Then, Dr. Barton elaborated some fractures were long bone fractures, meaning legs or arms, also head injuries which could be some of the internal injury, could be head injury, could be bleeding. We also saw spinal injuries. And other bone injuries, constitutions, bruises, cuts and bumps, that sort of thing.

My understanding is this very last group that came in, probably had more of the bumps and bruises and cuts and maybe not so much of the internal injuries and fractures, just based on the fact they were able to walk in and being seen in urgent care setting. But, I really don't want to give out my speculation of their conditions until we have that information and that we don't have that information yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Can you tell us about why the triage tents have been taking down.

KAGAN: There's no more need. Everyone is inside.


KAGAN: So, all patients have social workers as part of the care team. And so, for those who need psychiatric or counseling, that would be the social worker would match them. So that's how that would normally work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So, that's not typical for everybody that comes here. That's a case of a mass --

KAGAN: No, for any trauma patient, social workers are part of their team. So, for us, first ten were all trauma, absolutely. Some portions of the next 17 were trauma. People last 18 are not trauma.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What are the worst of the injuries?

KAGAN: I don't know.


KAGAN: I don't, no.


KAGAN: I know five are critical but many have not been assessed. We haven't determined that nor every single one, but five of the original ten who were critical remain critical. You had a question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How many have been moved?

KAGAN: I don't know that. I can't speculate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So, with the 52, is how many you've got.

KAGAN: Some have been released already of those 52. Fifty-two is the grand total since it started today until now.


KAGAN: Well, social workers are part of the care team for every one of the patients. And so, if they identify that folks need counsel or psychiatric care, mental health, staff are connected with that patient.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Do you have an estimate of how many extra staff you have coming?

KAGAN: I don't know that. We had plenty of people --

LEMON: OK. All right. That is Rachel Kagan from San Francisco General Hospital giving the update there again saying, throughout the day, this is the total number of patients, 52 that arrived at her hospital. Some of them she says had been released. She's not exactly sure how many. She said there were wave of ten people that came in first. Those are the people who were injured most here. And they were brought in. They were the ten of them and all were in critical condition, and now five are in critical condition. The other five have been upgraded.

A second wave, she said, of 17 people earlier and another wave of seven and now since her last news briefing, there have been more, 18 people, a wave of 18 people, making it a total of 52 people who have taken to the hospital.

And Kyung, she didn't -- let's go back to Kyung Lah who is standing right there near her.

Kyung, did talk about the injuries, the most prevalent of them were burns, fractures, internal injuries as well.

LAH: Certainly. Those are the concerns that the doctors here are very concerned about because there are the most concerning. They have to deal with the internal injuries. The doctor did talk about that as well, the blunt force trauma. These are things that are going to take time before they get a handle on these types of injuries according to the ER doctor we heard from a short time ago. If there's any good news in what the hospital PIO was saying here, is that this last wave of patients is the healthiest group, that's arrived out of all patients that have been arriving here throughout the day. Things have calmed down considerably outside the hospital. When we pulled up there were blue tents outside. They were running through a similar protocol that the hospitals that surrounded the Boston marathon were going through. That's the type of trauma that were expecting, experiencing, certainly not at that level but that's what doctors were prepared for.

One of the things that I found quite interesting is that, during that news conference, they did say they no longer need translators because there was an outpouring from the community, Don. So, certainly, a lot of people here chipping, in just to try to help these patients.

LEMON: That is good to hear. One last note, Kyung just said, they're not expecting any more patient but was we know in the situation it's fluid, anything can happen. So Kyung Lah will be standing by for us at the hospital.

Thank you, Kyung. We appreciate it.

We are going to hear from an eyewitness when we come right back.



VEDPAL SINGH, PASSENGER FROM INDIE: The moment (INAUDIBLE), there was banging, something has gone wrong, something terrible as ever. It's difficult. You know, instincts take over. You really don't know what's really going on.



SINGH: Yes, the moment it tested the runway it was pretty loud.


LEMON: Seeing a passenger on the plane when it crashed. Other eyewitnesses as well who weren't on the plane, but who were very close and saw it happened. Anthony Castorani was in a nearby hotel when he saw flight 214 approached the runway. He says he heard a loud pop and then a fireball exploded. Tony joins me now by telephone.

So, tell me what was the first clue that something was wrong, Tony?

ANTHONY CASTORANI, EYEWITNESS (via phone): Hi, how are you? Really, I didn't think there was anything wrong up until I just -- the only thing I could notice initially the airplane was coming down, had a little bit of a higher pitch or flare-up as it was coming in but it looked like it was definitely going to touch on down on the runway sooner than most other airplanes I had been seeing at SFO. So, apparently when it did come down, it landed, I could not see exactly where on the runway it landed from pictures I'm seeing it hit look like a rock bed prior to the runway. But, when it was coming down it was coming down, it looked like it was going to touch down. All wheels were down in there. At the time that the airplane touched down the nose wheel and the nose were still flared up. It was up about three degrees. And when it came down, you just -- what looked to be -- I was waiting for a small puff of smoke from the wheels that typically touchdown. I did not see smoke. I saw a lot of billowing of big white smoke prior to a small fireball that kind of evolved from the bottom of the aircraft. That fireball was very quick and almost a flash fire.

I didn't see any more fire but what I did see after that was the airplane apparently starting to somewhat slide down the runway with the nose still in an up position but then it began to what appeared, in my terms anyway, do a cart wheel, is that the plane actually picked up its tail came up into the air, the note is oriented down towards the ground, and it was not all the way -- not all the way down, and then I could see the tail was in the air, I could see that the tail completely came off. I apologize, I'm still disorder yenned here. I'm in a restaurant and people keep coming in here. But anyway I apologize for that.

But, you know, it was, you know, the tail was still somewhat intact but you can see that the tail literally flew off at about the very top of the spin and really almost flew off like it was slung shot. Whatever was left of the tail, anyway. And it was kind of slingshot off. So then, the plane came down to rest.

After the initial shock of your brain interpreting what happened, I was kind of waiting for the explosion which I was hoping would never come, and thank goodness it didn't. But you know, it was kind of the next thing. And then after that we first thing that comes to your mind is you yell oh my God, a plane crashed in which my wife came running into, you know, on to the room and looked and just began to cry. We said we got to call 911. So, we dialed 911. And 911 services in San Francisco didn't seem to know that there was any kind of crash or anything. So I must have been one of the first callers because they were trying to or we were in, but where's this crash, what are you talking about. And once, you know, I think once it was established there were other calls starting to come in regarding a crash, they knew it what was going on and began to dispatch equipment.

There was no equipment on site for at least a couple of minutes at the crash site, once everything kind of settled down in the very moments after the crash. So, once the equipment started to arrive they started to foam down the airplane. I did not see any other emergency vehicles on the runway or tarmac for at least 10 to maybe 15 minutes while the airplane was being foamed down. There was a 747 taxiing on the tarmac as the crash happened. Getting ready I suppose to get clearance for lineup and take-off. So that 747 did not take-off but it was a witness to everything else that happened as well.

LEMON: Tony, we spoke to some of the folks on that airplane and they said that they had been out there for hours and were very close to the debris and saw this crash happen. Tony Castorani, thank you very much. We appreciate you joining us here on CNN. You stay safe out in the evening in the restaurant and make sure you stay safe.

Thank you. We appreciate you joining us here on CNN.

As we said, lots of people recounting what they saw, eyewitnesses, and people on board the plane as well. We will hear more after this break.


LEMON: Let me update you on the airline crash that happened today at about lunchtime on the west coast. It was flight that began in Seoul, South Korea, on Asiana airlines, landing in San Francisco, something went wrong. The Boeing 777 just barely made the runway. The tail snapped off, the landing gear broke away, and the plane caught fire, with more than 300 people on board.

Two of those people are dead tonight. We don't know yet if they were passengers or crew. One hundred and eighty one others are in San Francisco hospitals, at least five of them are in critical condition.

Emergency crews were on the scene instantly. Putting out the fire and rushing the injured to get medical help. The plane's wreckage is now is swarming, wreckage is swarming with accident investigators.

I want to bring in Jim Tilmon. He is a pilot who was flown commercial airlines for 30-plus years and can give us a perspective of the man in control when the situation suddenly turns to chaos.

So, Jim Tilmon, take us into the cockpit when a pilot knows in his gut he's got a serious problem. Does training quick in, survival instinct, what happened here?

JIM TILMON, AVIATION EXPERT (via phone): All of the above. Their training probably will be the thing that's primary. That's going to govern what you physically do. And your idea about survival -- I don't know how much of that you really consider. The consideration is, let me get control of this aircraft because I know how to fly it and I'll make sure this works out right. That's the mind-set that you have generally.

LEMON: Again, we don't want to be too speculative about this. But everyone says it looks like the landing came in short, right, that's not the cause of the crash, but from all accounts that's what it appears like here. Again, we're not sure. So what is happening when you -- what might cause a plane to come in short for a landing?

TILMON: For whatever reason, he did not have the -- the pilot did not have enough power available to correct the descend that brought an end to contact with the ground before he wanted to be there.

Now, I have been thinking about this throughout the past few hours and there are a number of other considerations that may or may not have been made really clear. One of them has to do with fact that at least on one other occasion with the 777, in London, they were on approach to land, they ended up landing short also. And it's my understanding that it was all because of a fuel situation, for one reason or another, the throttles were moving and the engines were not increasing in their thrust, therefore, they landed short of the runway and short of the power they needed to continue to fly to a safe landing.

Mechanical things can be present in these airplanes that will make it impossible for the crew to do the things that they know how to do. We're going to learn a lot over the next few hours and days, as though boxes are examined.

LEMON: So there's a certain check list I'm sure that you go through for these emergency situations. But can any amount of training prepare a pilot for every emergency, Jim?

TILMON: Yes. As a matter of fact, your training does come in to being not from the point of view of the exact situation that you train for an airplane that's coming in short of the landing. But your training there includes all kinds of understanding from how the airplane functions and how it reacts and everything else, do play a role in how you handle what you're doing. I mean, I don't know that's for a fact because there is no way to know this. But I get, a feeling that no matter what happened as that airplane made contact with the ground, something was going on to keep those wings level and to make that effort that it did come through in the cockpit just successful enough to keep the airplane belly down, that made a big difference in the survivability of the situation.

So, you ended up with the aircraft almost as it if it was on its landing gear that twisted around and ended up where it was, and people were able to exit the airplane through the emergency exit doors.

LEMON: Jim Tilmon, appreciate you joining us all evening, all day long. And you have been giving us great information. We appreciate your expertise, OK?

Remember the gentleman who tweeted out the picture saying, we just crash landed? The tail of the plane has flown off, has broken off, and we're leaving the plane? Our Laurie Segall had been in contact with him. And we are going to hear from Laure, and hear what he had to say to her just moments away.


LEMON: We've been monitoring the situations on patients in hospitals there in San Francisco. A news conference happening right now at Stanford hospital, if we can listen.

This is Dr. David Spain, speaking earlier and said 45 patients they treated, 15 admitted. Let's listen.

DOCTOR DAVID SPAIN, STANFORD HOSPITAL: Again, I can't get into specifics about individual patient but was we have had seen a number of serious injuries, internal bleed, numerous fractures, several spine fractures as well.


SPAIN: Again, can't get into age and specifics.


SPAIN: We can't get into specifics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: I was told there were patients that were airlifted here, is that correct?

SPAIN: I believe, at least a few patients came by coast guard helicopter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you describe how the injuries occurred in the crashes?

LEMON: Dr. David Spain at Stanford hospital there, saying 45 patients were brought in, 15 or 16. I didn't hear quite clearly what he said had been -- will stay at the hospital overnight and 45 again, 45 treated there.

Again, what we do know, two people dead, the rest were taken to different hospitals around the San Francisco area, San Francisco general hospital, St. Francis memorial hospital, California Pacific medical center and Stanford as well. And that's where we got our latest briefing from. We'll update you. We're monitoring that news conference for you. If anything comes out of it, you will get it.

Some of the most remarkable images in the aftermath of the crash coming from social media. A photograph posted to twitter posted by David Yun (ph). Well, he shows passengers walking off the plane. Some toting bags as smoke rises from the other side. I crash landed at SFO, tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm OK. Surreal. I bet it was surreal.

Laurie Segall joins me now.

Laurie, new you got some new video that David shot, right?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Sure. You know, look, unbelievable picture. One of those pictures that comes out and this is the first thing we're looking at hearing about this. But we have video, he actually shot this right as he was evacuating the flight moments after the crash. I want to play it for you right here, Don.


DAVID, PASSENGER: We just crash landed on my flight from Seoul to SFO. The plane hit the runway really hard on the landing. We skidded to the side. I thought we were going to flip over. Everyone seems to be OK. I'm shaking out. I don't have shoes on. I hit my head pretty hard, but I think I'm OK. As much as I fly, I don't think about this stuff happening. Everyone seems to be OK but shaken up. Wow!

(END VIDEO CLIP) SEGALL: You can hear how shaken up he is in the video, as you can imagine. You can see people evacuating the plane. And it just the moments after, you can hear it in his voice. He's barefoot and you know, compelling stuff.

LEMON: It is compelling. He said what everyone's thinking, you fly all time and you never think about this happening. And he also talked about his injuries as well. Also it's interesting, so much of this in this age of social media, I'm sure, when he sent -- when he tweeted that photograph out, he got lots of people tweeting him back on twitter and that can be disconcerting if you're not used to that attention.

SEGALL: I should say, he's a tech executive, so he's very tech savvy, works at Samsung, he travels quite a bit. O twitter, they call him -- on twitter, they call him an all-American created a pensive optimist. He was also and tweeting and posting on path, a private social network.

I want t read you something e put out there right after. He's been updating folks all along. He said fire and rescue people all over the place, evacuating injured. Haven't felt this way since 9/11, trying to help people stay calm, deep breaths. He's been a citizen journalist through all of this and imagine, he's definitely getting inundated on twitter because of tweets and what he's posting, so compelling.

LEMON: Speaking to people who know him and what are they saying? How is he doing right now?

SEGALL: He's in the tech community. Folks are saying we're so happy you're all right, you're doing fine. Sounds like he's a little bit shaken up, as anybody would be. And it's the kind of thing where you're kind of wrapping your head around it. I think he posted saying the adrenaline rush is subsiding, trying to process all of this. That's the case for all of these folks.

LEMON: Yes. I mentioned in the initial shock of all of this, most people I find remain calm and then all of a sudden you say, my gosh, look what happened to me, look what I went through, look what I survived, and then it hits you.


LEMON: All right, so we are glad he's OK.

Thank you. Laurie, appreciate your reporting.

We are back in a moment.


LEMON: We are going to get into San Francisco international airport where they're holding a news briefing. Listen.

MAYOR EDWIN LEE, SAN FRANCISCO: Eleven others of different ethnicities accounts for 291 passengers. I also want to acknowledge the tremendous city response given not just by the first responders, in addition to their effort, there were Korean and Chinese interpreters that were dispatched from the city and from various volunteer groups in the community to come to the airport and make sure translation was provided.

Our department of public health sent grief counselors in to assist with all of the different families and friends that were here. We had paramedics that rode with the injured passengers as they went on buses to the hospitals through all over the bay area. And, of course, as I said earlier, there are over nine bay area hospitals that attended to injured victims.

United Airlines, which is Asiana's star lines partner, also dispatched their own employees to assist in all of the hospitals. And family and friend reunification continued to take place at international terminal in the red carpet club.

This evening, we are awaiting about midnight to 1:00 arrival of the chair of the national transportation safety board who will begin conducting their formal investigation and site has been secured. We've all been here, the fire chief, the police chief, John Martin, the airport director, my staff, and even the coroner for San Mateo County, were all here for all of the hours and will continue to be here to make sure everything continues to be in order.

With that said I want to reiterate that having visited the site with staff and police and fire department, it is incredible that we have, and very lucky that we have so many survivors. But there are still many critically injured. And our prayers and our thoughts continue to go out for them.

With that, I'd like to have Mr. Doug Yagle (ph) from the airport provide you with more details.

We're actually going to have Chief Hayes-White speak for a moment.

JOANNE HAYES-WHITE, CHIEF, FIRE DEPARTMENT: Good afternoon, everyone. Joanne Hayes-White, San Francisco fire department.

Since our last address, like Mayor Lee said, we're happy to inform that the 60-plus that I talked about is being unaccounted for all now accounted for. Having been on scene for a number of hours, just after the crash, I can tell you I am very deeply gratified with the incredible display of teamwork exhibited not just by the police and fire departments but our brothers and sisters that work at San Mateo County that stepped up to assist us. We had both a fire emergency and multi casualties and medical emergency.

Very difficult scene at first, very well coordinated with men and women of multiple departments working hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder with the people at the airport, our mayor who has been on scene, not only emergency operations center but at the accident scene. Having surveyed that area I would agree with him. We're lucky there has not been a greater loss of life. And my hat is off to the men and women that literally assisted people off the plane, went into the cabin of the plane to do what they could and that is to protect lives. And it was, like I said, incredible display of teamwork.

Our hearts go out to those impacted by today's emergency and accident and tragic loss. When I talked about those that were unaccounted for I wanted to be clear that we -- our job is to move people off the airfield and into a safe zone and we moved them into the airport. So when we were counting our numbers, there were two basically delivery points, points of entry at the airport. So, those were after the press conference when we compared all of our numbers with the different people at those sites, we were then able to account for everyone.

We had 182 people transported to area hospitals, both in San Francisco County and San Mateo County and like barely said, it is a team effort. As the men and women that work diligently at our hospitals providing the care and support for those that are injured, we thank member.

We also had 123 that I believe are still either here at the airport or who have been processed and are out. Those are people not injured, were passengers and not injured. And then, of course, we have two fatalities and that accounts for 307 people.

Once again, thank you for your attention, your patience. These scenes are always fluid. But with the great work under mayor lee's leadership, we're happy to report there want a greater loss of life. Nevertheless, our hearts go out to those suffered losses today. Thank you.

LEMON: OK. You're listening to the press conference happening at San Francisco international airport. The very latest numbers, according to the fire department spokesperson there, 182 people transported to hospitals in and around San Francisco, 123 still in the airport or have been processed and are either out of the airport and of course two fatalities, two fatalities.

Again, that is the latest coming from San Francisco international airport. Still lots more to go, lots more to tell you about coming out of San Francisco and beyond in Seoul, South Korea, as well where this flight originated.

Back in a moment.


LEMON: The crash of the Boeing 777, at San Francisco international airport, suddenly put the tower in crisis mode. It's 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 refer to as 214 heavy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 241 heavy San Francisco towers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 214 have the emergency vehicles are responding. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey John, 214 heavy, San Francisco tower.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey John, 214 heavy, emergency vehicles responding. We have everyone on their way.


LEMON: And they were on their way to this. Pictures taken by a passenger who rushed off the plane after it crashed. The camera catches a frightening scene but the tower traffic controller and the pilot seemed focus almost matter of fact, both know help is on the way.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Asiana 214 heavy. Emergency vehicles are responding.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emergency vehicles are responding.



LEMON: The crash shut down San Francisco international airport for a while before two runways were finally reopened. And that brings us the investigation itself. NTSB has a reputation for being painstakingly thorough. And my next guest can talk about what inspectors are looking for and knows all about the plane as well.

Joining me now is Doctor Todd Curtis. He is a former Boeing aviation safety engineer.

Where will they focus first?

DOCTOR TODD CURTIS, FORMER BOEING AVIATION ENGINEER: They will focus on both the history of the aircraft, the history of the crew that flew the aircraft as well as recent maintenance to see if there's anything out of the ordinary that would stand out, make it obvious why the aircraft didn't land normally.

LEMON: And I would imagine when the investigators are going through, they're looking at news footage as well, probably looking at us trying to figure it out, before they get there. So, what do you think -- when you see the tail was ripped off, what conclusion might you draw from early evidence?

CURTIS: Well, the early evidence, early decision that would make from that is that the tail struck the ground fairly heavily because you had the horizontal stabilizers and the vertical fin separating from the aircraft. In fact you had major structural failure right after the plane struck the ground.

LEMON: So, the go team gets there and the first thing they do is approach that plane.

CURTIS: They're going to approach the plane. They are going to approach preferably the surviving crew members, and I believe all of the crew members did survive.


CURTIS: And they will get witness statements from passengers as well as social media videos and photos that we've seen from passengers.

LEMON: And they are -- I mean, they have to have spoken to the pilots already, right, and also the crew members?

CURTIS: That's pretty standard procedure. But again, each airline has a different procedure when it comes to what happens to their pilots after an accident, whether they allow their own investigators to speak with them first, whether allow the FBI or NTSB. That remains to be scene, who spoke with them first, and why.

LEMON: How long are we looking at here?

CURTIS: Several months, typically about a year. If it's a complex accident, one where the reasons for that aren't obvious it could be two or more years before a decision is made as to what was the probable cause or causes.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Todd Curtis, Dr. Todd Curtis. And the name of your Web site?


LEMON: We appreciate you here on CNN and for the help you've given us. And apparently, you are going to be here later a lot later speaking with our John King.

And speaking of John King, John, it's very interesting, earlier we heard that 60 people might be unaccounted for. Now we're hearing from the mayor in the press conference just a short time ago that all 307 people have been accounted for, and of course two deaths.

That's it for me. John King is going to pick up coverage here in Washington.

Hi, John.