The National Transportation Safety Board and its Korean counterparts are focusing their investigation into the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash on the plane's pilots, NTSB chief Deborah Hersman said during a news conference Monday.
Two 16-year-old students from China were killed and dozens of other passengers were injured when the plane, which originated in Seoul, South Korea, crashed into the runway while attempting to land at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday. One of the teen girls who died may have been killed after being run over by an emergency vehicle trying to get to the smoldering plane, according to some reports.
The NTSB is waiting on Korean translators and other officials before interviewing the four pilots who were on board the aircraft, Hersman told reporters. The pilot in charge of the aircraft at the time of the crash was making his maiden voyage in a Boeing 777, Hersman said. However, according to Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who successfully landed a plane on the Hudson River in 2009, that's fairly common.
"Everyone at some point is new to an airplane," Sullenberger told CNN after Hersman's press conference. "That in itself is not inherently an issue."
It's unclear if the pilot was manning the plane or if he had switched into automatic landing mode; however, Air Traffic Control had cleared the flight to land and the pilots reported no problems ahead of the crash, Hersman said. No "abnormally steep descent" was evident as the plane approached the runway and the preliminary investigation has indicated that both engines were working at the time of impact, she added.
The runway at SFI had also undergone recent construction, according to Hersman.
More information is expected to be released during a press conference on Tuesday.