Official: Asiana flight tried to abort landing

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)

A federal safety official says the cockpit voice recorder from Asiana Airlines Flight 214 showed the jetliner tried to abort its landing and come around for another try 1.5 seconds before it crashed at San Francisco airport.

National Transportation Safety Board chief Deborah Hersman says at a news conference Sunday the recorder also showed there was a call to increase airspeed roughly two seconds before impact.

Before that, she says, there was no indication in the recordings that the aircraft was having any problems.

The jetliner carrying 307 people crashed Saturday, killing two passengers and injuring dozens of other people.

Since the crash, clues have emerged in witness accounts of the planes approach and video of the wreckage, leading one aviation expert to say the aircraft may have approached the runway too low and something may have caught the runway lip – part of a seawall at the foot of the runway.

San Francisco is one of several airports around the country that border bodies of water that have walls at the end of their runways to prevent planes that overrun a runway from ending up in the water.

Since the plane was about to land, its landing gear would have already been down, said Mike Barr, a former military pilot and accident investigator who teaches aviation safety at the University of Southern California.

It’s possible the landing gear or the tail of the plane hit the seawall, he said. If that happened, it would effectively slam the plane into the runway.

Noting that some witnesses reported hearing the plane’s engines rev up just before the crash, Barr said that would be consistent with a pilot who realized at the last minute that the plane was too low and was increasing power to the engines to try to increase altitude.

Barr said he could think of no reason why a plane would come in to land that low.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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