The news just in from Hiroshima is quite remarkable, in that Asiana has not just crash landed its second jet in two years, but done so with enough force to get it from an initial impact outside the boundary of the city’s airport to a standstill near its intended gate, where passengers were then evacuated down slides.
Unlike Asiana’s crash landing at San Francisco airport in July 2013, involving a 777-200ER there are no fatalities reported this accident, which happened to one of its A320s.
Early reports say that last night local time the Asiana A320 flight from Seoul with 82 people on board touched down 330 metres short of the end of the runway, smashed through a navigational antenna, skidded for the best part of a mile down the runway, then spun off it, coming to rest close to the main apron.
The sequence of events is reported in some detail by the Aviation Herald, complete with photos indicating substantial damage to the airframe. One person is said to have suffered serious injuries.
The meteorological data included in the Aviation Herald report indicates fog in the area, while striking the ground well short of the runway indicates that the jet was flying well below the intended approach profile, leading to suggestions in some quarters that the pilots may have been attempting to find the runway when they found the ground instead.
Of course the truth of the matter will come out in the investigation now underway by Japan’s air safety organisation.
In the July 2013 SFO crash an Asiana 777-200 was intentionally flown at too low an approach speed but at too high an angle to the runway in clear daylight visibility. Three people died in that crash, on one board the plane, one run over by a rescue vehicle, and one in hospital from injuries sustained. Punitive action was taken against Asiana by Korean authorities following that crash, and the failure of the airline to adequately meet its post crash responsibilities to the families and victims of the crash saw it fined $US 500,000 by America’s Department of Transport.
The findings made by the US safety investigator the NTSB in relation to Asiana’s pilot training standards and its reliance on automation and other matters were all highly critical of the Korean carrier.
The relevance of those identified safety issues in Asiana to last night’s crash at Hiroshima is likely to be further explored in the near future.