Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Flights diverted after US crash

A fire truck sprays water on Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport (AP/Noah Berger)

Passengers on board flights from the UK to San Francisco are being diverted elsewhere after a plane crash-landed at the city's airport.

At least two people died in yesterday's crash, while another 181 people were taken to hospitals, most with minor injuries, authorities said.

Five people, including a child, remained in a critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital, the region's main trauma centre.

British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic both operate flights between London and San Francisco airport, which has been closed while the incident is dealt with.

A spokeswoman for BA said its two flights which left Heathrow today had been diverted to Seattle and Vancouver airports.

A Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman said it operated one daily flight between Heathrow and San Francisco. She added: "Currently our flights to and from San Francisco are operating as scheduled. We advise passengers to continue to check Flight Status for the very latest information."

Television footage of the incident showed the Boeing 777 lying on the runway with thick plumes of smoke pouring out from it, while debris was strewn across the tarmac.

The top of the fuselage appeared to be burned away while the entire tail was missing.

Up to 300 passengers were on board, with images showing many of them being tended to by emergency services at the scene.

The investigation has been turned over to the FBI but terrorism was ruled out, said San Francisco fire chief Joanne Hayes-White.

Aviation and transportation investigators were heading to the scene and Asiana, Boeing and the engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, pledged to work with them.

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