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Crash jet was 'flying too slowly'

An airliner that crashed at San Francisco airport was flying too slowly and the crew tried to abort the landing just before it smashed down on the runway, investigators say.

What they do not yet know is why, and whether the pilot's inexperience with the type of aircraft and the airport involved played a role in the crash which killed two people and injured more than 180 others.

Meanwhile officials are investigating whether one of the two teenage passengers killed actually survived the crash but was run over by a rescue vehicle rushing to aid victims fleeing the burning aircraft.

Remarkably, 305 of 307 passengers and crew on South Korean Asiana Airlines Flight 214 survived the crash and more than a third did not even require hospital treatment. Only a small number were critically injured.

Investigators said the weather was unusually fair for foggy San Francisco. The winds were mild, too. During the descent, with their throttles set to idle, the pilots never discussed having any problems with the plane or its positioning until it was too late.

Seven seconds before the Boeing 777 came down, a member of the flight crew made a call to increase the jet's lagging speed, National Transportation Safety Board chief Deborah Hersman said. ollowing that the crew attempted to abort the landing and go back up for another try. The air traffic controller guiding the plane heard the crash that followed almost instantly, Ms Hersman added.

While investigators from both the US and South Korea are in the early stages of an investigation which will include a weeks-long examination of the wreckage and alcohol tests for the crew, the news confirmed what survivors and other witnesses had reported: a slow-moving airliner flying low to the ground.

Federal investigators say they have reviewed airport surveillance video to determine whether an emergency vehicle ran over one of the victims but have not been able to reach any conclusions.

National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Deborah Hersman called the possibility that a teenage girl was run over a "very serious issue." She said investigators want to make sure they have all the facts before reaching any conclusions. Ms Hersman said the coroner has not yet determined the girl's cause of death.

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White and Assistant Deputy Chief Dale Carnes both said earlier that one of the girls killed in the crash may have been struck by an emergency vehicle.

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