Postponed NTSB Hearings On Crash Of Asiana Flight 214 Compressed Into Single Day

A postponed National Transportation Safety Board hearing on a fatal airline crash at San Francisco International Airport scheduled for today in Washington, D.C., was rescheduled for Wednesday and will now be compressed into a single day.

The hearing on the July 6 crash of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was originally set to begin at NTSB headquarters today and last for two days, but was delayed because of a snowstorm in the nation’s capital.

Wednesday’s session will run from 5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST and will include all the topics and witnesses originally scheduled for two days, the NTSB announced.

The purpose of the hearing is to gather facts for the board’s ongoing investigation of the crash of a Boeing 777 on an airport runway, according to NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway. The board’s final report on the accident is expected in the summer of 2014, he said.

Three Chinese schoolgirls died in the crash and its aftermath and more than 180 other passengers were injured when the low-flying jet struck a seawall bordering San Francisco Bay and the tail section was separated from the aircraft’s fuselage.

The girls who were killed were part of a high school group traveling to a summer camp in Los Angeles. One died in the crash, one was run over by a San Francisco Fire Department truck as she lay injured and covered with fire-fighting foam on the ground, and the third, who had been critically injured, died in a hospital several days later.

The jet had taken off from Seoul, South Korea, where Asiana is based, and stopped at Shanghai before heading to San Francisco.

The 24 witnesses at the hearing include representatives of Asiana, Boeing Co., the Federal Aviation Administration and the Korean government Office of Civil Aviation.

The topics they will address include Boeing 777 flight deck design; Asiana pilot training on the aircraft’s automated systems and visual approach procedures; the effect of the automation on pilot awareness; the emergency response to the accident; and cabin safety.

The witnesses were originally divided into five separate panels, but in the compressed session Wednesday the fourth and fifth topics will be combined into a single panel.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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