Asiana Airlines flies staff, plane crash victims relatives to San Francisco

The plane that crashed was Asiana Flight 214, which was operating from Seoul to San Francisco.

The plane crashed short of the runway in San Francisco at the tail end of a 10-hour flight. Two of the 307 people who were on board the plane were killed, and more than 180 other passengers were hospitalized.

Asiana said on Monday that it would also pay for flights and hotels in San Francisco for family members of the victims of the crash.

"Asiana Airlines is providing airfare and lodging for families of the passengers," the company said. "In the event that the number of family members seeking support increases, Asiana is also preparing to operate additional charter flights."

The company said two Korean citizens who were related to passengers on Flight 214 were already in en route to the United States.
"Two Korean family members departed for the United States yesterday," the company said. "Another four are expected to depart today followed by an additional four on Wednesday. Asiana Airlines is also supporting twelve Chinese family members and six Chinese government officials, who will depart from Shanghai for the United States (via Incheon) today."

The company said 48 of Flight 214's passengers were still in the hospital.

Asiana promised to cooperate with investigators who are working to identify a cause of the accident. 

"Asiana Airlines deeply regrets this accident and is dedicating great efforts to support and ensure a swift and thorough investigation,” the company said.

Early speculation has focused on the possibility of pilot error as the cause of the Flight 214 crash.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said on Monday that the plane was traveling too slowly as it approached the San Francisco airport for landing.

“It wasn’t just give or take a few knots,” Hersman said during an interview on MSNBC on Monday. "Once we identify exactly what their low speed was, we’re going to put that information out.”

A knot is a unit of speed that is used to measure how fast airplanes are traveling. It is equal to one nautical mile per hour, almost 1,000 feet further than one mile per hour.