UPDATE: Rescuers Describe Harrowing Scene At Plane Crash - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

UPDATE: Rescuers Describe Harrowing Scene At Plane Crash

Posted: Updated:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco fire officials say they encountered smoke, leaking jet fuel and passengers coming down on chutes when they arrived at the Asiana airlines crash scene.
    
Lt. Christine Emmons said at a news conference on Monday that she and her partner ran up a chute into the plane. They found four passengers trapped in the back.
    
The conditions in the plane were changing rapidly, with the fire coming down on rescuers and the smoke thickening.
    
Emmons said the trapped passengers were pulled out to safety.
    
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed on Saturday at San Francisco International Airport. Two people were killed and more than 180 sent to hospitals.

PREVIOUS STORY:

NBCNEWS.COM - The pilot of the plane that crash-landed on the runway in San Francisco was still training on the Boeing 777 and had never landed one at that airport, the airline said Monday.

Asiana Airlines said that the pilot, Lee Kang-kuk, had logged 43 hours flying the 777 over nine flights. It takes 60 hours and 10 flights to be considered fully qualified, the airline told NBC News. When a pilot learns a new type of aircraft, the status before full qualification is known as transition training.

"We know that there's different levels of experience," Deborah Hersman, head of the National Transportation Safety Board, told TODAY on Monday. "We need to understand what was going on between these two crew members at the time."

Lee had 9,700 hours of experience flying other jetliners — the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 and 747, Asiana said. The co-pilot had more than 3,000 hours on the 777, a twin-engine, wide-body jet, the airline said.

The plane, Asiana Flight 214 from Seoul, South Korea, clipped a seawall as it came in for a landing Saturday morning, then bounced along the runway before coming to rest in a field and catching fire, according to passengers and witnesses.

Two teenagers — Chinese girls on their way to summer camp in the United States — were killed. Authorities are investigating whether a fire truck ran over one of the girls as it raced to help.

It was the first fatal crash in the 18 years that the 777 has been in service. More than 180 people were injured.

Federal investigators said Sunday that the plane came in "significantly below" its intended speed of about 150 mph and that the pilot and co-pilot tried to abort the landing a second and a half before it crashed.

While it was Lee's first time landing a 777 at San Francisco International, a South Korean transport ministry official, Choi Seung-youn, told Reuters that Lee had flown there 29 times on other aircraft.

Asked on TODAY whether the pilot's inexperience landing the 777 at that airport might have been a factor, Hersman said investigators would consider it, but she added that it's not unusual for pilots to make their first landing an at airport.

"They fly all around the world. There are a lot of different destinations," she said. "What you want to do is have a crew that's proficient in the aircraft and works together well, that you have good crew pairings. That's important."

The news agency Yonhap quoted a South Korean official saying that "transition training" status is common and within the government's guidelines.

The training "happens around the world every day of the week," said Adrian Gjertsen, an aviation consultant and director of the British-based Airsupport Aviation Services Ltd.

"What happens in a good responsible airline is that while the guy is training in one seat the other guy will be a training captain," or a pilot specifically trained to work with those in transition training, he added.

In a plane with engines the size of the 777's, coming in too low is "like setting off at the traffic lights in your car in fourth gear instead of first," Gjertsen said. "It takes you longer to accelerate if you move off in fourth."

There was no evidence in the two so-called black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, that the plane had problems before the crash, Hersman said Sunday at a news conference.

She said investigators were also planning to interview with both pilots, the crew and passengers to reconstruct the landing. The president of the airline said Sunday that engine failure was probably not the cause.

The Associated Press reported Monday that before the Boeing 777 began filling with smoke, two evacuation slides on the doors inflated inside the cabin instead of outside, pinning two flight attendants to the floor.

Lee Yoon-hye, a cabin manager, said crew members deflated the slides with axes to rescue their colleagues.

"Right before touchdown, I felt like the plane was trying to take off. I was thinking, ‘What's happening?', and then I felt a bang," said Lee, who has 20 years of experience with Asiana. "That bang felt harder than a normal landing. It was a very big shock. Afterward, there was another shock, and the plane swayed to the right and to the left."

She added: "I wasn't really thinking, but my body started carrying out the steps needed for an evacuation."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • LOOKING FOR A HOME? 10 Homes For Sale In Spokane For $125,000

    LOOKING FOR A HOME? 10 Homes For Sale In Spokane For $125,000

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:56 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:56:12 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring is a popular time to purchase and sell a home. Here are 10 homes for sale in Spokane for $125,000. These homes were found on www.WindermereSpokane.com. If you would like more information on any of these homes or would like to schedule a tour, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring is a popular time to purchase and sell a home. Here are 10 homes for sale in Spokane for $125,000. These homes were found on www.WindermereSpokane.com. If you would like more information on any of these homes or would like to schedule a tour, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
  • LOOK: 5 Foreclosed N. Idaho Homes For Sale For Under $120,000

    LOOK: 5 Foreclosed N. Idaho Homes For Sale For Under $120,000

    Wednesday, March 12 2014 2:00 PM EDT2014-03-12 18:00:09 GMT
    KHQ.COM - If you are in the market to buy a house you may want to consider looking at these homes that are currently in foreclosure in N. Idaho. These are five homes in multiple areas of N. Idaho that you can get for under $120,000. With a little paint and some elbow grease, many of these homes would be great for those who are looking to flip a home and turn a profit.>>
    KHQ.COM - If you are in the market to buy a house you may want to consider looking at these homes that are currently in foreclosure in N. Idaho. These are five homes in multiple areas of N. Idaho that you can get for under $120,000. With a little paint and some elbow grease, many of these homes would be great for those who are looking to flip a home and turn a profit.>>
  • LOOKING FOR A HOME? Here Are 15 Homes For Sale For $175,000

    LOOKING FOR A HOME? Here Are 15 Homes For Sale For $175,000

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:08 AM EDT2014-04-15 14:08:47 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Spring is a popular time for those looking to buy or sell their home! We found 15 homes currently for sale in Spokane and surrounding areas all priced at $175,000. These homes were found on WindermereSpokane.Com for more information on a particular property, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
    KHQ.COM - Spring is a popular time for those looking to buy or sell their home! We found 15 homes currently for sale in Spokane and surrounding areas all priced at $175,000. These homes were found on WindermereSpokane.Com for more information on a particular property, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD? Authorities Say Missing Burien Teen May Be In Spokane Area

    HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD? Authorities Say Missing Burien Teen May Be In Spokane Area

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:06 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:06:50 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- The King County Sheriff's Office and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believe that a missing 15-year-old boy may be in the Spokane area. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- The King County Sheriff's Office and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believe that a missing 15-year-old boy may be in the Spokane area. Authorities say 15-year-old Jacob Hays of Burien was last seen on April 3, 2014. He is white with brown hair and brown eyes. He's 5'10" and weighs 160 pounds. >>
  • Washington School Bus Driver Accused Of Bullying

    Washington School Bus Driver Accused Of Bullying

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:04 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:04:45 GMT
    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A school bus driver in Olympia, Wash., has been placed on leave while the school district investigates accusations that he bullied a developmentally disabled 14-year-old girl.>>
    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A school bus driver in Olympia, Wash., has been placed on leave while the school district investigates accusations that he bullied a developmentally disabled 14-year-old girl.
    >>
  • Idaho Girl Dies Of Injuries From Bike-Car Collision

    Idaho Girl Dies Of Injuries From Bike-Car Collision

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:01:50 GMT
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A 13-year-old girl struck by a car while riding her bike in Boise has died. Officials say the girl died Tuesday evening.>>
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A 13-year-old girl struck by a car while riding her bike in Boise has died. Officials say the girl died Tuesday evening.
    >>