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A Flight Like Any Other

Onboard the Boeing 777-200ER (HL7742) have been 291 passengers and 16 crew members. The 10-hour flight from Seoul had been uneventful. As the plane started its closing descent into SFO, the crew ready the cabin for arrival, took their leap seats and started finishing up their 30-second evaluate.

During take-off and touchdown, the ‘essential phases’ of flight, the crew run by way of their emergency procedures and what we’d do if the worst have been to occur. What instructions would we be shouting? What would we be doing with our doorways? What tools would we take off the plane with us? Etc.

The Cabin Manager that day was 40-year-old Lee Yoon-Hye. She had labored for Asiana for almost 20 years and has since been hailed as one of many many heroes of that fateful flight.

Cabin Manager Lee Yoon-Hye

Speaking after the crash, Yoon-Hye stated:

“Right earlier than landing I felt just like the airplane was making an attempt to take-off. I used to be pondering ‘what’s occurring?’ after which I felt a bang, that bang felt more durable than a standard touchdown. It was a really large shock. Afterwards there was one other shock and the airplane swayed to the best and to the left.”

Details later emerged of the ultimate, terrifying moments earlier than the 777 impacted the runway, as one of many pilots tried to provoke a go-around realising the plane was coming in too low and too gradual.

But it was too late. The airplane’s undercarriage impacted the ocean wall earlier than the fuselage slammed onto the runway. Both engines, the tail and horizontal stabilisers, have been sheared off because the jet spun 360 levels earlier than coming to relaxation by the facet of runway 28L. Horrified onlookers might solely watch as an enormous fireball briefly erupted upon affect, adopted by a darkish plume of smoke because the plane got here to a halt.

During coaching, Cabin Crew are taught to attend for a command from the flight deck earlier than evacuating an plane until the scenario is clearly catastrophic. Many would agree that Asiana 214 was a catastrophic crash. After affect, Lee Yoon-Hye bumped into the flight deck to make sure that the pilots have been nonetheless alive and to see if they need to start an evacuation.

However, she was initially instructed to carry off because the pilots tried desperately to contact the tower. An announcement was made telling passengers to stay calm and of their seats. Over 90 seconds later, after a crew member at Door 2L noticed the hearth, the decision was lastly made to evacuate the jet.

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The burning wreckage of Flight 214.

The Evacuation

Now the crew’s coaching actually kicked in. Doors have been flung open, slides inflated, and passengers started to evacuate from the stricken jet. Two of the emergency slides (at doorways 1R and 2R) deployed contained in the fuselage because of the harm sustained throughout the crash, pinning two cabin crew beneath and rendering them incapacitated.

Passengers seated in direction of the rear of the 777, the place lots of the most critically injured have been sitting, needed to fend for themselves as two of the crew stationed right here had been ejected when the plane impacted the bottom.

The two pinned beneath the emergency chutes struggled in useless to free themselves. One was ultimately rescued by a pilot who used the crash axe to launch her simply moments earlier than she suffocated. The second, trapped at door 2R was additionally ultimately freed, “I grabbed a knife passengers had eaten with from a cart and handed it to the co-pilot and he punctured it” Yoon-Hye later stated.

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Door places on the Boeing 777.

There are no procedures in our manuals or in our coaching, for us to comply with in one of these emergency. The crew that day acted on impulse to free their trapped colleagues and drag them to security.

Slowly passengers started to flee from the burning wreckage. Unbelievably, pictures emerged of individuals carrying off their hand baggage, regardless of our fixed reminders to depart all the pieces behind as it might severely impede an evacuation. One was even captured with their duty-free purchasing.

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Passengers, some full with their baggage, sit in shock after evacuating the burning jet.

In the cabin, Yoon-Hye started combating the hearth that was now burning by way of the fuselage and continued to assist with the evacuation. She made a number of sweeps by way of the wreckage earlier than thick black smoke made any additional makes an attempt unattainable.

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The devestation contained in the cabin is obvious from this image.

She later instructed the Associated Press:

“I wasn’t actually pondering, however my physique began finishing up the steps wanted for an evacuation. I used to be solely fascinated with rescuing the subsequent passenger.”

As fireplace and rescue providers arrived knives have been thrown as much as the crew nonetheless on board so they may minimize free passengers trapped by their seat-belts. They continued to scour the airplane till everybody had been evacuated, risking their very own lives because the airplane burnt round them. Lee Yoon-Hye was the final particular person to depart the 777. She had a damaged tailbone and will need to have been in horrible ache.

Joanna Hayes San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) Chief stated that Lee, “Was so composed I believed she had come from the terminal. She wished to ensure that everybody was off…….She was a hero”.

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Cabin Crew from Flight 214 administer First Aid subsequent to the crash scene whereas they watch for extra resue groups to reach

One passenger, Eugene Anthony-Rah who had been sat in enterprise class described the scene to the Wall Street Journal and spoke of the true bravery of one of many Flight Attendants, “She was a hero. This tiny little lady was carrying individuals piggy-back, working in all places, with tears working down her face. She was crying, however she was nonetheless so calm and serving to individuals”.

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One FA was captured carrying a younger boy to security.

Less than a minute and a half after the evacuation of Flight 214 was ordered, all 307 passengers and crew have been off the plane. 180 individuals have been critically injured, however extremely there had solely been two fatalities on the scene – an extra passenger died later in hospital. It is a real testomony to the ability of the crew that everybody managed to flee so rapidly, particularly as solely half the exit doorways have been in operation.

Edwin M. Lee, mayor of San Francisco stated “We’re fortunate to have so many survivors”.

Unsung Heroes

What was, and nonetheless is irritating for Cabin Crew, is that throughout the preliminary hours following this crash little is claimed of the true heroes of the day, the Flight Attendants/Cabin Crew/Trolley Dollies.

In any accident WE are the ‘first responders’ not the hearth crews, paramedics or police. We turn into all these professions rolled into one. We are those passengers will look to first when an incident happens. We would be the first to assist them from a stricken aeroplane and deal with any accidents as greatest we will.

The crew of Asiana 214 completely re-enforced this reality, particularly as lots of the survivors spoke of the delay in getting the rescue providers to the plane.

As the times handed after the crash tales emerged of the bravery and ability of the Asiana crew. Their actions are a real testomony to the true purpose we’re on board any plane.

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Four of the heroines of Asiana 214, together with Lee Yoon-Hye.

And it wasn’t simply the crew on Flight 214 that confirmed their professionalism that afternoon. Waiting to take-off because the ill-fated jet landed was United Airlines Flight 885. Passengers seated on the left facet of the Boeing 747-400 have been first hand witnesses to the horrible crash and its aftermath. For the crew on board it will need to have been a terrifying sight to witness, realizing that their colleagues, albeit in numerous uniforms, have been battling to save lots of lives.

Yet throughout the three hours that they needed to sit on that tarmac, they remained the consummate professionals we’re educated to be. The First Officer on Flight 885 later made an announcement to the press and spoke of their bravery, “We made quite a few PAs to the passengers telling them any data we had, which we acknowledged was going to alter quickly, and I left the cockpit to test on the flight attendants and the general temper of the passengers, as I used to be the third pilot and never in a management seat.”

A few our flight attendants have been shaken up however ALL have been doing an impressive {and professional} job of dealing with the passenger’s wants and offering calm consolation to them. One of the flight attendants contacted unaccompanied minors’ dad and mom to make sure them their kids have been secure and could be taken care of by our crew. Their manner and professionalism throughout this horrific occasion was noteworthy”.

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United Airlines 885 is towed again to the terminal previous the wreckage of Flight 214.

So subsequent time you might be sat on board an plane, keep in mind that your Cabin Crew aren’t there to cater in your each whim, we’re there, primarily in your security.

I as soon as heard a incredible quote from a flight attendant in America who was making the compulsory, but usually ignored security demonstration: “The most essential security function we now have on board this plane are……..the flight attendants. Please take a look at one now”.

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Never a more true phrase spoken.

The actions of the ‘Trolley Dollies’ on board that Asiana 777 proved simply that. My fellow airline colleagues and I, from all all over the world are a very powerful and greatest security function on any plane. No one is aware of how we’d re-act ought to the worst occur, I hope none of us will ever have to search out out.

But if I could be half as courageous, brave {and professional} because the crew on Asiana Flight 214 – Lee Yoon Hye, Yoo Tae Sik, Han Woo Lee, Hong Jung-Ah, Hyun Sook Young, Jeon Soo Min, Kim Ji Youn, Kim Yoon-ju, Lee Jeong Mi, Lee Jin Hee, Maninart Tinnakul and Siritip Singhakarn – I feel I can safely say it will be a job effectively completed.

Check out extra unbelievable tales of our aviation heroes right here – Angels Of The Sky.

© by Dan Air.

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