Asiana Crash Victims Were Headed to L.A. Summer Camp; Vigil Planned
Two 16-year-olds who died in the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport Saturday were headed to Los Angeles for summer camp.
In fact West Valley Christian School in Canoga Park says 35 of 307 aboard flight 214 were 10th graders and their chaperones from China ultimately headed to its three-week summer program.
The two who died, the only fatalities so far from the crash, were identified as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia of Jiangshan, China.
Authorities said they were found outside the plane and indicated one of the two might have been hit by a rescue vehicle responding to the accident.
The victims and their fellow summer camp travelers are part of a wave of Chinese students who travel to America each summer to learn English and prepare to compete for entry in elite universities.
More than 180 people were injured in the crash, including at least two paralysis victims and several others with severe spinal injuries.
The Christian school over the weekend announced it would hold a vigil for the victims at 7 p.m. Thursday. It also stated:
En route to WVCS were 35 Chinese students who were on the airplane that crash landed in San Francisco. They were scheduled to be here on Tuesday for three weeks. Now, we are unsure what their next steps will be ... but we are certain that God knows and will help us care for them in this time of crisis. Please join us as we learn how to care for them. Gift cards to pay for missing items in luggage can be delivered to church and school offices. Sympathy cards and other gestures of care are welcomed.
Dear Lord, give grace to their moms and dads, brothers and sisters. Give us wisdom and compassion as we care for our guests from China.
Meanwhile National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman chairwoman Deborah A. P. Hersman told reporters yesterday that the Boeing 777 was travelling "significantly below" the ideal speed of 137 knots, or about 157 miles per hour, just before crashing about 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
The flight originated in Shanghai and stopped in Seoul before continuing on to the Bay Area.
Hersman said that 7 seconds before impact the crew indicated it wanted to increase air speed.
Four seconds before impact the plane's stick-like yolk began shaking as a warning that the aircraft would stall or fall out of the air for lack of momentum, she said.
About 1.5 seconds before impact, the crew requested a "go around," essentially a landing "do over" that would have the plane gain altitude and come around for another try, Hersman said. It was too late.
The plane clipped a sea wall, lost its tail section, spun and skidded to a stop.
Asiana Airlines on Sunday said the otherwise veteran pilot who was supposed to be landing the plane, Lee Kang-kook, had only 43 hours behind the controls of a 777 and that it would have been his maiden landing at San Francisco International.
On top of that, construction at the airport meant that its glide slope system that automatically guides pilots by providing the proper descent data was out of service and that planes had to land by purely "visual" approach.
Asiana officials said the plane appeared to be in good mechanical condition.