2 killed, dozens injured in Boeing 777 crash at SFO

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. —

An investigation continues in the Boeing 777 crash at San Francisco International Airport that killed two people and injured dozens of people on Saturday.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said at a news conference outside San Francisco General Hospital Sunday the two 16-year-old girls who died were found on either side of the plane near the "front middle." Investigators are determining whether they were alive or dead when rescuers reached the scene. Chinese state media revealed that the two killed were Chinese citizens, Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia.

Hayes-White said first responders told her they saw people at the edge of the bay dousing themselves with water, possibly to cool burn injuries.

The Asiana Airlines plane crashed while it was landing Saturday just before noon.

A video clip posted to YouTube showed smoke coming from a jet on the tarmac.

Here's one of the videos taken from the airport: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dFtmSybpuw&feature=youtu.be

Crews responded to the site of the crash, and fire trucks sprayed a white fire retardant on the wreckage.

Television footage showed the top of the fuselage was burned away and the entire tail was gone. One engine appeared to have broken away. Pieces of the tail were strewn about the runway. Emergency responders could be seen walking inside the burned-out wreckage.

During a news conference at the airport Saturday, officials said there were 291 passengers and 16 crew members on board the plane. Of the 291 passengers on board, 141 were Chinese. At least 70 Chinese students and teachers were on the plane heading to summer camps, according to education authorities in China.

There were 182 people taken to nine Bay Area hospitals, and among the 182, 49 were in serious condition. There were 123 other people on board the plane who were found at the airport terminal, and they were not hurt.

It wasn't immediately clear what happened to the plane as it was landing, but some eyewitnesses described the aircraft doing a cartwheel and others said that it appeared to sway back and forth kicking up dust. Many said the tail fell off.

A witness told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News sister station KTVU just before 11:30 a.m., the plane was just about to land when the tail of the plane came off.

"I saw the plane sort of flip up and then a little bit later, it exploded," said eyewitness Mike Murphy.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, and NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman would head the team.

Boeing released a statement after the crash:

"Boeing extends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who perished in the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 accident in San Francisco, as well as its wishes for the recovery of the injured.

Boeing will join the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board at their request to provide technical assistance to their investigation.

In accordance with the international protocol governing aviation accident investigations, all inquiries about the investigation must be directed to the NTSB."

Officials with Sea-Tac Airport said five international flights headed to SFO were diverted to Sea-Tac on Saturday.

Numerous other flights headed to San Francisco were diverted to other airports. According to officials at SFO, runways were closed but two later reopened Saturday afternoon.

The 777-200 is a long-range plane from Boeing. The twin-engine aircraft is one of the world's most popular long-distance planes, often used for flights of 12 hours or more, from one continent to another. The airline's website says its 777s can carry between 246 to 300 passengers.

Asiana is a South Korean airline, second in size to national carrier Korean Air. It has recently tried to expand its presence in the United States, and joined the Star Alliance, which is anchored in the U.S. by United Airlines.

Asiana Airlines officials said it will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation of the crash.