A plane crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport Saturday morning after its tail came off while it was touching down on the runway.
According to a witness, around 11:20 a.m. the plane was just about to land — its landing gear had come down — when the tail of the plane came off.
After wobbling for a minute, the aircraft flipped upside down, coming to a stop on runway on it’s back.
The plane, reportedly a Boeing 777, was coming from South Korea, according to flight tracking information.
(Note: this early article was in error in its claim that the plane flipped upside down. As later photos revealed, the plane ended up on its belly, right-side up.
A tail falling off sounds like mechanical failure. (Note: See updates below.) Number of casualties unknown. Check back for updates as the story unfolds.
Here’s a video of the burning fuselage:
Twitter erupted on Saturday with reports that a plane crashed at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
Photos taken from other planes showed smoke billowing from the purported crash.
“Literally just witnessed a plane crash (SFO) start to finish..cannot stop crying,” said one witness.
“Huge crash on SFO. I hope and pray everyone on that plane and facility is ok,” wrote one user.
Another said that “plane on fire moments ago at SFO airport.”
ABC News tweeted that the “plane on fire at #SFO is a Boeing 777 operated by Asiana Airlines in from Taipei,” the capital of Taiwan.
An important first-person account just just appeared on Path.com:
Local reports are claiming there are now two confirmed deaths.
Aerial photos of the crash site reveal that the plane attempted to land too early, and the back end of the aircraft struck the breakwater at the start of the runway. Planes arriving at SFO descend to just a few feet over the water of San Francisco Bay before arriving at the runway; this plane was too low as it reached start of the runway and the tail section struck the rocks of the breakwater, and then snapped off.
Here are some photos of the fuselage taken from a helicopter a few minutes ago:
KTVU confirms that there are so far at least 2 fatalities and 61 injuries.
The crashed happened on SFO’s runway 28L. This stock image of runway 28L reveals the point of impact, where the tail section struck the breakwater (slightly off-enter from the middle of the runway) which I have circled with a green oval:
Here is a screenshot from a video taken by a helicopter a couple minutes ago showing the exact spot of the first impact on the breakwater at the start of runway 28L:
By now (2:30pm) this story is being covered minute-by-minute by all new networks locally and nationwide, so I’ll let the story unfold in the media and only add updates if there are any major revelations.