Pilot of crashed Asiana plane was in 777 training
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The pilot of the crashed Asiana plane at San Francisco airport was still "in training" for the Boeing 777 when he attempted to land the aircraft under supervision on Saturday, the South Korean airline said. Lee Kang-kuk, whose anglicised name was released for the first time on Monday and differed slightly from earlier usage, was the second most junior pilot of four on board the Asiana Airlines aircraft and had 43 hours' experience flying the long-range jet, the airline said on Monday.
The plane's crew tried to abort the descent less than two seconds before it hit a seawall on the landing approach to the airport, bounced along the tarmac and burst into flames. It was Lee's first attempt to land a 777 at San Francisco, although he had flown there 29 times previously on different types of aircraft, said South Korean transport ministry official Choi Seung-youn. Earlier, the ministry said he had accumulated a total of 9,793 flying hours, including his 43 at the controls of the 777.
Two teenage Chinese girls on their way to summer camp in the United States were killed and more than 180 injured in the crash, the first fatal accident involving the Boeing 777 since it entered service in 1995. The plane crashed after the crew tried to abort the landing with less than two seconds to go, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board on Sunday.
Asiana said Lee Kang-kuk was in the pilot seat during the landing, although it was not clear whether the senior pilot, Lee Jung-min, who had clocked up 3,220 hours on a Boeing 777, had tried to take over to abort the landing. "It's a training that is common in the global aviation industry. All responsibilities lie with the instructor captain," Yoon Young-doo, the president and CEO of the airline, told a news conference on Monday at the company headquarters.