It has been five months since Asiana Flight 214 crashed on San Francisco International Airport’s runway, but the investigation as to what led to the crash is still ongoing, with new footage released Wednesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the July 6 incident that injured more than 200 people and left three dead, released video taken from a surveillance camera stationed across from the airport.
It shows the Boeing 777 approaching the runway, skidding in its improper landing and spinning about 360 degrees in a circle of billowing smoke.
Watch the footage:
Thousands of pages of investigative documents were also released during the NTSB hearing Wednesday, revealing that pilot Lee Kang Kuk harbored fears about landing safely while relying on manual controls and a visual approach, but he didn’t express them to his fellow crew members because he didn’t want to fail his training mission and embarrass himself.
Lee, a veteran pilot undergoing training on the wide-body 777, told investigators he had been “very concerned” about attempting a visual approach without instrument landing aids, which were turned off because of runway construction. A visual approach involves lining up the jet for landing by looking through the windshield and using other cues, rather than relying on a radio-based glideslope system that guides the aircraft to the runway at the proper angle.
Lee said he had worried privately before takeoff about his ability to handle the plane. But he told investigators he didn’t speak up because others had been safely landing at San Francisco International Airport under the same conditions. As a result, he said, “he could not say he could not do the visual approach.”
Another Asiana pilot who had recently flown with Lee told investigators he was not sure if he was making normal progress. That pilot said Lee, who had less than 45 hours in the 777 jet, did not perform well during a trip two days before the accident and he was “not well organized or prepared,” according to the investigative report.
Junior officers’ reluctance to speak up has been an issue in past accidents, though industry training has tried to emphasize that safety should come first.
“It’s never one thing. It’s always several hazards coming together with a catastrophic result,” said Tom Anthony, director of the aviation safety program at the University of Southern California. “You can see that the areas of concern to the NTSB are the effects of automation and also communication in the cockpit — whether (pilots) are communicating hazards to other crew members.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.