Survivors of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 that crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport last summer, killing three teenage girls and injuring dozens of passengers, will not hear from the pilots who were at the controls of the Boeing 777 when the National Transportation Safety Board convenes an investigative hearing next week.
The four pilots on board -- including a veteran making his first landing at SFO in a Boeing 777 and his supervisor on his inaugural training flight -- spoke privately to NTSB investigators in the days following the crash but have not publicly addressed why the "Triple 7" slammed into the sea wall that abuts Runway 28 Left on July 6 while trying to land after a nearly 11-hour flight from Seoul.
"Everybody is still scratching their heads wondering why a 'Triple 7' with clear weather and no cross winds just missed the airport," said Walnut Creek attorney Michael Verna, who filed the first lawsuit stemming from the crash and represents three injured passengers. "The ultimate question that everybody has is, 'What were the pilots thinking?"
The only two Asiana pilots who are scheduled to speak at the two-day hearing in Washington, D.C. will be the airline's chief pilot and training manager who will appear on the first day, Tuesday, during a discussion of Asiana pilot training in the Boeing 777 and automated systems and visual approach procedures.
Asked about the absence of the pilots flying the plane, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said, "The NTSB investigative team formed the witness list. That's who the investigative team decided they wanted to speak at the hearing."
Asiana spokesman Ki Won Suh said in an email to this newspaper that, "We hope that the upcoming investigative hearing will assist in determining the cause of this accident and lead to a productive discussion on actions the entire industry can take to improve the safety of air passengers."
Contact Dan Nakaso at 408-271-3648. Follow him at Twitter.com/dannakaso.