What we know and don’t know about Asiana Flight 214
(CNN) — Here’s what we know about Saturday’s crash landing of Asiana Flight 214 and some of the key questions raised by those facts:
1. Based on the debris field, the aircraft appears to have struck the rock “sea wall” well before the start of the runway. There are some marks on the sea wall, consistent with an impact of some part of the plane. Some aircraft debris ended up in the water.
Question: Did the flight crew simply land the aircraft short?
2. Passengers on board the aircraft describe the engines spooling up and the nose tilting up just before impact.
Question: Did the flight crew realize they were short and attempt to correct too late?
3. The debris field runs from the water, slightly right of the paved threshold and runway center, all the way to the stopped aircraft fuselage.
The Boeing 777 lost its tail section, including vertical and horizontal stabilizers, near the end of the paved threshold, just before the start of the runway.
Question: Is this an indication the tail of the aircraft detached after first impact?
4. What appears to be the Boeing 777’s right engine is detached from the wing and wedged against the right side of the fuselage. Another engine is a considerable distance from the fuselage in a grassy area to the right of runway 28L. This appears to be the left engine.
Question: When did the engines detach? Given the debris on the right side of the runway, could the engine off to the side actually be the right engine?
5. The flight data and voice data recorders were recovered intact and the contents are being analyzed by the NTSB.
6. Flight tracking records show that the Asiana 214 flight descended from cruising altitude much more steeply and rapidly than previous Asiana flights on the same route.
Question: Was the flight crew trying to compensate for a late descent, by descending too quickly and then misjudged the approach?
7. The Instrument Landing System approach on runway 28L was not working on the day of the crash. It had been down for some time. Flights were landing using Visual Flight Rules. The weather was clear.
8. The runway’s precision approach path indicator lights, showing correct flight approach altitudes, were working.
9. Most of the fire damage to the aircraft occurred after the 777 came to a stop on its belly.
10. Passengers described the cabin interior as heavily damaged with overhead bins dropping and at least one life raft/escape slide inflating inside the aircraft, trapping a flight attendant, who was freed by passengers.
11. Audio recordings of air traffic control conversations show the pilot did not declare an emergency before the crash landing. Emergency vehicles were dispatched after the incident.
12. The aircraft was built in 2006 and was purchased new by Asiana.
By Richard T. Griffiths and Aaron Cooper
CNN’s Richard Quest and Miquel Marquez contributed to this report.