Boeing 777 crashes at San Francisco International Airport [photos]; Update: Two confirmed dead

Plumes of smoke were visible over San Francisco International Airport today after a Boeing 777 arriving from Taipei Seoul, South Korea, crashed and burst into flames.

Here’s a tweet from someone who claims to have been on board.

Update: Reports say that the flight had arrived from Seoul, South Korea.

Writer Neil Gaiman is among those whose planes were diverted and learned from Twitter what was going on.

Despite what looks to have been an intense fire, early (and unconfirmed) reports say there were miraculously no fatalities.

Here’s another video from user @360KID showing the volume of smoke coming from the downed plane.

* * *


At a press conference at 7:15 p.m. Eastern, San Francisco’s fire chief said emergency responders were still “working the numbers,” and Mayor Edwin Lee noted that some of the 291 passengers and 16 crew members were unaccounted for. Two fatalities were confirmed.

The airline has established an emergency phone number for families seeking information.

Update: All passengers accounted for:

Twitchy will continue to update this breaking news story as details emerge.

  • ShawnP

    Reason 1 I do not fly anymore.

    • FGCU_James

      Honestly, stuff like this isn’t too common.

      But because they aren’t too common, they get reported on a lot.

    • FGCU_James

      Honestly, stuff like this isn’t too common.

      But because they aren’t too common, they get reported on a lot.

    • dunst43

      I guess you don’t cross the street either.

      • ogama843

        Yea, but you have control over crossing the street.

  • Jennifer

    Prayers for all!

  • Miketrt

    Pretty long debris trail… Lord help them.

  • Shawn

    SF Liberals will blame Bush for this

    • V the K

      They will say it was Boeing’s fault for building planes in a right-to-work state.

      • UTVol73

        The 777 is built (assembled) in Everett, WA. Hardly a right-to-work state.

    • Mark

      I am as conservative as they come, but your comment was a bit uncalled for.

      • Shawn

        Go cry me a river

    • Guest

      Yeah, the pilot was probably singing Happy Birthday, then THIS!!

  • Shawn

    WTF is up with the video, english please LOL

    • Katherine Noel Mumford

      it’s a korean plane

    • JB

      It’s San Francisco, they are diverse.

  • Xplodeit
  • Garth Haycock

    Awful. Thoughts and prayers to all affected by this.

  • Nathan Ballein

    I grew up in San Bruno, where SFO actually IS. Flown in and out of there a LOT. Scary…

  • David Pacansky

    Thank God.

  • John Howard

    Video from TV copter looks like the tail struck the rocky outcrop at water’s edge. A trail of discoloration starts there, then a long debris field, then control surfaces from the tail.

  • Kathleen Hugh-Tuza

    Pilot error…looks like the plane may have caught the bank at waters edge.
    Landing at San Francisco is spooky because you feel you’re going to land
    on the water. This is a real bad tail strike!! Oh my…I loved
    working on that plane. They’re built!!

    • nc

      I grew up in SF and flew into SFO many times and know that “spooky” feeling, especially when it’s really foggy. But that’s really no excuse because how many flights a day make that landing for how many years?

      I’m grateful so many survived, but it was still bad enough.

      • John Howard

        Done that!

        Gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, gray, then in the blink of an eye: rocks, wheels down, brakes, reverse thrust.

        • nc

          That’s it! You captured it perfectly.

    • nc

      I grew up in SF and flew into SFO many times and know that “spooky” feeling, especially when it’s really foggy. But that’s really no excuse because how many flights a day make that landing for how many years?

      I’m grateful so many survived, but it was still bad enough.

  • Craig Jacobs

    Watching the live video feed. Looks really bad. Looks like a lot of fire in the main cabin. The top of 2/3 of the fuselage is gone and the tail section is gone. Bad.


    Prayers for all involved!

  • John Howard

    Unofficial reports are everyone got out. If so, a miracle.

  • TsT

    by God’s Grace . Thats the only way they all made it down the slides . TY Lord

    • Bob

      God’s grace and good engineering.

  • Debbie Bieber Colglazier

    Praise God should it be true that all on board survived! What a horrible experience for them!

  • stevearizona

    Not a good thought when you are flying in a couple of days. Hopefully everyone is alright.

  • Peyton

    Imagine if a passenger made a Vine of it.

  • Raejean

    I’m glad that most passengers are okay!

  • Suzyqpie

    Behold the death of the MSM, here live and in color, events in live time. Sans any officialdom from 0bama’s Basij, formerly known as the MSM. The approach angle was wrong, the tail hit first.

  • John Thomas “Jack” Ward III

    He may not have been paying attention, but this Pilot pulled a “SULLY!” Jawamax *<{D} Praying for the injured…

    • GaryTheBrave

      Where was Denzel?

  • BlahBlah

    Prayers for all. Not for the pilot because this was likely… yeah that.

  • ELC

    Its sad that two people had to die. What a horrible ending to a long flight. I hope those who survived realize how lucky they really are…it could have been much worse.

  • bluewaternavy

    A couple of things…right now I’m in NYC (queens) where we have a good many Koreans. A few old Korean ladies were talking about the plane crash saying it’s the planes fault-then got into their cars. Both hit each other pulling out. You simply cannot make this shit up.

  • DrSamHerman

    I will light a candle at Mass tomorrow for all involved.

  • RememberSekhmet

    Blessings to the families of those who died, and joy to the families of the survivors.

  • Blade_Runner_1776

    Very unusual crash. The weather was perfect for a smooth approach and landing. It appears it hit the seawall, way short of the runway. British Airways flight #38, on January 17, 2008, experienced a similar accident, landing short of the runway, caused by ice on the fuel filters, causing a double engine flame out just before landing. If the plane had a high nose angle before impacting the ground, it is possible the pilots were trying to flare a landing with the engines flamed out, running out of inertia. See this link:

  • ReedAboutCom

    For all the damage it did and took I think they were amazingly lucky that only two lost there lives. Prayers for the injured and workers there.

  • AZWarrior

    Pretty unusual. The Boeing 777 in it’s 18 years in commercial service has never before had a fatality. The aircraft is equipped with 2 Pratt Whitney 4000 hi bypass turbofan engines which also have an excellent operational safety record. The aircraft is equipped with an Autolanding system that lands the aircraft without input (interference) from the aircrew. Perhaps it malfunctioned, or the aircrew tried to override the autolander and stalled the aircraft short of the approach.

    • GaryTheBrave

      I wonder if a microburst could have hit it?

      • John Howard

        I listened to the KSFO approach audio archive that someone else had linked to. I hear the tower saying something about ‘turbulence’ as he clears each aircraft to use a certain runway. But he says it so fast I can’t get the exact context.

      • AZWarrior

        I have heard on TV that there were no thunderstorms in the area, so a classic microburst is out. Wind shear is simular and could have played a role, but if memory serves, SF International is equiped with windshear detection system. There was a report that the glide slope system was down for maintenance, while that should not make any differencen in a visual approach, it could have been a contributing reason the pilot may have misjudged the approach altitude.

    • Ted

      The 777 has also used GE and Rolls Royce engines. Ge also maintains a good service record, however the RR had some issues a few years ago that required changes.

  • nc

    Thank goodness, in addition to so many survivors, we don’t have the usual scenario of “blaming dead pilots.” At least now, with the pilot interviews plus the recovered voice recorders, we have a chance of finding out the true cause of this terrible mishap.

    ps: why do officials jump out so quickly and say it’s not related to terrorism? That always bugs me. How could they possibly know so soon one way or another?