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Cable news networks broke away from coverage of the George Zimmerman trial and Egypt upheaval to cover a Boeing 777 that crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens more.
Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said 182 people were taken to local hospitals. There were a total of 307 people on board the plane — 291 passengers and 16 crew members. All who were on board have been accounted for, said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. She said the two people who died were found outside of the heavily damaged jetliner.
At least 49 of the injured people were in critical condition, with the remaining 133 having minor to moderate injuries, said officials. The two passengers who died were Chinese citizens, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
CNN, MSNBC and Fox News carried footage from Bay Area station KTVU showing the smoking wreckage of the plane and amateur video on YouTube that appeared to be shot from a terminal (see below). Images broadcast show emergency crews surrounding the plane after its landing. On broadcast television, ABC News broke into its Wimbledon coverage for a special report by David Muir.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says the plane was coming from South Korea and was supposed to land on Runway 28 Left at San Francisco International Airport. The FAA said Flight 214 crashed while landing at 11:36 a.m. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all the passengers, and flight crew on the flight. We hope to provide you with further info asap,” read a statement by Asiana Airlines posted on Twitter.
The news spread quickly on social media before it reached cable networks. MSNBC and CNN showed an image of a tweet from David Eun, a Samsung executive — formerly a content exec at Google and AOL — who was on board the plane. “Fire and rescue people all over the place. They’re evacuating the injured. Haven’t felt this way since 9/11,” Eun tweeted.
— David Eun (@Eunner) July 6, 2013
Immediately after the news broke of the crash, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote a note on Facebook explaining that she had been scheduled to take the Asiana Airlines flight, but opted for a United flight instead. That flight “was scheduled to come in at the same time, but we were early and landed about 20 minutes before the crash,” she wrote, adding: “Serious moment to give thanks.”
On cable, Dana Bash and Richard Quest were on the line for CNN reporting on the crash. MSNBC’s Lester Holt gave a special report. Fox News’ Janice Dean reported on the weather conditions in San Francisco at the time of the crash. FNC also had aviation expert Capt. Chuck Nash on by phone to explain the potential logistics of the crash and Claudia Cowan on the ground in SF.
CNN also posted an image of smoke pouring from the airplane that was initially tweeted by the daughter of a passenger on the flight:
— Bird (@EuniceBirdRah) July 6, 2013
On Saturday evening, several networks preempted regularly scheduled programming to continue the coverage. MSNBC pushed the season premiere of Lockup back one week, and had Craig Melvin anchoring. CNN had Presumed Guilty: Murder in West Memphis set for 10 p.m. ET, but continued coverage with Don Lemon. Fox News Channel preempted The Last Days of John Lennon for continued coverage anchored by Greta Van Susteren.
Below, the amateur footage of the crash that was aired on the networks:
Below an alternate view of the Asiana Airlines crash:
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