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SFO Reviews Performance In Asiana Crash, Finds Areas To Improve On

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Image from a firefighter's helmet cam shows Asiana Airlines Flight 214 burning following a crash landing at San Francisco International Airport, July 6, 2013. (San Francisco Fire Dept.)

Image from a firefighter’s helmet cam shows Asiana Airlines Flight 214 burning following a crash landing at San Francisco International Airport, July 6, 2013. (San Francisco Fire Dept.)

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SAN FRANCISCO INT’L AIRPORT (CBS SF) — San Francisco International Airport officials released Wednesday preliminary findings from a self-review of the airport’s performance in July’s Asiana Airlines crash, citing the need for improvement in coordinating emergency responses and providing adequate customer service.

SFO officials shared the findings at an industry event Wednesday at the airport, where Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing on July 6. Three Chinese girls were killed in the crash and its aftermath while more than 180 other passengers were injured.

The airport’s self-review process included interviewing more than 120 people from various local, state and federal agencies and airlines and was largely complimentary of the airport’s response to the crash.

“While our thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families, I am proud of the emergency response to the Asiana crash that saved many lives,” airport director John Martin said in a statement.

The findings noted SFO staff, first responders and other agencies helped respond quickly to the crash, disseminated information to the public in a timely manner and reopened the damaged runway for use within 42 hours.

Among the areas for improvement were the need to standardize triage procedures between San Mateo and San Francisco counties, integrate additional medical evacuation resources and to keep SFO restaurants open 24 hours to accommodate stranded passengers.

The findings also noted that the airport’s website, flysfo.com, crashed due to high demand following the crash but has since been moved to a cloud-based server with flexible bandwidth.

“Reflecting the airport culture of continuous improvement, we engaged the entire SFO community, and mutual aid agencies to examine our response and recovery to ensure we are even better prepared for the future,” Martin said. “Safety and security remain our top priority.”

Unmentioned in the findings was the striking of one of the 16-year-old girls by a San Francisco Fire Department truck as she lay injured on the ground outside the aircraft.

San Mateo County prosecutors found no criminal culpability for the department and called the death a tragic accident.

The Asiana crash happened when the Boeing 777 plane struck a seawall while trying to land at the airport, causing the tail section to separate from the rest of the aircraft.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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