SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Several people aboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214 have said at least one of the Boeing 777’s evacuation chutes opened inside the cabin rather than outside the jet after it crashed Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, federal investigators said Tuesday.

The relief first officer told investigators that he saw a chute deploy inside and trap a flight attendant, said Deborah Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board.

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“He did describe a chute that had deployed inside and trapped one of the flight attendants, and his efforts to free the flight attendant,” she said.

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The cabin manager supervising the flight attendants on board told the Associated Press that crew members had to hack at the chute in order to deflate it.

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The NTSB is investigating not only the crash, but the ensuing evacuation as the aircraft burst into flames, Hersman said.

“We’re looking at videos. We’re interested, of course, talking to cabin crew and the flight crew, as well as the surviving passengers, to understand what was going on,” she said.

Hersman said recovery teams have removed all eight emergency chutes from the scene of the crash for further study to determine how they deployed and what may have caused any malfunction.

“We need to understand whether they were inadvertently deployed, whether it was a function of the crash. That’s certainly not what’s intended. We need to understand what happened so we can prevent it from occurring in the future,” she said.

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