Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Southwest weak, Asiana strong

On Monday, a Southwest Airlines 737 suffered a collapse of its nose gear upon landing at La Guardia airport. Ten people were injured. ...

But in truth, while landing gear malfunctions are sometimes splendidly telegenic, rarely if ever are they going to end in catastrophe. Trust me, the need to circle while pilots troubleshoot a gear problem, as happens every so often, is no reason to go scribbling your last will and testament on the back of a barf bag. ...

[P]assengers have said that members of the cabin crew were crying and unresponsive.
--Patrick Smith, Slate, on weak sauce


The evacuation of Asiana Flight 214 began badly. Even before the mangled jetliner began filling with smoke, two evacuation slides on the doors inflated inside the cabin instead of outside, pinning two flight attendants to the floor.

Cabin manager Lee Yoon-hye, apparently the last person to leave the burning plane, said crew members deflated the slides with axes to rescue their colleagues, one of whom seemed to be choking beneath the weight of a slide. ...

Lee herself worked to put out fires and usher passengers to safety despite a broken tailbone that kept her standing throughout a news briefing with mostly South Korean reporters at a San Francisco hotel. She said she didn’t know how badly she was hurt until a doctor at a San Francisco hospital later treated her. ...

When Lee saw that the plane was burning after the crash, she was calm. “I was only thinking that I should put it out quickly. I didn’t have time to feel that this fire was going to hurt me,” she said. ...

Lee said she was the last person off the plane and that she tried to approach the back of the aircraft before she left to double-check that no one was left inside. But when she moved to the back of the plane, a cloud of black, toxic smoke made it impossible. ...

The San Francisco fire chief, Joanne Hayes-White, praised Lee, whom she talked to after the evacuation.

“She was so composed I thought she had come from the terminal,” Hayes-White told reporters in a clip posted to YouTube. “She wanted to make sure that everyone was off. ... She was a hero.”
--Associated Press on a study in contrasts