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July 8, 2013

Report: Crashed jet tried to abort landing

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal safety official said Sunday that the cockpit voice recorder from Asiana Airlines Flight 214 showed the jetliner tried to abort its landing and come around for another try 1.5 seconds before it crashed Saturday at San Francisco airport.

National Transportation Safety Board chief Deborah Hersman said at a news conference that the recorder also showed there was a call to increase airspeed roughly two seconds before impact.

Before that, she said, there was no indication in the recordings that the aircraft was having any problems before it crashed Saturday, killing two passengers and injuring scores of others.

Investigators took the flight data recorder to Washington, D.C., overnight to begin examining its contents for clues to the last moments of the flight, officials said. They also plan to interview the pilots, the crew and passengers.

“I think we’re very thankful that the numbers were not worse when it came to fatalities and injuries,” Hersman told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ‘‘It could have been much worse.”

Hersman said investigators are looking into what role the shutdown of a key navigational aid may have played in the crash. She said the glide slope — a ground-based aid that helps pilots stay on course while landing — had been shut down since June.

She said pilots were sent a notice warning that the glide slope wasn’t available. Hersman told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that there were many other navigation tools available to help pilots land. She says investigators will be “taking a look at it all.”

Since the crash, clues have emerged in witness accounts of the planes approach and video of the wreckage, leading one aviation expert to say the aircraft may have approached the runway too low and something may have caught the runway lip — part of a seawall at the foot of the runway.

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