AUDIO: 911 Calls Reveal Drama of Asiana SF Airport Plane Crash

"There is a woman out here on the street, on the runway, who is pretty much burned very severely on the head, and we don't know what to do," one woman says.

The California Highway Patrol has released audio of the emergency calls related to the deadly Asiana Airlines Flight 214 plane crash at San Francisco International Airport.

The audio begins with a call from a man hiking on a trail just outside of Pacifica. He notifies the dispatcher of the crash landing at SFO.

“We just heard a giant explosion and we're with a couple other hikers and they saw that an airplane had crashed right there at SFO,” the hiker said.

Another call comes from a passenger who was on the plane and describes the moments after survivors were able to escape the plane.


"We've been down on the ground, I don't know, 20 minutes, a half-hour," one woman said from the runway. "There are people waiting on the tarmac with critical injuries, head injuries."

"We're almost losing a woman here," she said as a 911 dispatcher tried to reassure her that help was on the way. "We're trying to keep her alive."

San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said Thursday that some passengers who called 911 may not have immediately seen ambulances at the scene because they were dispatched to a nearby staging area as first responders assessed who needed to be taken to the hospital.
"There is a procedure for doing it,'' Talmadge told the Associated Press. "You don't cause more chaos in an already chaotic situation. You don't do that with 50 ambulances running around all over the place.''
Within 18 minutes of receiving word of the crash, five ambulances and more than a dozen other rescue vehicles were at the scene or en route, in addition to airport fire crews and crews from San Mateo County and other agencies already on the scene, Talmadge told AP. "Our response was immediate,'' Talmadge said. "It's not what you may see in the movies. That's not how a real-life response is to a large-scale incident.''

Also in the recordings, a woman reports a severely-burned victim of the crash needing immediate help, and that there were not enough emergency crews on scene at the time of her call.

“We're at the San Francisco International Airport. We just got in a plane crash, and there's a bunch of people who still need help and there's not enough medics out here," the woman said.

"There is a woman out here on the street, on the runway, who is pretty much burned very severely on the head, and we don't know what to do," she said. "She is severely burned. She will probably die soon if we don't get any help."

Another passenger, who sounded very calm, told a 911 dispatcher that the plane had just crashed upon landing and that “we need some help here as soon as possible.”

“There’s a bunch of fire trucks and a couple of ambulances, I see one or two, but there’s a lot of people hurting on the ground,” the main said.

Asked by the dispatcher what runway was he on, the man said, “I don’t know the runway, we literally just ran out of the airplane."

Twenty of the crash victims were still in the San Francisco-area hospitals on Wednesday. Four of them were in critical condition, a child among them.

For full coverage of the Asiana Airlines tragedy, visit our Flight 214 Crash Landing page.

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