Peninsula News

Experts: Don't grab luggage when leaving plane crash

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Survivors in the immediate aftermath of Asiana Flight 214 crash. Asiana Flight 214 crash survivor Wendell Hom NTSB official Deborah Hersman NTSB investigates crash NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman New NTSB video shows debris field after SFO crash SFO 28R runway Chinese students strive for normalcy after SFO crash NTSB Chairman Hersman and IIC Bill English survey accident scene NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman at a press conference Asiana Airlines debris on SFO runway NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman

One of the remarkable aspects of the Asiana Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport is that passengers did something you're not supposed to do in a plane evacuation -- a lot of people grabbed their carry-on bags as they rushed off the plane, even though FAA evacuation procedure tells passengers to leave possessions behind.

The images of thick smoke pouring from the plane are dramatic enough, but something else is also startling.

"As a flight attendant I thought, oh my god, I can't believe they have their suitcases!" exclaimed Chris Black, president of the San Francisco Association of Flight Attendants.

She says their first command to panicked passengers is unbuckle your seatbelt, get out, and leave everything behind.

"You would certainly never want to find out that because someone pulled their suitcase out, that another passenger was not able to get out," Black said.

But as you see in photos taken by Asiana passenger Ben Levy, many were reluctant to leave their carry-on bags on the plane. .

"I started, you know, screaming to people, let's go let's go, leave everything behind, we're gonna be okay, get out," Levy said.

It's likely in the chaos people were in shock or their first instinct kicked in. That's why flight attendants say it's key to listen to the safety instructions before the plane takes off.

"Depends, sometimes, you're too sleepy," one passenger said.

Another passenger said, "Do what you're told and you don't grab your bag."

Earlier this week a first responder was asked if there may have been a language barrier for some of the Asiana passengers.

"English was not their first language but go means go, you know, so they got off the plane," San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Crissy Emmons said.

And even though some toted their luggage, all but two safely escaped. The experts say next time, when a plane goes down, passengers might not be so lucky.

"Your suitcase doesn't matter, your cellphone doesn't matter, all your belongings, all of that can be replaced, you can't be," Black said.

And the experts say the faster you exit a plane, the better your odds of surviving.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
san francisco international airport, plane crash, Asiana Airlines crash, NTSB, peninsula news, carolyn tyler
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