This past weekend was marred by two tragic airplane crashes. By now, everyone has heard about Saturday’s crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 in San Francisco that killed two young girls and injured dozens of other passengers. Just over 24 hours later, however, a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter air taxi crashed at an airfield in Soldotna, Alaska killing the pilot and all nine passengers aboard.
Investigators are still working to piece together the cause of each accident. It seems clear that the Asiana 214 aircraft was approaching the San Francisco airport too low and too slow, but it is not yet known if that was the result of pilot error or some equipment malfunction or both. Recent reports indicate that the pilot, who had a great deal of experience in other types of planes, only had 43 hours in the 777 and had never landed one at SFO. He was apparently receiving on-the-job training at the time of the crash.
There are very few clues at this point in the Alaska crash. It is not even known yet whether the plane was taking off or landing when it crashed and burst into flames. These two tragedies are stark reminders that commercial aviation, while usually very safe, can sometimes turn deadly. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and families of each horrible incident.