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Plane pilot 'in training'


08:25, July 09, 2013

The parents of Wang Linjia, who died in the San Francisco plane crash on Saturday, answer questions at a Shanghai airport on Monday.GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

Asiana Airlines said Lee Kang-kook, who was flying the doomed plane, was still "in training" for the Boeing 777 when he attempted to land the aircraft under supervision.

Lee was the second most junior pilot of the four on board, with only 43 hours' experience in piloting a Boeing 777, although he is well skilled with more than 9,000 hours of flying time, Reuters reported.

Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the US National Transportation Safety Board, said on Sunday that Flight 214 was going too slowly and an attempt had been made to abort the landing moments before the crash.

There were 70 Chinese students and teachers on board. Besides 34 from Zhejiang province, the 36 others were from Taiyuan, Shanxi province, the Ministry of Education said.

Parents of the Chinese students who were killed or injured when an Asiana Airlines flight crashed on landing in San Francisco on Saturday left for the United States from Shanghai on Monday on the same airline.

They flew out as Jiangshan Middle School in Zhejiang province was trying to come to grips with the deaths of students Wang Linjia, 17, and Ye Mengyuan, 16, the only two fatalities in the Boeing 777 crash at San Francisco International Airport.

The last message Wang left on Tencent Weibo, a micro-blogging platform, was "Go!" on Friday afternoon, expressing her excitement about the two-week summer camp she was about to attend in the United States.

Just one day later her parents in Zhejiang heard their daughter was dead.

More than 180 passengers were injured in the crash, 49 of them seriously. A total of 307 passengers and crew were on board.

Along with Wang and Ye's families, parents of two seriously injured students, Liu Yipeng and Li Hongjing, and officials from the Zhejiang school and government arrived in Shanghai on Monday afternoon before taking a flight to Los Angeles, where Asiana Airlines will arrange for their journey to San Francisco.

Wang Xu, an official from the Jiangshan government in the 18-strong group, said apart from dealing with the deaths of Wang and Ye, they would visit the injured in hospitals.

Hundreds of students from Jiangshan Middle School and local residents gathered in Xujiang Park at 7 pm on Monday, lighting candles and praying for Wang and Ye.

"I cannot believe they are dead," said Zhang Kai, a classmate of Ye's, adding that he had promised to pick her up when they returned from the US.

Rao Huixian, who taught the two girls at the school, said, "Both girls were very diligent, had excellent academic performances and possessed loving hearts."

They got along well with their parents, teachers and schoolmates and were adored by their class, Rao said.

The girls' classmates and teachers also said Ye excelled at the piano and Latin dancing, while Wang was good at calligraphy, painting and recitation.

Zheng Liming, deputy principal of Jiangshan Middle School, said the summer camp has been halted.

"As many students lost their passports and other legal documents in the accident, the group is waiting for new passports and will return to China as soon as possible," Zheng said.

Students have been asked to call their families in China every day and teachers have been ordered to report the situation to their schools as well, he added.

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