Passengers on Tarmac Report They’ve Been on the Tarmac 20 Minutes with No Medics After Asiana Boeing 777 Crash

Passengers on the plane that crashed in San Francisco called 911, begged for help, and said ambulances weren’t coming fast enough. San Francisco officials say ambulances could not come too close out of concern that the plane would explode.

The 911 calls were released by the California Highway Patrol late Wednesday.

Female passenger: “We’ve been down on the ground, I don’t know, 20 minutes, a half-hour,” one woman said in a call to 911. “There are people waiting on the tarmac with critical injuries. We’re almost losing a woman here. We’re trying to keep her alive …”

“We just crashed-landed on the airline and it looks like help’s coming, but not too many ambulances,” one caller said.

The release of the 9-1-1 audio came mid-week as news was also released that three flight attendants were ejected from the plane during the crash, injuries from one of two teens ejected from the crash were consistent with being run over by a fire truck, the pilot initially ordered a delay in evacuation (90 seconds), and that the pilot claims he saw a bright light that temporarily blinded him on approach.

The FAA requires the ability of evacuation of the entire aircraft in 90 seconds using 50% of the available evacuation exits. To meet this, all evacuation units need to deploy in less than 10 seconds. For large, wide body aircraft such as Boeing 777s, A300s and Boeing 747s a successful deployment is complete in about 5–7 seconds, depending on conditions (such as temperature and winds). It is not clear yet whether the evacuation slides failed to deploy promptly or whether the pilot mistakenly held passengers long than he should have.

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