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TODAY   |  July 08, 2013

NTSB chair: Asiana flight’s ‘speed was slow’

Deborah Hersman, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, comments on the investigation into the cause of Asiana Flight 214’s crash in San Francisco on Saturday.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the national transportation safety board . good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt.

>> too slow and too low approaching the runway. you said the target speed was 137 knots and it was well below that. how far below that was it?

>> you know, what we know is that the speed was slow. they identified that on the cockpit voice recorder in their conversations with each other. and we also have information from the flight data recorder that shows that their speed was well below 137. we have radar data, radar tracks, from air traffic control , that also has some information about their speeds. we need to corroborate all of that information, and we do want to have an interview with the crews. it's important for us to talk to them before we begin to put information out that might bias those interviews.

>> we know seven seconds before the crash someone called for more power, more speed. by that time, chairman hersman, was it too late? could any pilot, depending on experience level , have saved the aircraft at that time?

>> well, we know seven seconds before they identified they were slow. but it wasn't until about 1.5 seconds before impact that they actually called for a go-around and we see seconds before the crash on the flight data recorder they did push those throttles up and try to get some power. and so we will be looking at the aircraft's performance and what was possible and how much time they had to perform that.

>> according to flight aware , a company that listens to navigation broadcasts and sells data to the airlines, this plane or aircraft was descending at about 4,000 feet a minute. the average for an aircraft that size at that point of a flight or approach to a landing would be about 600 to 800 feet a minute. would there have been some kind of a computer system , an alarm, an override, that would have warned this crew there was an imminent problem?

>> well, that's all information that we need to gather. we need to take a look at. again, some of that can come from the cockpit voice recorder , but also some is understanding what was going on. what was the crew monitoring, what were they hearing? how were they trained? and what was their expectation as far as the performance of the aircraft. how much was automated and how much was hand --

>> you talk about training. it's been widely reported the pilot had will 43 hours of experience at the controls of the 777. but had never attempted a landing at this particular airport. at this stage in your investigation, can you say that there was -- that pilot inexperience played a role in the crash?

>> well, we know that there's different levels of experience, and certainly in different aircraft types , we will see different experiences. pilots will move from aircraft type to aircraft type. and you have to acquire experience and time. the expectation is that you have good crew resource management , you have good pairings of people who have experience that can work together, and we need to understand what was going on between these two crew members at the time, who was in control, and what happened on that day.

>> and i understand you're being very careful with this. let me ask the question one more time. do you think the fact that this was this pilot's first attempt at landing in a 777 at that airport played a role in this crash?

>> you know, i think we'll have to take a look at that. but it's not unusual for pilots to have a first landing coming into an airport. they fly all around the world, there are a lot of different destinations. what you want to do is have a crew that's proficient in the aircraft and works together well. that you have good crew pairings. that's important.

>> deborah hersman, chairman of the ntsb. miss hersman, thank you very much for your time.

>> thank you.

>> savannah?