TODAY

TODAY   |  July 10, 2013

Asiana pilots say plane wasn’t lined up

The four Asiana Flight 214 pilots have spoken with investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, confirming what witnesses have reported about the plane coming into the San Francisco airport too low and slow. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>> the crash of asiana flight 214 . the pilots on the aircraft are giving investigators a clear picture of what was happening in the cockpit at the time of the crash. tom costello is covering the investigation for us. tom, good morning.

>> reporter: matt, good morning. this is all coming down to air speed and lining up properly on the right run way. at least one of the pilots told investigators they were struggling to line-up properly and they had not noticed that their air speed had fallen. the wreckage of asian in a flight 214 still sits on run way 28 left at sfo. passengers and crews get an up close look at the disaster including passengers on other asiana flights. the pilot was halfway through his certification process with an instructor pilot in the co-pilot seat. he told investigators the plane was coming in too high and not properly lined up for landing.

>> the captain stated they were trying to make corrections during the portion of the flight between 500 feet and 200 feet to make lateral corrections and also because they knew that they were low on the glide flow.

>> reporter: the question, did the crew become distracted trying to get lined up on the run way, first too high, then too low. when they noticed the auto throttled were not maintaining a minimum speed, it was too late. they crashed seconds later. two flight attendants that were in the rear of the plane were ejected on impact. both survived though injured. these photos have airline safety experts stunned. passengers that grabbed their luggage, purses, carry ones, even duty-free shopping before leaving even though the plane was on fire. everyone in danger. flight attendants say it could have been a deadly mistake.

>> leave all bags behind. you're going to keep other people from get aufg the aircraft and harm a slide and be off balance at the bottom and put yourself in jeopardy of breaking a limb.

>> reporter: because this is a foreign crew investigators could not legally require them to undergo drug or alcohol testing. that did not occur. just four days after the accident there's a local attorney here who is already beginning the process of lawsuits, matt.