San Francisco Airport Staff Notification System Failed After Asiana Crash

An independent analysis commissioned by the Airport reveals that the internal emergency notification system failed after the July 6 crash.

by Dan Nakaso, McClatchy News Service / November 21, 2013
The wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. Associated Press/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Right after the July 6 crash landing of a Boeing 777 that killed three teenage girls, San Francisco International Airport's staff emergency notification system failed to work as designed and the airport's website crashed, frustrating people seeking information about survivors and victims, according to a report released Wednesday.

But, according to the independent analysis commissioned by SFO, airport officials relied on a backup telephone notification system and more than 100 employees responded within an hour of the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 as it tried to land at SFO.

Airport officials and the public primarily relied on Twitter as the main source of social media information, according to a summary of the report by consulting firm ICF SH&E that was released by airport officials.

SFO officials commissioned the self-review process three weeks after the crash "to identify best practices and make recommendations for future response efforts," airport officials said Wednesday.

The review also recommended that airport officials adopt standardized emergency medical response procedures between San Francisco and San Mateo counties, an effort that's already underway.

It also suggested that airport officials keep their restaurants open 24 hours to help stranded passengers; and work with the San Francisco Travel Association to set "distressed passenger hotel rates" to reduce price gouging.

Families and lawyers for the victims have complained in the aftermath of the crash that many of the injured passengers and their families faced financial hardships while victims were treated at San Francisco Bay Area hospitals.

The recommendations for SFO come as the National Transportation Safety Board prepares for two days of investigative hearings on the crash to be held Dec. 10 and 11 in Washington, D.C.
SFO's self-review process is unrelated to the NTSB investigation.

(c) 2013 San Jose Mercury News