Asiana Airlines has acknowledged that its pilots failed to correct their fatally slow approach to a landing at San Francisco International Airport but blamed the maker of the jet, saying it did not automatically maintain a safe speed.
US accident investigators on Monday made public a filing in which the South Korea-based airline said that the Boeing 777 had major design flaws that led the pilots to believe it would keep flying at the proper speed and that failed to warn the cockpit crew in time when it did not.
Boeing countered in its own filing with the National Transportation Safety Board that the plane performed as expected, and the pilots were to blame for the July 6 crash because they stuck with a troubled landing.
The plane slammed into a seawall at the beginning of a runway during its final approach. The impact ripped off its back and scattered pieces of the jet as it spun and skidded to a stop.
In all, 304 of the 307 people aboard survived. Coroner's officials concluded that one of three Chinese teens who died, Ye Mengyuan , was run over and killed by a rescue vehicle as she lay on the tarmac.
Asiana acknowledged in its NTSB filing that the crew failed to monitor air speed in the moments before the crash and should have aborted the landing for another go around.
"The probable cause of this accident was the flight crew's failure to monitor and maintain a minimum safe airspeed during a final approach," Asiana said.
Asiana argued that the pilots and co-pilot reasonably believed the automatic throttle would keep the plane going fast enough to reach the runway, when in fact the auto throttle was effectively shut off after the pilot idled it to correct an unexplained climb earlier in the landing.