Need to overhaul airline safety

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Need to overhaul airline safety

At least two people died and nearly 200 were injured in the fiery crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 during landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday U.S. time.

Five were in critical condition, with the total injured cited at 185, but the number will likely go up because many of the heavily injured are being treated at hospitals in and around San Francisco.

No accidents are without cause. Various possibilities are now being examined - from an engine malfunction and a pilot mistake to problems in instrumental landing systems that led to the crash of the Boeing 777.

The exact cause will be determined after thorough investigation and analysis.

Voice and audio cockpit data records from the plane, remnants from the accident scene, surviving cabin crew, passengers and witnesses all must be thoroughly investigated.

As the work could take more than a year, nothing should be assumed at this stage. We should refrain from jumping to any conclusions.

Instead, we must all wait patiently and maturely for the investigation outcome from the National Transportation Safety Board to arrive. The U.S. federal agency has been handling over 140,000 aviation accidents and incidents since its founding in 1967.

What we can do at the moment is express our condolences to the victims’ families, passengers and crew in hospital care as well as provide moral support for them so that they can recover as soon as possible. Most of the attention should be given to children, the elderly and pregnant women.

A total of 291 passengers and 16 crew were onboard flight OZ214, which erupted in flames upon hitting the ground. They could suffer long-term, post-accident psychological trauma from the experience.

The government must provide special care to the passengers and their families beyond its customary post-accident diplomatic services and procedures.

All the government agencies - from the foreign, transportation and security and public administration ministries to aviation, overseas associations and law enforcement authorities along with health and communications ministries - must chip in to provide immediate, comprehensive and organized administrative support and care for the victims.

The government and the airline companies must use the momentum to reinforce evaluations on all types of passenger jets to raise aviation safety.

Otherwise, no one will feel safe to fly again. The accident again underscored that safety comes first.
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