I woke up this morning to see news alerts of an Asiana Airlines crashlanding and then catching fire, followed by multiple iMessage texts from friends and family who were trying to make sure I wasn't aboard.
So far there have been few details available on casualties from the plane (one report says 40 injuries, some of them critical, with the comments section citing reports of two fatalities), but it appears a lot of passengers were able to slide to safety before the plane caught fire, despite this having been a very hard landing that involved the tail breaking off and the plane apparently spinning around.
Since this is a developing story, I'm including the previous link to the San Francisco Chronicle and to CNN as well as the Huffington Post, all of which tend to update.
UPDATE 1: The Washington Post is saying that two of the passengers have been reported dead.
I am normally one of those people who prefers to wait until the facts are out before forming an opinion, but when opinions are being formed before the facts are out, I feel compelled to chime in. It seems awfully fast to rule out a mechanical issue with the plane, before the flight recorders have been analyzed, and the WaPo piece on South Korean carriers' "troubled past" seems like it's meant to be part of a hit piece: What do Korean Airlines accidents have to do with an Asiana Airlines pilot?
The article cites a crash two decades ago and a relatively minor taxiing incident fifteen years ago to conclude that Asiana Airlines has a problem. In the same time period (i.e., 1993 to present) American Airlines experienced more fatal accidents or serious problems, including deaths in 1995, 1999, 2001 (not including the 9/11 hijackings), and 2009 (source).
The hasty conclusion that mechanical error was not at fault and pilot error the likely cause, plus the hit piece, make me wonder if something a tad sinister is going on. This is reportedly the first crash of a Boeing 777, at a time when that company continues to experience some very high-profile problems with its Dreamliner 787 aircraft. The possibility of problems with its high-selling 777 could be a double-whammy that might harm the company.
That's just a thought; I am just a bit perplexed to see those two news items so quickly. I'm also wondering how pilot error could cause the fire on top of the plane.
Nate is a former newscaster and sometime journalist, Korean Studies specialist, current doctoral grad student in public health, professional writer and editor, Yonsei alumnus, UCI alumnus, lover not a fighter, Gen-Xer, 1980s pop music aficionado, 5K-per-day runner, fast walker, hiker, temporary permanent resident of Hawaii, Seoul slumlord, California native straight out of Compton, Orange County "native" with a Seth Cohen personality but not a Seth Cohen trust fund, national parks visitor, former Disneyland employee, former UPS employee who still has the uniform and plots ways to abuse that fact, amateur photographer and cinematographer, Mac enthusiast, uncle of several and cousin of many, semi-professional blogger, contrarian scourge, lifelong "Orange Dog Democrat" (Dem from OC) who distrusts other Democrats, ordained minister, eater of oatmeal, onetime student of Japanese who can still put together sentences based on knowledge of Korean, world traveler, frequent flier, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf preferred customer, lover of all things Italian, filial son, frequent visitor of Japan and Hong Kong, and driver of an LPG Kia minivan. Email me.
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My sitemeter.com data shows that a lot of the 1000 or so people a week who land on my site are looking for cultural information on Korea (e.g., "When did Syngman Rhee die?" "What did the Indians bring to the first Chusok?" etc., etc.), as well as practical or historical stuff.
That got me thinking that, hey, I have a master's degree in Korean studies and a minor in Japanese studies, I've lived in Seoul far longer than most foreans my age (whether they're kyopo or non-kyopo), I teach introductory courses on Korea and its cultural trappings and history, so why not offer a free service where I attempt to answer people's questions, point them in the direction of where they can get them answered, and/or offer my regulars (that's you!) a chance to take a stab at some of this stuff, too.
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Explore Monster Island (um... search this site)
九十五大怪獣란? 쿠시보의 몬스터 아일랜드란?
Pearls of witticism from 'Bo the Blogger: Kushibo's Korea blog... Kushibo-e Kibun... Now with Less kimchi, more nunchi. Random thoughts and commentary (and indiscernibly opaque humor) about selected social, political, economic, and health-related issues of the day affecting "foreans" ("foreigners" in Korea be they kyopo or non-kyopo), Koreans, Korea and East Asia, along with the US, especially Hawaii, Orange County, and the rest of California, plus anything else that is deemed worthy of discussion. Forza Corea!
To read my many posts on Laura Ling, Euna Lee, or Mitch Koss, the two CurrentTV crew who were held in North Korea and their executive producer who could run faster than they could because he wasn't weighted down with incriminating videotapes, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Old photos of Jeollanam-do and Gwangju.
[image: 1941 Jeollanamdo Provincial Office]
*Taken in front of the Jeollanam-do Provincial Office, 1941.*
[image: Sajik Park]
*Sajik Park observatory in the...
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If you're one of dozens of people each week who stumble across this blog looking for quotes, information, or (nearly) full scripts of "The Simpsons," then go to snpp.com (for "Springfield Nuclear Power Plant"), the premier Simpsons resource that is not controlled by the evildoers at Fox.
Blog roll of blogs that list me in their blog roll (plus a few other blogs I like or check out)
Even before I went into into semi-retirement, I essentially stopped commenting on Marmot's Hole and other K-blogs altogether. But I still occasionally shoot off an editorial comment here and there or respond when someone calls my name. See the COMMENTS section here for some of these pearls of witticism.
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How did you find Monster Island?
* Monster Island (actually a peninsula)
The name of this blog comes from a line in "Lisa on Ice," a beloved episode of The Simpsons, perhaps my all-time favorite television show (even though for several seasons there, it really did suck). Lisa is imagining being sworn in as president, but at the last minute, it is discovered that she failed P.E. (physical education) and she is thus "sentenced to a lifetime of horror" on Monster Island. "Don't worry," the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court confides in her, "It's just a name."
Fast forward to Lisa and other prisoners running in panic through a tropical jungle, chased by Godzilla-like creatures, including a monster turtle and a monster firefly.
"He said it was just a name!" Lisa screams to the man next to her. While he, too, runs for his life, the unidentified man calmly says, "What he meant is that Monster Island is actually a peninsula."
Anyway, I thought in some ways that punchline summed up modern-day Korea in a nutshell. For many people—foreigners and Koreans—the ups and downs and everyday travails of the Republic of Korea make it as precarious as a Monster Island would be (and with the DMZ being the only land border, it really is like an island). But it actually is a peninsula. Okay, it made sense in my head.
So as you can see, despite the hits I get from people looking for Japanese tentacle porn, it has nothing to do with anything salacious as that.
Sarah Palin may not recall what papers she reads, but Kushibo knows what he checks out every day.