U.S. Fines Asiana Airlines Over Crash Response

The U.S. government is ordering Korea's Asiana Airlines to pay a $500,000 fine for failing to adequately assist the families of passengers on a plane that crash landed last year at San Francisco International Airport.

This is the first time the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued such a fine.

Three people died and about 180 were injured when Asiana Flight 214 hit a seawall while landing on July 6 of last year.

Announcing the fine Tuesday, transportation officials said in a statement that Asiana's response to the crash indicates the carrier "failed to commit sufficient resources to carry out its family assistance plan."

The statement said Asiana took two days to successfully contact the families of 75 percent of the plane's 291 passengers. It said several passengers' families were not contacted until five days after the crash.

Transportation officials found that, for days, Asiana lacked the interpreters and personnel needed to carry out its responsibilities under the 1997 Foreign Air Carrier Family Support Act. The department said the airline also failed to establish a crisis phone line until a day after the crash.

Asiana is Korea's second largest airline after Korean Air.

VOA News / Feb. 26, 2014 07:57 KST