SAN FRANCISCO — The final survivor of the Asiana Airliner crash at San Francisco International Airport has left the hospital after 15 weeks and 30 surgeries to recover from critical wounds she suffered in the commercial air disaster this summer.
“She’s a real save. That’s what we call it when things go well. She was smiling when she left. It was a beautiful sight,” said a written statement from surgeon Dr. Margaret Knudson, who performed 21 of the surgeries.
In all, 304 of the 307 people aboard the plane survived the July 6 crash when the airliner slammed into a seawall at the end of the runway. The impact ripped off the back of the plane, tossed out three flight attendants and their seats and scattered pieces of the jet across the runway as it spun and skidded to a stop.
Three Chinese teens died; one during the crash, a second was run over by a fire truck on the tarmac, and a third later died in the hospital.
The patient released this week suffered a spinal cord injury that resulted in paralysis, road burns over 30 percent of her body and severe intestinal injuries that prevented her from taking solid food for two months, the hospital said.
Asiana Airlines has offered to pay $10,000 to surviving passengers, many of whom are taking legal action. Three San Francisco Bay Area families have also sued Boeing alleging that coach passengers suffered more serious injuries than business class travelers because of different seatbelt configurations.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the cause continues. Experts familiar with that investigation say the pilots, as well as the airline, are raising the possibility that a key device that controls the Boeing 777’s speed may have malfunctioned.