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Pelosi Floor Speech on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Tragedy

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor today to offer her condolences to the families and loved ones of those lost and injured after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed on July 6th. Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  Mr. Speaker, this past weekend as the nation celebrated the Fourth of July, the birth of our country, a tragedy struck.  As all the world knows, a plane crash landed at San Francisco Airport, something very uncommon, but something that shared a common interest.  Our thoughts and prayers today rest with the passengers and crew who were on board Asiana Airlines Flight 214, with the families and the victims of the horrific tragedy, the men and women rescuing – recovering in hospitals across the Bay Area. 

“Our prayers are with the families of the two young girls, Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, who lost their lives on Saturday.  Indeed, we know that no words can console their loved ones today.  All of San Francisco shares in their shock and grief; we will do everything we can to care for those affected and their families. 

“The sudden crash shook the grounds of San Francisco International Airport, testing the training, strength and courage of those who would be the first on the scene.  As a Representative of San Francisco in the Congress, a privilege I share with Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who the airport is actually in Congresswoman Speier’s district, she will – we will join together to observe and mourn the losses tomorrow when some more of our Members are here, back from the Arizona tragedy. 

“But for now, I wanted not another day to go by before commending the crew.  They performed just so heroically.  The crew was so magnificent and the reminder to us that the first responsibility of the crew is safety, that they are trained for it and they performed magnificently and the flight attendant, one of the flight – the lead flight attendant was the last person to leave the plane, not until everyone else was off. 

“First responders responded in characteristic fashion with bravery, with valor, without regard for their own safety, with their sights set – and only – on the safety of others.  Their stories are so remarkable; their stories are so remarkable about what they saw on the plane and how people responded and it was also the coolness and the cooperation not only of the crew, but of many of the passengers that enabled so many people to be saved.  Seeing the sight of the plane and the crash, it was almost miraculous to think that so many people would survive the crash.

“They only had minutes to react – and within minutes the flight crew, and the San Francisco and San Mateo police officers and fire departments were climbing up the rescue chutes, running through the smoke-filled aisles, and leading passengers out to safety.  Within minutes, Fire Rescue Captain Tony Molloy and his team had set up a triage-and-treatment area so they could immediately evacuate the most severely injured.  Within minutes, the air traffic controllers and airport staff were effectively diverting traffic and travelers to secure the area.  Within minutes, local hospital staff were prepared, ready, and waiting to provide the injured with the necessary care and support. 

“As we speak, the injured are recovering at San Francisco General Hospital – the source of pride to us in San Francisco, it is a major trauma center; and if you had to go to a trauma center, San Francisco General Hospital is the gold standard – UCSF Medical Center, Stanford Hospitals & Clinics, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, St. Francis Memorial Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, and California Pacific Medical Center.

“The swift and fearless response of each of the men and women who responded – each of them are heroes – saved the lives of many on the Asiana Flight.  Their actions are a hallmark of their professions and a testament to the strength and selflessness that defines the Bay Area. 

“The story of Asiana Flight 214 is not over.  Long after the news of this tragedy fades from front pages and nightly news reports, the National Transportation Safety Board will continue to investigate what happened and we will work to help ensure it never happens again.  I want to particularly commend the Board and the Chairwoman, Deborah Hersman for being on the scene immediately with an investigative team in the most professional, thorough manner.  

“We will continue to work with the Federal Aviation Administration and the San Francisco International Airport to ensure that our planes are secure, our passengers are safe, and U.S. aviation remains among the safest ways to travel.  It’s been decades since we had any incident at the San Francisco Airport.  I can’t remember any.  We will honor the acts of the first responders, the flight crew.  The flight crew, weren’t they magnificent, weren’t they all?  The air traffic controllers, the hospital staffs.  We will remember those lost in this tragedy, and we will do what we can to always ensure the safety and security of all travelers in America. 

“Again, our prayers are with those who suffered through that tragedy and the trauma that many experienced that is beyond physical but hopefully comforted by the prayers and interests of others.  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.”