SAN FRANCISCO -- Two flight attendants aboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214 were catapulted out the back of the damaged Boeing 777 but survived the crash landing at San Francisco International Airport, federal investigators said Tuesday as they provided more details about the chaotic final moments of the doomed flight from South Korea and its fiery aftermath.

"They were found down the runway and off to the side of the runway," National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman told reporters. "They obviously have gone through a serious event."

Two victims from the crash previously were reported to have suffered severe road rash, but it's unclear whether they were the unidentified flight attendants who were ejected from the back of the plane.

During the news conference, Hersman said none of the four pilots who took turns flying the Boeing "Triple 7" in pairs over the more than 10-hour, trans-Pacific flight from Seoul to San Francisco was tested for drugs or alcohol, which is a requirement of U.S. crews involved in a crash. That requirement does not apply to foreign-based crews flying into the U.S.

The plane's first officer and passengers also have told investigators that one of the emergency evacuation slides deployed inside the cabin, Hersman said, and investigators are still trying to verify reports that the slide pinned another flight attendant.

Hersman added more details Tuesday about the crash, which severed the plane's tail. She said the Boeing 777's landing gear actually hit the seawall first, followed by the tail.


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The plane then "ballooned" and yawed left down Runway 28L before going into a 360-degree spin that left the runway littered with debris and "galley materials, newspapers, magazines and flooring."

Hersman's revelations came amid increasing criticism from the Air Line Pilots Association about the amount of detail she's been offering since the flight crashed Saturday morning, saying it encourages "wild speculation." Hersman disagrees.

"One of the hallmarks of the NTSB is our transparency," Hersman said. "We are the advocate for the traveling public. We think it's important to show our work and tell people what we're doing."

The parents of Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, the two 16-year-old girls who were killed in the crash, have arrived in the Bay Area from China. They were joined by the parents of other students who were part of a group touring colleges while attending a Southern California church summer camp.

Asked about reports that one of the dead 16-year-old girls had taken off her seat belt before the crash, Hersman said investigators still need to review the flight manifest and seat configurations to determine where everyone was sitting during the crash -- and will look to see whether any of the original seat belts had been modified after the plane was delivered to Asiana.

In another development, passenger Elliott Stone said he had to call 911 from the runway to help four severely injured passengers when no ambulance had arrived about 25 minutes after the crash. Even though first responders were on the scene, Stone said he called 911 because no one was listening to his pleas to help the injured passengers.

"The biggest thing we noticed," he said, "was just the lack of protocol. It wasn't necessarily individuals' faults, it was just they didn't know the protocol, or there was no protocol. No one was directing the show."

At her news conference, Hersman provided new details about the flight experience of the pilots. Three of the four pilots have given interviews to investigators and are cooperating, Hersman said. The fourth, "a relief captain" was sitting in the cabin during the crash and was being interviewed on Tuesday, Hersman said.

The pilot sitting in the left seat during the crash, Lee Kang-kuk, was attempting his first landing at SFO in a Boeing 777 and has 9,700 miles of flight time, including about 5,000 hours as "pilot in command," Hersman said. His "instructor pilot," Lee Jung-min, was sitting in the right seat.

He told investigators that he has about 13,000 hours of flying time, including 10,000 hours of "command time" and 3,000 hours in the Boeing 777 and previously flew for 10 years with the South Korean Air Force. It was his first flight as an instructor pilot.

"The instructor pilot stated that he was the pilot in command," Hersman said. "This was the first time that he and the flying pilot that he was instructing had flown together."

The crash temporarily shuttered two of SFO's four runways, disrupting dozens of flights trying to land at SFO on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Runway 28L remained closed Tuesday as investigators continue to go through the wreckage

But the Asiana Airlines crash no longer is having much impact on Bay Area air travel.

"Flight operations are returning to near normal" at San Francisco International Airport, according to a notice posted on the airport's website on Tuesday.

Staff writers Steve Johnson and Robert Solanga contributed to this report. Contact Dan Nakaso at 408-271-3648. Follow him at Twitter.com/dannakaso.