“I wholeheartedly feel it was unfortunate that such an incident occurred,” Lee said in Korean, striking a far more apologetic tone than in a news conference earlier in the week with Korean reporters. “I pray that everyone who was hurt by this incident will recover swiftly."
She added that, "We flight attendants and Asiana Airlines
together will do our best to work toward a fast recovery."
Asiana Airlines had announced the news conference around midday and dozens of reporters gathered at San Francisco International Airport in hopes of hearing their accounts of Saturday's crash, which left two people dead and 182 people injured. Among the injured are three flight attendants who were ejected from the rear of the plane when the tail sheared off on impact.
But when the half-dozen members of the crew were escorted by police into the small aviation museum that has served as a makeshift media staging area, they looked pained and uncomfortable.
The crew members were preparing to return to Korea on Wednesday. They all appeared to be clutching their passports, some one another's arms.
After Lee — who had previously given a detailed account of her heroic efforts to save passengers and co-workers — made her brief speech, a soft-spoken translator then explained that there would be no further comments. The remaining crew members disappeared into a small private room in the rear of the museum.
"This was a very emotional event for the people who are here now," she said, noting that a number of their colleagues remain hospitalized.
In what appeared to be a hasty change of plans, organizers of the news conference instead wheeled out one injured flight attendant for a photo opportunity. Her eyes downcast, she sat in a wheelchair in a blue striped dress and purple sweater, a green blanket draped over her lap. One leg was encased in a black brace.
As the cameras clicked like cicadas, she wept.
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