-- Passengers in plane crashes today, such as the one in San Francisco involving Asiana Airlines Flight 214, are more likely to survive than in past disasters.

Saturday's crash was the latest where a big commercial airliner was destroyed but most passengers escaped with their lives. There were plenty of cuts, bruises and broken bones – and some more severe injuries – but only 2 of the 307 passengers and crew onboard died.

Planes now are structurally sounder. In the cabin, stronger seats are less likely to move and crush passengers. Seat cushions and carpeting are fire retardant and doors are easier to open. Those improvements allow people to exit the plane more quickly.

The nature of crashes has also changed. Improvements in cockpit technology mean that planes rarely crash into mountains or each other – accidents that are much more deadly.

"Crashes are definitely more survivable today than they were a few decades ago," said Kevin Hiatt, president and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, an industry-backed nonprofit group aimed at improving air safety. "We've learned from the past incidents about what can be improved."

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the Asiana crash. But whatever the reason, it reflects the trend of fewer people dying in plane accidents.

The odds weren't always in passengers' favor. From 1962 to 1981, 54 percent of people in plane crashes were killed. From 1982 to 2009, that figure improved to 39 percent, according to an Associated Press analysis of National Transportation Safety Board data. Those figures only include crashes with at least one fatality. There have been other serious crashes where everybody survived.

The most famous was a US Airways flight in January 2009 that lost engine power after striking a flock of geese after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger ditched the Airbus A320 in the Hudson River and all 155 people onboard survived. The crash was dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson."

A British Airways flight in January 2008 crashed short of the runway at London's Heathrow Airport. All 152 passengers and crew onboard the Boeing 777 – the same jet type as Saturday's Asiana flight – survived.

This April, a Boeing 737 flown by Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed into water short of a runway in Bali. The plane's fuselage split into two sections but all 108 people on board survived.

"What's really important is for people to understand that airplane crashes, the majority of them are survivable," Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said Sunday on the CBS News show, "Face the Nation."

Several advances in aviation technology have made these feats of survival possible. They include:

_ Stronger seats. Today's airplane seats – and the bolts holding them into the floor – are designed to withstand forces up to 16 times that of gravity. That prevents rows of seats from pancaking together during a crash, crushing passengers.

_ Fire retardant materials. Carpeting and seat cushions are now made of materials that burn slower, spread flames slower and don't give off noxious and dangerous gases.

_ Improved exits. Doors on planes are much simpler to open and easily swing out of the way, allowing passengers to quickly exit. And planes now come with rows of lights on the floor that change from white to red when an exit is reached.

_ Better training. Flight attendants at many airlines now train in full-size models of planes that fill with smoke during crash simulations.

_ Stronger planes. Aircraft engineers have looked at structural weaknesses from past crashes and reinforced those sections of the plane.

Regulators started mandating such cabin improvements after two deadly aircraft fires in the 1980s.

First, an Air Canada flight made an emergency landing at Cincinnati's airport in 1983 after a fire broke out in the bathroom. The plane landed safely but half of the 46 passengers and crew died because they couldn't quickly escape the smoke and fire.

Two years later, a British Airtours aborted a takeoff in Manchester, England after an engine fire. Passengers evacuated but not fast enough. Of the 137 people onboard, 54 died after inhaling toxic smoke.

"Those two accidents together were the two-by-four to the head" that led the U.S. and British governments to impose new fire-safety standards, said Bill Waldock, a professor of safety science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott, Ariz. campus.

Saturday's Asiana crash may have benefited from those changes. The Boeing 777 involved was manufactured in 2005 and contained all of the advances in safety.

"It may have been worse if that fuselage had been designed with practices that were common 20 or 30 years prior," said Todd Curtis, a former safety engineer with Boeing and now a director of the Airsafe.com Foundation.

The emergency response also played a part in limiting the number of fatalities. Airport fire departments frequently hold drills where crews simulate a crash and practice coordinating with area hospitals on how to care for the injured.

"Had this happened in a developing world country with no (advanced) trauma center, there might have been more fatalities," Curtis said.

New technology helps today's pilots avoid the deadliest types of crashes. Accidents with planes hitting mountains or each other in midair, typically at speeds up to 500 mph, are rare in North America and Europe. Crashes during landing happen while planes are flying at lower speeds of 130 to 150 mph.

"You've changed the nature of accidents," said Capt. Alan W. Price, the former chief pilot for the Atlanta base of Delta Air Lines and founder of consulting firm Falcon Leadership.

Today's planes come with ground proximity warning systems, which alert pilots if they are too low. An alarm sounds and a computer shouts "terrain, pull up."

That technology didn't exist in 1974, when a Trans World Airlines plane heading for Washington Dulles International Airport crashed into 1,754-foot tall Mount Weather in Virginia. All 92 people on board died.

Modern cockpit radar systems alert pilots to other planes nearby. Such a system would have probably prevented the 1960 midair collision of a TWA jet with a United plane over New York, killing all 128 people on the two planes and 6 people on the ground.

Better radar systems on the ground have also helped. They've prevented planes from going down the wrong taxiway or onto active runways. The deadliest aviation disaster in history remains the collision of Pan Am and KLM jets on the runway of Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands in 1977. In foggy conditions, amid confusion over air traffic controller instructions, the KLM plane took off while the Pan Am jet was taxing down the same runway. The crash killed 583 people on both planes; 61 survived. Had such radar existed at the time, the KLM pilots would have probably seen the Pan Am jet in its way.

Today, thanks to these advances there are about two deaths worldwide for every 100 million passengers on commercial flights, according to an Associated Press analysis of government accident data.

Just a decade ago, passengers were 10 times as likely to die when flying on an American plane. The risk of death was even greater during the start of the jet age, with 1,696 people dying – 133 out of every 100 million passengers – from 1962 to 1971. The figures exclude acts of terrorism.

Those in the airline industry often say that a person is more likely to die driving to the airport than on a flight. There are more than 30,000 motor-vehicle deaths each year, a mortality rate eight times greater than that in planes.

__

Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at . http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott

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  • Fire crews work the crash site of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, John Green)

  • This aerial photo shows the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • This frame grab from video provided by KTVU shows the scene after an Asiana Airlines flight crashed while landing at San Francisco Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/KTVU) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • People at the airport look out at the burning plane (<a href="https://twitter.com/Twitsnoop/status/353591155369312256" target="_blank">photo</a> via Twitsnoop)

  • A fire truck sprays water on Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

  • A video shows a plume of smoke arising from the 777 jet.

  • ABC News photo

    The top of the plane is a large hole from a fire, evidently.

  • Photo from passenger on board plane

    "I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off," said David Eun on Twitter.

  • <a href="https://twitter.com/mgescuro/status/353589605884383232" target="_blank">Picture of large gray smoke plume</a> via @mgescuro on Twitter

  • A photo from <a href="http://www.ktvu.com/" target="_blank">KTVU-TV</a> shows up close the burned-out plane.

  • <a href="https://twitter.com/DanielleLWells/status/353588752565825536" target="_blank">An eerie photo</a> from Danielle Wells on Twitter.

  • <a href="https://twitter.com/mcc_marilyn/status/353613523567398912" target="_blank">A scary photo</a> from the inside of a nearby plane (via Marilyn McCullough on Twitter)

  • Scary audio from air traffic controllers as Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed.

  • NBC appears to have a photo of an explosion happening as the plane crashes, which was <a href="https://twitter.com/wsfa12news/status/353631037441576962" target="_blank">tweeted by WFSA Channel 12</a>.

  • This frame grab from video provided by KTVU shows the scene after an Asiana Airlines flight crashed while landing at San Francisco Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/KTVU) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • The tail of Asiana Flight 214 is seen after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 is seen on the runway at San Francisco International Airport after crash landing on July 6, 2013. There were no immediate reports of casualties and one apparent survivor tweeted a picture of passengers fleeing the plane. Video footage showed the jet, Flight 214 from Seoul, on its belly surrounded by firefighters. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 is seen on the runway at San Francisco International Airport after crash landing on July 6, 2013. There were no immediate reports of casualties and one apparent survivor tweeted a picture of passengers fleeing the plane. Video footage showed the jet, Flight 214 from Seoul, on its belly surrounded by firefighters. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 6: Traffic backs up on the US Route 101 South after a Boeing 777 airplane crashed landed at San Francisco International Airport July 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California. A passenger aircraft from Asiana Airlines coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed landed on the runway. No word so far on injuries or deaths. (Photo by Sarah Rice/Getty Images)

  • An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 is seen on the runway at San Francisco International Airport after crash landing on July 6, 2013. There were no immediate reports of casualties and one apparent survivor tweeted a picture of passengers fleeing the plane. Video footage showed the jet, Flight 214 from Seoul, on its belly surrounded by firefighters. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06: A Boeing 777 airplane lies burned on the runway after it crash landed at San Francisco International Airport July 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California. An Asiana Airlines passenger aircraft coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed while landing. There has been at least two casualties reported. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06: A Boeing 777 airplane lies burned on the runway after it crash landed at San Francisco International Airport July 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California. An Asiana Airlines passenger aircraft coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed while landing. There has been at least two casualties reported. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06: A Boeing 777 airplane lies burned on the runway after it crash landed at San Francisco International Airport July 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California. An Asiana Airlines passenger aircraft coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed while landing. There has been at least two casualties reported. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 6: The remains of a Boeing 777 airplane sits on a tarmac after having crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport July 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California. A passenger aircraft from Asiana Airlines coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed landed while on it's decent. No word so far on injuries or deaths. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 6: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) A Boeing 777 airplane lies burned on the runway after it crashed landed at San Francisco International Airport July 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California. A passenger aircraft from Asiana Airlines coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed landed while on it's landing decent. No word so far on injuries or deaths. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Map locates San Francisco airport.; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm;

  • This photo provided by Wei Yeh shows what a federal aviation official says was an Asiana Airlines flight crashing while landing at San Francisco airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Wei Yeh)

  • This photo provided by Zach Custer shows smoke rising from what a federal aviation official says was an Asiana Airlines flight crashing while landing at San Francisco airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013. It was not immediately known whether there were any injuries. (AP Photo/Zach Custer)

  • Emergency responders work at the site of the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, John Green)

  • Smokes rises from Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, John Green)

  • Fire crews work the crash site of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, John Green)

  • This aerial photo shows the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane, right, after it crashed, as another plane approaches at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Planes from various airlines are docked at the terminals after Asiana Flight 214 crashed at the San Francisco International in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Investigators comb the end of a runway at San Francisco International Airport following the crash of Asiana Flight 214 on Saturday, July 6, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 7: In this handout photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, the wreckage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 lies near the runway following yesterday's crash, on July 7, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The Boeing 777 passenger aircraft from Asiana Airlines coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed landed on the runway at San Francisco International Airport. Two people died and dozens were injured in the crash. (Photo by NTSB via Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 7: In this handout photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, oxygen masks hang from the ceiling in the cabin interior of Asiana Airlines flight 214 following yesterday's crash, on July 7, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The Boeing 777 passenger aircraft from Asiana Airlines coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed landed on the runway at San Francisco International Airport. Two people died and dozens were injured in the crash. (Photo by NTSB via Getty Images)

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 7: In this handout photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB investigators examine the wreckage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 following yesterday's crash, on July 7, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The Boeing 777 passenger aircraft from Asiana Airlines coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed landed on the runway at San Francisco International Airport. Two people died and dozens were injured in the crash. (Photo by NTSB via Getty Images)

  • People take a photo of the crashed Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport on July 7, 2013. US officials were combing through the wreckage of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 passenger jet in San Francisco as they tried to determine why it crashed onto the runway, killing two people and injuring 182 others, on July 6. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A United Airlines plane readies for take off next to the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Sunday, July 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Dave Estrada, bottom right, photographs the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 as a United Airlines plane arrives at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Sunday, July 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 08: Passengers who were involved in the San Fransisco plane crash arrive at Incheon International Airport on July 8, 2013 in Incheon, South Korea. Two people are dead and more than 180 injured after an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft coming from Seoul, South Korea crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

  • SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 08: Passengers from San Fransisco plane crash arrive at Incheon International Airport on July 8, 2013 in Incheon, South Korea. A Boeing 777 Asiana Airlines passenger aircraft coming from Seoul, South Korea crashed while landing. Two fatalities have so far been reported. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

  • INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 08: Passengers who were involved in the San Fransisco plane crash arrive at Incheon International Airport on July 8, 2013 in Incheon, South Korea. Two people are dead and more than 180 injured after an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft coming from Seoul, South Korea crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

  • INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - JULY 08: Passengers who were involved in the San Fransisco plane crash arrive at Incheon International Airport on July 8, 2013 in Incheon, South Korea. Two people are dead and more than 180 injured after an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft coming from Seoul, South Korea crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

  • An unidentified family member of one of two Chinese students killed in a crash of Asiana Airlines' plane on Saturday, cries at the Airlines' counter as she and other family members check in a flight to San Francisco at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, Monday, July 8, 2013. The Asiana flight crashed upon landing Saturday, July 6, at San Francisco International Airport, and the two of the 307 passengers aboard were killed. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

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The NTSB has tweeted a series of photos related to the Asiana Flight 214 crash. Their Twitter account can be viewed here.

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A crew member made a call to increase the plane's speed just seven seconds prior to impact, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Debra Hersman said during the press conference. Hersman said the plane was flying below target speed before crashing.

-Hunter Stuart, HuffPost

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Video of the press conference can be viewed here (via NBC News).

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CNN has obtained video shot by Fred Hayes that shows the crash of Flight 214. Click here to see the footage.

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Chinese media also said that at least 70 students and teachers were on the plane.

The two teenagers killed in the horrific crash were 16-year-old students from China.

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CNN has some information on the state of patients injured in the SFO crash:

Many of the injured said they were sitting toward the rear of the aircraft, said Dr. Margaret Knudson, the hospital's chief of surgery. Several suffered abdominal injuries and spine fractures, some of which include paralysis and head trauma, Knudson said. Many patients also were treated for "severe road rash," she said, which suggests "that they were dragged."

For more details, head over to CNN.

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Investigators are looking into what caused Saturday's deadly plane crash in San Francisco. The plane's "black boxes" have been recovered and sent to Washington for analysis. Both the FAA and the NTSB are looking into the incident. For more, head over to Reuters.

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The AP is reporting that the two people killed in the SFO crash were Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, two sixteen-year-old Chinese students. They cited China Central Television.

Both Ye and Wang had attended Jiangshan Middle School. 29 students and 5 teachers from the school were on the plane when it crashed on Saturday.

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The LATimes is reporting that the two people killed in the horrific San Francisco plane crash were both teenagers from China.

Citing a Korean news agency, the LATimes said that the two victims were born in 1996 and 1997.

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Long lines at the international terminal. Dozens wait at a check-in counter as they try to rearrange flights.

sfo

Credit: Ron Nurwisah

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From ABC News:

Moments after Asiana Airlines flight 214 stopped its violent crash landing, a voice came over the plane's intercom to say it had landed safely and everyone should stay in their seats, a passenger told ABC News.

Within minutes, however, flames could be seen outside the plane's windows and smoke was seeping into the cabin.

Read the whole thing here.

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From Reuters:

Survivor Benjamin Levy told local a local NBC station by phone that he believed the plane had been coming in too low.

"I know the airport pretty well, so I realized the guy was a bit too low, too fast, and somehow he was not going to hit the runway on time, so he was too low ... he put some gas and tried to go up again," he said.

Read the whole thing here.

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"Asiana Airlines is currently investigating the specific cause of the incident as well as any injuries

that may have been sustained to passengers as a result. Asiana Airlines will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation of all associated government agencies and to facilitate this cooperation has established an emergency response center at its headquarters."

Read the whole thing here.

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From the AP:

An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing at least two people, injuring dozens of others and forcing passengers to jump down the emergency inflatable slides to safety as flames tore through the plane.

More than 60 people were also unaccounted for from among the 307 passengers and crew aboard the flight, said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. It wasn't immediately clear where they were, but she said they weren't all presumed dead at this time.

Read more here.

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From the AP:

An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing at least two people, injuring dozens of others and forcing passengers to jump down the emergency inflatable slides to safety as flames tore through the plane.

More than 60 people were also unaccounted for from among the 307 passengers and crew aboard the flight, said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. It wasn't immediately clear where they were, but she said they weren't all presumed dead at this time.

Read more here.

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In addition to the two fatalities and dozens of injuries, at least 60 individuals traveling on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 are unaccounted for, according to SF Fire Chief Joanna Hayes-White.

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According to officials, Saturday's accident was the worst commercial crash in SFO's 75-year history.

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