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U.S. agency sets December 10-11 hearing on Asiana plane crash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. transportation safety officials will hold an investigative hearing December 10-11 on the July crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco, in which three passengers were killed and more than 180 injured.

The two-day hearing in Washington will focus on pilot awareness in highly automated aircraft, emergency response and cabin safety, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a release that also updated the agency's investigation.

Participants in the hearing have not been announced.

The Boeing 777 jet struck a seawall and slammed into a runway while trying to land at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.

As part of its continuing probe, the NTSB said its investigators had recently traveled to South Korea and met with officials from its counterpart there, the Korea Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board (KARAIB), and from Asiana.

While in Korea, the NTSB investigators interviewed Asiana personnel, observed company procedures in a simulator and a similar aircraft, gathered further documentation on airline training and policies, and reviewed records of the plane that crashed.

The NTSB also examined the evacuation slide/raft systems at the manufacturer's facility in New Jersey and plans future testing of those systems, it said.

Only two of the Asiana jet's eight emergency slides deployed properly after the crash. Two slides inflated inside the cabin, delaying evacuations. Crew members deflated those slides with axes.

NTSB investigators also examined the recorded flight data from Asiana Flight 214 to compare it with "expected airplane systems operation," the agency said.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and John Wallace)

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