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Passengers Recount Frightening Moments Before Fatal San Franscisco Jet Crash

The plane "sped up, like the pilot knew he was short," one survivor said. "And then the back end just hit and flies up in the air and everybody's head goes up to the ceiling."

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In total, 123 people aboard the flight escaped unharmed, US officials said.

Survivor Elliott Stone told CNN that as the jet came in to land, it appeared to have "sped up, like the pilot knew he was short."

"And then the back end just hit and flies up in the air and everybody's head goes up to the ceiling."

"I saw some passengers bleeding and being loaded onto an ambulance," another passenger, Chun Ki-Wan, told YTN TV in Seoul.

"Everything seemed to be normal before it crash-landed."

The White House said President Barack Obama had been briefed on the incident, noting: "His thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost a loved one and all those affected by the crash."

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye offered his "deepest condolences to the victims and their relatives," and promised that all government agencies concerned "will join forces to provide all necessary assistance and resources to deal with the disaster."

The twin-engine 777 aircraft is one of the world's most popular long-distance planes, often used for flights of 12 hours or more, from one continent to another.

It was the first fatal crash involving an Asiana passenger plane since June 1993, when a Boeing 737 operated by the carrier crashed into a mountain in South Korea, killing 68.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said there was no indication that terrorism was to blame for the crash.