"Hello, hello," the pilot’s voice is heard crackling on the radio moments after the crash. "I have trouble."
The Boeing 777 seemed to hit the approach area of the runway as it landed at San Francisco International Airport, ripping off the plane's tail and burning a large piece of the fuselage.
"214 heavy, emergency vehicles are responding. Emergency vehicles are responding," replied air traffic control.
"Okay, I cannot..." the pilot can be heard saying.
The radio transmissions reported by NBC come from the air traffic control tower in the minutes after the crash.
"For whatever reason, this appears to have caught the flight crew by surprise," former National Transportation Safety Board senior investigator Greg Feith told MSNBC.
"In a terrible situation, this appears to be as lucky as they could get."
Shortly after the Asiana pilot radioed the tower, another voice appears on the transmission speaking to air traffic control.
"Yes, this is United 885. We see people and I think we should – they need immediate attention. They’re alive and they’re walking around.
"You said, you said people are just walking outside the airplane right now?" came the controller’s response.
“Yes, some people look like they’re struggling," the pilot said. "Between the runways there are people right adjacent to the numbers. I can – we can see about two or three people that are moving and, uh, and apparently survived."
Joanne Hayes-White, the San Francisco fire chief, said 182 people out of the 307 on board the 11-hour flight were injured.
Two Chinese students, 16-year-olds Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan, died in the crash. According to the airline they were seated at the rear of the aircraft.
The president of Asiana Airlines, Yoon Young-doo, apologized Sunday for the crash and said it will take time to determine the cause of the accident.
"I sincerely apologize over the accident, and to the passengers on board and their families," he told reporters in Seoul.
Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the NTSB, said that they will be looking at pilot error as a possible cause of the crash.
She told reporters that "everything's on table at this point. We have to gather all the facts before we reach any conclusions."