WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Tuesday that it had fined Asiana Airlines, an airline based in the Republic of Korea, 500,000 U.S. dollars for violating federal law by failing to assist family members of passengers on a flight that crashed at San Francisco International Airport in July last year.
The DOT also ordered the airline to cease and desist from further violations. This is the first time that the department has issued a fine under this statute.
"In the very rare event of a crash, airlines have a responsibility to provide their full support to help passengers and their families by following all the elements of their family assistance plans," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
For approximately one day following the crash, Asiana failed to widely publicize any telephone number for family members of those onboard, and the only number generally available to the public that family members could call was Asiana's toll-free reservations line, the department said.
In addition, Asiana took two full days to successfully contact the families of just three-quarters of the passengers. The families of several passengers were not contacted until five days following the crash, it added.
On July 6, 2013, Asiana flight 214, operating from Seoul Incheon International Airport to San Francisco International Airport, crashed while landing. A total of 141 Chinese citizens were among the 291 passengers aboard the Asiana Airlines flight.