WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said Tuesday it fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for not doing enough for passengers and their families after a plane crash in San Francisco.
The U.S. Transportation Department said it's the first time it has ever issued a fine under the Foreign Air Carrier Family Support Act of 1997, which requires foreign air carriers to follow through on their family assistance plans.
The South Korean airline was fined for its actions after Flight 214, a Boeing 777-200ER flying from Seoul, crashed on landing at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013, killing three people and injuring 181 others.
"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," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a release posted on the DOT website. "The last thing families and passengers should have to worry about at such a stressful time is how to get information from their carrier
"At DOT, we are committed to protecting consumers and their families when they travel and will continue to take enforcement action when federal statutes are violated."
Transportation officials said that for about a day after the jetliner crash, Asiana failed to widely publicize any telephone number for family members of those on board. The only number available was Asiana's toll-free reservations line, the DOT said.
The department said it took Asiana two full days to reach the families of just three-quarters of the passengers. The families of several passengers were not contacted until five days after the crash.
The Transportation Department said the airline also came up short in getting trained personnel to San Francisco to deal with the disaster.