On July 28 2011 Asiana Cargo Flight OZ 991, a Boeing 747-48EF/SCD, flying from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN) to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport (PVG) reported a fire in the cargo hold then crashed into the sea roughly 65 miles west Jeju City, on Jeju Island, killing the two pilots on board, Sang-Gi Choi, 52 and Jeong-Woong Lee, 43. As investigators recover debris from Asiana Flight 991 and work to determine what cause the fire and ultimately cause the Boeing 747 to crash into the sea, an unexpected piece of information has come to light. One of the two Asiana pilots had taken out seven separate property and life insurance polices in the month prior to the crash totaling US$2.84-million.
While Asiana Airlines states that pilots generally have multiple life insurance policies due to the hazardous nature of their job and that the airline has no control over its pilots’ personal insurance polices, the timing of the insurance policies taken out by pilot earning an estimated US$188,000 annually is unusual. As the two pilots individually had 14,123 flight hours and 5,211 flight hours, either pilot taking out seven new polices at once is even more unusual. Presently the involved insurance companies are looking into the accident, however given the information made available by South Korea’s Transportation Safety Authority it is expected that the insurance policies will be paid without any delays.
The circumstances surrounding the crash of Asiana Flight 911 may never be fully discovered, however these details add an unexpected layer surrounding this crash investigation.