CORRECTED-UPDATE 3-Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash lands at San Francisco airport

Sat Jul 6, 2013 4:05pm EDT

(Corrects spelling of Lunsford, paragraph 2)

July 6 (Reuters) - An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Seoul crashed while landing on Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said.

FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said it was flight No. 214, and it was unclear how many people were on board.

Images from television station KTVU in San Francisco showed extensive fire damage to the airplane, which had lost its tail in the crash. Fire engines were on scene and the fire, which had burned through the cabin's roof, appeared to be out.

An observer from a nearby hotel said he saw the plane cartwheel down the runway and the tail and a wing fly off.

"You heard a pop and you immediately saw a large, brief fireball that came out from underneath the aircraft," Anthony Castorani said on CNN.

"At that moment, you could see that that aircraft was again starting to lift and it began to cartwheel. The wing broke off on the left hand side. You could see the tail immediately fly off of the aircraft. As the aircraft cartwheeled, it then landed down and the other wing had broken," he said. (Reporting by Jackie Frank and Toni Clarke in Washington, Kevin Gray in Miami; Editing by Eric Beech, Eric Walsh and Jackie Frank)