Just under an hour ago, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 (en route from Taipei) crash landed at San Francisco international airport. Beyond the emergency response, the FAA dispatching investigators and a whole sleuth of procedural measures, another notable thing happened. We learned almost instantly what was happening, with accompanying pictures, videos and eye-witness descriptions. Most notably, someone literally was in a plane crash, got out, and started tweeting about the wreck he had just walked out of. Welcome to the 21st century.

David Eun asiana plane crash san Francisco

David Eun’s photo, tweeted just minutes after the crash.

But before I explore that extraordinary tweep, let’s go back to moments after the crash. The plane had barely hit the tarmac (where it reportedly lost it’s tail section, flipped and caught on fire) before people on nearby planes and those waiting for their flight started sharing pictures and video. They started tweeting about what they had seen, the weather conditions, what airport officials were saying, what was happening with other flights, what airline it was, its route number, the type of aircraft, and the list goes on.

Even just 5 years ago, such quick information, in such large quantity would have been unimaginable.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a plane crash has been tweeted about before any mainstream media get on scene. Anyone remember the tweet below?

This was tweeted moments after the US Airways crash in NYC, with the caption “There’s a plane in the Hudson!”

All of this goes a long way to demonstrate the power of twitter (and other social media) in giving us up to the minute facts which, while not always 100% reliable, pale in comparison to the quantity and speed of traditional media – which we relied on only a couple years ago.

Tweets from the San Francisco Asiana Boeing 77 crash: