Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said Flight 214 crashed while landing on runway 28 left at 11:26 PDT. The Boeing 777-200 was inbound from Seoul, South Korea when it came to rest between a runway and taxiway, the tail of the aircraft separated from the fuselage.
The two people killed in the crash were Chinese, according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry. Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said the two were found outside the plane. Hayes-White said she did not know their ages and genders.
There were 307 people onboard. According to Asiana Airlines, the plane carried 291 passengers, including one infant, as well as 16 crew members. Passengers include 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans and 61 U.S. citizens, an official confirmed to ABC News.
Officials said 182 people were transported from the scene to nine area hospitals with 49 in critical condition. They added that 123 people were uninjured. It was unclear if the fatalities were reported at a hospital or at the scene. San Francisco General Hospital said it was treating eight adults and two children who were critically injured. At a 7:30 p.m. press conference, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said everyone was accounted for. Earlier, officials said one person was unaccounted for.
A video clip posted to YouTube showed smoke coming from a jet on the tarmac. Passengers could be seen jumping down the emergency slides.
In an interview with ABC News, Stephanie Turner said she saw the plane going down and the rescue slides deploy, but returned to her hotel room before seeing any passengers get off the jet. She also said when she first saw the flight, she noticed right away that the angle of its approach seemed strange.
"It didn't manage to straighten out before hitting the runway," she said. "So the tail of the plane hit the runway, and it cart wheeled and spun and the tail broke off ... I mean we were sure that we had just seen a lot of people die. It was awful.
"And it looked like the plane had completely broken apart," she said. "There were flames and smoke just billowing."
The airport was shut down immediately after the crash, but two runways reopened around 3:45 p.m.
The incident affected flights at LAX, canceling at least 22 departing flights to SFO throughout the evening, according to the airport. Passengers were being advised to check with their airlines before heading to LAX.
The cause of the accident is under investigation. According to a law enforcement official, there are "no indications of criminal or terrorist activity." One government official told ABC News that the pilots made no emergency call before the crash.
The aircraft, one of 12 operated by Asiana, was delivered in March 2006 and had made 5,300 take offs and landings.
ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.