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US air accident investigators opened a hearing Wednesday into the role that sophisticated cockpit automation might have played in the fiery crash of a South Korean airliner in San Francisco. Three passengers died when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 clipped a seawall, skidded out of control and burst into flames upon landing after an otherwise routine flight from Seoul on July 6. Another 182 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 777 were injured -- and first indications suggested the pilots approached the runway at well below the optimum speed for landing. "We have the opportunity today to ensure that the lessons of this tragedy are well-learned and that the circumstances are not repeated," NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman said, opening the day's proceedings.