A teenage passenger who was killed in the July crash landing of an Asiana Airlines jetliner was already dead when she was struck by two rescue vehicles, a report released by San Francisco airport and fire officials claims.
Ye Meng Yuan — a 16-year-old Chinese high school student — was not wearing her seat belt, and her death was caused by the trauma of being ejected from the plane, according to the report submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board and made public this week.
The report, which details the accident investigation, acknowledges that Ye was struck by two firefighting vehicles responding to the burning Boeing 777 after the jetliner clipped a sea wall and slammed into a runway at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.
- Asiana Airlines jet crashes at San Francisco International Airport
- Interactive Graphic: Crash landing at San Francisco International Airport
- Audio from moments after San Francisco crash: 'We see people'
- Asiana Airlines
- National Transportation Safety Board
See more topics »
- San Francisco, CA, United States
But it disputes previous findings that Ye was alive when she was run over. San Mateo County Coroner Robert J. Foucrault said after an autopsy that Ye suffered crushing injuries and internal hemorrhaging — "multiple blunt injuries that are consistent with being run over by a motor vehicle."
"While there has been some speculation that Ms. Ye was alive at the time of the rollovers, suggesting that first responders mishandled the situation, ample evidence refutes this," the report states.
San Francisco, the report adds, "sincerely regrets the added insult to the body of the deceased."
The report was prepared by Tryg McCoy, chief operating officer of the airport, and Assistant Deputy Chief Dale Carnes of the San Francisco Fire Department's airport bureau.
At least three firefighters "early in the response" determined "based on visual and conclusive observations" that Ye, who was found near the aircraft's left wing, was dead before she was struck, the report states. Ye was covered in dust, and her eyes were rolled back, the report states. The first responders, it notes, "are trained to recognize persons who are dead or beyond saving and to prioritize their duties to do the most good for the most people."
Two of Ye's teenage classmates were also killed in the crash.
San Francisco airport spokesman Doug Yakel said that the report by city officials is based "strictly on information that the NTSB has released" and that the federal safety board will make the final judgment regarding the incident.
The report is being made public days after a group of the flight's passengers filed a lawsuit against Boeing Co., the plane's manufacturer.
The suit alleges that equipment on the aircraft was improperly installed or defective, resulting "in dangerously inadequate warnings to pilots about low airspeed" and that "Boeing was aware that its low airspeed warning system was inadequate," according to the complaint filed in an Illinois court Jan. 17.
The complaint also states that Boeing "contracted with Asiana to train all of Asiana's pilots at its own training facilities." Boeing, it states, "failed to adequately train Asiana's pilots."
The suit was filed on behalf of 115 plaintiffs and their legal representatives, according to attorneys with the Chicago-based firm Ribbeck Law Chartered, which filed the complaint.