A girl who had been in intensive care since the crash-landing of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 has died, hours after authorities confirmed one of the two Chinese teenagers killed in the disaster was hit by a fire truck speeding to the crash site.
The disclosure about the Chinese teenager raised the tragic possibility that she could have survived the crash only to die in its chaotic aftermath.
No one knows yet whether the two teens lived through the initial impact at the San Francisco airport. But police and fire officials confirmed Friday that Ye Meng Yuan, 16, was hit by a fire truck racing to extinguish the blazing Boeing 777.
“The fire truck did go over the victim at least one time. Now the other question is what was the cause of death?” police spokesman Albie Esparza said. “That’s what we are trying to determine right now.”
San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said the results of his initial inquiry into the deaths would likely be released sometime next week. He would not comment on the police investigation.
Her close friend Wang Linjia, also 16, was among a group of injured passengers who did not get immediate medical help. Rescuers did not spot her until 14 minutes after the crash. Wang Linjia’s body was found along with three flight attendants who were flung onto the tarmac.
The other girl, also from China, died Friday morning. San Francisco General Hospital said she had been in critical condition since arriving Saturday after the accident. Officials did not identify the girl at the request of her parents. Her age was also withheld.
Passengers Called 911
Moments after the July 6 crash, while rescuers tried to help passengers near the burning fuselage, Wang Linjia and the flight attendants lay in the rubble almost 2,000 feet away. A group of survivors called 911 and tried to help them.
Members of the group – martial arts athletes and their families returning from a competition in South Korea – said that after escaping the plane, they sat with at least four victims who appeared to be seriously hurt. They believe one of them was one of the girls who died.
The victims were close friends and top students, looking forward to spending a few weeks at a Christian summer camp in California, where they planned to practice English and boosting their chances of attending a U.S. college.
Their parents were flown to San Francisco after their deaths where the Chinese consulate was caring for them.
September Mao, who attends the girls’ school in the city of Jiangshan and knew them both, said Wang was outgoing and popular, and often interviewed her classmates as a student reporter. She said Ye was a very good singer and speaker, “loved to smile, and liked to share everything and anything that is happy.”
Nearly a week after the crash, the investigation indicates the pilots, a trainee and his instructor, failed to realize until too late that the aircraft was dangerously low and flying too slow.
Nothing disclosed so far by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators indicates any problems with the Boeing 777’s engines, computers or automated systems.