While emergency crews rushed to the chaotic crash scene of Asiana Flight 214, they had no idea that one of the passengers, a 16-year-old girl, was ejected and in the process of dosing the flames that erupted on the plane, she was covered by foam and eventually run over by one of the emergency vehicles.
Information released Friday by the coroner’s office confirmed what many suspected, Ye Meng Yuan was still alive after exiting the plane, but died due to injuries received from being run over by a vehicle.
Although San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault would not go into detail regarding how he concluded her death was due to being run over by a vehicle, he did state that internal hemorrhaging was an indication that her heart was still beating at the time.
Yuan’s family was even more upset after hearing of the details of their daughter’s death and has requested her body returned to China. The Chinese Consulate has asked officials to determined responsibility for the teen’s death.
“There’s not a lot of words to describe how badly we feel, how sorry we feel,” said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.
Hayes-White stated that because of this “tragic accident,” they will reevaluate how the fire department uses the foam and responds to emergencies at the airport. No disciplinary actions have been taken.
Many lives were saved due to the fast response of the emergency crew who risked their own safety to evacuate people from the burning plane. There were 307 people aboard the Boeing 777 and 304 survived.
Yuan and her friend, 16-year-old Wang Linjia, were both seated at the rear of the plane, Linjia was ejected from the plane during the crash landing, but authorities are unsure how Yuan exited the plane and made it to the area where she was found.
According to experts, fire trucks typically start shooting the foam on approach to the plane, some 80 to 100 feet away. This not only puts out the blaze but also cools the fuselage and suppresses fuel vapors.
The emergency crew had several objectives to meet during rescue efforts, controlling the blaze by covering it with foam, assisting the hundreds of people attempting to exit the plane, and rescuing those who may have been trapped.
Ken Willette, a division manager for the National Fire Protection Agency, stated that he has never heard of any incidents like this one ever happening in his 35 years of service.
“Their training kicks in at a time like that and they focus on what they see on scene,” Willette said. “Their mission going into that operation was getting into the aircraft, to save as many lives as possible and avoid hitting any of the people who may have been going away from the scene.”
Yuan, Linjia and a third victim who passed six days later, were all students at Jiangshan Middle School in Zhejiang, an upscale coastal province in eastern China. They were a part of a group headed to a Christian camp in Southern California.
By: Veverly Edwards