Asiana plane crash

Parents of Chinese girl run over in Asiana crash rescue file claim against San Francisco

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 9:14am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 3:07pm

The parents of a Chinese teenage girl who was run over and killed by two emergency vehicles after an Asiana Airlines crash have filed a claim against the city of San Francisco, saying rescuers were reckless and poorly trained.

In legal forms filed this week in San Francisco, attorneys for the parents of 16-year-old Ye Mengyuan say firefighters who first saw the girl after the July 6 crash last year should have examined her and moved her somewhere safe.

Firefighters told investigators they assumed the girl was dead and hurried on toward the damaged aircraft.

An autopsy revealed Mengyuan was alive before the vehicles hit her.

Watch: How the Ye Mengyuan tragedy unfolded

In all, 304 of the 307 people aboard the plane survived after the airliner slammed into a seawall at the end of a runway during final approach for landing.

The impact ripped off the back of the plane, tossed out three flight attendants and their seats, and scattered pieces of the jet across the runway as it spun and skidded to a stop.

Mengyuan was one of three Chinese teens who died; one died during the crash, and another later in the hospital.

In their claim, attorneys at the Los Angeles law firm Kreindler and Kreindler representing Mengyuan’s parents name 37 specific airport, fire and police department employees, saying they and others “breached their duty of care”. They did not specify damages.

In an obituary, Mengyuan was described as a champion athlete who excelled at litreature, playing piano, singing and public speaking. Her given name means “wish come true” in Chinese.

It is still unknown how Mengyuan got out of the plane, but the claim says she was possibly taken out by rescuers. Interviews for an ongoing National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) found Mengyuan was covered with foam and struck twice – once by a fire rig spraying foam whose driver had seen and driven around her earlier in the chaos, and again 11 minutes later by a second truck that was turning around to fetch water.

Her death has prompted new training for firefighters who work at San Francisco International Airport, including 40 to 80 hours of advanced instruction at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

“There are many lessons to be learned here,” assistant deputy chief Dale Carnes, who oversees the San Francisco Fire Department’s airport division, said during a NTSB hearing in December. “We are developing strategies to lessen the potential for firefighting vehicles impacting accident victims.”