A fire engine that ran over and killed a 16-year-old Asiana Airlines crash survivor was not equipped with heat-sensing equipment that might have detected her in its path, a newspaper reported.
Fire officials have acknowledged the older-model engine that ran over Chinese student Ye Mengyuan did not have the forward-looking infrared technology, the San Francisco Chronicle said.
The technology measures heat given off by objects on the ground and is now required by the Federal Aviation Administration on all new aircraft rescue trucks. Other fire engines at San Francisco airport have it, and three more rescue vehicles at the airport are in the process of having it installed, Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Dale Carnes said.
He said he did not know if the technology would have prevented Ye's death. "That would be complete conjecture," he said. Ye survived the crash and was covered in fire retardant foam when the vehicle hit her while racing to extinguish flames on the plane, authorities said. They believe she was on the ground when struck.
The heat-sensing equipment was developed to detect humans, said Ben Castellano, former acting manager of airport safety for the FAA. "Had the person been alive - the foam has a cooling action, but the body would still have given off some ambient heat that could have been visible," he said.
The San Mateo county coroner said there was internal haemorrhaging indicating Ye's heart was still beating at the time she was run over.