Asiana plane crash

Video shows error that led fire truck to kill Asiana plane crash victim

Supervisor was not told about Chinese student surviving Asiana crash before she was run over

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 August, 2013, 2:56am

The supervisor directing firefighting at San Francisco airport after July's Asiana crash site was not told a teenage Chinese girl was on the ground, a report says.

The supervisor only learned she was there after she was mistakenly run over and killed by a fire truck, the San Francisco Chronicle said, citing a video it has obtained.

That was despite other firefighters having spotted the girl, driven around her and checked on her condition. They told other supervisors about her, but the San Francisco Fire Department supervisor in charge was never informed about her.

The video, which the Chronicle obtained from an undisclosed source, was taken from a camera mounted on the helmet of the supervisor. It was turned over to investigators probing the death of Ye Mengyuan , a 16-year-old student from Jiangshan High School, Zhejiang , who survived the initial crash-landing but died on the runway.

Two other students from the school, Wang Linjia , 16, and Liu Yipeng , 17, were killed in the crash.

The supervisor who arrived at the crash scene and took charge was not immediately told that Ye had been found near the plane, leaving him powerless to prevent her death, the Chronicle reported. The newspaper did not post the video online but published still frames of the footage.


A fire department spokeswoman, Mindy Talmadge, declined to comment on the report, citing the ongoing crash investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

More than 180 people were injured in the crash of Asiana flight 214 last month, which had 307 people on board when it hit a seawall in front of the runway, lost its tail and caught fire after skidding to a halt.

Ye's family has hired an aviation lawyer investigating claims against the City of San Francisco.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White called the death a "tragic accident".

Moments after the crash, two firefighters spotted Ye on the ground curled up in a fetal position, the Chronicle reported. They notified supervisors.

But at that point, at least two other firefighters looked at the girl and mistakenly concluded she was dead, the Chronicle said. They then attended to other survivors.

Fire department commanders then ordered another vehicle into the area to spray fire retardant foam. But the video shows no evidence that those commanders had been notified that Ye was on the ground there, the paper reported.

That vehicle did not have heat-sensing equipment that could have detected a body obscured by the fire retardant, according to the paper, and it ran over Ye. The driver of that vehicle has not been publicly identified.