An autopsy is being conducted to determine whether one of the two teenage Chinese girls who died in the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet in San Francisco was killed when she was run over by an emergency vehicle.
One of the bodies was found on the runway near where the Boeing 777's tail broke off upon impact. The other was found on the left side of the aircraft about nine metres from where it came to rest after it skidded down the tarmac, and not far from an emergency slide.
San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said she did not know if the girls, Zhejiang students Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, were alive when her crews arrived.
But she told the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday that the girl found on the side of the plane had injuries consistent with having been run over.
Video: Investigators look closer at how one of the victims died
"As it possibly could have happened, based on the injuries sustained, it could have been one of our vehicles that added to the injuries, or another vehicle," she told the Chronicle. "That could have been something that happened in the chaos. It will be part of our investigation."
San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault told the newspaper the other girl appeared to have died from injuries suffered as she was hurled out of the plane when its tail broke off in the crash.
The teenagers' families, who were expected to arrive in San Francisco later yesterday, will receive the autopsy results before they are made public.
The two 16-year-olds were close friends and top students. Wang showed talent in physics and calligraphy; Ye was a champion gymnast who excelled in literature.
The two girls were classmates from four years ago and became close friends, the Zhejiang newspaper Youth Times said.
Wang's family was at a hotel when they learned that their daughter was one of the two people killed. When visited by a reporter, Wang's mother sat on a bed, crying silently, and her father sat in a chair with a blank expression, Youth Times said.
In South Korea, internet users reacted strongly against a television presenter who said on air it was "lucky" that only Chinese people had died in the crash.
"It's been reported that two Chinese people, not Koreans, were killed in the plane crash," said Yoon Kyeong-min, a reporter for South Korean network Channel A during a Saturday broadcast. "If we look at it from our point of view, this is lucky."
Korean internet users called the remark "inhuman".
Additional reporting by Reuters, Agence France-Presse