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Calif. prosecutors to determine if firefighter will face charges in death of Asiana Airlines crash victim

October 04, 2013|By Ruben Vives
  • In this undated photo, Ye Meng Yuan poses for photos in the classroom in Jiangshan city in eastern China's Zhejiang province. She survived the Asiana crash, but died on the runway after being run over by a firetruck.
In this undated photo, Ye Meng Yuan poses for photos in the classroom in Jiangshan… (AP )

California prosecutors will determine if a firefighter will face charges in the death of a teen passenger who was aboard an Asiana Airlines jet that crashed at San Francisco International Airport.  The girl was killed when a firetruck responding to the crash ran over her.

Investigators completed their probe into the incident last week and turned over their findings to prosecutors who will determine within the next two weeks if the firefighter broke any laws or whether it was an accident, said San Mateo County Assistant Dist. Atty. Al Serrato.

“All revelant circumstances will be taken into account when considering our decision,” Serrato said, adding that the incident occurred in a chaotic setting.

On July 6, an Asiana Airlines jetliner struck a seawall and crashed on the tarmac at SFO.

Authorities believe a firetruck responding to the crash ran over 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan, who was found near the left wing of the plane.

Coroner's officials said Ye was alive on the tarmac when she was struck by the vehicle. She suffered crushing injuries and internal bleeding, including blunt injuries consistent with being run over by a vehicle.

Authorities believed Ye was struck by an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting truck, a specialized vehicle that can run at speeds of up to 70 mph and spray fire-retardant foam while speeding toward a burning plane. They said Ye was covered in foam when the truck struck her.

Fire department officials said debris from the crash, a fuel leak and the plane engulfed in flames made it a challenging setting for responding firefighters. They apologized and called Ye’s death a tragic incident.

Officials said they would evaluate protocols and look at ways to improve response.

Ye was one of three people killed after the crash. Most of the 307 passengers and crew members on board Flight 214 were injured but survived.

Ye was part of a group of Chinese high school students on their way to West Valley Christian Church and School in the San Fernando Valley for a three-week summer camp.

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