Chinese consul calls for full investigation into death of plane crash victim


(Bay City News Service) — Officials with the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco on July 19 urged U.S. officials to make a full investigation into the death of a Chinese teenager who was struck by a fire truck and killed after surviving the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214.

San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault confirmed July 19 that Ye Meng Yuan, a 16-year-old student, was fatally struck by a San Francisco Fire Department vehicle in the July 6 incident.

In a statement, Consul Wang Xiang noted the efforts by officials to “disclose the truth,” but called for further investigation. “We urge the involved parties of the U.S. side to deal properly with the aftermath of Meng Yuan’s death and investigate and affix responsibility for this tragic accident,” the statement read.

Yuan was still alive after the plane landed, but died after suffering multiple blunt-force injuries consistent with being run over by a vehicle outside of the plane, Foucrault said.

Yuan’s friend, 16-year-old Wang Lin Jia, was also pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, while a third Chinese student, Liu Yipeng, 15, succumbed to her injuries at San Francisco General Hospital nearly a week later.

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said investigators believe Yuan was struck by a specialized fire truck based at the airport. The girl was on the ground covered in a blanket of foam used to suppress flames when she was struck, Hayes-White said.

“Obviously it’s devastating news to us,” Hayes-White said.

She said she received the coroner’s findings July 18 and called them “heartbreaking” and “difficult to hear.”

Since then, the fire department has apologized to Yuan’s family and is continuing to reach out to them via the mayor’s office and the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.

The chief said she has yet to meet directly with the family, but has offered to sit down with them. She said the department is reviewing its procedures in light of the incident.

“Every aspect of our response that day is under review,” the chief said.

The San Francisco Police Department is also investigating the incident.

Members of the fire department are “very emotional from this incident,” Hayes-White said. “We go to work everyday to save lives.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said July 19 that he regrets the tragic death.

“Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with their families and friends an ocean away,” Mayor Lee said in a statement the morning of July 19.

Lee praised the “quick response and heroic decisions of our first responders,” who he said were able to save many of the 307 passengers and crewmembers onboard.

More than 180 people were injured in the crash. The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.



NTSB summer intern confirmed false pilot names

(Bay City News Service) — The National Transportation Safety Board issued an apology on July 12 for mistakenly confirming “inaccurate and offensive” names for the pilots of Asiana Airlines Flight 214.

The names were confirmed by a summer intern acting “outside the scope of his authority” in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, according to NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.

The false names, which contained racial overtones and obscenities, were read aloud on one KTVU news broadcast July 12 before the error was discovered.

Later in the broadcast, the station issued an apology for reporting the names and has since repeated the apology on its Website and in other formats.

The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media, Nantel said.

“We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today’s incident,” Nantel said.

“Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated,” Nantel said.

Flight 214 crashed on July 6 shortly before 11:30 a.m., killing three people and injuring dozens of others.

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