One Asiana victim killed by a vehicle, not plane crash: coroner

SAN MATEO, California Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:54pm EDT

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 plane is seen in this aerial image after it crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport in California on July 6, 2013. REUTERS/Jed Jacobsohn

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 plane is seen in this aerial image after it crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport in California on July 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jed Jacobsohn

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SAN MATEO, California (Reuters) - A teenage passenger on the Asiana Airlines jet that crashed in San Francisco died from injuries sustained after being run over by a motor vehicle, most likely a fire truck at the scene, local officials said on Friday.

Ye Mengyuan, a 16-year old girl who sat toward the rear of Flight 214, survived the Boeing 777's crash-landing on July 6 but died from blunt force injuries consistent with being run over by an emergency response vehicle, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault and San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said at a news conference.

"Obviously this is very difficult news for us," Hayes-White said. "We're in the business of saving lives."

Two other Chinese girls were killed and dozens were injured in the jet crash.

San Francisco Police, who are still investigating Ye's death, have interviewed the firefighters involved and given drug and alcohol tests, Hayes-White told reporters.

But the chief said she did not anticipate any disciplinary action against the firemen, calling Ye's death a "tragic accident."

Hayes-White said Ye was struck by at least one specialized fire-fighting vehicle deployed at San Francisco International Airport, but left open the possibility that she was hit by more than one rig.

Ye sat near the rear of the plane and was thrown onto the runway when the jet fuselage clipped the runway, airline officials and crash investigators have said.

Ye's body was discovered prone under a blanket of foam near the airplane, the fire chief said.

Both the coroner and the fire chief said it remains unknown how Ye ended up being found near the airplane if she indeed fell out of the airplane where it first struck the runway, far from where the wreckage ultimately came to rest.

Hayes-White commended her department for its performance but said she will continue to review its policies.

"There is always room for us to evaluate and improve our response," she said.

(Reporting By Gerry Shih; Writing by Dan Levine; Editing by Chistopher Wilson and Vicki Allen)

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