| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Jan 28 A San Francisco
firefighter who responded to the crash of an Asiana Airlines
plane last year has accused her department of falsely blaming
her for the accidental death of a teenage girl who was lying on
the runway near the aircraft.
Chinese teenager Ye Mengyuan, 16, an Asiana passenger, was
covered in fire-fighting foam when she was run over by emergency
vehicles at the scene of the crash in July at San Francisco
airport. State prosecutors did not file criminal charges in
connection with her death, but Ye's family has filed a civil
claim against the city.
The firefighter, Elyse Duckett, says in a legal claim filed
with the city last week that members of the San Francisco Fire
Department defamed her by leaking her name to a local television
news reporter as being the individual responsible for the girl's
In her claim, Duckett says department officials told her she
was to blame even though an emergency vehicle had earlier run
over the teenager. Duckett's claim does not say whether her
vehicle ever made contact with Ye.
Ye's family alleged in its filing that Ye was run over by
one emergency vehicle, and then hit by a second one driven by
A representative for San Francisco's city attorney on
Tuesday declined to comment on Duckett's filing, and a fire
department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request
for comment. If the city does not resolve Duckett's claim, she
can then file a lawsuit in court.
Ye, who was on her way to summer camp in the United States,
had been sitting toward the rear of Flight 214 from Seoul and
survived the Boeing 777's crash-landing but died from blunt
force injuries, officials said in the days after her death.
The scene where Ye was killed was "dramatically chaotic"
with people rushing around and firefighters fearful the airliner
might explode, a state prosecutor said.
According to Duckett's claim, she had been shopping for food
for the fire station at the time of the crash. She returned to
the airport, took over a rescue vehicle and headed out to the
She has suffered emotional distress as a result of what
occurred, the claim says, and has been harassed by the media and
sustained irreparable damage to her reputation.
Dozens of people were seriously injured in the crash of
Asiana Flight 214, 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.