A girl who was aboard the Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed, died on Friday, the same day that authorities confirmed one of the two Chinese teenagers killed in the disaster was hit by a fire truck. No one knows yet whether the two teens lived through the initial impact at the San Francisco airport. But police and fire officials confirmed on Friday that Ye Meng Yuan, 16, was hit by a fire truck racing to extinguish the blazing Boeing 777.
The other girl, also from China, died on Friday morning. San Francisco General Hospital said she had been in critical condition since arriving on Saturday after the accident. Officials did not identify the girl at the request of her parents. Her age was also withheld.
Wang Linjia’s body was found near a seawall at the edge of the runway, along with three flight attendants who were flung onto the tarmac while still buckled in their seats. Wang Linjia was not in her seat.
“The fire truck did go over the victim at least one time. Now the other question is, what was the cause of death?” police spokesman Albie Esparza said. “That’s what we are trying to determine right now.”
San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said the results of his initial inquiry into the deaths would likely be released sometime next week. He would not comment on the police investigation.
Moments after the July 6 crash, while rescuers tried to help passengers near the burning fuselage, Wang Linjia and the flight attendants lay in the rubble almost 2,000 feet (610 meters) away. A group of survivors called emergency services and tried to help them.
Members of the group martial arts athletes and their families returning from a competition in South Korea said that after escaping the plane, they sat with at least four victims who appeared to be seriously hurt. They believe one of them was one of the girls who died.
San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said Friday that when airport personnel reached the group near the seawall, Linjia was dead. She did not know when the girl had died.
The flight attendants remained hospitalized Friday.
Police said the teenager was covered in foam that rescuers had sprayed on the burning wreckage. When the truck moved while battling the flames, rescuers discovered her body, Mr. Esparza said.
“The driver may not have seen the young lady in the blanket of foam,” said Ken Willette of the National Firefighter Protection Agency, which sets national standards for training airfield firefighters. “These could be factors contributing to this tragic event.”
Their parents were flown to San Francisco after their deaths where the Chinese consulate was caring for them.
Nearly a week after the crash, the investigation indicates the pilots, a trainee and his instructor, failed to realize until too late that the aircraft was dangerously low and flying too slow.
Nothing disclosed so far by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators indicates any problems with the Boeing 777’s engines, computers or automated systems.