Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fire truck killed Asiana jet survivor

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SAN MATEO, Calif. -- No one knows exactly how Ye Mengyuan ended up on the runway just nine metres from the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214, but officials say one thing is clear now: She somehow survived the crash.

As the plane burned, the 16-year-old Chinese student was buried by the firefighting foam rescue workers were spraying to douse the blaze.

In the chaotic moments that followed -- flames devouring the fuselage, those aboard escaping by emergency slides, flight attendants frantically cutting away seatbelts to free passengers -- a fire truck ran over Ye, killing her.

The new details, released Friday by the coroner's office, compounded the tragedy for her family in the aftermath of the July 6 crash at the San Francisco airport that killed two other teenage girls from China.

"There's not a lot of words to describe how badly we feel, how sorry we feel," said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.

Ye's family was upset after learning the details of their daughter's death and wants her body returned to China, San Mateo County coroner Robert Foucrault said. "It was a difficult conversation," he said.

Hayes-White said she was trying to arrange a meeting with them and the "tragic accident" would prompt a review of how the fire department uses the foam and responds to emergencies at the airport.

In a statement, the Chinese consulate called on authorities to determine responsibility for Ye's death.

Online comments by Chinese citizens, while expressing sadness at the girl's death, praised the U.S. authorities for revealing the truth and contrasted that transparency with frequent coverups by their own governments.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 21, 2013 A6

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