Firefighter unaware she ran over crash survivor

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The firefighter who ran over and killed a survivor of the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco was unaware she was responsible for the girl's death at the time of the incident.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Friday that the firefighter was responding to the burning Boeing 777 when the truck she was driving unknowingly rolled over Ye Mengyuan. Investigators believe Ye was laying prone on the tarmac and covered in firefighting foam.

Wagstaffe said Duckett would not be charged criminally. The San Francisco Fire Department chief declined to discuss the 16-year-old's death, but said in a prepared statement that firefighters likely saved the lives of many critically wounded passengers.

In all, 304 of the 307 people aboard the Boeing 777 survived the July 6 crash.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A firefighter who ran over and killed a survivor of the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport will not be charged with a crime, prosecutors said Friday.

Chinese student Ye Mengyuan, 16, survived the July 6 crash only to be run over by a fire truck while she was covered in firefighting foam, authorities have said.

The death "was a tragic accident that did not involve any violation of our criminal laws," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said in a news release.

Wagstaffe said he arrived at his decision after reviewing police, fire and other first responder reports, the coroner's investigation and numerous videos of events at the scene.

In all, 304 of the 307 people aboard the Boeing 777 survived the crash, although dozens of people were injured.

Ye and a friend were seated at the back of the plane that came in too low and too slow, clipping its landing gear and tail on a rocky seawall just short of the runway.

It was unclear how Ye got from the airplane to the spot where she died. Investigators believe she was down on the ground and not standing during the aftermath of the plane crash.

Anthony Tarricone, an attorney for Ye's family, said he was not surprised criminal charges were not filed.

"It's really not the subject of criminal prosecution," he said. "It's properly the subject of civil action, which we intend to prosecute."

He said he had not been in touch with Ye's family about the District Attorney's Office's decision.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board has said it did not find any mechanical problems with the plane during a preliminary review.

But the plane's pilots, as well as the airline, have raised the possibility that a key device that controls the Boeing 777's speed may have malfunctioned.

Ye and her close friend, 16-year-old Wang Linjia, who also died, were students at Jiangshan Middle School in Zhejiang, an affluent coastal province in eastern China, Chinese state media has reported. They were part of a group of students and teachers from the school who were heading to summer camp in Southern California.

The other victim, 15-year-old Liu Yipeng, later died at a hospital.

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