SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Teenager Ye Meng Yuan didn’t die when a plane crashed at San Francisco International Airport last July. She actually survived the impact — only to die minutes later after a fire truck ran over her.
Now, newly released video obtained by CBS suggests emergency workers saw Ye’s injured body on the ground before she was fatally struck — challenging earlier claims that she was accidentally run over because she may have been covered in firefighting foam.
In the footage, one firefighter tried to stop an emergency vehicle racing toward the scene.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop, stop, stop! There’s a body … there’s a body right there. Right in front of you,” the firefighter told the driver.
The video was captured on a camera attached to a firefighter’s helmet. CBS said it obtained the footage from a source close to Ye’s family.
Another video from a fire truck shows a firefighter on the ground directing the truck around a victim, who was not covered in foam at the time.
Ye was eventually run over by a fire truck, San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White said last July.
“I particularly want to express our condolences and apologies to the family of Ye Meng Yuan,” the chief said. “We’re heartbroken. We’re in the business of saving lives … There’s not a lot of words to describe how badly we feel about it.”
A California coroner ruled that Ye was alive when flung from the plane but died of “multiple blunt injuries that are consistent with being run over by a motor vehicle.”
“Those injuries she received, she was alive at the time,” San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said.
The 16-year-old girl’s parents have filed a claim against the city and county of San Francisco, saying emergency responders “were grossly negligent.”
In the claim filed against the city, attorneys for Ye’s family wrote that emergency workers who spotted Ye on the ground “failed to move her to a safe location, failed to mark her location; failed to protect her from moving vehicles in the vicinity of the aircraft where it was known that vehicles would be traveling; failed to alert commanders at the scene; and/or abandoned Ye Meng Yuan in a perilous location.”
A court may eventually have to decide whether fire crews in the video were negligent and should be held accountable for the girl’s death.
The San Francisco Fire Department has not responded to request for comment. CBS said the fire department wouldn’t comment on its report due to pending litigation.
Two other people died when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed at the San Francisco airport July 6. The National Transportation Safety Board said the jet descended in altitude faster than it should have, and had a slower forward speed than intended.
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