The parents of a teenage girl who was run over and killed by two emergency vehicles after last July’s Asiana Airlines crash have filed a claim against the city of San Francisco, saying rescuers were reckless and poorly trained.
In legal forms filed this week in San Francisco, attorneys for the parents of 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan say firefighters who first saw the girl after the July 6 crash should have examined her and moved her somewhere safe. Firefighters told investigators they assumed the girl was dead and hurried on toward the damaged aircraft.
An autopsy revealed Yuan was alive before the vehicles hit her.
In all, 304 of the 307 people aboard the plane survived after the airliner slammed into a seawall at the end of a runway during final approach for landing.
The impact ripped off the back of the plane, tossed out three flight attendants and their seats, and scattered pieces of the jet across the runway as it spun and skidded to a stop.
Yuan was one of three Chinese teens who died; one died during the crash, and another later in the hospital.
In their claim, attorneys at Kreindler & Kreindler, the Los Angeles firm representing Yuan’s parents, name 37 specific airport, fire and police department employees, saying they and others “breached their duty of care.” They do not specify damages.
In an obituary, Yuan was described as a champion athlete who excelled at literature, playing piano, singing and public speaking. Her given name means “wish come true” in Chinese.
It is still unknown how Yuan got out of the plane, but the claim says she was possibly taken out by rescuers. Interviews for an ongoing National Traffic Safety Board investigation found Yuan was covered with foam and struck twice — once by a fire rig spraying foam whose driver had seen and driven around her earlier in the chaos, and again 11 minutes later by a second truck that was turning around to fetch water.
Her death has prompted new training for firefighters who work at San Francisco International Airport, including 40 to 80 hours of advanced instruction at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
“There are many lessons to be learned here,” Assistant Deputy Chief Dale Carnes, who oversees the San Francisco Fire Department’s airport division, said during a NTSB hearing in December. “We are developing strategies to lessen the potential for firefighting vehicles impacting accident victims.”