- (Photo: Reuters/Jed Jacobsohn)
Authorities are investigating whether a rescue vehicle accidentally ran over a victim of the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport. One of two 16-year-old Chinese girls involved in the crash may have been run over in the chaos of the accident.
"We were made aware of the possibility at the scene that day," San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault told the Associated Press.
"As it possibly could have happened, based on the injuries sustained, it could have been one of our vehicles that added to the injuries, or another vehicle," San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White added. "That could have been something that happened in the chaos. It will be part of our investigation."
Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, students at Jiangshan Middle School were both pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. They were part of a small group of students on their way to summer camps in California. One of the girls was found on the runway near the tail, and the other was found on the left side of the aircraft, not far from an emergency slide.
Police have not said which of the two girls may have been run over; they are awaiting autopsies and will notify the victim's family first before releasing information to the public.
"It was very, very hectic when they arrived minutes after the plane came to rest, and there was smoke coming out, and people were trying to get out as quickly as they could," Mayor Ed Lee said, calling the claims of a vehicle hitting a victim "unsubstantiated."
The plane, which crashed after coming in too slowly, caught fire and left passengers scrambling for safety. Remarkably, 305 of the 307 passengers aboard survived the crash, and only a few were seriously injured.
"I am bowing my head and extending my deep apology," airline President Yoon Young-doo said at a press conference held within hours of the crash.