Plane Crash Death May Have Been Due to Firefighter Negligence

Posted by Ryan Russman | Feb 04, 2014 | 0 Comments

NPR in New Hampshire is reporting a sad story. Many people may remember last July when an Asiana Airlines plane coming from Seoul crashed as it landed at the San Francisco International Airport. It was reported at the time of the accident that the crash lead to three fatalities. Two resulted from passengers being injured during the crash and resulted, tragically, when passenger, who was ejected from the plane, was run over by a fire truck responding to the scene. The other 304 people aboard the plane survived the crash.

16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan from China reportedly survived the crash but was later killed when she was run over by fire trucks responding to the scene. Now, videos have been released that show that emergency personnel were aware that there was a victim was lying on the ground near the wreckage. After the incident, NPR reports that the corner ruled that the 16-year-old died from "crushing injuries consistent with [being struck by] a motor vehicle."

Authorities originally believed that Ye was lying on the ground near the burning wreckage and, unfortunately, first responders were unaware that she was present. This resulted in Ye being sprayed along with the burning wreckage with a foam that was used to extinguish the flames. This foam may have played a vital part in her death because arriving responders were unable to see her body on the ground which eventually led to her being crushed.

Recently, however, CBS News has broadcast clips taken from one of the firefighters' helmet cameras as well as a camera mounted on one of the responding vehicles. One of the videos shows firefighters being warned on more than one occasion about the location of Ye. In the early part of the video, it seems that she was not yet covered by the foam and some rescue workers were aware of her location. In fact, CBS News states that she was run over and sustained the fatal injuries about 15 minutes after the first driver was told about her location.

The Fire Department Lieutenant has also stated that she made a quick visual assessment of the scene and concluded the girl as their first casualty. This shows that she was aware of Ye but ruled that she was already deceased. She did not, however, check Ye's vital signs or have her officially pronounced dead. In addition, even if she thought she was deceased, that does not explain the treatment of the body. There is no excuse for rescue workers to run over a victim.

This is a tragic story. To survive a plane crash only to be killed by careless rescuer workers is a heartbreaking turn of events. Ye's family is allegedly planning to sue the city of San Francisco. Based on these videos and this new information they may have a strong case. Firefighters are trusted to help injured people, even if they believed Ye was deceased, they should have taken more care in removing her body. These videos show that their behavior was negligent.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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