January 15th, 2014
06:24 AM ET

Asiana Crash Video: Firefighters Saw Injured Girl Before She Was Run Over

Teenager Ye Meng Yuan didn't die from a plane crash at San Francisco International Airport last July. She actually survived the impact - only to die shortly later when 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."

Attorneys for Ye's family say 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 vincinity 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 CNN's request for comment. CBS said the fire department wouldn't comment on their report due to pending litigation.

Two other people died when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed at the San Francisco airport. 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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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Howard

    It is unthinkable that multiple firefighters walked around the victim and not one ever checked her pulse or respirations. This is an inexcusable error that no public safety official should ever make. There Is No Excuse. None. Not Any.

    Now, to make matters worse, officials within the fire service have decided that they know more about the cause of her death than does the coroner who performed the autopsy, a forensic pathologist. The hubris is unimaginable! If the San Francisco Fire Department gets off on this, the entire United States should boycott the city.

    February 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  2. Robin

    I hope they sue the hell out of San Francisco. Wtf didn't they check her pulse. Fire the firefighters involved immediately. Shameful.

    January 15, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  3. Megan Grant

    Even if the firefighters were rushing to help the hectic plane crash, they should've been more alert. It's their jobs to be alert. Lives are in their hands. Also, wether they say, "She was dead before the firetrucks ran her over," who wants to bury a burned body of their daughter let alone an unidentified squished lump of flesh once called Ye Meng Yuan.

    January 15, 2014 at 11:13 am | Reply

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