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Friday, Nov 21, 2014
US & World News

Name of third girl to die after Asiana crash revealed


Published:

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The name of a girl who died of injuries suffered in the crash-landing of an Asiana Airlines flight in San Francisco has emerged early Saturday.

Chinese state media identified her as Liu Yipeng. China News says she went to school with the other two victims killed in last week's accident, a pair of 16-year-old girls.

Liu Yipeng's identification comes a day after her death was announced amid the official confirmation that one of the other girls who died in the disaster had been covered on the runway in flame-retardant foam and hit by a fire truck speeding to the crash site, a disclosure that raised the tragic possibility she could have survived the crash only to die in its chaotic aftermath.

Liu Yipeng, whose name was first reported in the U.S. by KGO-TV, died Friday morning at San Francisco General Hospital where she had been in critical condition since the July 6 accident.

Friends and strangers have left condolences and lit virtual candles on Chinese social media sites in her memory.

Jianshang Education Bureau director Mao Zhuoxing confirmed Liu Yipeng's identity to China News. Her age was not disclosed. All three girls killed were from China.

No one knows yet whether the teenage victims lived through the initial impact at the San Francisco airport. But police and fire officials confirmed Friday that Ye Meng Yuan was hit by a fire truck racing to extinguish the blazing Boeing 777.

"The fire truck did go over the victim at least one time. Now the other question is, 'What was the cause of death?"' San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza said. "That's what we are trying to determine right now."

San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said the results of his initial inquiry into the deaths would likely be released sometime next week. He would not comment on the police investigation.

Ye Meng Yuan's close friend Wang Linjia was among a group of injured passengers who did not get immediate medical help. Rescuers did not spot her until 14 minutes after the crash. Wang Linjia's body was found along with three flight attendants who were flung onto the tarmac.

Moments after the crash, while rescuers tried to help passengers near the burning fuselage, Wang Linjia and some flight attendants lay in the rubble almost 2,000 feet away. A group of survivors called 911 and tried to help them.

Survivors said that after escaping the plane, they sat with at least four victims who appeared to be seriously hurt. They believe one of them was one of the girls who died.

Cindy Stone, who was in that group, was recorded by California Highway Patrol dispatchers calling in for help: "There are no ambulances here. We've been on the ground 20 minutes. There are people lying on the tarmac with critical injuries, head injuries. We're almost losing a woman here. We're trying to keep her alive."

San Francisco fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said Friday that when airport personnel reached the group near the seawall, Linjia was dead. She did not know when the girl had died.

Several flight attendants remain hospitalized.

Talmadge also confirmed that an Associated Press photograph of a body under a yellow tarp near the burned-out jet was Ye Meng Yuan.

The photo, taken from above, shows firefighters looking down at the tarp, and there are truck track marks leading up to it.

Police said the teenager was covered in foam that rescuers had sprayed on the burning wreckage. When the truck moved while battling the flames, rescuers discovered her body, Esparza said.

"The driver may not have seen the young lady in the blanket of foam," said Ken Willette of the National Firefighter Protection Agency, which sets national standards for training airfield firefighters. "These could be factors contributing to this tragic event."

He said fire trucks that responded to the Asiana crash would have started shooting foam while approaching the fuselage from 80 or 100 feet away. The foam was sprayed from a cannon on the top of the truck across the ground to clear a safe path for evacuees. That was supposed to create a layer of foam on the ground that is several inches high before the truck gets to the plane.

The victims were close friends and top students, looking forward to spending a few weeks at a Christian summer camp in California, where they planned to practice English and boosting their chances of attending a U.S. college.

Their parents were flown to San Francisco after their deaths where the Chinese consulate was caring for them.

The crash-landing occurred after the airliner collided with a rocky seawall just short the runway. Dozens of passengers were hurt. There were 182 survivors taken to hospitals, though most suffered only minor injuries.

So far, an investigation indicates the pilots, a trainee and his instructor, failed to realize until too late that the aircraft was dangerously low and flying too slow.

Nothing disclosed so far by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators indicates any problems with the Boeing 777's engines, computers or automated systems.

Also, San Francisco airport officials said that the runway where the jet crashed was reopened Friday evening, and all airlines would resume normal schedules immediately.

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