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article imageAsiana crash victim may have been run over by rescue vehicle

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jul 8, 2013 in World
San Francisco - A coroner is conducting an an autopsy to determine whether one of two 16-year-old girls killed in the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport was run over by a rescue vehicle rushing to the burning aircraft at the crash site.
According to AP, San Mateo County's coroner, Robert Foucrault, said that San Francisco Fire Department officials told him on Saturday that one of the 16-year-old Chinese girls who died in the crash might have been run over by an emergency vehicle.
The result of the autopsy is expected to be made public on Monday and will determine whether the girl died of injuries sustained in the crash or as a result of a separate accident after the crash.
AP reports that Foucrault said: "We were made aware of the possibility at the scene that day."
He said he did not have the opportunity to look at the victim on Saturday to confirm the nature of the injuries, but noted it did not appear she had suffered extensive burns.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the body of the first girl was found close to the spot where the plane's tail broke off after it impacted, while the body of the girl suspected to have been run over was found near the evacuation slide on the left side of the aircraft about 30 feet away from where it stopped after skidding down the tarmac.
San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, responding to questions on Sunday, said she did not know if any of the two girls was alive when the rescue crew arrived at the scene.
While the girl found near the spot where the plane's tail broke off appears to have died from injuries sustained as a result of being ejected, the girl found on the left side of the plane had injuries suggesting she might have been run over. Hayes-White said: "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. That could have been something that happened in the chaos. It will be part of our investigation."
She added: "It breaks my heart that two 16-year-old girls lost their lives. I want to make sure that, just for everyone's closure, that the investigation is complete. The coroner will come to his conclusion."
Mindy Talmadge, San Francisco fire department spokeswoman, said: "One of the deceased did have injuries consistent with those of having been run over by a vehicle. Many agencies were on the field yesterday."
Hayes-White explained that evidence from a video recording of the crash could help resolve the questions. She noted that part of the footage "was a pretty good vantage point."
Meanwhile, AP reports the teenagers' families will arrive in San Francisco Monday and receive the autopsy report before it is made public.
Chinese national media have identified the two girls as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, both students at Jiangshan Middle School in Zheijang. According to Chinese authorities, the girls were part of a group visiting the US to see Stanford University and attend a three-week summer camp at a Christian school in the San Fernando Valley community of West Hills.
The Guardian reports there were 307 passengers on the flight that came in from Seoul, South Korea.
A spokeswoman for Asiana Airlines Lee Hyo-min, told the Los Angeles Times that the pilot had only 43 hours experience flying Boeing 777s. He was flying into San Francisco airport at the controls of a Boeing 777 for the first time. However, he was an experienced pilot who had been flying since 1994 and has had nearly 10,000 flying hours with other types of planes including Boeing 747s, 737s and Airbus 320s.
The Guardian reports investigators are also looking at the possibility of equipment failure.
The head of the National Transporting Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, told reporters at a news conference on Sunday that the aircraft's speed as it landed was below the expected 137 knots (158 mph) but there were no signs of trouble until the moment of impact.
Flight data recorder revealed that a call came to the pilot to increase speed just before disaster struck. He requested to abort landing and make a second approach. The Guardian reports Hersman said: "We have to take another look at the raw data and corroborate it with radar and air traffic information to make sure we have a very precise speed. But again, we are not talking about a few knots here or there. We're talking about a significant amount of speed below 137."
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