Monday 22 January 2018

San Francisco plane victim was hit by fire truck

An Asiana plane lands behind the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed on Saturday at San Francisco International Airport (AP)
An Asiana plane lands behind the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed on Saturday at San Francisco International Airport (AP)

One of the Chinese teenagers who died in the Asiana Airlines disaster was struck by a fire truck while she was covered in foam that crews had sprayed to douse the fire aboard the plane, police have said.

It was not clear, however, whether 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan was already dead or whether she was alive after the crash on Saturday at San Francisco airport. Authorities were still trying to determine the cause of death.

Police officials confirmed that she was hit by the truck. She was on the ground and covered in the foam. "When the fire truck repositioned itself to continue battling flames from the fuselage, the victim passenger was found in the tyre track of the fire truck," police spokesman Albie Esparza said.

Asiana Flight 214 collided with a rocky seawall just short of its intended airport runway on Saturday. Two people were killed and dozens of others injured although most suffered minor injuries. Investigators have said the plane, carrying 307 people onboard, came in too low and slow.

Nearly a week after the crash, investigators have pieced together an outline of the event - what should have been a smooth landing by seasoned pilots turning into a disaster.

With each new bit of information, the picture emerging is of pilots who were supposed to be closely monitoring the plane's airspeed, but who did not realise until too late that the aircraft was dangerously low and slow. Nothing disclosed so far by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators indicates any problems with the Boeing 777's engines or the functioning of its computers and automated systems.

Investigators are still trying to nail down hundreds of details about the crash last Saturday that killed two people and injured dozens. NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman has cautioned against reaching conclusions.

But investigators already know a great deal. They have listened to the Boeing 777's voice recorder, which captured the last two hours of conversation in the cockpit. They've downloaded its flight data recorder, which captured 1,400 indicators of what was happening on the plane, from the temperatures inside and out to the positions of cockpit instruments.

The flight's four pilots have been interviewed, as have passengers and dozens of witnesses. Air traffic control recordings and video of the flight's last moments, including the crash itself, have been examined.

The pilot flying the Seoul-to-San Francisco flight, Lee Gang-kuk, 46, had nearly 10,000 hours of flying experience, but just 35 hours flying a Boeing 777. He had recently completed training that qualified him to fly passengers in the 777, and was about halfway through his post-qualification training. He was seated in the left cockpit pilot seat. In the co-pilot position was Lee Jeong-Min, an experienced captain who was supervising Lee Gang-kuk's training. It was Lee Gang-kuk's first time landing a 777 in San Francisco.

Press Association

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