Coroner: Plane crash victim may have been run over

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Updated: 7/07/2013 7:25 pm
UPDATE:SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A county coroner said Sunday that his office is conducting an autopsy to determine whether one of the victims of the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport was run over and killed by an emergency vehicle.

San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said senior San Francisco Fire Department officials notified him and his staff at the crash site Saturday that one of the two 16-year-old Chinese girls who died from the crash may have been struck on the runaway.

"We were made aware of the possibility at the scene that day," Foucrault said, adding that he did not get a thorough look at the victims on Saturday to know if they had external injuries.

One of the bodies was found on the runway near where the plane's tail broke off upon impact, he said. The other was found on the left side of the aircraft about 30 feet away from where the Boeing 777 came to rest after it skidded down the tarmac and not far from an emergency slide.

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White did not return telephone calls from The Associated Press. Earlier Sunday, Hayes-White had said she did not know if the two dead girls were alive when her crews arrived on scene.

But she told the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday that the girl found on the side of the airplane had injuries consistent with having been run over.

"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," she told The Chronicle. "That could have been something that happened in the chaos. It will be part of our investigation."

Foucrault said the autopsy, which he expects to be completed by Monday, will involve determining whether the girl's death was caused by injuries from the crash or "a secondary incident."

The teenagers' families are expected to arrive in San Francisco on Monday, and they will receive the autopsy results before they are made public, he said.

The coroner said both girls were pronounced dead at the airport.

Chinese state media and Asiana Airlines have identified the girls as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, students at Jiangshan Middle School in Zhejiang, an affluent coastal province in eastern China. They were part of a group of 29 students and five teachers from the school who were heading to summer camps in California, according to education authorities in China.

While speaking to reporters at San Francisco General Hospital on Sunday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee called the questions being raised about a rescue vehicle possibly striking one of the victims "unsubstantiated."

"It was very, very hectic when they arrived minutes after the plane came to rest and there was smoke coming out, and people were trying to get out as quickly as they could," Lee said.

UPDATE: Authorities say the two passengers who died in Saturday's crash of an Asiana Airlines flight at San Francisco International Airport were 16-year-old girls from China.

San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault told the San Jose Mercury News that one appeared to have been thrown from the rear of the plane when the tail broke off, and the other was found near the wreckage.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua, quoting the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, says both victims were from China.

Education authorities in China say at least 70 Chinese students and teachers were on the plane heading to summer camps.

The president of Asiana Airlines says it will take time to determine the cause of the crash-landing in San Francisco that killed two passengers and injured 182 others, but he offered an apology within hours.

During a televised news conference in Seoul, airline President Yoon Young-doo bowed and said: "I am bowing my head and extending my deep apology" to the passengers, their families and the South Korean people over the crash.

Four pilots were aboard the plane and they rotated on a two-person shift during the flight, according to The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in South Korea. The two at the controls at the time of crash were Lee Jeong-min and Lee Gang-guk.

Yoon Young-doo described the pilots as "skilled," saying three had logged more than 10,000 hours each of flight time, while the fourth had put in almost that much time.

All four are South Koreans.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman says the glide slope — a ground-based aid that helps pilots stay on course while landing — had been shut down since June.

She says pilots were sent a notice warning that the glide slope wasn't available.

Hersman tells CBS' "Face the Nation" that there were many other navigation tools available to help pilots land. She says investigators will be "taking a look at it all."

The Asiana Airlines plane crashed as it was about to land Saturday, breaking off its tail and catching fire.

An Asiana Airlines' Boeing 777 crashed and burned Saturday, July 6, 2013 while landing at San Francisco International Airport, sending up a large plume of dark smoke from the aircraft, which lost its tail and much of its roof to fire. A photo taken by Eunice Bird Rah's father, who was on the flight. (Eunice Rah)
Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashes (Eunice Rah)
(NBC News) - Two people were killed and 182 were hospitalized after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 from Seoul, South Korea, crashed and burst into flames at San Francisco International Airport, forcing passengers to jump down the emergency inflatable slides to safety.

The Boeing 777 with 307 people on board crashed as it was landing on Runway 28 Left at SFO at 11:27 a.m. PDT.

Officials confirmed two people who were found outside the wreckage died in the crash. The San Mateo County coroner said both victims were female, one an adult, the other 16 years old. Both were traveling on Chinese passports. Autopsies will be performed Sunday on both victims.

SFO officials said 182 people were transported to area hospitals, 49 of those with critical injuries. Initially, 60 people were considered unaccounted for, but San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee confirmed at a 7:45 p.m. press conference that every one on board the plane had been accounted for. 

"This could have been much worse," Lee said. "We are very lucky that we have so many survivors, but there are many who are critically injured. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them."

UPDATE: Heidi Jared from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport told us this afternoon that flights originally bound for San Francisco may come to Reno, so they may see more traffic in Reno.

There have been at least four diversions already including one bound for San Francisco from Reno that turned around, and a flight from Chicago bound for San Francisco that was delayed.

Jared is not expecting a big impact on Reno inbound/outbound flights. She says a good tip is to always check your carrier and flight online to get up to the minute status before you head to the airport.

UPDATE: Official says 1 person remains unaccounted for from plane  crash at San Francisco airport.

Aviation safety experts say the crash Saturday of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 in San Francisco is only the second major accident for the twin-engine, wide-bodied jet in the 18 years the model has been in service

The former head of aviation accident investigations for the National Transportation Safety Board, Tom Haueter, says the 777 has a "fantastic record."

The two accidents share a striking similarity: Both occurred just about the time the planes were touching down to landing.

The previous accident occurred in 2008 at London's Heathrow Airport. A British Airways 777 landed hard about 1,000 feet short of the runway and then slid onto the runway. There were injuries, but no fatalities.

An investigation revealed ice pellets in the fuel.

UPDATE: According to Heidi Jared from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, flights originally bound for San Francisco may come to Reno.
There have been at least two diversions already, one bound for San francisco from Reno that turned around, and a flight from Chicago bound for San Francisco that was delayed.
The airport is not expecting a big impact on Reno inbound/outbound flights. Go online and check your carrier and flight status before you go to the airport.
UPDATE: Reports from EMS on scene say all 303 passengers on board crashed Boeing 777 are accounted for.  One passenger is in critical injury so far and many other passengers have burns.
PHOTO: Asiana Airlines flight crashes while landing at San Francisco Int'l Airport  (NBC Nightly News)
PHOTO: Asiana Airlines flight crashes while landing at San Francisco Int'l Airport (NBC Nightly News)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal aviation official says an Asiana Airlines flight has crashed while landing at San Francisco airport. It was not immediately known whether there were any injuries.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Lynn Lunsford says the Boeing 777 crashed at San Francisco Airport while landing on Saturday.

A video clip posted to Youtube shows smoke coming from a silver-colored jet on the tarmac. Passengers could be seen jumping down the inflatable emergency slides.

©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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BDeckwa - 7/7/2013 9:43 PM
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Some will probably walk away and disappear in chinatown.

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