BEIJING The two people who died in an Asiana Airlines plane crash at San Francisco International Airport were Chinese schoolgirls, Chinese state media said Sunday.
Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, students at Jiangshan Middle School in eastern China, died in the crash, state broadcaster China Central Television said, citing a fax from the airline to the Jiangshan city government.
The South Korean airline said in a statement that Ye and Wang were both 16.
A group of 29 students and five teachers had set off from the highly competitive school in Zhejiang, an affluent coastal province. A woman from Zhejiang's education department had said earlier that they had lost contact with two students. The woman gave only her surname, Tang.
Of the 291 passengers onboard, 141 were Chinese. At least 70 Chinese students and teachers were on the plane heading to summer camps, according to education authorities in China.
The flight slammed into the runway while landing at the airport Saturday and caught fire, forcing many to escape by sliding down the emergency inflatable slides as flames tore through the plane. Officials said 182 people were taken to area hospitals.
While declining to identify the victims, earlier a San Francisco fire official said both victims had been found on the "exterior" of the plane. A spokesman for Asiana Airlines said the two killed Chinese teenagers were seated at the back of the plane, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Xinhua also reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping "expressed great concern over the accident and sent condolences to the Chinese victims and their families."