Some firefighters assumed injured Asiana passenger lying on tarmac was already dead

On Tuesday night CBS News broadcast, for the first time, video shot by firefighters minutes after a Boeing Triple 7 crashed at San Francisco International Airport last summer.

The pictures raise questions about why a 16-year-old girl who survived the crash was struck and killed by a fire truck. The girl's family has filed a claim against the city.

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Video raises questions about why a 16-year-old girl who survived the crash was struck and killed by a fire truck
CBS News
 

"There are essentially two large openings, one in the middle of the fuselage and one in the front of the fuselage," a rescue worker says.

Video from the fire truck and helmet cam show firefighters risked their lives to get near and inside the burning plane.

Asks one: "Why don't we just go in the opening here -- it's so easy."

"There's fire right there, man!" a chief responds.

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Some firefighters saw the 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan near the wreckage but assumed she was dead
CBS News
Several firefighters climbed up the jet's emergency slides to reach for passengers, but as with any disaster, there was confusion.  

"Hey! Hey! Listen up what I'm telling you, man. I want you to watch over there," orders one. "That's what they're for, all right. Do not come over here again."

Some firefighters saw the 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan near the wreckage but assumed she was dead.  The coroner says Ye actually survived the crash but was killed by a fire truck that accidentally ran her over.

 "You know you got a body there," one firefighter says.

"My God," answers another.

A summary of interviews conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board shows one airport safety officer described firefighters as "all jockeying for position and looking at the fire, not at what was outside their vehicle."

San Francisco Fire Department protocols say the dead may be "left in place" but must "be labeled as deceased."

 

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Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Dale Carnes
CBS News
 It is not clear from the video if Ye was marked before she was run over. Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Dale Carnes told the NTSB there is no industry standard as to how to mark bodies of victims.

But the department's safety plan does call for spotters to help drivers.  This spotter got out to direct a driver around Ye's body, but that firefighter then left to go inside the plane.



 Carnes said this in December: "Our riders were eventually pressed into service inside the aircraft, leaving our drivers by themselves."

The San Francisco Fire Department still won't comment on the videos. Firefighters from that department are now receiving additional training in Texas. More than 300 passengers survived the crash.

  • Anna Werner

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