Firefighter Won’t Face Charges In Asiana Airlines Crash Survivor’s Death

A firefighter who accidentally ran over an Asiana Airlines crash survivor won’t face charges. Ye Meng Yuan, 16, died on the runway at San Francisco International Airport when a fire truck responding to the plane crash ran over her.

After reviewing “numerous videos” and reports from the accident, San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe announced his office believes there was “no criminal culpability for any individual involved in the response to the airline crash.”

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed on final approach to SFO on July 6, 2013. The Los Angeles Times reports that Ye was alive on the tarmac after the plane hit a seawall and landed hard on the runway, catching fire.

Authorities believe the teen was struck by an aircraft rescue firefighting truck (ARFF) that sprays fire-retardant foam ahead of itself as it races toward a burning plane. Ye was covered in the foam when the vehicle ran over her, meaning the driver couldn’t see her and avoid the accident.

Wagstaffe added that Ye Meng Yuan’s death was a “tragic accident that did not involve any violation of our criminal laws.” CNN notes that a coroner ruled the teen was alive on the tarmac after she was flung from the plane in the crash. She died from “multiple blunt injuries” just minutes later.

San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White called Ye’s death “a tragic accident” and apologized to her family. She stated in July, “Obviously this is very difficult news for us. We’re heartbroken. We’re in the business of saving lives. There’s not a lot of words to describe how badly we feel about it.”

Ye was one of three people killed in the fiery crash, and more than 180 of the plane’s 307 passengers and crew members were injured. The teen was part of a group of Chinese high school students on their way to a three-week summer camp at West Valley Christian Church and School in the San Fernando Valley. The two other girls killed were Ye’s classmates.

The San Francisco Fire Department was expected to release a statement after the announcement that the firefighter who ran over Ye in the Asiana plane crash aftermath won’t face charges.

[Image by NTSB via Wikimedia Commons]