Asiana Airlines Flight 214 passenger Ye Mengyuan survived the crash-landing of the Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport, but was killed moments later when run over by an emergency vehicle, a California coroner said Friday.
Ye, 16, died as result of "multiple blunt injuries that are consistent with being run over by a motor vehicle," said San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault. "Internal bleeding ruled out any chance she was dead when she was struck, she was alive at the time when she received the injuries."
San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White, attending a news conference with Foucrault, called the incident "a tragic accident" and apologized to Ye's family.
Ye's body, covered in fire-fighting foam, was found at the edge of a paved path near the left wing sometime before 12:20 p.m., the time her death was reported to dispatchers, the Fire Department said. That was 53 minutes after the crash.
Asiana Airlines flight attendants and rescued passengers rest on the runway after the crash. (Photo:Reuters)
"Obviously this is very difficult news for us. We're heartbroken. We're in the business of saving lives," Hayes-White said. "There's not a lot of words to describe how badly we feel about it."
The fire department is reaching out to the family through the Chinese consulate's office.
Ye's family has been in the Bay Area since last week, awaiting the coroner's findings on what killed her.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash landing, which also injured more than 180 people aboard the flight.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee said he was "profoundly saddened by the involvement of a responding emergency vehicle in the death of 16-year-old Ye Mengyuan."
"On behalf of the people of San Francisco, I offer my deepest condolences and regret for her tragic death, and the deaths of her close friend, Wang Linjia, and 15-year-old Liu Yipeng," the mayor said in a statement.
The mayor said firefighters and first responders helped save the lives of 304 of the 307 passengers and crew aboard the flight.
The three Chinese teenagers were part of a group of students and teachers from the school who were heading to summer camp in Southern California.
Inspectors reviewing the accident said initial results indicate the Asiana Airlines plane came in too low and too slow, clipping its landing gear and then its tail on a rocky seawall just short of the runway.