SAN FRANCISCO – A fire truck that killed a Chinese student as it raced to the scene of the Asiana plane crash on July 6 was driven by a sole emergency worker arriving late in a reserve vehicle, a report said Friday.
Ye Mengyuan, 16, had been rescued from the Asiana plane and placed near one wing when she was run over by the truck, which lacked infrared equipment that could have spotted her, said ABC7 television news. The driver was a veteran 49-year-old female firefighter who had been away getting food when the disaster erupted and therefore jumped into a reserve vehicle and drove it solo. Normally at least two firefighters should be in each vehicle.
Ye had been carried out of the back of the plane by a rescuer and lain on the ground near the left wing, a dangerous place given the number of emergency vehicles present, ABC7 reported.
Videos taken before the truck ran over her showed Ye in a fetal position. Several emergency workers walked past her, apparently not aware that she needed help. Her body was hidden under white foam used by firefighters as a flame retardant. Infrared equipment installed on regular fire trucks could have spotted her through the foam, but there was no such equipment on the reserve vehicle.
The 16-year-old was one of three people who died as a result of the disaster, which also left more than 180 injured after the Boeing 777 crashed on landing in San Francisco from Seoul.