LOS ANGELES, California: A fire truck which killed a Chinese student as it raced to the scene of the Asiana plane crash was driven by a sole emergency worker arriving late in a reserve vehicle, a report said on Friday.
Ye Mengyuan, 16, had been rescued from the Asiana plane and placed near one wing, when she was run over by the emergency fire truck, which lacked infrared equipment which 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 towards the burning aircraft. Normally at least two firefighters should be in each vehicle, except in extreme emergencies.
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 scrambling to put out the flames, and rescue survivors, ABC7 reported.
Videos taken before the truck ran over her showed Ye in a fetal position, and several emergency workers walked past her, apparently not aware that she needed help.
Her body was hidden under a layer of white foam, used by firefighters as a flame retardant in the wake of the crash of Asiana Flight 214. 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 killed in the July 6 disaster, which also left more than 180 injured after the Boeing 777 crashed on landing in San Francisco from Seoul.