Chinese schoolgirl, 15, named as third victim of Asiana runway crash


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The Independent Online

The third person to die from injuries sustained when an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed in San Francisco has been identified as a 15-year-old classmate of the two earlier victims.

Liu Yipeng’s identify was confirmed by the San Mateo county coroner, Robert Foucrault, at the weekend. He said Ms Liu was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with head injuries after the 6 July crash, and died there on Friday.

Chinese state media said Ms Liu went to the same school as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, both 16,  who were also killed in the crash.

Ms Liu’s identification, a day after her death was announced, came as it was officially confirmed that Ms Ye was hit by a fire truck that was speeding to the crash site. She was lying on the runway covered in flame-retardant foam.

San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza said: “The fire truck did go over the victim at least one time. Now the other question is, what was the cause of death? That’s what we are trying to determine.”

Ms Wang was among a group of injured passengers who did not get immediate medical help. It was not until 14 minutes after the crash that her body was found, along with three flight attendants who had also been flung on to the runway about 600 yards from the burning fuselage.

Survivors reported that after escaping the plane, they sat with at least four victims who appeared to be seriously injured. They believe one of them was one of the Chinese schoolgirls who died.

Cindy Stone, who was in that group, was recorded by emergency dispatchers calling in for help: “There are no ambulances here. We’ve been on the ground 20 minutes. There are people lying on the Tarmac with critical injuries, head injuries. We’re almost losing a woman here. We’re trying to keep her alive.”

The crash-landing occurred after the aircraft hit a rock seawall just short the runway. Dozens of passengers were injured. There were 182 survivors taken to hospitals, though most sustained minor injuries.

So far an investigation indicates that the pilots of the South Korean airliner, a trainee and his instructor, failed to realise until too late that the aircraft was coming in dangerously low and was flying too slow.  Nothing disclosed so far by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators indicates any problems with the Boeing 777’s engines, computers or automated systems.