Firefighter Not Charged in Death after San Francisco Plane Crash

 

 
 
 

PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press | | Monday, October 21, 2013


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The firefighter who ran over and killed a survivor of a commercial air disaster in San Francisco this summer will not face criminal charges.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe announced Friday that his office was closing its investigation of the incident without charging the firefighter with any crime.

San Francisco firefighter Elyse Duckett was responding to the burning Boeing 777 when the truck she was driving rolled over Ye Mengyuan. Investigators believe Ye was laying prone on the tarmac and covered in firefighting foam.

"This was a dramatically chaotic situation," Wagstaffe said of absolving Duckett of any criminal responsibility. "It was not a tough conclusion to reach."

Wagstaffe said he arrived at his decision after reviewing police, fire and other first responder reports, the coroner's investigation and numerous videos of events at the scene. Ye, 16, was a Chinese student visiting the United States with classmates.

Wagstaffe said some of the videos show the girl on the ground outside the plane before the area is covered in foam. Other videos have shown Duckett's rig later driving over the same area after it was covered in firefighting foam.

San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White declined to discuss Ye's death other than to call it a "tragic accident."

Hayes-White said in a prepared statement that firefighters likely saved the lives of many critically wounded passengers scattered about the tarmac and still trapped aboard the Asiana Airlines flight that crashed landed July 6.

"If not for the professional rescue, triage, treatment and transport operations that were conducted by all involved agencies, it is likely that there would have been a greater loss of life," Hayes-White said.

In all, 304 of the 307 people aboard the plane survived the July 6 crash.

Ye and a friend were seated at the back of the plane that came in too low and too slow, clipping its landing gear and tail on a rocky seawall just short of the runway.

It was unclear how Ye got from the airplane to the spot where she died. Investigators believe she was down on the ground and not standing during the aftermath of the plane crash.

Anthony Tarricone, an attorney for Ye's family, said he was not surprised criminal charges were not filed.

"It's really not the subject of criminal prosecution," he said. "It's properly the subject of civil action, which we intend to prosecute."

He said he had not been in touch with Ye's family about the District Attorney's Office's decision.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board has said it did not find any mechanical problems with the plane during a preliminary review.

But the plane's pilots, as well as the airline, have raised the possibility that a key device that controls the Boeing 777's speed may have malfunctioned.

Ye and her close friend, 16-year-old Wang Linjia, who also died, were students at Jiangshan Middle School in Zhejiang, an affluent coastal province in eastern China, Chinese state media has reported. They were part of a group of students and teachers from the school who were heading to summer camp in Southern California.

The other victim, 15-year-old Liu Yipeng, later died at a hospital.

Mobile Category: 
News


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Asiana Airlines Crash

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Abilene Loses Helicopter Service

Native Air leaves city with only one air helicopter service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire Chief Proposes another Controversial Ambulance Plan

Staffing change will leave immediate neighborhood without fire apparatus.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

FDIC 2014 CHAT: MIKE MCEVOY AND A.J. HEIGHTMAN

Mike McEvoy and A.J. Heightman discuss some new EMS technology at FDIC 2014.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Lieutenant in Patient Death May Go Unpunished

Family upset that officer in charge may retire without any discipline.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Fatal, Fiery California Bus Crash

Seven students and two drivers killed in crash.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On April 2014

Check out the latest products and innovations in JEMS.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >