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No charges over death of US plane crash survivor

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

No charges will be filed against a firefighter who accidentally ran over and killed a Chinese teenager who had survived a plane crash at San Francisco airport in July, prosecutors said Friday.

Ye Mengyuan, 16, had been rescued from the Asiana plane and placed near one wing, when she was run over by an emergency firetruck, which lacked infrared equipment which could have spotted her under a layer of fire retardant foam.

Prosecutors launched an investigation into whether to bring charges against the firefighter driving the vehicle, reportedly a 49-year-old female veteran.

"I have concluded that there is no criminal culpability for any individual involved in the response to the airline crash," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said, cited by local media.

"The death of 16-year-old Le Mangyuan was a tragic accident that did not involve any violation of our criminal laws," he added.

Videos taken before the incident showed Ye in a fetal position, and several emergency workers walked past her apparently not aware she needed help, as they scrambled to rescue other survivors of the Asiana Flight 214 plane.

The firefighter involved 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 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.

The passenger jet had 307 people on board, including 16 crew members. More than 120 people escaped unharmed. The accident was the carrier's first passenger jet crash in 20 years.

According to preliminary findings from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the plane crashed because it was flying too low and too slowly as it approached the runway.

The tail of the aircraft broke off as the plane clipped a seawall short of the runway, skidding out of control and quickly catching fire.

mt/jm

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131018/no-charges-over-death-us-plane-crash-survivor