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Asiana Crash Victim Was Alive When Hit By Emergency Vehicle

Ye Meng Yuan, one of two Chinese teenagers who died at the scene of Asiana Flight 214's crash in San Francisco, was alive when she was struck by an emergency vehicle responding to the disaster, San Mateo County (Calif.) coroner Robert Foucrault told reporters Friday.

That confirms the fears that were raised soon after the July 6 crash, when authorities said the girl had been struck, possibly by a fire truck, as first responders rushed to the scene.

Foucrault did not go into detail about what type of vehicle struck the young student, saying that is part of other investigators' work. She suffered "internal hemorrhages, he said, and "crushing injuries consistent with [being struck by] a motor vehicle."

Ye Meng Yuan, 16, was planning to visit Stanford University and attend a summer camp at a Christian school, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper has also reported that "no fire crews recall hitting" her. It's possible, as CBS San Francisco has said, that she was hidden from the responders' view by foam that firefighters had sprayed on the burning wreckage of the aircraft.

Three of the 307 people on board died after the crash. All three were minors. Dozens more of those who were on board were injured.

The Boeing 777, which investigators have said was traveling slower than it should have been, struck the end of the runway with its tail and then slid down the tarmac.

Update at 8:45 p.m. ET. Fire Chief Calls News "Devastating":

"San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, appearing with Foucrault at a press conference, apologized to the Ye family for her death. She said the news is 'devastating,' " writes the San Jose Mercury News. "I want to express our condolences and apologies to the family of Ye Mengyuan," she said. "Obviously this is very difficult news for us. We are heartbroken. We're in the business of saving lives."

According to theMercury News:

"The Fire Department had said that firefighters realized only after extinguishing the plane fire and helping the more than 300 survivors get to safety, that one of the victims was found in the tracks of an [Airline Rescue and Firefighting] rig. Ye had been covered in fire-retardant foam and was discovered in the tracks the fire truck made in the foam, according to the San Francisco Police Department's hit-and-run unit assigned to the case."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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