16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan survived the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, but died a short time after the crash due to "crushing injuries that are consistent with a motor vehicle collision," the San Mateo County Coroner confirmed today. The vehicle was believed to be one of the San Francisco Fire Department's emergency rigs that rushed through the fields between runways to extinguish the fire on the wreckage.
San Francisco police's hit-and-run detail has been investigating the incident and previously confirmed that Ye had been hit by an vehicle, but did not officially confirm the vehicle strike as the cause of death. Ye's body was found buried in a foot of firefighting foam SFFD crews were spraying on the burning fuselage.
Although the coroner's report cleared up some details about the tragic moments following the July 6th crash, there are still some lingering questions about how Ye got off the airplane. She was sitting at the back of the plane along with another victim, Wang Lin Jia. Wang was thrown from the back of the plane when tail broke off after smashing into the seawall on the south end of the runway, but there is no evidence that Ye was also ejected from the plane and her body was found farther forward by the left wing. Many of the other survivors seated in rear of the plane escaped through the hole left at the back and it wouldn't make sense for Ye to have climbed out over seats to escape through the left wing emergency slide.
The National Transportation Safety Board is still interviewing passengers and emergency crews, but so far no witnesses recall seeing Ye alive in the area where her body was found an hour after the crash. According to the Chronicle, there is helmet-cam footage of the area where Ye's body was found:
According to sources, a Fire Department helmet-mounted video shows the foam-covered location where a rig drove over Ye, who was buried in as much as a foot of foam at that time. The video then shows a firefighter pointing to the spot where the body crossed the path of a vehicle.
However, because the body was covered with foam, it is unclear whether that was the first time a rig had run over the girl.
SFFD chief Joanne Hayes-White appeared alongside San Mateo County coroner Robert Foucrault to extend their condolences to Ye's family this morning. Mayor Lee also offered his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, while commending the fire crews and emergency responders.
Ye and several other passengers on the flight were flying to the Bay Area to visit Standford before attending a three-week Christian Summer camp in Southern California.
Previously: Police Confirm Asiana Flight 214 Victim Was Hit By Emergency Vehicle
Asiana Crash Victim May Have Been Run Over By Fire Truck
All Asiana Airlines fligth 214 coverage on SFist