In the ongoing investigation into the death of Asiana Airlines flight 214 passenger Ye Meng Yuan, helmet camera video from the fire battalion chief Mark Johnson has revealed new details in the moments before the girl was struck and killed by a fire rig on the scene. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, where reporters have reviewed the footage, the SFFD chief on the scene was not alerted that the girl had been found near the plane.
The footage in question has not been made publicly available due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, but it has been shared with San Francisco Police and Fire departments as well as NTSB investigators. A source supplied it to the Chronicle on the condition that it not be posted online, but according to the newspaper's description, the footage was recorded on SFFD Battalion Chief Mark Johnson's helmet cam and begins when he arrives on the scene at a staging area near the burning plane.
By the time Johnson arrived on the scene, the Boeing 777 had already been searched twice and fire captain Anthony Robinson briefed Johnson, telling him that there were no passengers remaining onboard. As Johnson walked towards the back of plane, which was still on fire, he passes the area where Ye's body was found, but only firefighting foam can be seen. Rescue 10, one of the lime green firefighting rigs, can be seen driving away from the area.
That's when the details get fuzzy:
The two firefighters aboard Rescue 10, Roger Phillips and Jimmy Yee, have told investigators they spotted Ye in the fetal position on the ground just before they drove off, according to Fire Department sources and others involved in the probe.
Fire Lt. Christine Emmons and at least one other firefighter looked at the girl and concluded she was dead, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the probe publicly.
According to the San Mateo County coroner, however, Ye was alive for several more minutes, until a second rig ran over her. It is not clear how Emmons or the other firefighter, who has not been identified, decided she was dead.
Rescue 10 reported spotting the girl and pointed her out to fire supervisors. Captain Robinson should have been aware of the girl's location, but did not relay any such information to Johnson in his briefing or over the radio.
As he walked toward the back of the plane, Johnson directed another foam-spraying rig to take over the spot where Rescue 10 had left, not knowing the girl had been spotted in the area. A single, unnamed firefighter arrived late in Rescue 37 and sprayed foam on the plane. When she ran out of foam, the firefighter radioed that she was heading to to get more. As she left the scene, Rescue 37 ran over Ye who was now completely obscured by foam.
Fire Lt. Christine Emmons and several other firefighters went back to the plane to search for any other survivors, at which point another lieutenant told Johnson they had found a body in the tracks of a rescue rig. Johnson called for a tarp to cover the body and radioed command to alert them.
Firefighters and officials are not currently speaking to the press and the Chronicle was unable to reach anyone seen taking part in the recorded events. Although the video is not publicly available, the Chronicle has posted a series of still photos from the footage. Raw footage from the scene of the investigation in the days following the events have made their way to YouTube: