San Francisco firefighter who took Asiana video disciplined

Lawyers for many of the Asiana passengers have released dramatic videos that capture the chaotic aftermath of the crash.
January 15, 2014 8:48:15 PM PST
Lawyers for many of the Asiana passengers have released dramatic videos that capture the chaotic aftermath of the crash. They also show how one young passenger survived the impact, only to be run over by two San Francisco fire trucks and killed.

The videos don't provide new details about why the plane crashed -- the mistakes in the cockpit. But, they do show serious mistakes by San Francisco fire crews that lead to the death of a 16-year-old passenger.

The two videos capture the chaos in high-def detail -- one camera mounted on the helmet of Battalion Chief Mark Johnson, the other, aboard Mobile 10, one of the first aircraft rescue and fire-fighting trucks to arrive. Asiana Flight 214 was on fire, after landing short and tumbling down the runway. Many of the passengers were able to evacuate themselves from the plane; others still on board needed help.

The spotter aboard Mobile 10 saw 16-year-old Ye Mengyuan on the ground in the fetal position and alerted Lt. Chrissy Emmons.

But the complaint filed by Ye's family says Emmons "responded that they should move on" to fight the fire, and "failed to assess Ye Mengyuan, communicate her location to command, or even to mark her location."

Ye family attorney Justin Green said, "Not one of the firefighters took her pulse, not one of the firefighters checked if she was breathing, there was an assumption I believe made based on later testimony that she was deceased."

The San Mateo County Coroner found that Ye survived the crash and was still alive at that point. The spotter directs Mobile 10 around Ye -- the rig sprays flame-retardant foam. But, 15 minutes later, it's that truck -- Mobile 10 -- that first runs over Ye.

About 10 minutes later, Mobile 37, a reserve rig operating without a spotter, also drives over Ye.

Her family attorney says this case goes beyond simple negligence, "What happened here involves training of the firefighters who responded, what happened involves the certification of the supervisors that were supervising the firefighters."

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White is on vacation. Her spokesperson says the chief wouldn't comment anyway, with the NTSB investigation still underway. In a news conference last July, Hayes-White apologized to Ye's family. "Very difficult to hear, devastating, heartbroken, there's not a lot of words to describe how badly we feel, how sorry we feel about it," she said.

But, Hayes-White is also going after Battalion Chief Mark Johnson. After she found out about his helmet video, she banned the cameras department-wide and filed internal charges against Johnson, claiming he broke a department rule. He's appealing the charges.

"I think it's outrageous that they brought him up on charges when his helmet camera answers a lot of the questions that needed to be answered in this tragedy," Green said.

There is still some question how Ye got to the position by the left wing. Her family's attorney believes there are two possibilities: a firefighter carried her there or she came down the slide on her own and went into shock.


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