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San Francisco city attorney submits Asiana crash report

The San Francisco city attorney has submitted the results of its investigation into the Asiana Flight 214 crash.
January 28, 2014 10:33:02 PM PST
ABC7 News has learned that the San Francisco city attorney has submitted the results of its investigation into the July 6, 2013 Asiana Flight 214 crash. The report to the NTSB credits what it calls "the rescues and firefighting successes" to the city's first responders. It also gives us a glimpse of what the city's legal arguments will be against future claims. The city says the victims themselves, and flight attendants, share some of the blame.

The 18-page report submitted by the city attorney goes through what happened that terrible day; how fire and police responded and some of the testimonies at the NTSB hearings.

The report's conclusion is that it was an unfortunate accident, but the city was not negligent. The report says five people were ejected from the Boeing 777 when it crashed in July. Two crewmembers were seriously injured but survived. Of the three passengers, two died at the scene and one died later at a hospital.

The city attorney's report highlights information which it says it gathered from the NTSB investigation and other agencies.

Included in the report is that 16-year-old Ye Mengyuan did not have her seatbelt buckled when the plane crashed. Yuan's body was found outside the jetliner. It was determined later that she had been run over by two fire trucks.

The report also says the other teen whose body was found on the runway may not have had her seatbelt on.

"A post-accident analysis of the seatbelts suggests they were still intact and by our belief had not been used at the time of the accident," SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel said.

The report also implies that a flight attendant did not check to see if everyone had their seatbelts on.

A passenger testified to NTSB investigators that Yuan was not wearing her seatbelt. Also, that a flight attendant told her to buckle up but "she did not recall him reminding anyone else."

"This information points to the fact that we believe that these passengers may have been ejected from the aircraft during the crash sequence," Yakel said.

The report's proposed finding is that "the physical trauma of the ejection was the direct cause of death of passengers 41D, 41E, which was where Yuan was sitting, and 42A."

But the city attorney's report contradicts what San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault found -- that Ye was alive after she was apparently ejected and she most likely died from being run over by the fire truck.

"She has crushing injuries consistent with a motor vehicle," Foucrault said on July 19, 2013. "If there was another injury prior to that, it would be very difficult to tell which ones those were."

Hastings Law School Professor David Levine says what we're seeing is the city's legal position against future claims.

"You can see what the fire department is doing; they're trying to disclaim responsibility on the grounds she had already been deceased," Levine said. "It was an unfortunate accident but it was not negligence."

There have been conflicting reports on what happened that day. Some argue that Yuan may have been carried onto the runway. The city report says two crew members were ejected; but ABC7 News has reported previously that the number was three.

The city attorney declined ABC7 News' request for an interview and calls to the Ye family attorney and Asiana Airlines were not returned.

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