SAN FRANCISCO - A girl who was aboard the Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed died Friday, the same day that authorities confirmed one of the two Chinese teenagers killed in the disaster was hit by a firetruck.
The disclosure about the teen raised the tragic possibility that she could have survived the crash only to die in its chaotic aftermath.
No one knows yet whether the two teens lived through the initial impact at the San Francisco airport. But police and fire officials confirmed Friday that Ye Meng Yuan, 16, was hit by a firetruck racing to extinguish the blazing Boeing 777.
Her close friend Wang Linjia, also 16, was among a group of passengers who did not get immediate medical help. Rescuers did not spot her until 14 minutes after the crash.
The other girl died Friday morning. San Francisco General Hospital said she had been in critical condition since arriving Saturday after the accident. Officials did not identify the girl at the request of her parents. Her age was also withheld.
Meng Yuan's body was found covered in firefighting foam near a seawall at the edge of the runway, along with three flight attendants who were flung onto the tarmac while still buckled in their seats. Meng Yuan was not in her seat.
"The firetruck did go over the victim at least one time. Now the other question is what was the cause of death?" police spokesman Albie Esparza said. "That's what we are trying to determine right now."
San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said the results of his initial inquiry into the deaths would likely be released sometime next week. He would not comment on the police investigation.
Moments after the July 6 crash, while rescuers tried to help passengers near the burning fuselage, Wang Linjia and the flight attendants lay in the rubble almost 2,000 feet away. A group of survivors called 911 and tried to help them.
San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said Friday that when airport personnel reached the group near the seawall, Linjia was dead. She did not know when the girl had died.
The flight attendants remained hospitalized Friday.
Talmadge also confirmed that an Associated Press photograph of a body under a yellow tarp near the burned-out jet was the other victim, Meng Yuan.
The photo, taken from above, shows firefighters looking down at the tarp, and there are truck track marks leading up to it.
Police said the teenager was covered in foam that rescuers had sprayed on the burning wreckage. When the truck moved while battling the flames, rescuers discovered her body, Esparza said.
"The driver may not have seen the young lady in the blanket of foam," said Ken Willette of the National Firefighter Protection Agency, which sets national standards for training airfield firefighters.