Prosecutors decline to charge any California firefighter in Asiana death

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 18, 2013 4:12 PM

(Reuters) - No criminal charges will be filed against a firefighter whose emergency vehicle struck and killed a teenage passenger who had survived the Asiana Airlines crash-landing at San Francisco airport, a California prosecutor said on Friday.

Chinese teenager Ye Mengyuan, 16, was covered in foam when the vehicle ran over her at the scene of the July crash, and her death was accidental, San Mateo District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said.

"There was just no conduct where we saw that reckless disregard for the safety of another" that would justify criminal charges, Wagstaffe said.

Ye had been sitting toward the rear of the crashed Flight 214 and survived the Boeing 777's crash-landing but died from blunt force injuries consistent with being run over by a vehicle, officials said in the days after her death.

She was one of three Chinese girls who died in the crash, and more than half of the 307 people on board the flight from Seoul to San Francisco were injured.

The scene where Ye was killed was "dramatically chaotic" with people rushing around and firefighters fearful the airliner might explode, Wagstaffe said.

He said his office had mainly examined the possible culpability of the firefighter driving the vehicle that struck Ye, but that prosecutors had also looked at whether other firefighters might have been criminally negligent and determined they were not.

The review by prosecutors included police and fire reports and video footage from cameras on the helmets of first responders, he said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and David Gregorio)