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July 30, 2014

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Firefighter sues over being scapegoat in Asiana rescue

Image

Associated Press

In this Saturday, July 6, 2013, aerial photo, a firefighter, right, stands by a tarpaulin sheet covering the body of a Chinese teen struck by a firetruck during the emergency response to the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. The girl was hit by a fire truck while covered with firefighting foam, authorities said Friday, July 12, revealing a startling detail that suggested she could have survived the crash only to die in its chaotic aftermath.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — A San Francisco firefighter accused of accidentally running over a passenger thrown from the wreckage of an Asiana Airlines flight that crashed at San Francisco International Airport filed a lawsuit Friday against the San Francisco Fire Department.

Elyse Duckett, 49, alleges she is being made a scapegoat for larger failures in the rescue effort following the July 6 crash. The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court.

It says another rescue vehicle struck 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan before Duckett's, but only Duckett's name was released as someone responsible for running over the girl.

Duckett, a 24-year veteran of the force, seeks unspecified damages.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday that San Francisco fire department officials declined to comment.

The San Mateo County coroner ruled in July 2013 that Ye survived the plane crash but died from multiple blunt injuries consistent with being run over by a vehicle. Federal officials continue to investigate.

Asian Airlines Flight 214 was trying to land on a clear Saturday morning when the tail of the Boeing 777 touched the seawall at the end of the runway, causing the plane to spin out of control. The plane burst into flames, and 180 of the 291 passengers and crews sustained injuries. Three passengers died.

The 16-year-old girl run over on the runway was near the back of the plane along with two other teenage girls who also died. It's never been explained how her body ended up on the tarmac near the left front of the plane, where she was run over.

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