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In this Saturday, July 6, 2013, photo provided by passenger Benjamin Levy, passengers from Asiana Airlines flight 214 are treated by first responders on the tarmac just moments after the plane crashed at the San Francisco International Airport.

Benjamin Levy, Associated Press - Ap

In this Saturday, July 6, 2013, photo provided by passenger Benjamin Levy, passengers from Asiana Airlines flight 214, many with their luggage, on the tarmac just moments after the plane crashed at the San Francisco International Airport.

Benjamin Levy, Associated Press - Ap

Firefighter alleges defamation over Asiana crash

  • Associated Press
  • January 28, 2014 - 10:53 AM

SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco firefighter has filed a legal claim alleging fire officials falsely identified her to the media as the person responsible for killing a 16-year-old survivor of the Asiana Airlines crash, a newspaper reported.

Fire officials wanted to protect the firefighter who first ran over Ye Meng Yuan and was responsible for her death, according to Elyse Duckett's claim. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the claim on Monday.

Footage shows Duckett's rig was the second to roll over Meng Yuan, who was covered in fire foam at the time, the newspaper reported. The girl was one of three Chinese teens who died in the July 6 crash; one died during the crash, and another died later in the hospital.

Duckett is accusing the department of discrimination and defamation and seeking $300,000 in damages.

Such claims are generally precursors to lawsuits.

City and fire officials didn't immediately respond to messages left early Tuesday by The Associated Press.

They declined comment to the Chronicle, although fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge told the newspaper the fire chief and department "remain very supportive of all the first responders who responded to the Asiana incident and are proud of their commendable efforts."

Duckett said fire officials insisted she was responsible for Meng Yuan's death even though she told them there was video showing another vehicle had hit the girl. She later got a call from KGO-TV, which then ran a story identifying her as the person who had run over and killed Meng Yuan, according to her attorney, Eduardo Roy, and the claim.

It's still unknown how Meng Yuan got out of the plane before she was run over twice.

In all, 304 of the 307 people aboard the Asiana flight survived after the airliner slammed into a seawall at the end of a runway during final approach for landing.

© 2014 Star Tribune