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Police probe whether fire vehicle ran over SFO crash victim

  • In this Saturday, July 6, 2013 aerial photo, the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 lies on the ground after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport, in San Francisco. The pilot at the controls of airliner had just 43 hours of flight time in the Boeing 777 and was landing one for the first time at San Francisco International. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SAN FRANCISCO — Amid the marvel of nearly all aboard Asiana Flight 214 surviving a crash landing, authorities here are investigating an unspeakable tragedy that may have unfolded during the frantic rescue — whether a teenage girl made it out of the plane only to be run over by a rescue vehicle.

San Francisco police said Tuesday the department's hit-and-run unit is investigating the death of a 16-year-old Chinese girl who might have been killed accidentally on the runway Saturday by a fire truck racing to the scene.

"An investigation is underway, and that's all I can say," police spokesman Albie Esparza said.

Plane Crashes At SFO

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The department noted its hit-and-run unit and major accidents investigations team both would typically be involved in any such investigations.

The girl and a classmate comprised the crash's two fatalities. Federal and local officials on Monday addressed the possibility that she might have been killed as the first firefighters responded to the wrecked, smoking airliner.

"One of our fire apparatus may have come into contact with one of our two victims," Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said during a news conference called to highlight the heroic efforts of first responders. "I assure you, we are looking closely at this."

Findings of what caused the 16-year-old's death — the plane crash, the fire truck, or both — might not come for several weeks.

A firefighter first reported to a superior Saturday that a passenger who was on the ground roughly 30 feet from the wreckage and near the escape slide may have been run over as fire crews were shifting from dousing the flames to taking victims to hospitals, officials said.

Police, FBI agents, the coroner and other officials were notified after the firefighter at the scene reported his concerns, officials said. The drivers of the first five trucks to respond to the emergency were given drug and alcohol tests, which they passed.

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