Sunday, October 20, 2013

Police and emergency workers not to be held responsible in death of girl following Asiana Airlines crash

Ye Meng-yuan [left] and Wang Linjia [right] were
two of the three killed following the Asiana Air crash.

Saying that the aftermath of a Asiana Airlines jet smashing its tail into the end of the runway and then spinning around and crashing was a "very chaotic scene," local prosecutors decided not to file charges against anyone for striking a 16-year-old Chinese girl who was killed by a rescue truck.

Ye Mengyuan's family's lawyers will still likely focus on whom they refer to as "the responsible parties," which will certainly include Asiana Airlines and the pilots for the death.

Frankly, this doesn't sit well with me. Emergency response personnel are supposed to be trained to handle "extraordinary circumstances." And it doesn't bode well that they have run over a passenger on the tarmac on a bright and clear day when they know there are hundreds of passengers escaping burning wreckage.

And then there's this response by San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, reported in the Los Angeles Times:
"If not for the professional recute, triage, treatment, and transport operations that were conducted by all involved agencies, it is likely that there would have been a greater loss of life," she said.
It seems almost calculated as if to say that having saved so many others makes it acceptable that they killed (not failed to save, mind you, but actually killed) this other one.

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1 comment:

  1. This was a tragic accident, and to hold any responders personally responsible (unless there was gross negligence, which is what was investigated and rejected) is crazy, since it would chill the response of future responders.

    Ye Mengyaun's family will receive a large civil award from San Francisco, San Francisco will review and improve its protocol for responding to airport emergencies and its training of responders, and other cities will take note of what is learned from this tragedy, which is as it should be.

    Ruining the career of (or sending to jail) a fireman who acted in good faith won't bring back Ms. Ye, but it would make her legacy one of making air travel (and, in fact, all disasters) less safe, instead of more safe.

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