Asiana Airlines Crash Suit Against SFFD Dismissed

The wrongful death suit against the San Francisco Fire Department arising out of the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in July, 2013, has been dismissed.

The parents of 16 year old Ye Meng Yuan filed the suit last year. Yuan was allegedly written off as dead as SFFD began foam operations. The suit claimed that her body was struck by two San Francisco Fire Department vehicles. A coroner reported she was alive when struck, although SFFD denies that allegation. National Transportation Safety Board review of the incident concluded Yuan was ejected because she was not wearing her seatbelt.

SFGate.com is reporting that Attorney Gretchen Nelson, who represents the parents of Ye Meng Yuan, Gan Ye and Xiao Yun Zheng, said the case was dismissed because both sides had reached “a confidential settlement on mutually agreeable terms.”

City Attorney Dennis Herrera released a statement last week saying:

  • Our hearts go out to the parents of Ye Ming Yuan and to all the surviving loved ones of the three who lost their lives in the tragic crash of Asiana Flight 214.
  • We’re grateful for a dismissal that will spare everyone involved the added heartache and costs of litigation, which we believed from the beginning to be without legal merit.
  • As we remember those who lost their lives in the Asiana crash, I hope we acknowledge, too, the heroic efforts of San Francisco’s firefighters and police who saved hundreds of lives that day.
  • With thousands of gallons of venting jet fuel threatening unimaginable calamity, our firefighters initiated a daring interior search-and-rescue that within minutes extricated trapped passengers, and moved them safely to medical triage.
  • In the face of great danger to their own lives, our emergency responders showed heroism and selflessness that day. They deserve our honor and gratitude.

SFGate reported that Nelson took “strong exception” to Herrera’s assertions that the suit’s dismissal “in any way vindicates certain personnel in the department for what happened to their daughter.” Nelson is representing the family in a separate wrongful death suit against Asiana Airlines.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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