Ye Mengyuan, a 16-year-old girl who sat toward the rear of Flight 214, survived the Boeing 777's crash-landing but died from blunt force injuries consistent with being run over by an emergency response vehicle, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault and San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said at a news conference.
               
"Obviously this is very difficult news for us. We're heart-broken. We're in the business of saving lives," Hayes-White said.
               
Ye was one of three Chinese girls who died in the July 6 crash. More than half of the 307 people onboard the flight from Seoul were injured in the crash.
               
Hayes-White said Ye was struck by at least one specialized fire-fighting vehicle normally deployed at San Francisco International Airport, but left open the possibility that she was hit by more than one rig.
               
The coroner's ruling settled lingering suspicions that emergency personnel racing to douse the fiery wreckage may have inadvertently played a role in the death of one the passengers.
               
The announcement prompted a new set of questions over the circumstances of Ye's death and whether the first responders, who have been generally hailed for an efficient performance, could have done anything to prevent it.
               
It remains unclear how firefighters failed to notice Ye before she was hit, or what she did in her final minutes amidst the crash wreckage and scenes of chaos.
               
Fire department officials have said Ye's body was covered by a one-foot-thick (30-cm-thick) blanket of firefighting foam when she was found. Hayes-White said on Friday she did not know whether Ye was covered in the foam at the time when she was struck by the truck.

(Agencies)

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