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Will firefighter face criminal charges in death of SF Airport air crash victim
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Prosecutors are deciding whether a firefighter racing toward a burning, crashed airliner in San Francisco should be criminally charged for running over a 16-year-old survivor who was lying on the runway, or whether the death was just a tragic accident.

Chinese student Ye Mengyuan, along with two classmates, died and dozens were injured after an Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul crash landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.

Almost immediately after the chaos had cleared, fire officials said they believed a fire truck had driven over one of the victims who had been buried under firefighting foam rescue workers were spraying to douse the burning plane.

A San Mateo County Coroner autopsy obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press concludes that Ye survived the crash and was hit by a fire truck on the tarmac, "leading to her death on the ground."

Prosecutor Al Serrato, an assistant district attorney in San Mateo, said Tuesday he expects their office will decide within two to three weeks whether to file criminal charges.

"Whenever a vehicle collides with a person and causes death, there's a possibility of a crime," he said, noting that there are a range of potential charges from vehicular manslaughter to recklessness.

"And there's also the possibility this was just a tragic accident."

Boston-based attorney Anthony Tarricone, who is representing Ye's family and other survivors, said experts who reviewed the autopsy concluded she may have been run over twice, because she had both head injuries, which killed her, and what he said were subsequent pelvic injuries.

"We believe she was likely carried off the plane by a firefighter and placed on the ground, and then she was abandoned, left unattended and run over," Tarricone said. "As far as we know, she was never properly examined."

Tarricone said regardless of whether criminal charges are filed, he plans to sue the San Francisco Fire Department and other agencies involved before a January, 2014, deadline.

South Korea-based Asiana Airlines said Tuesday the two pilots flying the airliner when it crashed are returning to work this month, but they won't be flying.

Lee Gang-kuk, who was landing the Boeing 777 for his first time at San Francisco International Airport, and Lee Jeong-Min, a trainer making his first trip as an instructor pilot, will instead be working at Asiana Airlines Seoul headquarters, the company said. The two relief pilots aboard returned to flying last month.