Asiana crash victims’ peers cancel trip, will return to China


A group of Chinese students who planned a church-backed tour of California are heading home just days after two in their group were killed when their plane crash-landed in San Francisco.

Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan, 16-year-old girls from the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, were supposed to arrive at West Valley Christian Church and School on Monday for a three-week American adventure with their 30 or so peers.

Instead, the two died on Saturday morning when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport with 307 passengers and crew members on board.


Linjia and Mengyuan, whose bodies were found a mile apart, were the dramatic crash’s sole fatalities, although 182 other people were taken to hospitals after the incident.

They were supposed to work on their English skills at the West Hills church-run summer camp in the mornings and tour local universities in the afternoons.

They would have lived with host families in the San Fernando Valley and gone sightseeing on weekends. They had planned to tour the Bay Area before heading south.

But now, the Chinese student group has informed the West Hills school they won’t be attending, said school counselor Maggie Rojas.

In light of the incident, West Valley Christian Church announced a Thursday night prayer vigil at 7 p.m. and has launched the Chinese Student Memorial Fund.

Investigators are trying to determine how the girls died.

A rescue apparatus may have “contacted” one of the girls on the tarmac after the crash, a San Francisco Fire Department official acknowledged at a news conference Monday.


Dale Carnes, assistant deputy chief for the San Francisco Fire Department at the airport, said officials would not answer more questions about the girls’ deaths until their investigation was complete because doing so would be “simply conjecture.”

“As you can imagine, it’s a very dynamic environment with an aircraft fire and some 300 victims,” Carnes said. He said fire officials immediately ran the information up the chain of command and added that the department is cooperating with investigators on the crash.

Fire officials said Sunday that one of the victims had “injuries that were consistent with having been run over by a vehicle.”

Multiple agencies are investigating the accident scene, spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said, including the National Transportation Safety Board. The cause of death for both girls will be determined by the coroner’s office.

Autopsy results are expected soon.

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