The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 7, 2013

Official probes if rescuers ran over crash victim

(Continued)

"I had no time to be scared," she said.

Authorities immediately closed the airport and rescuers rushed to the scene. A United Airlines pilot radioed the control tower, saying: "We see people ... that need immediate attention. They are alive and walking around."

"Think you said people are just walking outside the airplane right now?" the controller replied.

"Yes," answered the pilot of United Flight 885. "Some people, it looks like, are struggling."

At the crash scene, police officers threw knives up to crew members inside the burning wreckage so they could cut away passengers' seat belts. Passengers jumped down emergency slides, escaping from billowing smoke that rose high above the bay. Some passengers who escaped doused themselves with water from the bay, presumably to cool burns, authorities said.

By the time the flames were out, much of the top of the fuselage had burned away. The tail section was gone, with pieces of it scattered across the beginning of the runway.

Foucrault, the coroner, said senior San Francisco Fire Department officials notified him and his staff at the crash site on Saturday that one of the 16-year-olds who was kilkled may have been struck on the runaway. Foucrault said an autopsy he expects to be completed by Monday will involve determining whether the girl's death was caused by injuries suffered in the crash or "a secondary incident."

He said he did not get a close enough look at the victims on Saturday to know whether they had external injuries.

Foucrault said one of the bodies was found on the tarmac near where the plane's tail broke off when it slammed into the runway. The other was found on the left side of the plane about 30 feet away from where the jetliner came to rest after it skidded down the runway.

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