Jul 09, 2013

    Crash victims were pals and top students

    THE two 16-year-old girls killed in the San Francisco plane crash last Saturday were close friends and top students.

    They were on Asiana Flight 214 for the same reason: to get a taste of American education and possibly brighten their futures.

    Wang Linjia showed talent in physics and calligraphy; Ye Mengyuan was a champion gymnast who excelled in literature.

    Both were part of a trend among affluent Chinese families willing to spend thousands of dollars to send their children to the United States for a few weeks in the summer to practise English and hopefully boost their chances of attending a US college.

    When visited by a state media reporter, Linjia's mother sat on a bed, crying silently, while her father sat in a chair with a blank expression, said the Youth Times, a newspaper in Zhejiang.

    Linjia and Mengyuan were among 29 students from the city of Jiangshan who were on board to attend a summer camp, sightsee and visit several US universities in California.

    The girls posted their last messages on their microblog accounts last Thursday and Friday.

    Linjia's final message was simply the word "go".

    The two were the only fatalities in the crash. The plane was carrying 307 people.

    The bodies of both girls were found on the tarmac. Reports yesterday said that one of the bodies, found on the ground to the left of the plane, may have been run over by an emergency vehicle, in addition to the injuries from the crash. A coroner said it could not be confirmed without further examination.

    Hospital medical officials said that nearly all of the grievously- injured passengers were in the rear of the plane, including six people in critical condition with spinal injuries, paralysis and head injuries.

    AP, NYT