As we have talked about frequently on our aviation accidents blog, there may be many factors at play when there is a catastrophic event involving an airplane. In a small plane crash, there may be relatively few variables; the pilot might be the only person responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of a single-engine plane, for example.
In a commercial airline accident, however, there may be multiple factors that might lead to a crash. The aftermath of a crash introduces other complications, too, especially if responders are quick to the scene -- but may not realize exactly what they're dealing with.
Our readers will likely remember a crash that happened in San Francisco in July. An Asiana Airlines jet crashed into a seawall as it was about to land; three teenagers on board were the sole fatalities among more than 300 people on the plane. It was reported at the time that one of the teens survived the crash but died when she was struck by a fire truck that had responded to the scene.
More information has been released regarding the girl's death. According to video from the scene, a firefighter alerted his colleagues that an injured passenger had somehow gotten out of the plane and was nearby in the grass. However, this information somehow got lost in the shuffle. The girl was hit by two different fire trucks at the scene because firefighters assumed that she was already dead.
There are several lawsuits now pending in regard to the accident. It may be some time before they are resolved.
Source: Associated Press, "San Francisco Plane Crash Update: Firefighters Saw Girl Before Hitting Her," Sudhin Thanawala, Jan. 16, 2014