Calif. firefighter to settle in fatal plane crash lawsuit

The lawsuit claimed firefighter Elyse Duckett became the “sacrificial lamb” after a plane crash killed 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan in 2013

By FireRescue1 Staff

SAN FRANCISCO — A firefighter has been offered a $250,000 settlement after suing the city for allegedly placing the blame on her for the death of a teenager in a 2013 plane crash.

The San Francisco Examiner reported that San Francisco Fire Department firefighter Elyse Duckett claimed she was falsely blamed and became a “sacrificial lamb” when the crash of Asiana Flight 214 resulted in 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan dying as first responders put out the blaze and treated passengers.

The lawsuit claimed two fire rigs ran over the teen. Duckett was driving the second rig and claimed Meng Yuan was covered in firefighting foam when she struck her.

The first rig was driven by firefighter Jimmy Yee, but the lawsuit said Duckett’s name was the only one given to the press.

“As questions about SFFD leadership and training intensified, the brass attempted to shift blame and scapegoat an individual firefighter to minimize and downplay broader failures within the SFFD,” attorneys said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also said that Duckett, who is a black lesbian, was being retaliated against because she speaks out against harassment and discrimination in the department.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said she was unaware of how Duckett’s name got leaked to the press, or that Duckett “had ever complained that any department member had ever subjected her to discrimination, harassment or retaliation.”

“At great danger to themselves, department first responders rushed to the crash site, initiated a daring search and rescue for passengers trapped on the burning plane, and extinguished fires,” Chief Hayes-White said. “Their valiant efforts saved hundreds of lives. Three hundred and four people aboard Flight 214 survived.”

A 2014 accident investigation report released by SFFD said Ye actually died before she was run over by the rigs.


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