The Chinese consul general from San Francisco today met in San Jose with a group of Chinese students mourning two classmates killed in Saturday’s crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport.
Consul General Yuan Nansheng spoke in the lobby of the San Jose Marriott hotel with the 16 teen students, some looking like they were still in shock, for about 15 minutes as hotel security kept news reporters and cameras at bay.
The students, many dressed in jeans and hoodies and holding backpacks, stood together and listened somberly, then applauded Nansheng and smiled fleetingly while posing for a group photo with him.
An assistant with Nansheng distributed orange and yellow tote bags as gifts to the students.
“I told the students, they really suffered this tragedy, and I told them you are really brave, you are very united, and I expressed my respect to them,” Nansheng said through a translator during a news conference.
“We are saddened and we express our condolences to the two Chinese students,” Nansheng said of Ye Meng Yuan and Wang Lin Jia, the 16-year-old girls who died in the crash.
Nansheng said the girls’ parents are expected to arrive on a flight tonight at SFO and he would meet with them and a delegation from China’s Zhejiang province to include relatives of Chinese citizens injured in the crash.
The student group included 35 Chinese high school kids and chaperones from Zhejiang who flew into SFO on their way to attend a three-week summer session at the West Valley Christian School and Church in West Hills in Los Angeles County.
The program, which was scheduled to begin Tuesday, has been canceled, according to school officials.
Nansheng said he was preparing to meet with representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board tonight to discuss the agency’s probe into the airline disaster.
Nansheng said he also has directed a consulate official to meet with Asiana Airlines “to deal with the aftermath of this tragedy and to step up the work.”
The consul general said has heard reports that an emergency responder may have accidentally struck one of the girls killed at the crash scene but he is waiting for results of an official autopsy on the girl’s body.
Nansheng said he went this morning to San Francisco General Hospital to visit some of the five Chinese students injured in the crash, two in serious condition, and then wanted to meet with the students who are staying at the San Jose hotel.
“When I was in the general hospital, I felt that the nurses and the doctors take very good care of the patients and that shows their professionalism during the whole process of saving the Chinese nationals,” Nansheng said.
No time has been set for the students to return home and it was up to them to decide when they would to leave the United States, he said.
Jeff Burbank, Bay City News