JIANGSHAN, China – The two teenage Chinese girls killed in a South Korean passenger jet crash in San Francisco were best friends and promising students, reports said Monday, citing grief-stricken classmates and teachers.
Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan studied together at high school in Jiangshan in the eastern province of Zhejiang, the Beijing Morning Post said, citing Ye’s relatives, who speculated they may have sat in the same row on the plane.
A picture of Wang was stuck in a hedge outside her high school Monday, surrounded by six white paper lilies and two chrysanthemums, flowers of mourning in China.
In the image Wang wears her school uniform, smiles for the camera, and flashes a V-sign.
Wang, 17, was an active and acclaimed student leader, according to her classmates.
“I feel very depressed after learning the news this morning,” said Lu Hao, a fellow student. “She was very friendly to all the classmates.”
Wang was good at Chinese calligraphy and painting, and her works hung in the office of her father who owns a company, the report said.
Ye, 16, an outstanding student and piano player and a national aerobics champion, was the pride of her family, the report said, citing teachers and her mother.
“She was learning music from me and was very gifted in singing,” the newspaper quoted a teacher surnamed Ai as saying.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on Monday expressed “deepest regrets” to the injured and the families of Chinese victims in a letter to President Xi Jinping.
“I am heartbroken by the fact that your citizens were killed and injured by the latest plane crash in San Francisco,” Park said in the letter.
“I convey my deepest regrets to the families of the victims and the injured as well as the people of China and President Xi,” she said, vowing “utmost assistance” to establish the cause of the crash and handle its aftermath.
The two girls who died were among a group of 30 students flying to the United States with their teachers to take part in a summer camp, previous Chinese media reports said.
Participants had paid nearly 30,000 yuan ($5,000) each for their places, according to the official news agency Xinhua.
Jiangshan is a small but wealthy city, where many locals have made their fortune in construction materials and beekeeping, Xinhua said.
Most students on the trip were their families’ only children, it added.
Wang’s last posting on one of China’s Twitter-like weibo sites was “Go!”, apparently reflecting her excitement about the journey.
Chinese nationals made up 141 of the 291 passengers aboard the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 that burst into flames after it landed short of the runway, injuring 182.
The two teenagers are the only deaths from the accident so far.
A total of 12 relatives of the dead and injured were to leave for San Francisco on Monday, Xinhua said, citing school officials.
A relative of Liu Yipeng, one of the injured, told state broadcaster CCTV that the girl was still in intensive care.
“We will go to the hospital to see her first. We have got the notice that she is safe, but have no idea about her exact condition,” he said. – Rappler.com