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Asiana Death Toll Rises to Three as Girl Dies in Hospital

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July 14 (Bloomberg) -- A third fatal victim of the Asiana Airlines Inc. plane crash in San Francisco was identified as Liu Yipeng, a Chinese student on her way to attend a summer camp in the U.S.

Chinese state media released Liu’s name and said she was a student at the school in Jiangshan, China, attended by the other two victims. Separately, South Korea’s transport ministry said today it will probe four Asiana pilots involved in the accident.

Ye Meng Yuan and Wang Lin Jia of China, 16-year-olds on their way to a summer camp in the U.S., died at the crash site. More than 300 people survived the wreck at San Francisco International Airport, the first fatal airline accident in the U.S. since 2009. It was Seoul-based Asiana’s first crash since a Boeing 747 cargo plane went down at sea in July 2011.

Asiana Chief Executive Officer Yoon Young Doo apologized for the loss of the third victim in a statement yesterday. Liu had been hospitalized in critical condition since the accident.

South Korea’s government probe will focus on compliance with flight procedures and whether training was appropriate, according to today’s statement.

The third death occurred as investigators with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board completed their field work and left San Francisco to return to Washington.

While the agency normally doesn’t declare a probable cause for an accident for 12 to 18 months after its investigators conclude the on-scene work, Chairman Deborah Hersman said she wants to issue a report in a year or less.

The Asiana Boeing Co. 777 crashed as it struck a seawall short of a runway, slammed to the ground and spun off the tarmac.

The safety board is looking into why the plane slowed to almost 40 miles (64 kilometers) an hour below its target speed before striking the seawall, Hersman has said. A cockpit warning of an impending aerodynamic stall, the point at which a plane loses the lift needed to stay in the air, sounded four seconds before the crash.

There were two calls by pilots to abort the landing -- the first made three seconds before the plane hit the barrier and the other 1.5 seconds later.

Asiana published a letter of apology in China’s official People’s Daily newspaper.

The airline said it would make every effort to win back the trust of the Chinese people. Of the 291 passengers on the flight, 141 were Chinese, Asiana has said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alan Levin in Washington at alevin24@bloomberg.net; Kathleen Chaykowski in San Francisco at kchaykowski2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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