SoCal Church Mourns Asiana Airlines Crash Victims as Survivors Return Home

Southern California families were preparing to welcome students participating in a San Fernando Valley church's summer program

By Jonathan Lloyd and Annette Arreola
|  Monday, Jul 8, 2013  |  Updated 2:27 PM PDT
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Southern California families had planned to host the victims of Saturday's San Francisco International Airport crash for about three weeks as part of a San Fernando Valley church summer program. Annette Arreola reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday July 8, 2013.

Jeff Scharping

Southern California families had planned to host the victims of Saturday's San Francisco International Airport crash for about three weeks as part of a San Fernando Valley church summer program. Annette Arreola reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday July 8, 2013.

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Surviving members of a group of Chinese students bound for a Southern California summer program are preparing to return home Monday, just two days after their Asiana Airlines flight crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport.

The students planned to join a summer program with other students at West Valley Christian Church and School in West Hills. Several students were injured and at least one was killed when the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed Saturday and skidded on the runway tarmac.

Authorities are investigating whether a second student was killed when she was struck by a responding emergency vehicle. A coroner's report regarding the victims' deaths is expected Monday afternoon.

The students were scheduled to arrive at the church Monday. They planned to stay with Southern California families as part of the international program for the next three weeks.

"They were going to arrive here, and they were going to be excited about today," said Derek Swales, an administrator at West Valley Christian Church. "We're just hoping they feel the love of Southern California."

Chinese state media and Asiana Airlines identified the deceased victims as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, students at Jiangshan Middle School in Zhejiang, a coastal province in eastern China.

Family members of survivors were expected to arrive Monday in San Francisco to return home with their children. The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office will be briefing those families when they arrive.

"We really want to reach out to those families," Swales said. "As they're coming to America, I just pray they'll grow closer together."

A prayer vigil for the victims is scheduled for Thursday night at the church. Church officials said students from 35 Chinese families were scheduled to participate in the summer program, which would have included a weekend tour of San Francisco before the group traveled to the San Fernando Valley church.

The program would have provided English classes and courses on American culture, sightseeing tours and visits to Southern California universities.

Travel plans were being made as crash investigators continued to examine debris, surveillance camera video and flight communications. San Francisco fire officials said Monday that one of their responding units might have run over one of the two teen-age girls killed Saturday. The girl's body was found on the left side of the aircraft, about 30 feet from where the plane came to a stop after skidding on the tarmac.

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