Asiana Airlines Crash: Victims, Both 16, Were Pals Headed for US Program

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Both girls were on their way to the United States to a attend 15-day summer program organized by Jiangshan. Their 7-year-old program switched to the U.S. last year from London after the London Olympic Games made program planning difficult. The program gives high-achieving affluent high school students an opportunity to improve their English and become acquainted with American culture in hopes that they will pursue higher education abroad.

Summer camps such as these have been around for the past 10 years and are part of a successful bilateral program between the US and China. Programs range in price between 6,000 to 7,000 RMB to upwards of 50,000 RMB for the more prestigious programs. Both Ye and Wang's parents paid around 30,000 RMB, around $5,000, to send their daughters to the United States.

Every year hundreds of thousands of Chinese students come to America on student visas to study at prestigious universities and boarding schools. China is the top provider of foreign students to US colleges. This wave of exchange students represents China's growing middle class as international study becomes a rite of passage for the children from wealthy families.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault announced that he was investigating one of the two teenage passengers killed on Saturday. He believes that there was a possibility that she survived the crash, but was run over by a rescue vehicle rushing to the scene.

Days before her flight, Wang posted on Weibo that when she came back from the U.S., she hoped her Class Ten would have a reunion.

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