An anchor from KTVU-TV claimed during its noon broadcast that the National Transportation Safety Board released the names of the pilots involved in the July 6 crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 at San Francisco Airport, which killed 3 people and injured 180 others on board.
In the segment, the anchor announced the names of four pilots, which turned out to be fake: “Capt. Sum Ting Wong” ;”Wi Tu Lo”; “Ho Lee Fuk” and “Bang Ding Ow.”
As a policy, the NTSB does not release names of those involved in airline crashes.
Late Friday, the NTSB acknowledged it was a summer intern who wrongly confirmed the names to KTVU when a reporter called.
“A summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft. Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated,” the agency said in a statement.
Since the NTSB has since confirmed the intern was fired.
A KTVU anchor apologized and acknowledged the news agency made several mistakes.
“First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out,” said KTVU anchor Frank Somerville. “Then, during our phone call to the NTSB where the person confirmed the spellings of the names, we never asked that person to give us their position with the agency. We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were and then rushed the names on our noon newscast.”
Neither the federal agency nor the television station would disclose where the list of the names originated.
Asiana Airlines has threatened to sue the television station saying the broadcast was offensive and damaging.
The Asian American Journalists Association called the broadcast “grossly offensive” and said the television station is “hardly off the hook” because of its apology.
“Those names were not only wrong, but so grossly offensive that it’s hard for us at the Asian American Journalists Association to fathom how those names made it on the broadcast,” the association said in a statement.
On Facebook, many Hawaii residents expressed horror at what had happened, taking the opportunity to make comments like “Sum dum news crew” and “Ho Lee Fuk…are u kidding me?”
“I can just picture the class action lawsuit after that one led buy one of the Family members “Wi soo ing”. Not that the crash was anything to laugh about,” said another.
Nearly 10 million people have already viewed the newscast posted on You tube.