NTSB Apology: Intern Confirmed Racist Names to TV Station

KTVU Wrong Names - H 2013

KTVU Wrong Names - H 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board has apologized after a summer intern confirmed to KTVU the false names of Asiana Airlines pilots, which were broadcast on the Bay Area station. 

On Friday, the TV station broadcast that it had "new information on the plane crash," then falsely reported that the pilots names were "Captain Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow."

"Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft," the NTSB said in a Friday news release. 

KTVU apologized on air about the error, but it had maintained that the information was confirmed by "an NTSB official in the agency’s Washington, D.C., office" in an earlier statement on the station's website.

"We made several mistakes when we received this information. First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out. 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," said anchor Frank Somerville in an on-air apology

Asiana Flight 214 crash-landed at San Francisco airport on July 6, killing three people and injuring many more. KTVU footage was carried by major networks during the initial coverage of the crash.

An NTSB public affairs officer previously told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday that the agency did not release the names or confirm them to the station. The NTSB affairs officer, pointing to the latest statement, has now clarified about the incident that the agency "does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media."