Asiana could sue for hoax pilot names

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Asiana could sue for hoax pilot names

Asiana Airlines said yesterday it is considering taking legal action against the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and KTVU, a San Francisco-based local TV station owned by FOX TV, for hurting the company’s image.

KTVU was hoaxed into broadcasting four fake names for the crew of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6 killing three Chinese students and injuring many more.

“The reporting by KTVU not only damaged the honor of the four pilots but also that of the company,” said Korea’s second-largest air carrier in a statement released yesterday.

“We are considering taking legal action against KTVU, which reported the false names, and the NTSB, which confirmed [the names to the TV station].”

The trouble began Friday when an anchorwoman read out four joke names for the Flight 214 pilots.

After saying “KTVU has just learned the names of the four pilots who were on board,” anchorwoman Tori Campbell read the names from a teleprompter. A graphic displayed the hoax names: “Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Dong Ow.”

The TV station said it checked the names with the National Transportation Safety Board and it confirmed them.

The blunder by the station went viral on the Internet.

KTVU offered an on-air apology Friday as well as posting an apology on its Web site, saying it “accepts full responsibility for this mistake.”

The NTSB also issued an apology on its Web site Friday saying it “apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots.”

The agency said a summer intern confirmed the names to the TV station “outside of the scope of his authority.”

It’s not clear why the TV station was fooled since the names of the flight’s four pilots were widely reported already.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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