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NTSB apologizes for 'inaccurate and offensive' Asiana pilot names

July 12, 2013 at 11:29 PM   |   Comments

SAN FRANCISCO, July 12 (UPI) -- The National Transportation Safety Board Friday apologized for mistakenly confirming "inaccurate and offensive names" for the pilots of Asiana flight 214.

During a Friday noon newscast KTVU-TV, San Francisco, anchor Tori Campbell announced the TV station "has just learned the names of the four pilots who were on board" when the Boeing 777 crash landed Saturday at San Francisco International Airport.

Campbell went on to read the names that were displayed on TV screens across Northern California:

"Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow."

After a break Campbell returned to issue a correction, acknowledging the names were clearly wrong but explaining they had been confirmed via phone with the NTSB.

"We made several mistakes when we received this information," KTVU said in an online correction. "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.

"We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were and then rushed the names on our noon newscast."

KTVU general manager Tom Raponi said, "We are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again."

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a statement saying it "apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6."

"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 does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today's incident.

"Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated," the NTSB statement said.

"Being first on air and on every platform in all aspects of our coverage was a great accomplishment, but being 100 percent accurate, effectively using our great sources and social media without putting a single piece of erroneous information on our air, is what we are most proud of as a newsroom," KTVU news director Lee Rosenthal said in a recent promotion of the station's coverage of the Asiana crash landing.

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