KTVU, NTSB might be sued by Asiana Airlines for racist pilot names

San Francisco Bay Area television news program KTVU is in some hot water for airing falsified names of the four pilots on Asiana Flight 214, the airplane that crashed in San Francisco last week, and Asiana Airlines isn't taking the situation lightly.

"Regarding the KTVU-TV's demeaning report of the pilots on July 12, Asiana Airlines is reviewing possible legal action against KTVU-TV and the NTSB," it says in a statement to CNN. Asiana says its reputation and that of its pilots have been "seriously damaged" by the report.

KTVU reported on Friday what it said were the names of the flight's four pilots. Not only were the names fake, but they also were racist and offensive phonetic jokes. The four names listed by KTVU were Captain Sum Ting Wong ("Something Wrong"), Wi Tu Lo ("We Too Low"), Ho Lee Fuk ("Holy F***") and Bang Ding Ow. The reporter even read the names on air, but did not seem to realize the fact that the news station had been pranked.

That has definitely changed by now. "We made several mistakes when we received this information. First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out," KTVU says in an apology posted on its website. "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."

The National Transportation Safety Board also issued a statement where it says it "apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots. A summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft. 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."

During the runway crash in San Francisco, three passengers of Asiana Flight 214 were killed and more than 180 were injured.

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