After the crash of Asiana flight 214, an Oakland-area TV station has gotten into trouble by reporting false — and somewhat racist — names for the four pilots. The catch — the station, KTVU, had the names confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Even that confirmation has turned out to be a sick joke.
KTVU released the four names during a follow-up report on Sunday’s (July 7) crash, noting that the names had been confirmed by someone at the NTSB. Unfortunately, no one at the news station thought to read the names out loud before going live.
- Captain Sum Ting Wong
- Wi Tu Lo
- Ho Lee Fuk
- Bang Ding Ow
Even though KTVU didn’t catch the joke, others quickly complained. A statement from the station was then posted on its website, pointing out that the information had been confirmed by “an NTSB official” before being reported. “We sincerely regret the error and took immediate action to apologize,” said KTVU vice president Tom Raponi on the website. “Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again.”
So how did this happen? The NTSB has released its own statement with a rather odd explanation: an intern did it.
“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 statement reads. “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.”
The original source for the hoax names remains a mystery.
It just goes to show that there’s always someone who wants to make a bad joke at the expense of a tragedy.