KTVU Channel 2, a Fox affiliate in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the National Transportation Safety Board apologized on Friday for an on-air blunder by an anchorwoman that involved fake names that ridiculed the Asiana flight 214 pilots. An NTSB intern had confirmed the names for the station.
Co-anchor Tori Campbell told viewers during the noon newscast Friday,"KTVU has just learned the names of the four pilots who were on board" the flight that crashed at San Francisco International Airport a week ago.
She proceeded to read from a teleprompter the names that may have originated as a racially insensitive joke online - "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk," and "Bang Ding Ow"- while a TV graphic displayed the names next to a photo of the charred cabin.
"We made several mistakes when we received this information," KTVU's apology on its website read. "KTVU accepts full responsibility for this mistake."
But it turned out the NTSB also had a role. In seeking to verify the names, an unidentified KTVU reporter called the government safety agency's public affairs office for confirmation, though did not read the names out loud, KTVU said. The station didn't clarify how the names were conveyed to the NTSB representative, who turned out to be a summer intern.
The KTVU reporter also failed to ask for the identify of the NTSB intern -- who confirmed the spellings of the names. "We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were and then rushed the names on our noon newscast," KTVU's note read.
The NTSB's late Friday apologized for "inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots."
Its statement said: "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 crew members 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."