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Asiana Airlines mulls legal action against KTVU

Asiana Airlines is claiming its reputation was damaged after a television station erroneously four names purportedly belonging to pilots assigned to fly a jet that crashed earlier in the month.

The airliner said it is considering legal action against Oakland, California FOX affiliate KTVU-TV after anchor Tori Campbell misidentified four pilots aboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214 as “Captain Sum Ting Wong (something wrong), Wi Tu Lo (we too low), Ho Lee Fuk (holy fuck) and Bang Ding Ow during the station’s lunchtime news broadcast on Friday.

The station apologized later in the broadcast, and profusely apologized on air, on social media and on its website after video of the noon broadcast went viral. KTVU claimed the names were checked with an official at the National Transportation Safety Board prior to broadcast; the NTSB confirmed later in the day that a summer intern, not an “official,” acknowledged the names as legitimate when the station called the agency.

The NTSB said the intern “acted outside the scope of his authority” in confirming the erroneous names to KTVU. The NTSB went on to clarify that the agency does not release the names of those involved in aviation accidents. The Associated Press, which KTVU subscribes to, correctly identified the pilots two days earlier as Lee Gang-guk and Lee Jeong-min.

The NTSB claimed the fake names originated with KTVU. Station management did not return emails over the weekend inquiring about the origin of the names.

Asiana is now considering legal action against the station, according to a report by the Associated Press. Asiana claims the station “badly damaged” the reputation of the airline when it reported the four fake pilot in a graphic that also included a photograph of Flight 214.

It is unclear what legal action the South Korea-based airliner could take against the station.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport on July 6. The plane was carrying 307 people. Two people were killed at the scene; a third person died on Friday from injuries sustained in the crash.

The crash remains under investigation.

The Desk: KTVU erroneously names Asiana Flight 214 pilots

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.