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Asiana reverses decision to sue KTVU over pilot gaffe

Asiana Airlines has decided not to sue a San Francisco-area television station for misidentifying four pilots aboard a flight that crashed at an airport earlier in the month.

Yonhap reported early Wednesday morning that Asiana Airlines reversed its decision to sue Oakland-based FOX affiliate KTVU-TV after the station identified four pilots aboard downed aircraft Flight 214 as “Captain Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk” and “Bang Ding Ow.”

The correct names, Lee Gang-guk and Lee Jeong-min, had been reported by the Associated Press two days earlier. KTVU subscribes to the Associated Press wire.

The gaffe, which the station apologized for profusely, went viral shortly after it aired on the station’s lunchtime newscast last Friday. KTVU said it confirmed the list of names with an “official” at the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington; that “official” turned out to be a summer intern who “acted outside the scope of his authority,” according to the agency.

Over the weekend, the South Korea-based airliner threatened to sue KTVU, claiming its reputation was “badly damaged” by the station’s report. Asiana reportedly hired a U.S.-based law firm to handle the suit.

Asiana has since decided not to sue the station, instead focusing on the recovery effort from the July 6 crash of Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport. Three people died when the plane landed short, and then crashed, on Runway 28L. The crash remains under investigation.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).