The National Transportation Safety Board has released a statement revealing the source of Friday afternoon’s embarrassing KTVU hoax — a summer intern for the agency who “acted outside the scope of his authority” and “erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew” on the Asiana plane that crashed in San Francisco.
The Bay Area TV station read the racist crew names on air: Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, and Bang Ding Ow.
Here’s the full statement:
The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.
Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, 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 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.
Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.
The KTVU producer who tweeted “Oh sh*t” after the gaffe has since deleted his account. The station apologized for the error, noting that an NTSB official confirmed the names for them Friday morning.
It’s not clear how the hoax originated, and whether or not the intern created the fake names.
The TV station’s mistake is especially embarrassing considering that the Associated Press reported the correct names of the pilot and co-pilot on Wednesday.
The Asian American Journalists Association has released its own statement on the screw-up, saying: “Words cannot adequately express the outrage we … feel over KTVU’s on-air blunder that made a mockery of the Asiana Airlines tragedy and offended so many loyal viewers of the San Francisco Bay Area station.”
The plane crash killed three people and is under investigation.