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Red faces after prank names of Asiana pilots read on TV

July 15, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59America’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the body investigating the Asiana plane crash at San Francisco International Airport, has issued an official apology after committing a dreadful gaffe involving a prank media bulletin that gave false, joke names to the Asiana flight crew.

The bulletin was accepted at face value and read out on at least one US TV channel, without the announcer realising that the names were actually puns, constituting a coarse prank with racial overtones.

KTVU News told its viewers that the names of the pilots aboard the crashed plane were: Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow.

Red-faced executives later admitted that the names were obviously fake and racially offensive – but that was only after an announcer read out the names deadpan on TV, as can be seen here.

Compounding the error, the news show producer reportedly tweeted “oh s***” after the embarrassing mistake was broadcast. His Twitter profile then disappeared, reports said.

The NTSB  issued an immediate apology, blaming the prank on a temporary worker. The TV channel apologised too.

The NTSB said:

The National Transportation Safety Board apologises 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. 

Written by Peter Needham

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