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KTVU Pranked Into Reporting Fake Names Of Asiana Pilots, NTSB Says Intern To Blame

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Smoke billows from an Asiana Airlines passenger jet after it crash landed at San Francisco International Airport, July 6, 2013.

Smoke billows from an Asiana Airlines passenger jet after it crash landed at San Francisco International Airport, July 6, 2013. (Eunice Bird Rah)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU-TV was apparently duped into releasing fake and offensive names of the four pilots aboard Asiana Flight 214 during Saturday’s deadly crash. The National Transportation Safety Board said a summer intern confirmed the erroneous names.

In their Friday newscast at noon, anchor Tori Campbell announced four fake names with racist connotations as the true identities of the crew members involved in the incident.

The anchor’s voice-over was accompanied by a graphic showing the fake names, and clips of the broadcast quickly spread across YouTube and social media.

Campbell subsequently read an apology for the fake names (watch it below), but indicated the station aired the names after the National Transportation Safety Board had confirmed them prior to the broadcast.

Keith Holloway, an NTSB spokesman said in response to KTVU’s claims: “The NTSB does not identify or release names.”

In a statement released Friday evening, the NTSB issued an apology: “The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots. A summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and we deeply regret today’s incident.”

The Asian American Journalists Association, outraged by the error, released the following statement:

“Even if the NTSB confirmed the information, the names originated from somewhere – and we fail to understand how those obviously phony names could escape detection before appearing on the broadcast.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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