(RNN) – A San Francisco news station became an internet sensation for all the wrong reasons Friday when it broadcast incorrect and offensive names, allegedly those of the Asiana Flight 214 pilots.
The names were read live on-air during Bay Area news station KTVU’s noon newscast.
The erroneous names, the anchor said, were confirmed by a National Transportation and Safety Board official. The official turned out to be an NTSB intern at their Washington, DC offices, according to an NTSB statement. It is unclear where the names originated from, or who gave them to KTVU.
KTVU quickly apologized for the mistake during the noon newscast and subsequent newscasts through Friday.
“On Friday, July 12, during the KTVU Channel 2 Noon newscast, we misidentified the pilots in the Asiana Airlines crash,” said anchor Frank Somerville during the evening newscast. “We made several mistakes when we received this information. First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out.”
The station said they also failed to confirm who was giving them the information. For their part, the NTSB apologized for the inaccurate and offensive nature of the names, saying that a summer intern “acted outside the scope” of his position.
“The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crew members or people involved in transportation accidents to the media,” the NTSB said in a statement. “We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today’s incident.”
The Asian American Journalists Association also released a statement, calling the incident an “outrage” and describing the names as “caricatured Asian names.”
“But we’re mostly saddened that a tragedy that took the lives of three people and injured scores of other passengers could be taken as an opportunity for an apparent joke,” AAJA President Paul Cheung said in a statement Friday.
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed July 6 while landing in San Francisco International Airport.
The flight, which departed from Shanghai, stopped in Seoul, South Korea and journeyed to the U.S., crashed when the back of the plane clipped the seawall, breaking off its end. The plane slid and eventually stopped off the side of the runway.
The crash killed three people and injured more than 180.
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