Asiana plane crash

Asiana to sue TV station, transport board over bogus pilot names

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 July, 2013, 1:58pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 July, 2013, 6:04am

Asiana Airlines said it was planning lawsuits against US transport authorities and a TV station for mistakenly confirming and airing false and offensive names for the pilots behind its fatal crash in San Francisco.

Fox network affiliate KTVU news Channel 2 in Oakland identified the pilots of the Asiana Boeing 777 that crashed last weekend as Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, and Bang Ding Ow - bogus names that sounded suspiciously like broad Asian language stereotypes.

KTVU cited the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as its source, but quickly realised the mistake and apologised. The NTSB later apologised for the "inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed" as those of the Asiana pilots - and blamed the mistake on an intern.

Asiana, however, said the incident had "seriously tarnished the dignity of the four pilots as well as the company".

"We are planning legal action against KTVU that aired the report as well as the NTSB that confirmed the names," the South Korean airline said.

Three people died when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on July 6 and more than 180 were injured.

The crash-landing occurred after the plane collided with a seawall just short of the runway.

So far, an investigation indicates the pilots - a trainee and his instructor - failed to realise until too late that the aircraft was dangerously low and flying at too low a speed.

Nothing disclosed so far by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators indicates any problems with the Boeing 777's engines, computers or automated systems.

San Francisco airport officials said that the runway where the jet crashed was reopened on Friday evening, and all airlines would resume normal flight schedules immediately.

The four pilots, who underwent questioning by a US and South Korean joint investigation team while in the US, returned to South Korea on Saturday.

South Korean officials plan to conduct separate interviews with them, South Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said.

Additional reporting by Associated Press