AP US & World News
Asiana to sue TV station over report of fake pilot names
SEOUL, South Korea - Asiana announced Monday that it will sue a San Francisco television station that it said damaged the airline's reputation by using bogus and racially offensive names for four pilots on a plane that crashed this month in San Francisco. KTVU-TV anchor Tori Campbell read the names during the noon newscast Friday and then apologized later in the program. The report was accompanied by a graphic with the phony names listed alongside a photo of the burned-out plane. The station said the names were confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB apologized in a statement and blamed a summer intern for erroneously confirming the names despite not be authorized to do so. "Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated," the agency's statement said.Video of the KTVU report has spread widely across the Internet since it was broadcast. Asiana decided to sue KTVU to "strongly respond to its racially discriminatory report" that disparaged Asians, Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyomin said. She said the airline will likely file suit in U.S. courts. She said the report seriously damaged Asiana's reputation. Asiana decided not to sue the NTSB because it said it was the TV station report, not the U.S. federal agency, that damaged the airline's reputation. Lee did not elaborate. KTVU did not immediately reply to emails sent by The Associated Press seeking comment. Neither the station nor the NTSB commented on where the names originated. KTVU co-anchor Frank Sommerville, in one of several apologies issued by the station, told viewers that "even with this statement from the NTSB we want you to know here we assume full responsibility for this mistake." "We made several mistakes when we received this information," Sommerville said. "First of all, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out. Then, during out phone call to the NTSB, where the person confirmed the spelling of the names, we never asked that person to give us their position within the agency. We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were, and then we rushed the names onto our noon newscast." The plane crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, killing three and injuring dozens. The four pilots, who underwent questioning by an American and South Korean joint investigation team while in the United States, 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.