On Thursday night, Oakland’s KTVU Channel Two News Anchor Tori Campbell said that the television organization received the names of the pilots of the Asiana Flight 214 that crashed at San Francisco International Airport last Saturday (SFO).
Ms. Campbell said the names were Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, and Ho Li Fuk and Bang Ding Ow.
Because the information was later said to have comes from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), no one at KTVU bothered to question the names.
They just went on and reported the information.
As it turns out, the National Transportation Safety Board now says the information came from one of their summer interns. The NTSB Public Affairs people posted this letter on its website:
NTSB statement on erroneous confirmation of crew names
The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes 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.
Office of Public Affairs
490 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594
KTVU not at fault.
In cold hindsight, KTVU can’t be blamed for getting what now turns out to be bad information on the flight pilot’s names. After all, it came from the NTSB. This means that such an episode could happen again. The only way to prevent this outcome is to double question the source before going on the air.