Asiana Airlines will sue Bay Area television station KTVU-TV for using fake, racially insensitive names of pilots flying the ill-fated Asiana Airlines Flight 214, the Associated Press reported Monday.
A spokeswoman for the South Korean airline, Lee Hyomin, said the broadcast seriously damaged Asiana’s reputation and that it will sue the station to “strongly respond to its racially discriminatory report,” according to the Associated Press. The suit will likely be filed in the United States, she said.
The KTVU segment that referred to the pilots by four false names, including “Capt. Sum Ting Wong” and “Wi Tu Lo,” has gone viral and drawn heavy criticism on the Internet.
Two teenage girls from China were killed and more than 180 people were injured when the Boeing 777 clipped a sea wall and slammed into a runway July 6 at San Francisco International Airport. A third passenger, a girl, died of her wounds Friday.
In the KTVU newscast, the four incorrect names were displayed on the screen, and an anchor read them aloud. Asiana Airlines has identified the pilot and copilot of the flight as Lee Kang-kook and Lee Jung-min.
In a statement read on KTVU-TV, anchor Frank Somerville said the station made several mistakes, including not reading the names aloud to phonetically sound them out.
The National Transportation Safety Board has also apologized for its role in the broadcast, saying a summer intern “acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.” The board does not release or confirm to the media the names of people involved in transportation accidents, it said.
Asiana will not sue the NTSB, according to the Associated Press.