Asiana Airlines mulls legal action over TV report

NTSB investigators are visible through the windows of the fire-scorched remains of Asiana Airlines Flight 214.
National Transportation Safety Board

Updated 5:25 p.m.

SEOUL, South Korea Asiana Airlines said Sunday its reputation was damaged by a report on a San Francisco TV station that used bogus and racially offensive names for four pilots on its plane that crashed earlier this month and is considering legal action.

An anchor for KTVU-TV read the names on the air Friday and then apologized after a break. The report was accompanied by a graphic with the phony names listed alongside a photo of the burned out plane. Video of the report has spread widely across the Internet since it was broadcast.

The National Transportation Safety Board has apologized, saying a summer intern erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew.

"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," read an NTSB statement.

KTVU also apologized for the error, both on air and online.

The anchorwoman who read the names also apologized for the incident on Twitter.

"Apologies to all upset by a story on Noon News. A serious mistake was made @KTVU," Tori Campbell wrote. "My thoughts are w/ victims of Flt 214 & families."

The Asian American Journalists Association said that, even with the NTSB's apology, the station "is hardly off the hook" and called the names "grossly offensive."

"We fail to understand how those obviously phony names could escape detection before appearing on the broadcast and were spoken by the news anchor," read a statement from association president Paul Cheung. "We urge KTVU to conduct a thorough review to prevent similar lapses."

An Asiana statement said it's mulling legal measures against both KTVU-TV and the NTSB because the report "badly damaged" the reputation of the airline and its pilots.

It didn't say what legal measures it was considering.

Neither the station nor the NTSB commented on where the names originated.

The four pilots, who underwent questioning by a U.S. and South Korean joint investigation team while in the U.S., 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 Sunday.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, killing three and injuring dozens.