Interns: Don't Make Up Fake, Racist Names

Asiana Airlines is suing a television station for mocking its crew on the flight that went down in San Francisco. A summer intern at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) verified the ridiculous Asian names, which made it on the air via KTVU-TV in Oakland, CA.

 Vice president and general manager of the station, Tom Raponi, apologized on air:

"We sincerely regret the error and took immediate action to apologize, both in the newscast where the mistake occurred, as well as on our website and social media sites. Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again."

KTVU also wrote an apology on its website, accepting full responsibility for not sounding out the names and for not asking the position of the person at NTSB.

The NTSB issued this statement:

NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs

NTSB statement on erroneous confirmation of crew names

July 12

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
(202) 314-6100
Kelly Nantel

Discussion Starters:

  • Imagine the news-reporting process at the TV station. How could this have happened?
  • The NTSB fired the intern. What, if any, other action should the agency take?