Did the NTSB really confirm the names of the pilots on Asiana Flight 214 as reported by San Francisco Fox affiliate KTVU (Captain Sum Tim Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow)? And who reported the names to KTVU in the first place? KTVU has apologized for the error, but in a sense I appreciate it. Humor has been in short supply. I needed the laugh.
The NTSB angle is interesting, and detracts from the humor. The NTSB has issued its own abject apology for confirming the “inaccurate and offensive names.” It almost makes me want to issue an apology for my inappropriate laughter. I didn’t mean it! It was involuntary! USA Today reports:
In seeking to verify the names with the National Transportation Safety Board, an unidentified KTVU reporter who made the call to the government agency’s public affairs office didn’t read the names out loud. KTVU didn’t clarify how the names were conveyed to the NTSB representative, who turned out to be a summer intern.
The KTVU reporter also failed to ask for the identify of the NTSB intern who confirmed the spellings of the names.
“We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were and then rushed the names on our noon newscast,” KTVU’s note read.
The NTSB also issued its apology late Friday afternoon for “inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots.”
“A summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft,” its statement said. “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.”
I fear that the NTSB is going to get to the bottom of this. Discipline will be imposed. Heads will roll. The agency will commission a panel to study the incident and propose new procedures to prevent this from happening again.
I regret only that the prankster did not resurrect the name of Long Duk Dong from John Hughes’s 1984 teen comedy Sixteen Candles.