San Francisco Plane Crash: TV Station Apologises for Broadcasting Fake Racially Offensive Pilot Names



Tori Campbell, a presenter on KTVU, a San Francisco Bay Area station, read the fake names on air on Friday. Her report was accompanied with a graphic listing the fake names.

“KTVU has just learned the names of the four pilots who were on board the flight,” Ms Campbell said. “They are Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow. And the NTSB has confirmed these are the names of the pilots on board flight 214 when it crashed. We are working to determine exactly what roles each of them played during the landing on Saturday.”

The report was read out despite the names of both pilots being confirmed earlier this week as Lee Jeong-min and Lee Gangguk, both from South Korea.

Further fuelling the embarrassment, it also came as authorities confirmed that a third Chinese girl who was aboard the flight that originated in Shanghai, died. She was named as Liu Yipeng, who went to school with the other two victims.

After a commercial break, the anchor apologised for the error, claiming that an official at the National Transportation Safety Board had confirmed the names to the station.


KTVU-TV co-anchor Tori Campbell


The NTSB also apologised for the “inaccurate and offensive” error, blaming it on a summer intern who “acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.”

Neither organisation commented on where the hoax names originated from.

Confirmation that a third passenger died came as authorities confirmed 16-year-old Ye Men Yuan, one of the two Chinese teenagers who died on the day of the disaster, was hit by a fire engine on its way to extinguishing the Boeing 777, raising the possibility that she could have survived only to die in the chaotic aftermath.

Her close friend Wang Linjia, also 16, was among a group of passengers who did not get immediate medical assistance, with rescuers not spotting her until 14 minutes after the crash.

The third girl died on Friday morning. She had been in critical condition since the accident.

“It is a very, very sad day today,” said Dr Geoffrey Manley, San Francisco General’s chief of neurosurgery. “We have done everything we could.”

As well as those killed, more than 180 were injured, 49 of them seriously, when the flight came in too low, hit a sea wall, and crash landed before catching fire.

Nearly a week after the crash, the investigation indicates the pilots, a trainee and his instructor, failed to realise until too late that the aircraft was dangerously low and flying too slow.

Nothing so far indicates any problems with the plane’s engines, computers or automated systems.


By , The



Another related article from the AP:


‘Sum Ting Wong’: Intern blamed for leaking fake names of pilots aboard plane that crashed in San Francisco




A summer intern acting “outside the scope of his authority” is responsible for erroneously confirming the names of the pilots aboard the Asiana Airlines flight that crashed Saturday to an Oakland news station, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

During a live newscast Friday, KTVU Channel 2 reported the names of the flight crew as: “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow.”

Asiana Flight 214 collided with a rocky seawall at San Francisco Airport, just short of its intended runway last Saturday. Three people were killed and dozens of others injured. Investigators have said the plane came in too low and slow.

A representative for the transportation agency would not say whether the intern was fired for blunder. “We’ve taken the appropriate action,” Kelly Nantel told the National Post.

The agency’s policy is to never release or confirm the names of crew members or people involved in transportation accidents to media, Ms. Nantel said.

The station reacted by quickly issuing an apology later on during the newscast as well as on its website and social media accounts, but that didn’t prevent major media outlets including The Los Angeles TimesThe New York Times and CNN from scooping up the story.

“We made several mistakes when we received this information. First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out,” read the statement.

Offering our sincerest apology after falling for a hoax on @KTVU News at
(@KTVU) July 12, 2013

With a file from The Associated Press

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