Report: NTSB intern no longer with agency after fake pilot names mistake

The National Transportation Safety Board intern who confirmed a set of racially offensive and incorrect pilot names to a San Francisco television station following the crash of Asiana Flight 214 is no longer with the agency, CNN reported Tuesday.

On Friday, KTVU aired a report saying the pilots were named "Captain Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow" and said the list had been confirmed by the NTSB.

The agency subsequently admitted that the names had been confirmed by an intern acting "outside the scope of his authority" and apologized for the incident.

ADVERTISEMENT
"With regard to the intern's status — what I can tell you is that we've taken appropriate action," NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel told The Hill in an email. "I'm not at liberty to release the name of the individual nor can I go any further regarding status." 

KTVU anchor Frank Somerville apologized on-air for the broadcast of the name, saying "even with this statement from the NTSB, KTVU accepts full responsibility for this mistake."

"First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out," he said. "Then, during our phone call to the NTSB where the person confirmed the spellings of the names, we never asked that person to give us their position with the agency.

"We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were and then rushed the names on our noon newscast."


Asiana Airlines has said it plans to sue the station for defamation following the report.

Three were killed and some 180 people injured in the July 6 crash at San Francisco International Airport.

-Keith Laing contributed.