NTSB intern fired over Asiana names
In this July 14, 2013 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a student survivor of an Asiana Airlines jetliner that crash landed in San Francisco on July 6, along with her parents arrives at Jiangshan Middle School in Jiangshan, east China's Zhejiang province. Students and teachers from Jiangshan Middle School who traveled with a 34-member group to the U.S. to attend a summer camp arrived home on Sunday. Three Chinese students were killed in the fatal crash, two of which died on the spot and another from injuries sustained from the accident. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Wang Dingchang) NO SALES
Photo by AP
The National Transportation Safety Board intern who apparently confirmed the fake, racially insensitive names of the pilots flying the ill-fated Asiana Airlines Flight 214 is “no longer with the agency,” CNN reported on Monday.
CNN cited “a government official with knowledge of the situation.”
In an email to the Los Angeles Times, NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said the agency does not “discuss or disclose information relating to personnel matters” but “has taken appropriate action to deal with the situation.”
“In addition,” Nantel wrote, “we are reviewing our policies and procedures to determine where we might be able to strengthen them so that this kind of situation doesn't happen again.”
After Bay Area television station KTVU aired a broadcast on Friday including four incorrect pilot names — such as “Captain Sum Ting Wong” and “Wi Tu Lo” — attributing the information to the NTSB, the agency said that “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 apologized for the “inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed.”
“The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media,” the agency said. “We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today's incident.”
The station apologized after the noon report aired.
Anchor Frank Somerville read another apology on the station's evening broadcast that was also posted to its website, 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,” the statement 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.”
“Words cannot adequately express the outrage we … feel over KTVU's on-air blunder that made a mockery of the Asiana Airlines tragedy,” wrote Asian American Journalists Association President Paul Cheung and MediaWatch Chair Bobby Caina Calvan. “We are embarrassed for the anchor, who was as much a victim as KTVU's viewers and KTVU's hard-working staff.”
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.