Asiana Flight 214: Airline to sue TV station over reading fake racially offensive names; NTSB intern fired

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

The wreckage of Asiana Flight 214, a Boeing 777 airliner, is seen after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport Saturday.

Update 10:20 a.m. The National Transportation Safety Board has let go of an intern who confirmed fake, racially insensitive names for the pilots of a crashed Asiana flight to San Francisco TV station KTVU, NBC News reports.

Previously: Asiana announced Monday that it will sue a San Francisco TV station that it said damaged the airline's reputation by using bogus and racially offensive names for four pilots on a plane that crashed earlier this month in San Francisco.

An anchor for KTVU-TV read the names on the air Friday and then apologized after a break. The report was accompanied by a graphic with the phony names listed alongside a photo of the burned-out plane that had crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, killing three and injuring dozens.

Video of the report has spread widely across the Internet since it was broadcast.

The National Transportation Safety Board has also apologized, saying a summer intern erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew.

Asiana has decided to sue KTVU-TV to "strongly respond to its racially discriminatory report" that disparaged Asians, Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyomin said. She said the airline will likely file suit in U.S. courts.

She said the report seriously damaged Asiana's reputation. Asiana decided not to sue the NTSB because it said it was the TV station report, not the U.S. federal agency that damaged the airline's reputation. Lee did not elaborate.

KTVU-TV did not immediately reply to emails sent by The Associated Press seeking comment.

Neither the station nor the NTSB commented on where the names originated.

The four pilots, who underwent questioning by a U.S. and South Korean joint investigation team while in the U.S., returned to South Korea on Saturday. South Korean officials plan to conduct separate interviews with them, South Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said.

Read the NTSB's full statement below:

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.

This story has been updated.

With contributions by KPCC staff

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