Asiana Airlines says bogus pilot names report damaged its reputation

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AP/CBS

Posted on July 14, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Updated Sunday, Jul 14 at 11:34 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (CBS/AP) Asiana Airlines said Sunday its reputation was damaged by a report on a San Francisco TV station that used bogus and racially offensive names for four pilots on its plane that crashed earlier this month and is considering legal action.

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

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

"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," read an NTSB statement.

KTVU also apologized for the error, both on air and online.

The Asian American Journalists Association said that, even with the NTSB's apology, the station "is hardly off the hook" and called the names "grossly offensive."

"We fail to understand how those obviously phony names could escape detection before appearing on the broadcast and were spoken by the news anchor," read a statement from association president Paul Cheung. "We urge KTVU to conduct a thorough review to prevent similar lapses."

An Asiana statement said it's mulling legal measures against both KTVU-TV and the NTSB because the report "badly damaged" the reputation of the airline and its pilots.

It didn't say what legal measures it was considering.

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 Sunday.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, killing three and injuring dozens.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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