Who knew Bart Simpson was working for the National Transportation Safety Board?
An anchor at Oakland-based Fox affiliate KTVU apologized today, as did the station, after reporting the fake—and offensive—names of the pilots onboard Asiana Flight 214 when it crashed Saturday while landing at San Francisco International Airport.
Needless to say, Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow were in no way involved. But the error was captured for posterity by vigilant viewers and subsequently splashed all over the Internet.
"We sincerely regret the error and took immediate action to apologize, both in the newscast where the mistake occurred, as well as on our website and social media sites," Tom Rapioni, VP and general manager of KTVU/KICU, said in a statement.
But the station also pointed out that those were the names signed off on (if not read aloud) by the National Transportation Safety Board before today's noon broadcast.
Sure enough, the NTSB copped to the bizarre screwup, blaming an intern for getting it wrong.
"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," the NTSB said in a statement Friday.
"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."
But KTVU acknowledged that those "names" should have never made it on air in the first place.
"We made several mistakes when we received this information," read the apology issued during the evening newscast by anchor Frank Somerville (who was not the anchor involved in the earlier mistake). "First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out.
"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."
The statement continued: "Even with this statement from the NTSB, KTVU accepts full responsibility for this mistake. We issued an apology later in the noon newscast, and we also apologized on our website and on our social media sites. We have a lot of good people here at KTVU Channel 2. We pride ourselves on getting it right and having the highest of standards and integrity.
"Clearly, on Friday, that didn't happen. So again, from everyone here at KTVU, we offer our sincerest apology."