Asiana Says KTVU Damaged Its Reputation With Offensive Broadcast

Asiana Airlines Inc. said a California television station “seriously damaged” the carrier’s reputation by broadcasting incorrect names of the pilots on its jet that crashed in San Francisco on July 6.

Asiana decided to take “strong steps” to sue KTVU-TV because the report was racially discriminating, Lee Hyo Min, a spokeswoman for the South Korean airline, said in Seoul today. The company will take legal action in the U.S., she said.

KTVU channel 2 issued an apology on July 12 after its noon newscast that misidentified the Asiana pilots. The network said it made “several mistakes” when it got the information, according to a statement on its website. Calls to the TV station in Oakland weren’t answered outside regular office hours today.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board also apologized for “inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed” as those of the pilots of the crashed jet, the Board said in a July 12 statement.

“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,” NTSB said.

Three people were killed while more than 300 survived the wreck at San Francisco International Airport, the first fatal airline accident in the U.S. since 2009. It was Seoul-based Asiana’s first crash since a Boeing Co. 747 cargo plane went down at sea in July 2011.

The Asiana Boeing 777 crashed as it struck a seawall short of a runway, slammed to the ground and spun off the tarmac. South Korean investigators plan to probe the pilots after they undergo medical checkups, the transport ministry said. The pilots returned to Seoul on July 13, it said.

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