Asiana Airlines Will Not Sue KTVU Over Fake Pilot Names

Jul 17, 2013 03:04 AM EDT

Asiana Airlines announced Wednesday it would not sue a Bay Area TV station that broadcast fake and racially offensive names for the pilots involved in the plane crash in San Francisco.

The airline previously said its reputation had been damaged by KTVU-TV's Friday report, which wrongly identified the pilots names including "Captain Sum Ting Wong" and "Wi Tu Lo."

The South Korean air carrier said that KTVU-TV has already apologized for using fake names for the four pilots on board and it wants to focus on supporting passengers and families. The crash killed three and injured dozens.

In its statement, Asiana says it "has decided to not pursue legal action as a result of a public apology by KTVU for the report in question and its determination to keep all of its resources dedicated to caring for the passengers and family members of Asiana flight 214 and supporting the investigation into the cause of the accident."

Last week, an anchor for KTVU mistakenly read fabricated names on live television for the pilots of the Asiana Airlines 214. The names sounded out distress calls and curse words, were apparently been given to the station as part of an offensive prank.

KTVU said it called the National Transportation Safety Board to confirm the pilot names, and that a person at the agency did so.

The NTSB--which is investigating the July 6 crash--said a summer intern mistakenly confirmed the names, and that intern was no longer with the agency.

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“Making up Asian names or mimicking foreign accents are not innocent forms of satire,” wrote Paul Cheung and Bobby Calvan, of the Asian American Journalists Association. “Doing so demeans and hurts.”

Racial jokes around the fatal air crash “are not benign,” said Claire Jean Kim, an associate professor of political science and Asian American Studies at the University of California Irvine.

Meanwhile, a Chicago law firm also began taking steps Monday to sue aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. on behalf of 83 people who were aboard the Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed in San Francisco on July 6. There were 307 passengers and crew on board.

The court filing claims the crash might have been caused by a mechanical malfunction of the Boeing 777's auto throttle, causing it to land too low. Emergency slides and seat belts also malfunctioned, the claim states, further injuring and briefly trapping some passengers and crew in their first moments of terror.

Asiana flight 214 hit a seawall in front of a runway as it came in to land at San Francisco International Airport on July 6. The plane skidded to a stop before catching fire. Three people died in the crash: Liu Yipeng, 15, Wang Linjia, 16, and Ye Mengyuan, 16, all from China.