Asiana Airlines is considering a lawsuit against the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) after it confirmed the phony and racially-charged names that were reported on Oakland news station KTVU. The airline says it might just sue the station as well.
Both organizations apologized for the error after it aired on Friday. The NTSB says the names were confirmed by a summer intern who spoke in error. But that might not be enough for the airline. Ki Won Suh, a PR rep for Asiana, said the error “seriously damaged the reputation of the four pilots and the company,” reports NBC News. The names were used as part of a report on the July 6 plane crash.
Three girls have died (one was struck by a fire truck on the ground, but it’s unclear if that’s what killed her) and 181 of 307 passengers and crew were injured when Flight 214 hit a seawall then burst into flames. Six people are still being treated in the hospital.
According to ABC News, investigators are still examining the data from the plane’s black box, so the cause of the crash has yet to be definitively determined. However, earlier last week there questions about the speed of the plane as it made its landing, with speculation that a technology failure could have caused the plane’s speed to drop to dangerous levels. Passengers and crew, including the pilots, began returning home to different parts of Asia this weekend.
“Experts said the pilots should have been monitoring the plane’s speed every few seconds, and could have manually taken control of the engines at any time,” reported the LA Times. The newspaper also reports that the pilots didn’t have very much experience landing the Boeing 777 that they were flying.
Anyone who heard the report (which seemed like everyone, judging by the way social media was saturated with the news) could immediately tell that the names were wrong. The Asian American Journalists Association also blasted the news station, basically, for being foolish.
As for the airline, while their anger is justified, to claim that the report did any more damage to their reputation than a crash, hundreds of injuries, and the aforementioned deaths might be taking the outrage a step too far. If anything, the NTSB and KTVU did damage to their own reputations, the first for not more closely monitoring an intern on something this important, and the second for being so gullible they would believe information that anyone with any sense would know was wrong.