Calif. TV station blooper says plane crash pilots are ‘Sum Ting Wong’ and ‘Wi Tu Lo’

KTVU read this list of fake names on a broadcast, claiming that they were the names of the flight crew at the helm of the 777 that crash-landed in San Francisco on July 6, 2013. (Photo: CNN)

KTVU read this list of fake names on a broadcast, claiming that they were the names of the flight crew at the helm of the 777 that crash-landed in San Francisco on July 6, 2013. (Photo: CNN)

DENVER — It was an epic failure for a California TV station when, during the noon news, KTVU claimed it had just learned the names of the four pilots aboard Asiana flight 214, which crashed Saturday.

The station ran a full-screen graphic with the names “Captain Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow.”

The four names clearly make a joke sentence, which apparently went unnoticed by the newsroom, producers and the anchor who read them out loud.

About 15 minutes after the mistake, the station corrected the record, but claimed an NTSB official had confirmed the names.

According to MediaBistro, KTVU president and general manager Tom Raponi said “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. Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again.”

The NTSB said Friday night a summer intern erroneously confirmed the names for KTVU. The agency issued this statement:

“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. 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.”