WASHINGTON (AFP) - US officials apologised late on Friday for mistakenly confirming false and offensive names identifying the pilots of the Asiana flight that crashed in San Francisco last weekend, leaving three dead and scores injured.
Fox network affiliate KTVU news Channel 2 in Oakland identified the pilots in their noon broadcast Friday as "Sum Ting Wong", "Wi Tu Lo", "Ho Lee Fuk", and "Bang Ding Ow". KTVU cited the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as their source, but quickly realised the mistake and apologised.
"These names were not accurate despite an NTSB official in Washington confirming them late this morning," KTVU said.
The NTSB later apologised for the "inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed" as those of the Asiana pilots - and blamed the mistake on an intern.
"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 statement read.
The NTSB "does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media", the board said. "Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated."
The NTSB told the San Francisco Chronicle that the offensive names "originated at the media outlet", and that the intern did not realise they were offensive and was "acting in good faith and trying to be helpful".
Three people died when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on July 6 and more than 180 were injured.
In Seoul, Asiana Airlines earlier identified the pilot flying the Boeing 777 that crashed as Lee Kang-Kuk, 46.