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Official: Intern no longer at NTSB after name flap

  • Article by: MIHIR ZAVERI
  • Associated Press
  • July 15, 2013 - 7:05 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — A summer intern who confirmed erroneous and racially offensive names for the pilots of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 is no longer an intern with the National Transportation Safety Board, a government official with knowledge of the situation said Monday.

The official wasn't authorized to comment about personnel matters and spoke on condition of anonymity.

An anchor for KTVU-TV read the names on the air Friday before apologizing for the error after a break. The report was accompanied by a graphic with the phony names listed alongside a photo of the burned-out plane that crashed July 6at San Francisco International Airport, killing three people and injuring dozens.

Video of the report has spread across the Internet since it was broadcast.

The NTSB said in a statement Friday that the intern erroneously confirmed the names "outside the scope of his authority." Neither the station nor the NTSB has said where the names originated.

Asiana has said the TV report "badly damaged" the reputation of the airline and its pilots.

Asiana has decided to sue KTVU-TV to "strongly respond to its racially discriminatory report" that disparaged Asians, Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyomin said. She said the airline will likely file suit in U.S. courts.

Asiana decided not to sue the NTSB because it said it was the TV station report, not the U.S. agency, that damaged the airline's reputation. Lee did not elaborate.

NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said the agency does not discuss specific personnel matters but has taken "appropriate action to deal with the situation." She said interns in the agency's public affairs office are unpaid.

KTVU Vice President and General Manager Tom Raponi said in a statement that the station would not make any further comment because of the airline's threat of a lawsuit.

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