TODAY   |  July 15, 2013

Asiana Airlines looks to sue over fake names

After California’s KTVU aired offensive false names for the pilots of Asiana Flight 214 that they said were confirmed by the NTSB, Asiana Airlines is reportedly pursuing legal action. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>> developments tied to the crash of asiana 214. both the ntsb and fox affiliate in san francisco doing damage control after a hoax that misidentified the pilots. well, now that airline is planning legal action . tom costello has the latest on the story.

>> reporter: this has strained relations between the ntsb and asiana airlines . she has been in touch with her counter part in korea and asiana intends to sue a san francisco tv station for defamation and reputational damage after they went on the air with a hoax. it was during the noon newscast on friday that ktvu went on the air with what it said was breaking news. the names of the pilots on flight 214 .

>> they are captain sum ting wong. witu lo.

>> they seemed to be the victims of a hoax using racial stereotypes aimed at the pilots but how did it happen? ktv uconn firmed the name with the ntsb . they tell nbc news a summer college intern in washington answered the phone and acted outside the scope of his authority when he confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft. the ntsb has apologized.

>> we are sorry.

>> and ktvu admitted to several mistakes; first of all we never read the names out loud phonetically sounding them out and then during our phone call to the ntsb where they confirmed the spelling, we never asked them to give us their position within the agency.

>> it overshadowed two other tragic developments. the death of a third victim from the crash, a child that died on friday and confirmation that another child was run over by a responding fire engine as her body lay under the foam already sprayed on the burning plane. the coroner has not yet said if that contributed to her death.

>> there is deep public anger and resentment in korea over the matter with the fake pilot names. the ntsb has a policy of never releasing name which is makes this matter all the more troubling. the agency will be taking appropriate action today to make sure this doesn't happen again.

>> what a story. tom costello in washington. thank you.