‘Wi Tu Lo’: TV station falls for epic-sized prank of pilots’ names

Asiana Airlines
Photo Credit WashingtonPost.com

A local Fox affiliate in San Fransisco has fallen for a racially charged practical joke and is dealing with embarrassment on an epic level as a result.

In the aftermath of the Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed on the runway at San Francisco International Airport, resulting in the tragic deaths of three young passengers, a highly insensitive prank was played on KTVU Channel 2 resulting in the station reporting what it believed to be the names of the pilots on that flight.

A co-anchor reported during the noon newscast Friday that “KTVU has just learned the names of the four pilots who were on board,” and proceeded to read the names — “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow”— while a TV graphic displayed the names next to a photo of the airplane wreckage, according to USA Today.

This is painful to watch:

As noted by Mediaite: “The mangled Asian-sounding names were, in fact, thinly-disguised expletives mocking the sentiments expressed by the crash victims and their families.”

KTVU has issued an apology on Friday after the on-air blunder, USA Today reported. “We made several mistakes when we received this information,” the apology on its website read. “KTVU accepts full responsibility for this mistake.”

The names were said to have been verified through a National Transportation Safety Board representative, who turned out to be a “summer intern.”

The NTSB also issued its apology late Friday afternoon for “inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots,” USA Today added.

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Tom Tillison


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