Fox News Host Anna Kooiman Criticized After Linking Disappearance of Flight QZ8501 with Pilots’ Use of Metric System

December 29, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Fox News host Anna Kooiman has drawn ridicule after appearing to link the disappearance of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 with the pilots’ use of the metric system rather than the imperial system.

Kooiman was part of a discussion on the plane, which went missing early Sunday en route to Singapore from Indonesia, on Fox.

She commented to former Federal Aviation Administration official Scott Brenner: “It’s kilometres or miles. You know, everything about their training could be similar, but different.”

“Correct,” Brenner said, noting that there’s a large reliance on automatic piloting outside of the U.S. “I think you see a large reliance on automatic pilots and the requirements that pilots use that automatic pilot more often than here in the U.S.,” he said. Many crashes are due to pilot error, leading airlines to try to take pilots out of the equation more.

“So it’s not just differences in the way that we measure things, it is a difference in the way that our pilots are actually trained,” Kooiman said.

“Is it not as safe in that part of the world? Because a lot of our viewers may be thinking international travel – is it safe, is it not safe?”

People were not happy with Kooiman’s questions. 

“Planes computerized board shows the altitude in BOTH measurements!Just like Celsius and Fahrenheit!! Are you that stupid?” one Twitter user said.

“Did #AnnaKooiman really say the reason AirAsia disappeared is because they use the metric system over the imperial system?What an idiot!” said another.

However, Kooiman later took to Twitter to defend herself.

“Of course I didn’t blame metric system,” she said. “Question in context of larger 4 hour live conversation.Blame my poor communication not intelligence.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber