Footage of the mother of a Mount Everest avalanche victim was mistakenly used in Fox's broadcast on the South Korean ferry disaster.

Footage of the mother of a Mount Everest avalanche victim was mistakenly used in Fox's broadcast on the South Korean ferry disaster.

Fox News has admitted that it mistakenly used the wrong footage of grieving people in its coverage of the South Korean ferry disaster, which killed more than 260 people last month.

The broadcaster said it regretted the mistake, in which images of devastated people mourning the deaths of 16 Sherpa guides killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest were used in a broadcast about the South Korean ferry disaster.

Fox News had faced criticism from the Korean Cultural Centre, an auxiliary of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, which claimed the broadcaster had used "footage of random sad Asians instead of going to Korea".

People pay tribute to the victims of the sunken ferry in Seoul, South Korea.

People pay tribute to the victims of the sunken ferry in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: AP

The Mount Everest disaster, the most deadly recorded climbing accident in Everest history, occurred on April 18, two days after the South Korean ferry capsized.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Fox News executive producer David Clark confirmed the mix-up.

“The wrong video was mistakenly pulled from the international feed. We regret this error and have corrected the footage online and will address it on air, as well,” Mr Clark said.

A Fox News spokeswoman said the broadcaster was unaware of any complaints about the report, which was shown in late April.

One image used in the Fox News broadcast on April 19 about the South Korean disaster showed a grieving woman, wearing a red beanie. The same woman featured in an Associated Press photograph about the Mount Everest tragedy.

Rick Phillips, from the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles, said a Korean reporter from a Los Angeles television station first tipped him off about the Fox News footage, before other people began complaining.

After viewing the footage, Mr Phillips told the Washington Post that the mistake was obvious.

“You show that to any sort of Korean immigrant who lives in the United States, and they’ll say those aren’t Koreans,” he said.

He wrote a letter to Fox News pointing out the error.

The letter read: “[W]e strongly believe that the people in the video are not Korean and the place where the video was filmed is not in Korea as well.

"This is based not only on a strong cultural intuition about the appearance of the people but also the architecture of the buildings in the background. And we have received comments about the video from the Korean communities in the United States.

"The commonality of the remarks and complaints we have heard and read is the denial that the people in the video are not Koreans and the country in which they are in is not Korea."

Fox News faced a barrage of criticism on Twitter, where users said the mistake was "disrespectful" and "unbelievable".

IamKoream.com, a blog which reports on the Korean American experience, also claimed: "Fox News’ motto is 'fair and balanced', but it may want to add 'ignorant' and 'racially insensitive' to that self-description."