WLS Channel 7 - News Bulletin - "The Crash of Flight 191" (Part 3, 1979)
Here's Part 3 of WLS Channel 7's news coverage of the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 (a DC-10 manufactured by McDonnell-Douglas; scheduled to travel from Chicago to Los Angeles), 1/2 mile northwest of O'Hare Airport. Featuring Diane Allen and the voices of eyewitnesses Bruce Zupek, George Erich(sp?) and Craig Molstead(sp?). Includes:
News Bulletin bumper slide (voiceover by Janice Gears Kos)
Diane Allen in the newsroom, with shots of the smoldering remains shown behind her. She recounts the timeline of the events leading up to the crash, mentioning that American Airlines Flight 191 with 264 on board left O'Hare at 3:15pm on its way to Los Angeles, and as it started to turn out of its takeoff, the engine on the rear tail started to smoke, after which the plane started to stall, then began falling until it crashed and exploded, sending pieces and passengers over a very large area of O'Hare Field, just missing a nearby trailer park but hitting a hangar. Police, fire and ambulances from as far afield as Des Plaines, Mount Prospect and Elk Grove Township all converged on the scene, as did the Chicago Coast Guard, but it took some time due to rush hour, as it did WLS's cameras to get to the scene. By that time, it was evident there were no survivors. Because of this, Diane pronounces the crash the worst in American aviation history, exceeding a crash in San Diego last year where 144 were killed. The flame is still smoldering as seen throughout the piece. She mentions, again, that Elk Grove High School is being used as a temporary morgue for the casualties of the crash, and that the heat has hampered rescuers' efforts. The American Airlines concourse at O'Hare is expected to be a gathering place for victims' families.
Diane then speaks on the phone with another eyewitness, George Erich(sp?), who was at the corner of Mount Prospect Road and Touhy Avenue in Elk Grove Village, sitting on the lake, when he saw the plane passing over his car, bellowing smoke from one side before it crashed and burst into flames. George speculates that the plane was 200 feet over him, at a 45 degree angle, but didn't see any parts of the plane fly to different places from his vantage point, only the impact. He said the noise from the crash sounded like a thump.
Diane then reports that the FAA has confirmed that the crash occurred 1/2 mile from the runway, and shows a black-and-white photo of the kind of plane that crashed: an American Airlines DC-10. She points to the engine at the rear of the plane which bellowed smoke before it crashed, which the FAA attributes to either an explosion or the engine falling out of the plane. She mentions that Chicago's Resurrection Hospital is on standby to take possible survivors, of which there are no known ones. She then names other hospitals on standby: Alexian Brothers in Elk Grove Village, Lutheran General in Park Ridge and Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.
Diane then takes a call from another eyewitness, Craig Molstead(sp?), who with his friend Mark Pickley was sitting at Mount Prospect Road and Touhy Avenue directly under the runway. They saw a streamer from behind the engine (which he said was from the left) at the point the plane started to rotate from the runway, and from what they could tell there was no engine at all, having fallen from the plane; the engine had fallen out at or prior to takeoff (in Craig's words, "it looked like the leading edge of the wing had been severed or cracked"). He then says the plane climbed to about 1,000 feet before making a sharp bank to the left and falling; they lost sight at the point it crashed due to the trees.
Diane next reports on conflicting information on the exact number of people on board, some citing a figure as high as 290, but American Airlines in New York has confirmed that whatever the amount, none of them survived. She mentions State Police from the Elgin district and Des Plaines State Police, as well as from Mount Prospect and Elk Grove Village, are on standby; and that investigators from the County Medical Examiner's office, the FAA and the Coast Guard from Chicago are on the way.
News Bulletin bumper slide (no voiceover)
Commercial: Glidden Paint - Factory Sale on Spred House Paint (for $8.99 - "Slightly higher in Alaska and Hawaii - At participating dealers") for a limited time - "Paint You Can Be Loyal To"
Commercial: Chicago White Sox - "More than a Ballgame" - set to Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" - shots of fans singing along to song (main closing voiceover by ??, with audio of Harry Caray uttering his famous "Holy Cow!") (ending voiceover by Janice Gears Kos)
Commercial: Concentrated Pine-Sol Cleaner/Disinfectant with "Katie the Cleaning Lady" (1979 copyright date)
Commercial: Frozen Concentrated 100% Grapefruit Juice from Florida - with the Thibodeau family of Orlando, FL - Sponsored by Florida Grapefruit Growers
This aired on local Chicago TV on Friday, May 25th 1979.
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