WLS Channel 7 - News Bulletin - "The Crash of Flight 191" (Part 4, 1979)
Here's Part 4 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 Fahey Flynn and Diane Allen. Includes:
News Bulletin bumper slide (voiceover by Janice Gears Kos)
Fahey Flynn has joined Diane in the Eyewitness News studio, and is leading off this part recounting on what he terms "the worst commercial air disaster in United States commercial aviation history." The monitor continues to show the smoldering remains from the point of Higgins & Elmhurst in Elk Grove Village (this part regularly alternates between studio shots and a full-screen shot of the crash site). He recounts the timeline of the doomed flight from takeoff to crash, and cites the number of casualties as ranging from 263 to 279 and as high as 290. Fahey then cites the prior worst air crash in the world as occurring in March 1977 when a Pan Am jet collided with a KLM Boeing 747 on the ground at Tenerife Airport in the Canary Islands, killing 582 persons; and in the U.S., in 1978 (on September 25th) when a PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines) plane (Flight 182) crashed (colliding with a private Cessna 172) killing 144 people (137 on the plane and 7 on the ground) in San Diego, CA.
Diane Allen then encapsulates her speaking with several eyewitnesses and their accounts, and mentions the specifics of the events leading up to the crash, beginning with the plane losing one of its engines at takeoff, leading to the wing being damaged and smoke emanating from that wing, then the plane turning, suddenly stalling and then falling to the earth on its back, with a thump, and then exploding.
Fahey explains that a helicopter is heading to the scene, and that a temporary morgue has been set up in a hangar at the airport, and all Chicago metro hospitals are on alert. He then mentions other O'Hare crashes that did not reach the magnitude of this one, including a North Central plane which went into a hangar, but explains that generally O'Hare - "the world's busiest airport" - has largely been free of the kind of serious accidents that have occurred in other parts of the world. He emphasizes that this was a single-plane disaster, and mentions the prior worst single-plane disaster as occurring on March 3rd 1974 when what he called a Turkish DC-7 (Turkish Airlines Flight 981, actually a DC-10) crashed at Ermenonville, France, just outside Paris, killing all 346 on board. He then mentions that the Flight 191 pilot has been identified as Captain Walter H. Lux of Chicago, and that there will soon be a live report from Jim Gibbons.
Diane then mentions that the doomed plane was a DC-10 with three engines, one of them in the tail of the plane. She cites the eyewitness accounts of smoke initially coming from the tail engine. Fahey then says the DC-10 is a "very safe" plane, calling it "the workhorse of the American fleet," replacing the 747 plane. He then cites the in-studio interview about the protocols for when a DC-10 is in trouble, and that this crash was unique in what happened. Diane points out that airline travel is one of the safest methods of travel, and that while crashes happen infrequently, they are the ones that constantly make the news. Fahey recounts his recent flight on a plane traveling 20,000 miles and that he felt safe, and that the most dangerous part of a flight is the trip from the airport back home. He then recounts O'Hare's sterling record and the safety record of American aviation in general, and mentions that the Flight 191 passengers were headed to Los Angeles for the Memorial Day holiday, and that it was supposed to land at 4:42pm; it was scheduled to leave at 2:45pm, but didn't leave until 3:15pm. (Notice at one point, as Fahey is speaking and a shot of the crash site is seen, a brief CG super for Diane.) He then recounts the conflicting numbers of passengers on board, from as low as 263 (the official count), to 270 and as high as 290, before going to the next commercial break.
News Bulletin bumper slide (no voiceover)
Commercial: Fayva Women's Shoes - "A Different Kind of Shoe Store"
Commercial: Chinet Paper Plates - "Super Strong"
Commercial: Kraft Barbecue Sauce - "Pour on the Snap"
Theatrical trailer for the film "The Prisoner of Zenda" starring Peter Sellers and Peter Sellers (main voiceover by ??) (ending voiceover by Janice Gears Kos)
This aired on local Chicago TV on Friday, May 25th 1979.
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