WMAQ Channel 5/NBC Network - "The Crash of Flight 191" (Part 1, 1979)
Here's Part 1 of continuing coverage from WMAQ Channel 5 and the NBC Network of the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 at O'Hare Field, the worst air disaster in U.S. history; this features Jim Ruddle and Jim Tilmon, with NBC News coverage from Chuck Scarborough (longtime anchor at WNBC Channel 4 in New York, having worked there nonstop since 1974), featuring Jim Cummins, Fred Briggs and Heidi Schulman. Includes:
The tail end of NewsCenter5 at 10pm with Jim Ruddle, as he's speaking with Jim Tilmon about the crash. The latter was also an American Airlines pilot as well as WMAQ weatherman, and he called the crash "a personal tragedy, as well as professional." Ruddle then says good night and leads into an NBC News Special Report that will follow.
NBC News Special Report: Flight 191 opening title sequence (theme music: "NBC Radio-TV Newspulse" by Fred Weinberg) (opening voiceover by Arthur Gary)
Anchor Chuck Scarborough recaps the story of the crash and the loss of life. He introduces a report from Jim Cummins at the crash site where the official investigation is underway; Cummins interviews Woody Driver, Vice Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, who goes on about the investigation into the crash that is unfolding. At 10:32pm, a time stamp is shown on the upper left-hand screen: "Live - 11:32 EDT."
Back at the studio, Chuck describes the trajectory of the crash as a graphic is shown first on the monitor, then in full screen, showing the timeline of what happened.
Next is a report from Fred Briggs, with aerial shots of the smoke-laden wreckage as he relates the history of the horrifying events that unfolded. Interviews from WMAQ Channel 5 reporters with Dennis Waselowski of Troy, NY, a Federal employee taking an inspection tour of the O'Hare runway from which Flight 191 took off, and therefore witnessed the crash first-hand; and with Chicago Police Officer Michael Delaney who was also on the scene at the time, are shown.
Chuck then mentions that the plane was headed for Los Angeles, and that most friends and relatives of the victims found out about the crash before they got to Los Angeles' International Airport. This leads to a report from Heidi Schulman in Los Angeles who reported on the stunned reaction from friends, relatives and family. She reports that the nine American cabin attendants were based in Los Angeles and San Diego. Lynden Mosk (a friend of one of the crash victims) is interviewed.
Chuck then introduces a segment out of WMAQ with Jim Ruddle interviewing Jim Tilmon (whose surname is misspelled "Tilman," and who is identified on-screen as "Captain, American Airlines"). Tilmon presents a model airplane and shows the angle of Flight 191 at various points from takeoff to when it crashed and exploded; and explains the doomed pilot would likely not have been aware of the plane's bad shape. [Note how off the color seems as presented here, compared with the live local newscast that started this clip.] Ruddle then signals, "back to New York," before the tape cuts out.
This aired on local Chicago TV on Friday, May 25th 1979 during the 10:28pm to 10:41pm timeframe.
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