WMAQ Channel 5 - NewsCenter5 - "The Crash of Flight 191 - The Day After" (Part 1, 1979)
Here's more coverage of the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 at O'Hare Field, the worst air disaster in U.S. history; this is Part 1 of a special edition of NewsCenter5 with Mike Jackson and Carol Marin (both in the studio and in field reports filed earlier in the day) from the day after the crash. Featuring Tom Korzeniowski, Rich Samuels and Jim Tilmon. Includes:
Tape starts in the middle of a report from Tom Korzeniowski at Touhy Avenue near Mount Prospect Road in Elk Grove Village, as Federal investigators coordinating seven different committees are leading off their look into the cause of the crash. FAA Administrator Langhorne Bond and NTSB Vice Chairman Elwood Driver are interviewed.
Mike Jackson goes into the course of Flight 191, accompanied by a tape report (shot in a helicopter) showing debris that fell off the plane prior to the crash.
Carol Marin mentions the main reason for why the crash was so bad was due to the sheer size of the DC-10, and introduces a live report from Rich Samuels at the crash site where he recounts the DC-10's safety record. He mentions that the doomed plane was delivered to American Airlines on February 25th 1972 and logged 19,871 hours, and that the doomed engine logged over 16,000 hours (200 on this aircraft). He mentions American was the first to fly DC-10's, and more than 270 are currently in service; he cites various statistics on its size and build. He then goes into past air disasters involving DC-10's: the November 1973 incident over Albuquerque, NM, where an engine fan assembly disintegrated 39,000 feet in the air; the March 1974 crash outside Paris; the November 1975 aborted takeoff at Kennedy; and the March 1978 Los Angeles tire blowout. He mentions that 15 tire issues were reported of DC-10's in the past six years, and concludes the report by saying that on average, most pilots would rather fly a DC-10 with one engine working than a 747 in similar conditions.
Mike then interviews Jim Tilmon in the studio to discuss the crash; Tilmon identified the debris found on the runway as rupture of fluid lines and possibly hydraulics, and shows his airplane model to explain the engine falloff. He mentions speculation he heard that hasty maintenance procedures due to a recent strike at United Airlines may have played a factor, which he disputes.
Carol then reports that besides the 272 killed on the plane, as little as one and as many as five may have been killed on the ground and two others seriously injured (46-year-old Andrew Bellavia who was critically burned and hospitalized at Loyola Medical Center, and 28-year-old Richard Maskeri who was burned but not as seriously, and being treated at Alexian Brothers Medical Center [which she incorrectly identified as St. Alexis Hospital] in Elk Grove). This leads to a report she filed where she interviewed Maskeri in his hospital bed; he recounted his account of the crash and what happened. He had driven a semi-trailer dump truck for a business whose site was lost in the crash, the Courtney-Velo Excavating Company (another employee, 41-year-old John Craig, was found dead in a company truck; it's possible he is whom Carol referred to as "presumed dead").
Mike then introduces a report he filed where he interviewed trailer park residents about their witness of the crash, and indicating they have no intention to move despite the magnitude of the crash and the close brush with death they had; Ruth Raymond, Ethel Edling and Donna Freer are interviewed.
Carol then teases a report about the grim task of identifying the bodies recovered from the doomed plane, before pausing for a break.
This aired on local Chicago TV on Saturday, May 26th 1979.
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