WLS Channel 7 - News Bulletin - "The Crash of Flight 191" (Part 5, 1979)
Here's Part 5 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, Diane Allen, Hugh Hill, Joel Daly, and Jim Gibbons. Includes:
News Bulletin bumper slide (voiceover by Janice Gears Kos)
Fahey and Diane leading off this section with a "Tragedy at O'Hare" graphic behind them, followed by a map graphic of the area of the crash and then more on-the-scene footage of the smoldering remains from Higgins & Elmhurst at Elk Grove Village, as Fahey recounts the details of the crash as known as of the time of this clip (citing a list of 264 people, including 12 crew members, on board), and that there were varying eyewitness accounts. As he transitions to Diane, a voice coming from the crash site is heard, indicating that there is now audio to go with the video; and a brief shot of Hugh Hill at the crash site is seen on the screen.
Diane mentions that in her talks with eyewitnesses to the crash, the consensus is that everyone noticed smoke coming from the plane at the point of takeoff, and that one engine falling from the plane led to the crash. She then shows a photo of what the American Airlines DC-10 looks like and describes its build, and goes on to mention how different eyewitnesses saw different engines catch fire and fall from the plane.
Fahey mentions that Hugh Hill is getting ready to cover the scene, and that Jim Gibbons is on his way. He then repeats the details of the crash, citing 3:12pm as the takeoff time, and saying that so far, there were no known injuries in the adjoining trailer park area. He then brings up that he lives in a high-rise on Chicago's North Side, and thus can see O'Hare from there. Diane brings up the continuing heat from the crash site, and mentions a strike against United Airlines that complicated the Memorial Day holiday schedule, leading to even more fully booked flights. Fahey mentions that at least six people were offered to give up their seats on the doomed flight so it could take off.
Fahey introduces the first direct, on-the-scene report from Hugh Hill, who starts off with a little communications problem, including interference from another truck. He is standing at the oasis on the toll road overlooking the crash scene, and cites a number of 283 on board - 270 passengers and 13 crew members. He emphasizes that as it stands, there are no survivors. He had toured the scene and saw complete disintegration, and then recounts the details as mentioned on the other clips, mentioning how the plane fell vertically, with some witnesses citing a 90-degree angle, and a fireball after it hit the ground. He says he saw at least two trailers in the adjoining trailer park region on fire, that were started by the burning debris, and that there were no known injuries so far. He then has the cameraman (Peter ??) pan to a shot to his right of nearby traffic which had been backed up considerably due to the crash. Fire trucks and the Chicago Police Department are on the scene. He says American Airlines has set up a morgue in a hangar at O'Hare Field for what's left of the bodies for identification, and that the police investigation is under the direction of Chief Major Newman of the Sheriff's Police. He then goes back to Fahey and Diane, who are joined by Joel Daly in the studio (he'd just flown over the scene of the crash).
Fahey signals to a commercial break, but not before mentioning that area hospitals have cancelled their emergency alerts due to their being no survivors. Joel mentions he can only bring up what he observed, and then turns to a live remote of Jim Gibbons and other reporters interviewing Fire Commissioner Richard Albrecht. Albrecht mentions that there are three possible injuries, all on the ground and from the trailer park. Jim then reports that the commissioner (whose name he repeatedly mispronounces as "Albright") has been joined by Mayor Jane Byrne, and has the cameraman (Tom ??) pan over to the crash site to his left. He says there's not much there to see except debris scattered around and banks of ambulances and fire trucks, and that the area has been roped off. He then concludes his report as this part ends.
This aired on local Chicago TV on Friday, May 25th 1979.
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