WGN Chicago Reports Staged Plane Crash as Real
Shooting Chicago Fire scene confuses eyewitnesses, and anchors
By Michael Malone -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/30/2012 2:13:07 PMWGN Chicago has some explaining to do after reporting live the morning of Friday, Nov. 30, on a plane crash on the South Side of the city, which turned out to be a scene being shot for NBC drama Chicago Fire.
The Chicago Tribune reports on its corporate sibling: "We are just getting word that this is being shot as part of a TV show," anchor Larry Potash told viewers.
"Are you kidding me?" said anchor Robin Baumgarten. "They might want to tell the news folks that they're doing this and shutting down King Drive. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? 29th and King Drive, it's OK. It's all for a TV show, even though you see that plane in the road."
The paper says WGN was apparently the only TV station to run with the plane crash story, though station reps note that the competition was in network shows. The assignment desk at leader WLS heard about a crash, but staffers confirmed with the fire department that it was not real.
Said News Director Greg Caputo in a statement:
"WGN News received a number of viewer phone calls and tweets about an airplane crash on King Drive. Our helicopter was close by and was the first news helicopter to arrive on the scene. Based on police radio traffic, several officers in the area were similarly alarmed that there was a plane crash. We contacted Chicago Police, Chicago Fire, and the FAA seeking information. All of those public agencies said they had no knowledge of a plane crash. But none of them said that it was a scene from a movie."
Larry Langford, a spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department, told the Tribune information about the staged accident was not widely distributed: "It looks like it didn't get filtered down to everybody."
When it was revealed to be a harmless TV scene, Potash deemed the would-be crash "a good news story."
"Less than two minutes later, while still covering the event, we learned that this was for a television show. Our anchors quickly announced that everything was all right and our irreverent morning news team quickly switched gears making fun of themselves with self-deprecating humor."
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