Friday, May 30, 2008

CBS 2 News Covers Deadly Upper East Side Crane Collapse

CBS 2 News broke in at 8:25 during its regular cut-in during "The Early Show" to report news of a crane collapsing on a 20-story building on 354 East 91st Street by 1st Avenue at around 8:00 (watch the initial report here on Maurice DuBois and Kate Sullivan handled the breaking news coverage, which lasted for the rest of the morning into the noon news. Initial reports said that two people were dead but that was later revised at 9:27 to at least one dead with several others injured.'s breaking news text message alert was sent at 8:20 while the website streamed the live coverage.

Most of the pictures came from Reggie Harrison (a former NYPD cop) and Chopper 2. Sean Hennessey began reporting from the ground via phone but was later seen on camera at around 9:13 interviewing many witnesses of the collapse. Jay Dow also reported via his phone at around that time and was first seen on camera at East 91st and 2nd at 9:53. At 9:37, the first video from the scene was fed in as DuBois explained to viewers that it was difficult to get a live truck any closer. Katie McGee came on several times to talk about the traffic conditions and the bus detours. At 10:14, Chris Wragge reported from the 92nd and 2nd began interviewing witnesses and later spoke with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Magee Hickey, who said it took her and her crew nearly an hour to get from another story in Brooklyn, joined the live coverage from the ground at 10:56. Additional reporting was sourced to Tony Aiello and John Slattery.

As is often the case during breaking news coverage, the anchors spoke with politicians, experts and witnesses via the phone. Among the phone interviews were: Councilman Tony Avella, Buildings Committe - NYC Council; Jessica Lappin, (D) NYC Council - Manhattan; Bo Dietl, retired NYPD detective; Ann Marie Kross, 60 Minutes producer/witness; James Pritchett, crane collapse expert in Mobile, AL; Phillip Shiffman, lives in building/witness; Erik Dilan, Chairman of Buildings Committee - NYC Council; Mary Jo Gillis, who lives nearby and was woken up by the sound of the crash; and Ira Goldman, Red Cross spokesperson. Audio and then video of Mayor Michael Bloomberg calling the accident "unacceptable" on his weekly WOR radio show ran a few times.

At 9:51, pictures that viewer Victoria Pericon e-mailed in to came on the screen. The series of three shots showed the crane as it fell.

A new conference with Mayor Bloomberg, Governor David Paterson and Acting Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri began at 11:21. They provided some new information, including the fact that the one fatality and the two seriously injured were construction workers, and took questions from reporters.

Sullivan and DuBois signed off at the top of the hour as Don Dahler anchored CBS 2 News at Noon from the ground. He tossed to Hickey, Dow, Slattery, Wragge, Harrison in Chopper 2, and McGee in the studio with traffic updates. The station took its first break in almost four hours at 12:18. When Dahler returned 90 seconds later, he tossed to Sullivan in the studio with a brief look at the other stories making news before turning to John Elliott with the weather. Sullivan then tossed back to Dahler and then Harrison with some final comments before saying goodbye and closing just before 12:28.

Here are some snapshots of the coverage:

Updated news on this story is available at

Update: CBS 2 News broke in again at 3:00. Don Dahler, reporting from the scene, reported the news that a second victim had passed away. He also provided the identities of the two fatalities. The special report lasted just over 90 seconds. Dahler returned at 4:00 with a quick update and said that one of the victims who had died was in the taxi cab that the crane fell onto.

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