January 29, 2006

ABC News journalists seriously injured in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and
camera operator Doug Vogt were seriously injured in a roadside
bombing in Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. television network said.

At the time of the blast, they were traveling with an Iraqi
Army unit in an Iraqi vehicle near Taji, near Baghdad, the
network said. After the blast, the vehicle came under small
arms fire, ABC news reported.

Both men have head and shrapnel injuries even though they
were wearing body armor, helmets and protective glasses, the
network reported. Vogt also had a broken shoulder.

"We have learned from the U.S. military and from our
producer on the scene that Bob and Doug are out of surgery and
are both in stable condition," ABC News President David Westin
said in a statement.

"We take this as good news, but the next few days will be
critical. The military plans to evacuate them to their medical
facilities in Landstuhl (Germany), probably overnight tonight,"
he said.

Woodruff and Vogt were injured by an improvised explosive
device, or IED, which insurgents often plant on roads to attack
U.S. vehicles.

ABC named Woodruff and Elizabeth on December 5 as
co-anchors to replace the late Peter Jennings on its "World
News Tonight" evening newscast. They started on January 3.

Woodruff, 44, is from Michigan and joined ABC in 1996.
Vogt, 46, an Emmy-award-winning cameraman, is Canadian and
lives in France.

"Obviously we are praying for Mr. Woodruff's and Mr. Vogt's
full and speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with
them and their families," a White house spokesman said.

Iraq remains the most dangerous place for journalists. Some
60 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led
invasion in March 2003, according to the Committee to Protect
Journalists. At least 41 of those were Iraqi, the CPJ said in a
recent report. Others say the toll is higher.

An Iraqi television cameraman was killed in clashes between
Sunni rebels and U.S. forces on Jan 24 in the insurgent
stronghold of Ramadi.

Many journalists have also been taken hostage; some have
been killed by their abductors but most have been released
unharmed. American journalist Jill Carroll was kidnapped in
Baghdad on January 7 and is still missing.

ABC is a unit of The Walt Disney Co.