March 16, 2006

ABC News anchor Wooduff leaves military hospital

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Six weeks after he was gravely
wounded by a bomb blast on assignment in Iraq, ABC News anchor
Bob Woodruff was released on Thursday from a military hospital
outside Washington, the network said.

Woodruff, 44, who has been up and about, talking and joking
with family and watching the news, will continue his recovery
for the next few weeks at a private facility in the New York
City area, ABC News President David Westin said in an e-mail to
colleagues and others in the media.

After that, Woodruff is expected to go home and undergo
further rehabilitation on an out-patient basis.

"He continues to show just how strong and determined he
is," Westin said of Woodruff's recovery. "That said, we expect
months of further recuperation."

Woodruff was seriously wounded by a roadside bomb while
riding in a military patrol near Baghdad on January 29,
suffering injuries to his chest, neck, face and head. He had
remained under heavy sedation for weeks during his initial
recovery at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda,

His cameraman, Dough Vogt, who suffered less extensive
injuries in the blast, was moved to an out-patient care
facility in February.

ABC News executives have said they still hope Woodruff can
eventually return to his duties as co-anchor of the network's
weeknight "World News Tonight" broadcast with Elizabeth Vargas.

The network debuted its new two-anchor newscast format on
January 3 with Woodruff and Vargas permanently taking the place
of the late Peter Jennings, who died of lung cancer in August.

After Woodruff was injured, ABC's leading breakfast-hour
personalities, "Good Morning America" co-hosts Diane Sawyer and
Charles Gibson, took turns filling in as co-anchors with Vargas
as speculation swirled about whether one of them might be named
to permanently join the "World News Tonight" team.

During the past week, Vargas has anchored the evening
newscast alone.

Vargas raised further questions about the immediate future
of "World News Tonight" when she revealed last month that she
was expecting a baby in late summer, though she plans to stay
on the job through most of her pregnancy.