Television photojournalist Doug Vogt and ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff today were flown in a military medical transport plane from the Army hospital where they were treated in Germany to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. When they arrived in the States the two seriously injured journalists, felled by a bomb attack two days ago in Iraq, were taken to a specialty center for the rehabilitation of brain injuries at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, ABC News said tonight.
Vogt and Woodruff were seriously injured Sunday morning while reporting in Iraq during an attack and explosion while traveling with U.S. and Iraqi troops near Taji, northwest of Baghdad, ABC News and wire services said. On Monday and Tuesday ABC News quoted doctors who said that both men, while severly injured, were showing signs of improvement, and that conditions were sufficiently stable to transport them today from Germany to the Naval medical center. Vogt was awake and talking, they said, and Woodruff was showing "increasing signs of consciousness."
ABC News president David Westin issued a statement on Sunday saying that an improvised explosive device went off, and after the explosion their lead vehicle in a small convoy came under small arms fire in an apparent ambush. Westin said that despite body armor, helmets, and ballistic goggles, the two were seriously injured.
ABC News said the two journalists were then taken by helicopter to a U.S. military hospital at Camp Balad, and that they were both taken into surgery. Reuters reported that both men had head injuries. ABC News also said that Vogt has a broken shoulder in addition to shrapnel wounds to the head. After surgery and treatment the two injured journalists were evacuated to military medical facilities in Landstuhl, Germany, for continued treatment. They've been there until today, when they were moved to an air base in Ramstein, Germany, for the medical evacuation flight on a C-17 hospital plane to Andrews. Also on board the flight were injured American troops who were also being evacuated to the States for medical care.
The journalists were embedded with the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Iraq and were traveling with an Iraqi security forces in an Iraqi mechanized vehicle at the time of the explosion. An Iraqi soldier was also reported to be injured; his condition is not known.
On Sunday morning on "ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos," the show opened with a report from ABC White House correspondent Martha Raddatz who had information on the incident from military sources. Raddatz said that Vogt and Woodruff were traveling in the lead vehicle of a convoy riding with Iraqi security forces instead of in an American heavily armored Humvee, and that they were standing up in the vehicle's hatch and exposed when the bomb went off. Some reports say they may have been filming at the time.
Raddatz said both journalists had shrapnel wounds to the head. She said that after they were stabilized, they were flown by helicopter to a military hospital in Camp Balad, north of Baghdad. Stephanopoulos reported that Woodruff was still in surgery at the time that they were on the air Sunday morning in Washington.
Woodruff is married and has four children, and Vogt is married and has three daughters.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 60 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in March 2003, with 41 of those being Iraqi journalists.
Vogt, 46, is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television photojournalist from Canada with more than two decades of experience. He’s been based in Europe covering world news for the CBC and BBC, and now for ABC News. Vogt wrote an article a year ago this week for The Digital Journalist called “Village Of Lost Souls,” about his experience covering the aftermath of the Christmas tsunami in Colombo, Sri Lanka, which can be read here.
After the death of ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, Woodruff, 44, was named co-anchor of ABC News’s “World News Tonight” along with Elizabeth Vargas. The two have been co-anchoring the evening report for a little over a month, with one reporter in the studio as the other reports from the field. Woodruff’s ABC News biography says that he also contributes to “Nightline” and other ABC News programs, and covered the presidential campaign of North Carolina Senator John Edwards during the presidential primaries.
During the initial invasion of Iraq, Woodruff was embedded with the First Marine Division, and before moving to New York in 2002 he was based in ABC’s bureau in London. He was an attorney before becoming a journalist and was working in Beijing, China, at the time of the Tiananmen Square uprising and was hired by ABC as a translator. Shortly after that experience he switched careers to journalism.