ABC News anchorman Bob Woodruff and his cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured in a roadside explosion in Taji, Iraq Sunday. Both are in "serious condition" and are being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Iraq, according to a statement from ABC News President David Westin.
Woodruff and Vogt sustained immediate shrapnel injuries to the head and Vogt a broken shoulder from the bomb, an improvised explosive device, or IED. Both are undergoing surgery at the U.S. military hospital in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad, according to the network. They had been embedded with the 4th Infantry Division and were traveling in a convoy with Iraqi security forces. ABC reported that Woodruff and Hogt were in the hatch of a military vehicle taping footage when an explosive went off, followed by a small arms fire.
Woodruff, who co-anchors World News Tonight, had been on assignment in Iraq, preparing to broadcast from the country this week, when the President will make his State of the Union address.
The experienced war correspondent won a DuPont Award and a Peabody Award for his ABC News overseas reporting following the Sept. 11 attacks and has covered the Iraq war in Baghdad, Najaf, Nassariya and Basra.
Vogt, a 15-year veteran at ABC News and three-time Emmy winner, also has significant experience in war reporting. He was sitting next to ABC News producer David Kaplan when Kaplan was shot and killed in Bosnia and he accompanied Woodruff to Iran earlier this month.
In an appearance on This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC News senior White House correspondent Martha Raddatz said the two took calculated risks in covering the conflict in Iraq.
"I have worked with Doug Vogt so many times. He is no hot dog. Bob Woodruff would not take risks that were — without his body armor or anything else. They are both very careful," she said.
According to ABC, Woodruff and Vogt has been traveling in a U.S. armored humvee and then transferred to the Iraqi vehicle before the bomb exploded. Both were wearing body armor, helmets and ballistic glasses at the time and were medevaced to the Green Zone for treatment and then flown to Balad for medical care.
Raddatz said the two switched to the Iraqi military forces' vehicle to more closely cover the conflict, making them a "softer target." Because training Iraqi forces is of primary importance to the U.S. military strategy, war correspondents have been embedding themselves with the Iraqi forces to "see how they live." Knowing this, Iraqi insurgents have made these forces their "primary target," she said. Woodruff and Vogt were undergoing "the best medical care you can possibly get."
Woodruff, 44, assumed the co-anchor slot at World News Tonight earlier this month. He and Vargas replaced the late Peter Jennings. Since then, ABC has often kept one anchor reporting from the studio, while dispatching the other to report from the field, as it did in sending Woodruff to Iraq. He was to have remained in Iraq through Tues., ABC said.
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