Thursday, November 19, 2009

Look Up and Live

Few sights strike fear into the heart of a TV news photographer like that of a decapitated live truck. The flattened tires, broken mast, charred doors and buckled pavement; it's not the least bit ghoulish to expect a body bag in this shot. Miraculously, none were needed in Atlanta yesterday. Longtime photog Leonard Raglin and WSB reporter Tom Jones walked away with only moderate injuries after their truck's forty foot mast struck power lines carrying 115,000 volts of electricity. So HOW did this happen? Hard. To. Say. But it's undeniable that the WSBTV crew drove away withOUT lowering the mast. It's difficult to imagine an experienced operator like Raglin doing such a thing, but then again, life in a live truck can sometimes erase the hard edges of better judgement. The mind-numbing repetition of setting up and breaking down, the constant demands to be here, there and everywhere at once, the endless rub of multi-tasking. I'm not making excuses - but neither am I launching an investigation. There will be plenty of that going on in Atlanta today. I'm just thankful no one was killed and I hope that the frightening images emanating from Georgia will remind all of us that even YEARS of experience are no substitute for a studied glance upward. Say it with me: Look Up and Live.


Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the devices that used to be on some trucks where the truck engine would die if it was taken out of PARK with the mast extended? On our ENG trucks, the air pressure release will trigger & lower the mast (SLOWLY) when the van engine is started. I'd rather have the truck die/stall.

Sean Browning said...

We too have mandatory sensors that sound an alarm and deflate the mast when the truck is put into gear.
While we are on the subject, I think posting this picture is relevant:

bill said...

back in the 80's our news director sometimes drove and operated the satellite truck. Claims were it was an equipment malfunction, but many believe he drove off with the dish up, tearing it off when he went across a bridge.

glad the WSB crew was not hurt.

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