Missing Air Algerie Flight: How the Morning Shows Covered It (Video)
The network morning shows were just beginning on the East Coast when news broke of another missing passenger plane, this time an Air Algerie aircraft with 116 people on board that air-traffic controllers lost contact with over Mali.
All three shows began their broadcasts with the latest on the developing story, but their coverage was fairly brief, with each show only devoting a few minutes to the disappearance.
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On Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos introduced their coverage by saying “another passenger jet disappears, this time in Africa,” before throwing to David Kerley, who reported on the latest developments while standing in front of a map in ABC News’ Washington, D.C., studio. The flight from Burkina Faso to Algeria lost contact with controllers and disappeared from radar, Kerley explained, adding that the aircraft is an MD-83 that was being operated by a Spanish company for Air Algerie.
Kerley also reported that a French weather channel is suggesting that the jetliner, on its four-hour flight, may have run into a violent thunderstorm. He then ran through the possibilities about what might have happened to the flight with Stephanopoulos, explaining that while Mali is a conflict zone with an al Qaeda affiliate operating in the country, it’s unlikely that they had access to the kind of missiles that could hit a passenger jet while it was flying at cruising altitude, something both Today and CBS This Morning also reported.
On Today, the missing plane was the show’s top story, with Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer kicking off the broadcast by talking about the flight and Lauer throwing to NBC’s aviation correspondent Tom Costello in Washington.
Costello reported that the flight left at 1:17 a.m. local time and was set to arrive at 5:10 a.m., but it disappeared from radar early in its journey. He also added that the MD-83 is an older model plane, built by McDonnell Douglas.
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The airline — which has a checkered safety record, including three significant crashes over the past 11 years — launched an emergency plan to locate the plane, Costello reported.
The Today team added that there have been no distress calls or radio transmissions from the flight that might have indicated what happened.
On CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell kicked off their broadcast with the news and turned to correspondent and CBS contributor, Debora Patta, who was tracking developments from Johannesburg.
Patta reported that before communication was lost, the plane had been told it needed to make a diversion because of poor visibility and to prevent the risk of collision with another aircraft.