A Brief Timeline Of American TV Correspondent Kidnappings, Injuries and Deaths

By Alex Weprin Comment

NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is safe, after being kidnapped in Syria late last week and released overnight. Unfortunately, kidnappings, injuries and death are part of the job of the foreign correspondent and their crew. With stories out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt and Libya in the last few years, just about every news outlet has had at least a handful of staffers affected by violence or misfortune.

In April, 2003, NBC News correspondent David Bloom died in Iraq due to a blood clot.

In June, 2003, NBC News Soundman Jeremy Little was mortally wounded in a grenade attack in Iraq. He was treated in Landstuhl, Germany but succumbed a few days later to a post-operative infection.

In January, 2006, ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and camera operator Doug Vogt were badly injured in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded next to the vehicle they were traveling in.

In May, 2006 CBS camera operator Paul Douglas and sound technician James Brolan were killed in Iraq when the U.S. Army unit they were embedded with came under attack. CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier was seriously wounded in the attack and survived.

In August, 2006 Fox News Channel correspondent Steve Centanni and camera operator Olaf Wiig were kidnapped while reporting in Gaza. Centanni’s family would make a televised plea for their safe return, and they were eventually freed. Wiig would see another incident in Egypt in 2011 (see below).

In May, 2007 ABC News camera operator Alaa Uldeen Aziz and sound technician Saif Laith Yousuf were killed in Iraq when the car they were traveling in was ambushed.

In August, 2008 Fox News camera operator Chris Jackson was injured in Afghanistan while traveling with Oliver North.

In August, 2009 CBS News correspondent Cami McCormick was injured in Afghanistan when the vehicle she was traveling in was hit by an IED.

February 2011 saw a number of incidents, particularly in Egypt:

On February 3, 2011 CNN’s Anderson Cooper was attacked in Cairo. Neither he nor his crew were seriously injured in the incident.

On the same day, February 3, 2011, Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot and camera operator Olaf Wiig were hospitalized after being beaten by protesters in Egypt.

Later in February, CBS news correspondent Lara Logan would be beaten and sexually assaulted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

A number of other TV news reporters faced issues in Egypt as well, although none were quite as serious.

In April, 2011 photojournalist and “Restrepo” director Tim Hetherington was killed by mortar fire in Libya.

In February, 2012 New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid died while on assignment in Syria.

Also in February, 2012 journalist Marie Colvin was killed by mortar fire in Syria.

In December, 2012 NBC correspondent Richard Engel, producer Ghazi Balkiz, camera operator John Kooistra and journalist Aziz Akyavas were kidnapped in Syria. They would be freed five days later after their captors were killed in a firefight.