A local Chicago television station is poking fun at itself after reporting a plane crash and showing aerial footage of a plane that was part of a "Chicago Fire" episode sitting near a major Chicago thoroughfare.
A WGN News helicopter spotted the plane and alerted Morning News anchors Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten of the crash, transmitting video footage of the plane to the newsroom. The anchors began alerting viewers of the apparent plane crash on King Drive near 29th Street while showing the video. The pair commented on the fact there were no ambulances visible on the scene and that people did not seem overly concerned about the crash. After reporting on the crash for more than 3 minutes, the anchors pause for several seconds before Baumgarten can be heard saying "are you kidding me." Potash then told viewers:
"We are just getting word that this is being shot as part of a TV show."
The "plane crash" turned out to be a scene staged for an episode of the NBC series "Chicago Fire." The Chicago Fire Department immediately attempted to put viewers minds at ease, tweeting:
"Chicago TV News is reporting a plane down at 31 and King drive this is a filming for the NBC show Chicago Fire and is a simulation disregard"
The "Chicago Fire" production crew had alerted residents in the area of the planned filming. Wendy Mitchell, who lives in the 3100 block of Kings Drive told DNAinfo.com Chicago she was aware of the filming, saying the film crew had asked her to keep her car in the driveway for the day. They apparently did not alert the media, or residents outside the immediate area however. Fourteen-year-old student, Annyah Readus, saw the crash as she was exiting her school bus. She told DNAinfo.com Chicago:
"I thought this was going to be the terrorist's revenge for killing Osama bin Laden."
Both Baumgarten and WGN made fun of the blooper, with Baumgarten tweeting:
Sigh. RT@lashpot: #PlaneCrashFail: @WGNMorningNews reports fake plane crash as real; turns mistake into epic fun
WGN News continued to find humor in the false report, tweeting:
"The Video You Want 2 See: #PlaneCrashFail @WGNMorningNews reports fake plane crash as real, turns mistake into epic fun http://bit.ly/Yfoes0"
"RT @Groovyhoovy: MORE BREAKING NEWS on WGN Skycam 9 is over downtown covering an attack of Gorganosaurus ! http://fb.me/1pQ7Rss6m"
A viewer tweeted:
"So WGN is reporting that Lake MI is shrinking. Are they sure it isn't just being drained for an ep of "Chicago Fire?"
As Ms. Young told Digital Journal: "part of the danger of instant 'news' is that mistakes can happen. It is good to see that those mistakes can viewed with a sense of humor."