In 1981, two skywalks collapsed in the lobby of Kansas City’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, killing 114. At a time of increased scrutiny of the integrity of structures, Hearst’s KMBC there will air an hour-long documentary on the worst structural disaster of its time.
In 1981, two skywalks collapsed during a dance in the lobby of Kansas City’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, killing 114 people and injuring more than 200. At a time of increased scrutiny of the integrity of structures, KMBC, Hearst’s ABC affiliate there, will air an hour-long documentary on the worst structural disaster of its time.
KMBC 9 Chronicle: The Skywalk Tapes airs tonight, Tuesday, July 13, at 9 with an encore airing on co-owned CW affil KCWE Saturday, July 17, at 8 p.m. — the 40th anniversary of the disaster. After the premiere, the program is available for streaming on KMBC.com.
For the special, KMBC conducted more than a dozen interviews with survivors, victims’ families, first responders and witnesses — including KMBC reporter Micheal Mahoney, who along with his photographer, captured the only images of the immediate aftermath of the collapse. The documentary features much of this exclusive footage.
Also interviewed for the special: Mark Williams, the last man pulled out alive from the wreckage; Dalton Grant, who, as an 11-year old spent hours trapped in the rubble; Vincent Ortega, the first Kansas City police officer on the scene; and Dr. Joseph Waeckerle, the emergency physician in charge of the triage effort.
Along with stories of survival and rescue, the documentary covers the investigation into the causes of the collapse. The findings of that investigation serve as lessons for engineers and construction crews to this day.
KMBC 9 Chronicle: The Skywalk Tapes is presented by KMBC 9 News anchor and reporter Haley Harrison.
“We here at KMBC hold on to a piece of Kansas City history, and that is the video that’s included in this documentary,” Harrison says.
“We feel an obligation to share this video for posterity … and to tell the story in this way because accidents like this cannot happen again. The toll on the victims, the survivors, the first responders and this city is too great. The Hyatt skywalks collapse was preventable.”
KMBC 9 Chronicle is an ongoing series of in-depth features focused on the Kansas and Missouri region. Each special is produced by the staff of KMBC 9 News.
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KOAT, Hearst’s ABC affiliate in Albuquerque, NM has an opening for a Photographer Editor, a self-motivated individual who wants to win each day. You must be able to shoot on Sony XD Cam, GoPro, on laptop computer and iPhone, and edit in Adobe Premiere and utilize the ENG, SNG, and wireless data to feed completed work to the station. Excellent editing skills, exceptional time-management abilities, effective communication style, organization, and knowledge of Adobe Premiere, Precis, ABC and CNN platforms are critical. An excellent eye for video and the highest journalistic standards are a must. Click here for more specifics and how to apply.