ABC News Anchor & Photographer Showing Signs Of Improvement - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/30/06-Landstuhl, Germany

ABC News Anchor & Photographer Showing Signs Of Improvement

ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt "have shown some signs of improvement" and may be transferred to the United States as soon as Tuesday, the network's top news official said Monday.

Woodruff, the 44-year-old co-anchor of "World News Tonight," and cameraman Vogt, 46, arrived in Germany on Monday morning to receive treatment for wounds they suffered Sunday near Taji, Iraq, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

ABC News President David Westin said families of the two had met with doctors, who "will continue to monitor their condition closely," according to a news release.

"As we have known, Doug is in somewhat better condition than Bob," he said. "... They may be brought to the United States for further treatment as soon as tomorrow.

"We have a long way to go. But it appears that we may have also come some distance from yesterday."

Earlier, Col. Brian Gamble of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center said the two sustained "very significant injuries" and their condition was stable.

"They are under the care of our trauma and critical care team that we have up there, undergoing further evaluation, consultation with specialty consultation," he said. "... the next few days and weeks really will be important to determine how they do."

Landstuhl is the largest U.S. military hospital outside the United States, but Gamble said the goal was to send Woodruff and Vogt to a medical facility in the United States.

Both journalists were listed in serious but stable condition Sunday after both sustained head injuries, the network said. Woodruff also suffered shrapnel injuries to his body, and Vogt has a broken shoulder, ABC said.

ABC News producer Kate Felsen said she spoke with both men. "Doug was conscious, and I was able to reassure him that I was getting them care," she said. "I spoke to Bob, also."

The two men had been embedded with the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division. At the time of the blast, they were traveling with U.S. and Iraqi security forces in the lead of an eight-vehicle convoy of U.S. armored Humvees, ABC said.

The network said the men -- wearing helmets and body armor -- were standing, videotaping a log of their trip, in the rear hatch of the vehicle when the bomb was detonated, apparently by a hard-wire connection. The blast was followed by small-arms fire from three directions, ABC said.

An Iraqi soldier was also wounded in the attack, Iraqi officials said.

Within 37 minutes of the attack, the men had been taken by helicopter to a combat-support hospital in the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone, the network said.

There, doctors determined the men needed surgery, and they were taken -- again by helicopter -- 50 miles north of Baghdad to the U.S. military hospital in Balad. The hospital is the most technologically advanced in Iraq.

Experienced journalists

Last month, Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas were named to replace the late Peter Jennings as "World News Tonight" anchors. They started the job this month. Vargas anchored the news Sunday night.

Woodruff, an attorney and former law professor, began his career in journalism as a translator for CBS News in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he was embedded with Marines on the front lines.

Vogt has been with ABC News for 15 years and has covered global hot spots from Bosnia to Gaza to Iran.

Both men were experienced in war zones, ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz said.

The White House has offered to help "in any way we can," spokesman Trent Duffy said.

"It is terrible news, and we are praying for full and speedy recovery," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to them."

Reporting from the Iraqi war zone is a dangerous proposition. According to Reporters Without Borders, 79 journalists and assistants have been killed in Iraq since the United States invaded in March 2003. Two CNN employees -- translator Duraid Mohammad and driver Yasser Khatib -- were killed two years ago.

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