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What a strange (and sad) week!- 7 days, about 4 hours sleep per night, fixing for a major U.S news service. Hectic stuff.
It all started at 8am Saturday 8th March, when the call comes through – a commercial airliner has gone missing and a major news outlet needs ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground. The call came from Créa TV www.creatv.com boss, Othello Khanh, asking me to spring into action to assist him and the crew – who were on their way from various locations around the world.
All we knew about Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, was that it had taken off from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing, and approximately 1-2 hours after taking off, it disappeared – and most likely off the coast of Vietnam. Thankfully for our news client, we are based in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), so were in the best location to be able to provide support.
The weekend was spent watching twitter feeds, news updates, making contact with Foreign Affairs officials and preparing our local staff for what could be a very busy week – we weren’t surprised by the ‘long-hours’ to come! By Monday afternoon we had two producers, 1 camera operator, 1 sound operator and 1 technician working on the story from HCMC – a ‘fixer’ and camera operator working out of Kuala Lumpur, and a third team with ‘fixer’ and camera operator in Bangkok Thailand. The MH370 story was moving so quickly, that we had to cover all sides of the Gulf of Thailand.
Check out the initial MH370 timeline here –http://abcnews.go.com/International/timeline-missing-flight-mh370/story?id=22912595
The story and theories of MH370′s disappearance has changed so many times – I could not for the life of me, remember every detail. What has resonated with me is this – the International news crews and productions teams (the real professionals) will not release any new information, not until they have confirmed (and this being the operative word) every piece of information is indeed ‘fact’. On the other hand, we have psuedo/semi-professional journalists hearing rumours and writing whatever the hell they like. Which only adds fuel to speculative theories and creates more work for the professional journalists.
Our teams helped the news services follow many angles – In Vietnam we followed up on the search and rescue efforts, managing to get our crew and reporter on a 45 year-old Antonov 26 Cargo plane searching in the Eastern Sea (South China Sea) see the link here; In Malaysia we followed stories relating to the pilots, and covered the Malaysia Airlines and Department of Transport press conferences; and in Thailand we tracked down leads on the ‘stolen passports’ and tickets purchased by these passengers who gave more support to the hijack theory.
This production support role has continued for the past 12 days – we still have fixers working in Thailand and Malaysia – the hours have been long, the sense of urgency critical and the expectations high. What we do know is that creatv can provide all of that assurance to international news and television services during international crisis. We have a wide network and experienced staff that we can allocate to any professional productions needs.
So as the story (and search) shifts from Gulf of Thailand, Southern Vietnam to the Indian and Southern oceans, our support to our client ramps-down. We are now on standby if any further information is to come out of this region of SE Asia. Our thoughts are with the families of those missing – we hope there is closure for all soon.
Check out one of the news pieces here –