7NEWS honored with National Murrow Award

KMGH only Denver TV station to win award

A documentary on the ambulance response to the 2008 crash of a passenger jet at Denver International Airport has earned 7NEWS another prestigious honor -- the national Edward R. Murrow Award.

The documentary, "33 Minutes to 34 Right," was honored in the category of Video Investigative Reporting and was chosen from 14 regional winning entries, both nationally and internationally.

Aired in March 2009, "33 Minutes to 34 Right" exposed a serious and, in one case deadly flaw, in Denver's ambulance responses to DIA.

When Continental Flight 1404 crashed at the airport in December 2008, the Boeing 737 burst into flames. More than 100 people were on board and several had been critically injured.

Through documents, audio recordings and sources, the CALL7 Investigators discovered it had taken the first ambulance 33 minutes to reach the crash site on Runway 34 Right.

Officials with Denver Health Medical Center -- which runs the city's ambulance corps -- had known there were issues with ambulance responses to DIA after 7NEWS had previously aired investigative reports showing the average response time to the airport was more than 15 minutes, or nearly double the national average.

Unlike other major airports in the country, DIA did not have a dedicated ambulance on site, even though more than 150,000 people a day passed through the facility either for work or travel. Records also showed there were more than 200 emergency calls to DIA in the year prior to the crash, yet at the time, the nearest ambulance was usually 12 miles away.

The national Edward R. Murrow Award is the fourth major honor received by KMGH for the documentary, hosted by Tony Kovaleski, produced by Arthur Kane and Tom Burke and edited by Jason Foster.

"33 Minutes to 34 Right" has also won the National Headliner Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and the 2010 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award -- the broadcast equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize.

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