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Video shows McElhatton anchoring in a crisis

Dave McElhatton and Hank Plante

One more post about Dave McElhatton, the longtime KCBS and later KPIX anchor who died on Monday. A few years ago, KPIX posted several historic films and videos on its website, though they’re a bit hard to find. Where it says “top stories,” toggle down to “Classic KPIX.”

Here’s a link to a riveting 39-minute tape of Channel 5’s coverage of the 1989 earthquake showing McElhatton anchoring during a crisis. While he’s on the air, he rolls through aftershocks at the newsroom’s flash desk.

Above, McElhatton gets a first-hand report from Hank Plante, who tells him that he saw “people shouting ‘This is the big one.'”

Wayne Walker, Barbara Rodgers and Wendy Tokuda

During this 39-minute span, viewers see the first grainy pictures of the damaged Bay Bridge and the collapsed Nimitz Freeway. They also see in a live shot from Candlestick Park with Wayne Walker, Barbara Rodgers and Wendy Tokuda. Also on the tape are Kate Kelly and Dave Ryan.

At one point McElhatton reads a bulletin that the third-floor of Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo had collapsed. What he didn’t say is that his daughter worked at that shopping center. She wasn’t injured, but he didn’t know that at the time. A few minutes later, however, he says, “People are going to be trying to call to find out if the people they love are OK, if they survived this. And I’ve got a couple calls I can’t wait to make.”

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