A Chicago Tonight viewer e-mailed us about a story we aired Thursday night. The e-mail said: “Please do not insult my intelligence. I find it hard to believe that reporter Ash-har Quraishi just happened to be standing along a random Chicago side street as a medical rescue occurred via snowmobile. I expect more from my beloved WTTW.”
In response to the e-mail, Quraishi wanted to share the backstory behind the snowmobile rescue caught on-camera. Here it is:
We had a question about the timing of my on-camera stand-up in a piece about side street cleanup that aired on 2/4/2011. Here’s the backstory. My photographer, Chuck, and I were driving back from photographing the conditions on Lake Shore Drive when we saw an ambulance with sirens blaring, having trouble getting onto a side street. Since we were doing a piece about side street cleanup, it seemed obvious that we should photograph this.
Chuck jumped out with the camera as I circled around to find a place to stop. Obviously, if the ambulance couldn’t get in, neither would we. So, I parked a couple of blocks away and called Chuck on his cell phone. He told me there was an emergency snowmobile on the scene. So, I rushed over on foot. As I arrived, the snowmobile was heading back to the ambulance two blocks away to get a gurney for someone who looked like they had slipped on the front steps of their apartment building.
While we were waiting for the snowmobile to come back, I decided to shoot my on-camera portion. As you can see in the video below, I do it twice. The second time, I could hear the snowmobile approaching and gestured to it. As they say in the news business: timing is everything. And that’s the backstory of how we got that serendipitous shot.
Check out the videos below: the first video shows when the snowmobile rescue team first arrived on the scene, the second video shows the emergency response team in action: