Global BC celebrates 60 years: Memorable moments in the field

Over Global BC’s 60 years of reporting, we’ve been on the front lines of many major breaking stories.

A crucial aspect of that newsgathering process is having our reporters in the field. And when news goes live, the unexpected often happens.

As we celebrate 60 years of covering the news that matters to British Columbia, we’re taking a look back at some of the memorable moments captured by Global BC in the field.

From the air

One of Global BC’s key assets is our Global 1 helicopter, which has provides an important bird’s eye view of breaking news.

In some cases, we capture important images of events in progress. In others, Global has even become a part of the story.

That was the case in on June 16, 1984, when a man fell overboard from a sailboat in the Georgia Strait.

The Global News (then BCTV) chopper was able to spot the man bobbing in rough seas, helped direct the Canadian Coast Guard to rescue him and even offered to try and pluck him from the water.

The next day, helicopter pilot Steve Wright got to meet the man and shake his hand.

Another memorable live moment from the air came on April 29, 2008, when Global BC traffic reporter Kaitlyn Herbst got a tip about a police chase in progress Maple Ridge, involving a stolen five-ton truck.

Herbst stayed live on the air that morning, tracking the chase for more than an hour to its final conclusion.

It turned out a naked man had stolen the truck around 6:30 a.m., then fled police, swerving through traffic and making several U-turns along Lougheed Highway.

“A few times things seemed to get a bit dicey, like when all of a sudden there was a school bus on the highway,” Herbst recalled.

“Eventually the truck stopped and in the most shocking moment of my 13-year live TV career, the driver got out and ran across the road and was hit by a police vehicle live on the morning news.”

Herbst later learned that police had been following the chase via Global BC’s aerial coverage, rather than launching their own helicopter.

Front row seat to history

Sometimes, having good instincts allows a TV crew to be at the right place and the right time to capture a moment of history.

That was the case on March 2, 1999, when then-BCTV reporter John Daly found himself camped out in a news van in front of then-premier Glen Clark’s East Vancouver home, following a hunch.

RCMP officers were about to arrive and serve a search warrant related to allegations Clark had accepted renovation work on his home in exchange for a casino licence for his neighbour.

Earlier that day, police had raided the North Burnaby Inn, which had applied for the licence.

Global cameras rolled as police entered the home, and later, as Clark and his then-communications manager Geoff Meggs arrived.

“Good evening, we begin tonight with a BCTV news exclusive. The private residence of Premier Glen Clark has been searched by police. That’s right, the premier has been served a search warrant and for a good part of this evening, police have been poring through documents in the premier’s home. John Daly has been on this story right from the start, and breaks it for you tonight” — Ted Chernecki, opening the 11:30 p.m. newscast

Images of Clark, shot through his kitchen window, were played over and over in the month to come, and became iconic. But the then-premier declined to comment on the events the day they happened.

In the end, the scandal forced Clark to resign, though he was later cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

“In reflection, it’s very sad,” Daly said of Clark’s silence the night of the raid.

“I can probably understand that Glen and Geoff and all those guys had legal advice not to say anything…but it might have had a somewhat different outcome had Glen come out and told everybody what had happened and how cooperative he had been.”

You can read a full account of the night of the raid here.

Global BC also found itself with a front row seat to history during Vancouver’s two infamous Stanley Cup riots.

Global anchor Chris Gailus was set up live in the middle of the chaos on June 15, 2011, as dejected Canucks fans in downtown Vancouver turned to violence.

The riot caused millions of dollars in damages and led to a massive effort to single out those responsible and hold them accountable.

A report found total damage caused by the riot was just over $3.7 million. There were 112 businesses and 122 vehicles damaged, and 52 assaults were reported against civilians, police and emergency personnel.

In the end, 300 alleged rioters, including 54 youths, faced 912 charges. All but 16 of the accused pleaded guilty.

Global News cameras were also there on June 14, 1994, the first time Vancouver erupted in a hockey riot, following the Canucks’ Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers.

Between 50,000 and 70,000 people descended on downtown Vancouver, in the city’s first riot since an ill-fated Rolling Stones concert in 1972.

Close to 550 police officers were needed to quell that unrest, and up to 200 people were hurt. The incident cost the city an estimated $1.1 million dollars.

Battling the elements

Being in the field means reporters can find themselves at the mercy of the elements.

Reporter Jill Bennett’s live coverage of a 2018 snowstorm in the Fraser Valley is a prime example.

“My eyes still water when I think of that day,” said Bennett. “I got emails for a full week after from people asking if I was OK.”

Reporter Richard Zussman’s coverage of the 2018 wildfires from Prince George offers a different example.

Smoke from the fires became so thick that daytime was transformed into a virtual nightscape.

A day-to-day comparison of the conditions provided a dramatic look at how quickly, and badly things had changed.

If you listen, you can even hear the congestion in Zussman’s voice illustrating just how polluted the air was.

Good timing

When you’re in the field, sometimes good timing makes for good TV.

In July 2008, when a massive rockslide came down on the Sea to Sky highway, Global News was there to cover extensive blasting needed to render the rockface safe again.

Global BC anchor Chris Gailus was conducting a live interview with the demolitions team at the top of the News Hour at 6 p.m., when our cameras caught the blast, startling everyone on scene.

PNE hijinks

Being in the field isn’t always about hard news.

One of Global BC’s annual highlights is our participation in the Pacific National Exhibition and the fun to be had at the adjoining Playland amusement park.

Global BC anchor Sophie Lui and Squire Barnes have been on the front lines of some of those hijinks.


Blooper time

Of course, while being in the field can mean getting the best pictures, the best interviews and delivering breaking news, sometimes things go wrong.

When you’re going live and you’re in the wild, sometimes people, places and things are uncooperative.

That can lead to hiccups, some of them worthy of the blooper reel. Here’s a few that stood out to us at Global BC.

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