Youngstown native covering Ukraine plane crash


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – One American is now listed among the nearly 300 people who died aboard a Malaysia Airlines plane that was brought down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

President Barack Obama identified him as Quinn Lucas Schansman. Officials said the dead included a passenger with dual U.S. and Dutch citizenship.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when it crashed Thursday. The plane was shot down by a surface to air missile, but no one has taken responsibility.

It turns out an American reporter caught in the middle of this tragedy is from Youngstown. John Wendle is a freelance cameraman and his reports have been heard on CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News, describing the crash scene near the Russian border.

“I did see part of the fuselage near the road and then spread out in the area. It’s dark here right now, so it’s difficult to see anything. I think as the situation develops, the situation will become clearer,” Wendle said.

Wendle has been covering unrest across many parts of the world for years, but his family still calls Youngstown home. They have pictures of Wendle scattered throughout their home near Mill Creek Park, from the time he was a student at Ursuline High School to something more recent.

While we were at their home on Friday, his mother, Karen, received a text message from Wendle. He said he was in Donetsk, exhausted, and having his first real meal since Wednesday.

“I’m sure that it’s natural to worry. But he’s got all the tools and he knows how to do it, so we’re confident that he is doing what he has to do,” Karen Wendle said.

John Wendle’s first experience overseas was in the Peace Corps. It was while overseas that he became a journalist.

 

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