The CBS newsman famous for his gripping 1975 report on the last flight out of Da Nang as the South Vietnamese city was falling died today. Bruce Dunning died at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital of injuries suffered in a fall. Rising from being a young reporter covering the Vietnam War for CBS, he became the network’s Asia bureau chief in 1989 and served in the post until his 2006 retirement. In 1979, he was one of the first American journalists to report from North Korea, and was CBS’ first reporter to be based in China when the Beijing Bureau opened two years later. But Dunning is best remembered for his riveting report on the last flight out from Da Nang in March 1975. As he narrated the scene, the camera showed hordes of desperate refugees dashing across the airport’s outskirts and tarmac before many stormed the plane. The World Airways flight had been intended to rescue women and children; instead, it was boarded most by military deserters in a wildly chaotic scene. Watch his report “Back From Da Nang” after the jump.Dunning summed it up best in midreport one voice-over: “As calm fell over the smug men who had managed to fight off friends and relatives to get on, the hardworking flight crew took a count: 268 people were on board; among them five women and two or three small children. The rest were some of the men who President Thieu said would defend Da Nang.” Dunning’s report won awards at the time and recently was named to Columbia University Journalism School’s 100 Great Stories list.
Related: R.I.P. Newsman Lew Wood