Taji, Iraq: Anatomy of the Attack

ByABC News

Feb. 1, 2006 — -- Soldiers who were on patrol with ABC News co-anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt said the journalists had transferred to an Iraqi military vehicle just 10 minutes before they were seriously injured by a roadside bomb.

On Sunday, Woodruff, Vogt and their four-man team were traveling in a convoy with Iraqi security forces when they hit an improvised explosive device. Woodruff, Vogt and an Iraqi soldier were wounded in the attack.

Earlier that day, the two journalists had traveled in a patrol of six U.S. military Humvees. But when Woodruff spotted two Iraqi armored vehicles nearby, he asked the U.S. soldiers if he could join the Iraqis. The soldiers said they told Woodruff and his crew it was not a good idea but relented because they knew Woodruff was there to cover the story of the Iraqi forces.

"I knew Bob wanted to be there because he felt there was a story that he wanted told," said Maj. Bill Taylor, of the Army's 4th Infantry Division.

Woodruff and Vogt were in the first of two Iraqi armored vehicles. They climbed up into the back hatch of the vehicle to tape the story, and the U.S. soldiers could not see that they had climbed above because another Iraqi vehicle was blocking their view.

"We were moving into an area we knew to be a very hot zone, where there is a lot of insurgent activity," said Sgt. John McFarlane.

Within 10 minutes, they hit the roadside bomb.

"I heard the boom," said Maj. Michael Jason. "I saw the black cloud of smoke."

Gunfire was described as coming from everywhere, and additional U.S. forces moved in. Woodruff and Vogt were lying on top of the vehicle, badly wounded .

The Iraqi interpreter traveling with them helped pull Woodruff inside.

The interpreter said: "I was telling him, 'If you hear me, keep your eyes open, keep your eyes open. Look at me, look at me. If you hear me, answer me.' But he never answered at that moment."

Vogt was in better shape.

"When I pull him inside, he woke up," said the interpreter. "And I asked him, 'Do you hear me?' And he said, 'Yes, I hear you.'"

But it was clear that both men needed immediate help. Helicopters were guided to the site. Woodruff and Vogt were loaded into a Bradley Fighting Vehicle for the ride to the landing zone. By then, Woodruff was yelling, "Am I alive?"

Sgt. Glenn Young said: "You know, 'Am I going to die? Am I going to make it? How bad am I?' And I am telling him, 'Oh you're great. You're fine. You're OK.' "

A military investigation into the attack has so far revealed nothing out of order.

ABC News' Martha Raddatz filed this report for "World News Tonight."

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