A US newsreader has immediately apologised after a cringeworthy on-air gaffe in which he mistakenly declared that a coronavirus patient had died.
Bill Ritter, an anchor for New York's ABC 7, told viewers he felt "horrible" as soon as he realised the unfortunate error in his update about a young man whose coronavirus battle had already been featured on the show.
"I do want to mention one person who was singled out today by (New Jersey) Governor Murphy. That man that you're looking at right there: 26-year-old Jack Allard," Ritter said as images of a happy and healthy Allard pre-coronavirus flashed across the screen.
"We profiled him last month with a powerful story. He was in a medically-induced coma after coming down with the virus. After spending time on a ventilator and five full weeks in the hospital, the Governor today announcing that Jack has died."
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ABC7 then cut to vision of Governor Murphy announcing in a press conference that day that Jack had in fact rebounded and was "clapped out by the doctors and nurses who saved his life as he walked out of the hospital."
Woops. A very sheepish Ritter then resumed the story:
"I feel horrible. Jack is very much alive. Jack, we love you …
"Again: Jack is alive and back home. He has come home, not in the figurative sense, but in the quite literal sense. My deepest apologies for that; I was just … misread everything and I apologise but he is alive and we are grateful for that."
Awkward for Bill Ritter – but good news for Jack Allard.