Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "malfunction" ...

  • WEWS-TV: Broken Trust

    In March 2018, Cleveland’s University Hospitals announced that a catastrophic failure at its fertility clinic resulted in a tank malfunction that destroyed 2,000 embryos – days after News 5 received information from a source and began digging into what happened. We found patients impacted by the failure who shared with us letters they received from the hospital, where University Hospitals claimed some eggs may be salvaged. Within weeks, however, the hospital admitted the situation was significantly worse. In fact, every single egg and embryo, 4,000 in total, was lost. As soon as the news broke of the failure, WEWS-TV understood the magnitude of this failure for the patients. The entire newsroom mobilized to uncover how this could happen and hold hospital officials accountable.
  • 60 Minutes: Flying Under the Radar

    On April 15th 2018, CBS News 60 MINUTES featured a two-part investigation into the safety record of one of the country’s most profitable airlines, Allegiant Air, a small, ultra-low-cost carrier based in Las Vegas. Over the course of seven months, correspondent Steve Kroft and his producers analyzed hundreds of federal aviation documents and interviewed pilots, mechanics and industry experts for a report that raised disturbing questions about the safety of Allegiant’s fleet. Although Allegiant flies less than 100 planes, our investigation found that over a 20-month period, the airline experienced over 100 serious mechanical problems, including mid-air engine failures, cabin depressurization, smoke in the cabin, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted take-offs. The incidents forced Allegiant pilots to declare 46 in-flight emergencies and 60 unscheduled landings. Our expert sources said this was a remarkably high number of incidents for an airline this size.
  • The LaQuan McDonald Investigation

    An investigation into a police shooting of a 17-year old. Our investigation uncovered the following: allegations that police failed to properly interview witnesses; a claim that Chicago police on the scene that night erased 86-minutes of video from surveillance cameras at a nearby Burger King; that none of the police cars on the scene recorded audio and only two of the original five squad cars recorded video; that failure to record audio was in violation of a special police order; that none of the cars on the scene reported any dash cam malfunctions; that police reports were in direct contradiction to what was seen on the video; that city emails showed top aides to the Mayor were corresponding about the video months before the Mayor claimed he was told in detail what happened. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH9t8LPofrM&feature=youtu.be
  • Spearing Cars in the Name of Safety

    Guardrails on the nation's highways are supposed to protect us. Too often, though, they have inflicted harm. Patrick G. Lee investigated how a Texas company altered its taxpayer-funded guardrail system under the government's nose, to potentially deadly effect. Months before other media, Lee exposed the potential hazard posed by Trinity Industries Inc.'s ET-Plus end terminal, a 175-pound piece of steel mounted at the ends of a guardrail. Intended to absorb the force of a crash, some of them lock up, piercing cars and their occupants. Lee recounted one would-be whistleblower's cross-country quest, starting in late 2011, to learn why these systems were spearing cars. The discovery: Trinity had modified the ET-Plus more than a half-decade earlier without telling regulators. The newer version, modified to cut manufacturing costs, was malfunctioning, several plaintiffs alleged.
  • The F-22’s Fatal Flaws

    For more than a year and a half the Brian Ross Unit investigated the potentially deadly design flaws hidden in the crown jewel of the U.S. Air Force, the F-22 Raptor, the most expensive fighter plane in history. Digital reporter Lee Ferran and editor Mark Schone produced more than 30 web reports or blogs, starting with the story of the death of a gifted pilot and mid-air scares for dozens more, and then digging into the Pentagon’s dangerous policy of letting pilots fly planes it knew were broken. The Ross team uncovered a document showing the Air Force was aware of serious design flaws in its prize plane, and its web pieces questioned whether the service valued the reputation of a troubled $79 billion weapons system more than the safety of its airmen. Part of the investigation challenged the Air Force’s conclusion that the death of F-22 pilot Capt. Jeff Haney was his own fault. The Air Force blamed Haney even though his plane suffered a catastrophic malfunction just seconds before he crashed. The online series was so powerful that both “Nightline” and “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” asked the Ross team to prepare reports for broadcast as well. On May 2, 2012, in an exclusive interview that appeared both on-air and online, Haney’s sister, Jennifer, said that she suspected the Air Force was tarnishing her brother’s memory to keep heat off the flawed plane. After the ABC News online reports about the crash, the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office announced it planned to review the Air Force’s investigation – the first major crash review by the IG in more than a decade. For years, the Air Force had also been contending with another mysterious and possibly deadly flaw in the F-22 -- one that randomly caused pilots to experience symptoms of oxygen deprivation. It wasn’t until ABC News began asking questions, however, that Defense Secretary Panetta was forced to address the issue publicly. The Air Force repeatedly declined Ferran’s on-camera interview requests, but said it was his dogged attempts that pushed the service to give press briefings on the plane’s problems. Finally, the investigation uncovered a 12-year-old internal document that revealed the Air Force had long been aware of one of the plane’s potentially deadly design flaws but had neglected to fix it. In 2012, under public scrutiny inspired by the Ross team’s reporting, the Air Force addressed the flaw, and made another adjustment designed to protect pilots. Since then it has reported no further oxygen deprivation incidents.
  • A Dangerous Shortcut

    The story details how medical device companies have benefited, and many consumers have been injured, because of a 25-year-old loophole, repeatedly expanded by Congress despite sharp criticism from health safety advocates, that allowed medical devices never tested on humans to be put directly into use. The reporters show that dozens of different devices approved through this loophole have malfunctioned over the years, injuring tens of thousands of patients. Doctors, health advocates and the General Accounting Office have called for changes to the law. But, in part because of heavy donations to members of a key House committee, the loophole remains – and some members of Congress are trying to expand it.
  • Craft had history of problems

    This same-day story notes the record of equipment defects for a DC-9 cargo plane that crashed during takeoff. A review of 32 FAA Service Difficulty Reports on the plane filed by its operator noted landing gear malfunctions, cracks and corrosion in the plane structure, and loose, cracked, stripped or frozen parts in the landing gear door, cabin and cargo doors.
  • Jail Security: The state of the art is failure.

    This investigation revealed a $4.4 million, failure -ridden security system that contributed to a nine month delay in opening the county's new jail, escalated the costs to taxpayers of building the county's jail project and put corrections officers in harm's way because of malfunctioning cell doors and misfiring alarms.
  • Firefighter Dangers

    A WTAE-TV investigation found fire departments using air tanks that were potentially dangerous; the alarm bells that are supposed to warn firefighters they're low on air had a history of malfunctioning, leading to several deaths. The story came out of a case that involved a St. Louis firefighter receiving a $6 million settlement from Mine Safety Appliances, a Pittsburgh company that's one of the leading manufacturers of fire safety equipment.
  • Nutrition Tests

    Dateline's investigation into alternative health tests revealed practitioners using unscientific tests, making false diagnoses and selling expensive nutritional supplements as the cure. To expose this dangerous practice, Dateline found a world class athlete in excellent health to go undercover. After passing a complete physical, Dateline sent the athlete to alternative medicine promoters practicing applied kinesiology, live blood cell analysis and iridology. The results of every test found the star athlete had ailments as diverse as a breast problem to a malfunctioning thyroid. Most of the practitioners were quick to offer expensive remedies.