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Mine Collapse; Waiting and Worried Families; New Jersey Killings; Extreme Heat Hits the Eastern U.S.

Aired August 9, 2007 - 22:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, thank you very much and likewise.
You've been reporting it. We've been following the story, of course. Lots of prayers are being said across the country, for those six miners now going into their fourth day trapped underground in a coal mine in Utah.

Are they alive? Are they hurt? Did they die when the roof came down? Well, The answers may come in the next few hours. And when they do, we're going to bring it to you, as well as a never before seen look at the rescue operation itself, as it's happening deep inside the mine.

Now, also tonight, a break in a murder case that has rocked a city already hardened by too much brutality and fear.

And you're probably familiar with exorcism from the movies. Well, tonight, we're going to show you how it's being practiced in real life and how people could be getting hurt -- even killed because of it.

We begin, though, with the latest from Utah tonight. Six men inside a mine. Crews drilling two shafts deep into a mountain, aiming for the spot where they believe the men are.

We learned tonight that the smaller of those two drills, just two and a half inches wide, may reach the target within the next few hours.

Then, engineers are going to lower a camera and listening equipment, too, in the hopes of finding the miners and learning something about their condition.

Now CNN's Gary Tuchman has been down in that mine. He and a time of CNN correspondents have been working their sources all night for us.

Gary joins us now live from the scene.

Gary, good evening.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, good evening to you. The six men are about 1,900 feet below the surface. One drill is now just 100 feet away. The other drill is 1,100 feet away. That first drill is expected to get into the mountain at about dawn tomorrow morning. The other drill, by tomorrow night. We could find out definitively if these men are alive because they will lower a camera, microphone, food and water. And particularly the bigger drill. It's eight inches in diameter. They expect to have a view of 300 yards in either direction. And we could know by tomorrow.

So as you can imagine, the families having a tough time as they've been waiting since Monday.

When we cover these mine disasters, we usually don't get close to the mine. Mine owners do not allow us to do that.

Right now, we're a mile away. We've been asking for a few days the owner of this mine, Bob Murray, to let us closer to the mine. And he decided to make what I consider a major step for journalists. He allowed us into the mine, right to the site where the workers are trying to get their brethren out. And for us, seeing this, was a remarkable experience in many ways.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): We entered the Crandall Canyon Mines with the same tunnel the six trapped workers went through.

A three-mile journey in a small truck. It would take about a half hour, in utter darkness. We passed rescue workers in their vehicles on the way to our ultimate destination.

BOB MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY CORP.: Right there is where the rescue effort is going on.

TUCHMAN: This is as far as we could go. This is where the mine collapsed. The six trapped miners are believed to be tantalizingly close.

But with tons of coal separating them from us, this was an unusual opportunity to see how much work rescue workers still have.

You're looking at the effort to drill into the coal and rock to rescue the six men. The machine is called a continuing mining vehicle. It has a spinning drum on the front of it with blades. It cuts into the coal, rock and other debris that is mixed in from the coal collapse and then deposited on the back of what's known as a shuttle car, which can transport 12 tons of coal at a time.

The coal is sent on a conveyer belt outside the mine. And the process continues over and over and over again, far below the surface of the earth.

MURRAY: Where the damage is here, we're about 2,000 feet deep.

TUCHMAN: But the process had to stop for almost two days because of seismic activity that has shaken up the mine and made it too dangerous for rescue workers.

The work to get to the miners originally began at a different point of the mine.

MURRAY: We had this cleaned up 310 feet. The machinery's still in there.

TUCHMAN: But another shift in the earth caused another partial collapse. And the cleared area filled with coal again.

(on camera): Frankly, it's very eerie standing here knowing that 2,000 feet behind me and maybe less are the six trapped miners. It's cold. It's dark. It's foreboding. A claustrophobic can never cut in here.

There's a steady wind blowing. The ceilings are low. We're 30 minutes away from the nearest exit.

In normal times it's very stressful, but right now there's a lot of tension. Nevertheless, the workers here, the rescue workers, the people who normally work in the mine, are calm because they have a job to do.

(voice-over): A reporter being allowed deep into a mine is very unusual, particularly in this situation. The mine owner says our visit had to be approved by federal authorities.

We were required to take a one-hour mining safety course before we embarked underground. And once underground, immediately came to grips with safety measures that are second-nature to miners.

Like periodically stopping to use mine telephones, to inform supervisors of your exact location. Our safety training was front and center in our minds.

When we heard a boom that shook our camera and the mine, startling workers and particularly us. The owner claimed it was another seismic event. One more he says and we have to evacuate.

MURRAY: When the coal breaks away from the rib and just kind of lays there, we call that sluffage (ph).

TUCHMAN: But there are no more.

We do see other damage to the mine walls, caused by the initial collapse. But it's the feverish work to rescue six men dead or alive, that stays in our minds.

MURRAY: This rubble could extend -- well, we know it goes 300 feet because we were up there. But it may go another 100 feet and stop and we can just walk up to the men. Or they may be right there.

TUCHMAN: Wishful thinking, perhaps. But it's keeping these rescue workers going.


O'BRIEN: Gary, you've said that being in that mine was as scary or even scarier than covering the war. What exactly did you mean? Why?

TUCHMAN (on camera): Yes. I think being in Afghanistan and Iraq there are many frightening and nerve-racking moments. But you're thinking of ways to escape or to get out of trouble when things happen, even if you're not able to, but you're thinking of that.

When you're in the mine and when we heard that boom and it was shaking and I looked in the eyes of the miners and saw fright in their eyes, I realized there's no way out of here. The nearest exit is 30 minutes away. And you realize there is absolutely nothing you can do if there's a disaster. And indeed, that's precisely what has happened in this mine. Six men had no way of getting out. And hopefully they're alive.

But if they're alive now, Soledad, you can imagine the games their mind -- the mind games that are going on right now, what they are thinking. I mean, they are taught that they will be rescued. But after days in the mine, when you don't hear anything whatsoever, and it's completely dark, and you don't have food or water possibly, you just can't imagine what they're going through.

O'BRIEN: It's got to be absolutely terrifying.

Gary Tuchman for us tonight.

Gary, thanks.

Joining us now in Washington, is Dennis O'Dell. He's a safety and health director of the United Mine Workers Union.

Mr. O'Dell, thanks for talking with us. I want to start with this two and a half inch drill that we've really been focusing on a lot.

I want to first play for you a little bit of what the company spokesman said. Listen to this.


ROB MOORE, MURRAY ENERGY CORP.: I want to caution everyone that as the two and a half inch hole gets close to hitting the void, that there's the possibility we may not learn anything conclusive. Because it may hit in an area that the miners are not able to get to.


O'BRIEN: So at this point, Mr. O'Dell, how likely is it, in fact, that that drill is going to hit in the right spot, exactly the right spot where it needs to go?

DENNIS O'DELL, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: That's something we don't know. Unfortunately, sometimes when you drill, especially at that length, sometimes luck plays a factor in where the hole actually comes out at the bottom. It's possible that they could drill right into solid coal. It's possible they could drill right into the area where it's fallen. It's possible that the drill could actually go in behind something to where you can't see anything, even if they were to drop a camera. There's just so many things that could happen. It's almost a chance of luck that you get -- you get to the point where you need to be to actually see something.

O'BRIEN: That's disappointing to hear, I've got to tell you. Now, they think that if it does indeed work, that drill could reach the cavity in the next couple hours. How soon after that will they be able to determine if in fact these six men are alive or if they've died?

O'DELL: Well, if they're fortunate enough to reach an area that -- where the miners are, and if the miners are in a safe place, they should be able to view them with a camera, make some kind of contact with them.

It's a guess, as far as how long that would take. We just don't know. A lot of it, like I said before, is on hope and prayer that things just go perfect and we end up where we need to be to be -- hopefully the miners are in a location where the hole comes through.

O'BRIEN: Let's say it does go perfect. How will they actually be able to communicate with those miners if indeed they are alive and in any condition to talk?

O'DELL: Well, once they get the hole drilled and they're able to drop the camera down and they see where the miners are, they can pull the camera -- they can actually establish communications with the miners through the hole. They can actually establish communications in that area, talk to the miners and see what they need, see if they're OK, evaluate the whole situation.

And that's what our hope is, is that they still have strength. You know, people are going to learn that miners are strong people. And more survivors. And so, if there's any hope above hope, these guys are sticking together. They're consoling one another. They're leaning on each other in these times. And they're strong men. Coal miners are rare individuals that learn to survive because of the conditions we're faced with every day.

So, you know, our prayers and hopes are with them and it's just a matter of time to see how things go.

O'BRIEN: Absolutely. No question about that.

Last question for you. We heard from the mine owner, Mr. Murray, that there are two positive signs. He says the roof is still up, it's still intact. And also the ventilation is still good. How likely is it that that's the case inside where the collapse is, too?

O'DELL: Because of the type of mining they were doing, it's a guess. We won't know unfortunately until, like I said before, if they're able to establish any kind of sight with the camera once the hole gets through. And then, of course, once that happens, you've heard him say that could be a matter of days before they can actually remove the rock and everything that is between them and where the miners might be located. O'BRIEN: We're going to be talking to the mine owner, Mr. Murray. He's actually on the mountain right now at the site of the collapse. We'll talk to him a little bit later tonight.

Mr. O'Dell, the safety and health director of the United Mine Workers Union joining us tonight.

Thanks for your time.

O'DELL: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Clearly, whatever happens next, whether it's good or whether it's bad, one thing certainly is true: By the time all of this is over, six families will have gone through a terrible ordeal.

They're waiting for the word of Kerry Allred, who has been a miner for more than 30 years. And Carlos Payan, and Manuel Sanchez. He's a 17-year mining veteran. And three others, as well.

With us tonight, CNN's Ted Rowlands. He's been reporting on these waiting families all week.

Good evening, Ted.


The agony will last another night for these families, hoping they were for an update tonight that this drill had reached the cavity. The drill slowed down considerably, though. And now will they have to wait, as Gary talked about earlier, at least until morning.

They are hoping that when they get the news, that it will be good news. They know that there's a chance that their loved ones could be dead. But they're holding on to that hope. They're going to have to hold on at least another night.

For the folks that are helping them out, they say these families are going through a horrible, horrible week of -- four days, it has been horrible. And it is really starting to take its toll.


JOHN VAZA, UTAH DEPT. OF NATURAL RESOURCES: I don't think anyone -- any of us can imagine the fear and the concern that those families have.

As I look into their faces, it's touching to me. I think there's a great deal of worry. There's a great deal of anxiety over what all this will turn out to be.

BISHOP JOHN WESTER, HUNTINGTON, UTAH: They're very sad. I think they're very tired. They look emotionally exhausted. I think they're just -- as you can imagine, this is such a difficult time. They just -- they look very, very tired.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROWLANDS: Most of the families have left the school here for the evening. There are still a number of cars, however. People milling around and spending time together.

If something does happen, they are going to be notified by phone. And then, there, of course, will be another briefing tomorrow morning. That could be the time that they find out whether their loved ones are alive or if at least that they've drilled the hole in and they are establishing communication.

If this drill does go in and there is no communication, it isn't over yet. They're just hoping they'll get that good news.

By the end of the day, they should have the bigger hole in and the larger camera. And at that point, they may have a conclusive answer as to whether their loved ones are alive or dead.

O'BRIEN: Ted, do the family members feel that the mine owners and the mine management are being helpful and forthcoming with information?

ROWLANDS: Yes. We're not hearing a lot of criticism about how this has been handled, in terms of the rescue effort. There seems to be no doubt that the mine is doing everything humanly possible to get to these miners as soon as possible.

We are hearing rumblings about the violations and the conditions possibly in the mine beforehand. But that's all conjecture about the cause of it. That's things that are going to be put on the back burner. Especially for these families. The community is maybe reacting a little bit more to those issues.

For these families, they are focused on finding out about the fate of their loved ones. And now they have another long and sleepless night, presumably, before they do get some news.

O'BRIEN: Ted Rowlands in Huntington, Utah, for us tonight.

Ted, thanks.


O'BRIEN: Well, certainly, the risks in coal mining are obvious. But believe it or not, they are even higher with some other jobs. Here's a look at the raw data.

In 2005, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fishing was the deadliest profession in America. That was followed by logging. Piloting a plane, being an iron or steelworker, and then after that, collecting trash. All those, more dangerous than mining coal.

Coming up tonight, a bit of relief in a city where too many people are killed and too many others get away with murder.

We'll hear from the mayor of Newark, New Jersey after a big break in the triple murder that terrorized his town. Also tonight, the killer heat.


O'BRIEN (voice-over): Baby, it's hot outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Water, water, water, water. Get some water. Hurry up.

O'BRIEN: Hurry up and bake. We'll show you how hot, why it's hot and how much longer you'll be roasting.

Also tonight, exorcism in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was trying to squeeze the demons out of the child?


O'BRIEN: A lilt girl's nightmare. Her grandfather's death. And where they fit in a century's old ritual that hasn't gone away. Only on 360.


O'BRIEN (on camera): An horrific crime, a dramatic arrest. Tonight, that man is behind bars, charged with the execution-style murders of three college students. He's not the only one in custody.

The case out of Newark, has received national attention. And the big break came from the hospital bed of the only survivor of the schoolyard massacre.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick has the latest for us.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day began with news of an arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That individual is a 15-year-old. A male, who, as a result of the person's age, we are not releasing the name.

FEYERICK: Police won't say if the 15-year-old pulled the trigger. But prosecutors are hoping to charge him as an adult.

The news conference quickly wrapped up when an aid alerted Newark Mayor Cory Booker of a break in the case. The key suspect, a man whose identity the mayor had just made public, was ready to surrender -- not just to anyone, but to the mayor himself. The handoff at police headquarters happened under tight security.

MAYOR CORY BOOKER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: He said nothing. We put him in handcuffs and we walked the individual into the office. I personally helped the detective to sit him down. And I left. FEYERICK: 28-year-old Jose Carranza from Peru is charged with three counts of murder, one count attempted murder, robbery and weapons offenses.

The 15-year-old faces similar charges.

Police will not say who pulled the trigger, though they continue searching for other suspects.

The murder of these three promising students has rocked this city.

(on camera): This is where the four friends came face-to-face with the shooter. The four friends had come here late Saturday to hang out, talk, listen to music. Two men, police say, were already here. But then more started to come.

The friends knew they were in trouble. One of the girls tried to run. She was shot. She managed to survive. But the other three were walked down these steps to this wall. They were lined up and shot, execution-style. The wall has now been painted over.

(voice-over): Police say the lone survivor, Natasha Aeriel, helped to identify Carranza and the 15-year-old from the picture lineup. She's now being kept around sedation, following surgery to remove a bullet in her jaw.

A fingerprint on a beer bottle and ballistic evidence found at the schoolyard also helped identify the two in custody.

BOOKER: I don't think words can describe the level of emotion I feel about this individuals and all the individuals involved and what they've done to these families. What they've done -- allegedly done.

FEYERICK: Carranza was scheduled to be in court next week to face a 31-count indictment of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor. He has been out on $150,000 bail.


O'BRIEN: Deb Feyerick is live in Newark for us tonight.

Deb, first and foremost, what are you hearing about potentially any more arrests in the case?

FEYERICK: Well, investigators are certain that there will be more arrests. They really think that they're going to wrap up this case.

There may be as many as three others who are out there.

The leads that have been developing have been very strong leads. Investigators last night were just all over the city. We expect the same happening now.

O'BRIEN: Deb Feyerick in Newark for us. Deb, thanks.

James Harvey the is father of Dashon Harvey, the 20-year-old business major who was one of the three victims murdered on Saturday night. And Mr. Harvey spoke with us earlier.


O'BRIEN: Mr. Harvey, you said that you blame the parents of America for what happened to your son. What exactly do you mean by that?

JAMES HARVEY, FATHER OF DASHON HARVEY: By that -- what I mean by that is that, if the parents of America would take their time to invest in their children's future, to spend a little quality time with their kids from time to time -- not to say every day because we all have things to do. OK? But if you nurture your child the right way, teach them right from wrong and instill good values in your child from when they coming up, it's more than likely it's a tumbleweed. It'd have positive effects in the future of motivation. A positive attitude with motivation equals success.

O'BRIEN: There are not a lot of details, sir, about what happened on that horrible night. And yet, we do know that the victims were exchanging text messages with each other.

Have the police given you any details about what exactly was in those text messages?


Only from what I read in newspapers because I let the police handle the police matter and that nature because I was just informed of what was going on with my family. That's who I had to comfort. I couldn't dwell on what the police was doing. I had to heal my family and my soul.

O'BRIEN: What do you think of the job the police are doing in the investigation so far?

HARVEY: Oh, lovely job. Lovely -- Mayor Cory Booker, Newark Police Department is doing an outstanding job. The other agencies that they were coordinating with to -- for the speedy capture of these criminals. And Natasha Aeriel. Everyone played their part. Everyone played their part in the capture of these fugitives. Even society. Even the city. People opened their eyes up to just say enough is enough. Something like this, as needless as this, has to stop. We got to come together to make it stop.

O'BRIEN: I know, sir, you went to the schoolyard to see where Dashon was killed. Why did you feel you had to go there?

HARVEY: Yes, we did.

O'BRIEN: Why? HARVEY: I wanted to feel -- to me, I wanted to retrace his last steps. To feel the pain and the anguish that he was feeling. It instilled the fear in me that he felt that night, that he was taken at gun point -- gun point to a secluded area and shot down like an animal, like -- like not he was a human being. Executed style, him and his friends. I can imagine what they felt. I can only imagine. I still can't believe it. And it's unacceptable. Period.

They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Whether they a minor, adult or not.

If the city of New Jersey has the death penalty, then they should apply. If they don't apply, I don't know what do.

O'BRIEN: James Harvey, we appreciate your time, sir. And obviously, our condolences go out to you and your family, as well. Thank you for talking with us.

HARVEY: Thank you.


O'BRIEN: Well, Mr. Harvey says he doesn't blame Newark Mayor Cory Booker for his son's murder. But the mayor is certainly under a lot of pressure, all the same, to bring the killers to justice.

You're going to hear what the mayor has to say, coming up next.

Also ahead, record-breaking heat grips the southeast and beyond. And brace yourself, it's not over yet.

Plus, we'll tell you what happened when a monster truck went out of control and hit a crowd.

It's all coming up tonight on AC 360.



BOOKER: I don't think words can describe the level of emotion I feel about this individuals and all the individuals involved and what they've done to these families.


O'BRIEN: Well, the anger was clear on Cory Booker's face today. The mayor of Newark has been under intense pressure to find the people responsible for the murders of three students. Today, he announced a pair of arrests.

And as we mentioned before the break, he personally handed over one of the suspects to police.

Mayor Booker joined me a short time ago.


O'BRIEN: Mayor Cory Booker, nice to see you. Thanks for talking to us. We appreciate it, certainly under the circumstances.

Last night, the 15-year-old was arrested. Now you have a 28- year-old suspect, Jose Carranza, who turned himself into you personally.

Can you tell me how that happened exactly?

BOOKER: It was strange. Yes. We got a call from his attorney, to my chief of staff, who quickly got me on the phone. We negotiated a spot. And his lawyer brought him to me.

It was a very bizarre -- but my focus at that point was just to get him off the streets as quickly as possible and get him into custody.

O'BRIEN: Did he say anything to you at the time?

BOOKER: You know, I -- I really had nothing to say to him. And he did not speak. I just turned him around and had my detective put cuffs on him. And then I escorted him up into a interrogation room, made sure he was sat down and that he was secure and then I left and let the police professionals do their job.

O'BRIEN: As you know, Mayor Booker, there have been reports that there are five suspects that you've been looking for. So now you have two. Does that mean -- can you confirm that you have three other people -- three other men you're looking for?

BOOKER: We don't want to be exact with the number. But there are people we are looking for. We have some names and identifications and the manhunt is on.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you about a motive. What's been found at the scene that you think illuminates why -- the why behind this crime?

BOOKER: You know, and that's why I think that this is an evil of a very serious nature because there seems to be no motivation like you would see, frankly, in other murders. It wasn't over drugs. It wasn't over some kind of drug turf. It wasn't a beef. This just seems to be a heinous, patently evil crime that was not motivated by anything the young people did, certainly. And I don't even think that they went there to rob them. I think that they went there just to hang out and drink and saw the victims come forward and decided to abuse, rob and kill them.

O'BRIEN: Natasha Aeriel who was shot in the head -- I know she's been very helpful to law enforcement. What kind of detail has she been able to provide that's really leading to some of these arrests?

BOOKER: Let me just say that I've been almost stunned and inspired by the courage of the families. And particularly Natasha, who's been very eager to be helpful, who, though she's lost her sibling, her closest friends, has been able to give us a lot of very good detail that we don't want to go too much into, because we don't want to undermine our investigation and the search for these other individuals.

But very clear detail. She's been able to identify at least one of the suspects very clearly. So, she's just become one of the key reasons why we're making such great progress on this case.

O'BRIEN: You came into office, sir, on a platform of cleaning up crime. And I know recently you were talking about a 30 percent drop in shootings, 10 percent drop in murders, really highlighting those things.

How much of a setback, is this terrible, really multiple tragedies that you've had in the city, to your crime fighting platform, frankly?

BOOKER: Well, you know, look, telling people that there's been a 30 percent drop in crime means absolutely nothing at this point. The reality is, crime is still going on. And we have to focus on solving the problem, not with incremental changes, but with dramatic changes.

So, we have a lot of work to do. And this is a defining moment for the city. The incident itself will not define us, but how we respond to it -- respond to it will define us.

O'BRIEN: Mayor Cory Booker is the mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Mr. Mayor, thanks for your time. We certainly appreciate it.


O'BRIEN: And there's lots more happening today. Erica Hill joins us now with a "360 Bulletin".


ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Soledad, we begin in De Kalb, Illinois, where a monster truck crashed into a crowd of spectators, while the driver was performing stunts in front of an auto parts store. At least nine people were injured, including a mother and her four children.

In Minneapolis, a sixth body has been found on the site of last week's bridge collapse. The victim has been identified as 4y-year-old Peter Hausmann.

The medical examiner says other additional human remains have been recovered, but no names will be released until the relatives have been notified.

And in New York, a victim of last month's steam pipe explosion has been released from the hospital. Judith Bailey was a passenger in the tow truck that got stuck in the crater. She suffered burns over 30 percent of her body. The driver of that tow truck, though, is still hospitalized with burns over 80 percent of his body.

Both have filed a lawsuit against the utility company, Consolidated Edison, claiming negligence and are seeking unspecified damages.

Awful one there.

O'BRIEN: Terrible.

HILL: Yes. Moving on to tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" You really wonder what these kids were thinking. A high school in Houston, Texas, targeted by vandals. Bad news for them, though, it was all caught on security cameras.

This is them, taking a fire hose. You just saw that. Police say they actually let water pour from several hoses for more than six hours, in all, causing about $1 million of damages. Damages so bad, the school may not be ready to reopen later this month.

And here's the real kicker. One of those two brothers police say are responsible for the mess just graduated in May. Not just any kid here, either. He was the school's star pitcher. He had plans to attend Texas College, possibly on a baseball scholarship, Soledad. But now...


HILL: ... who knows if he's facing prison time.

O'BRIEN: Want to put some money on that? No, he's not.

HILL: I'm thinking maybe no scholarship. It's just a guess.

O'BRIEN: Yes. I'm thinking maybe some prison time.

HILL: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Just a guess. That's a lot of damage. What was he thinking?

HILL: A million dollars. I would love to know.

O'BRIEN: Yes. Motive there would be very interesting.

All right, Erica, thanks a lot.


O'BRIEN: Now, here's Kiran Chetry with a look at what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING".


KIRAN CHETRY, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Tomorrow we bring you the most news in the morning, including a new plan to save kids, to keep them out of harm's way. Could watching TV help you save a child's life?

Well, the parents of missing 4-year-old Madeline McCann are getting behind a new project. We're going to talk to them and show you the new plan tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING". It all begins at 6 a.m. Eastern.

Soledad, back to you.


O'BRIEN: Up next tonight, a dark ritual that most people only know from the movies. But it's still condoned by some churches. Now, it's apparently being practiced by laymen, with some deadly consequences.


O'BRIEN (voice-over): Exorcism in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was trying to squeeze the demons out of the child?


O'BRIEN: A little girl's nightmare. Her grandfather's death. And where they fit in a century's old ritual that hasn't gone away.

Later, how a switch in time could change how we pick a president. The primary dating game, in "Raw Politics".

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would take nuclear weapons off the table.

O'BRIEN: And by the way, you'll also find out who Hillary won't nuke, if you vote her into office. But only if you stay up and stay with 360.



O'BRIEN: You certainly see lots of strange things in New York. But yesterday was, perhaps, a first. A powerful tornado swept through parts of Brooklyn, uprooting trees, destroying roof tops and leaving block after block in ruins.

The tornado's gone. But across the country, many Americans are still caught in the grips of a brutal heat wave and some very wicked weather.

CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf reports for us, tonight.


REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Across the nation, temperatures have been rising, making it feel like an oven in much of the south and Midwest. In fact, all you have to do was walk outside to know this is trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like it's about 150 degrees outside. And the humidity is pretty awful, too. WOLF: And that high humidity, combined with record-breaking temperatures, is making some people sweat and look for any relief they can find.

Yes, it's summer. But what makes this heat wave so remarkable is its scope. The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings in several states. Health officials are urging people and their pets to stay inside.

In East St. Louis, Mayor Alvin Parks is going door-to-door, warning his constituents to say inside and stay cool.

MAYOR ALVIN PARKS, EAST ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: We will not sit idly by while citizens are in the house, getting too hot.

ROBERT VALDEZ, FOOTBALL COACH: Here in Louisiana, the main thing is not X's and O's. It's overcoming the heat.

WOLF: In Baton Rouge, Coach Robert Valdez has had to come up with a new strategy for his high school football practices.

VALDEZ: My practices are scheduled around trying to get the coolest part of the day to get the most out of them.

WOLF: And he's making sure his athletes are well-hydrated. Keeping his water boy very busy.

VALDEZ: Water, water, water. Get some water, hurry up.

WOLF: The temperature isn't the only thing breaking records. Keeping air conditioners running is eating up power. The Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility, said its 8.7 million customers set an all-time peak record on Monday.

In Charleston, South Carolina, the scorching temperatures have made it tough to work, whether you're man or beast.

TOM DOYLE, PALMETTO CARRIAGE WORKS: Beginning at 90 degrees, we take each one's temperatures. At 98 degrees, we stop operations.


O'BRIEN: Reynolds is in Charleston, South Carolina, for us tonight.

Well, the most important question, I guess, Reynolds, is when is it all going to end?

WOLF: Well, the best way to answer that question is to let you know, Soledad, why this happened in the first place. And to explain that, take a look at this graphic that we have for you.

We've got high pressure that's building over parts of the country. Mainly, the eastern third. And that high pressure has a compressing affect on the atmosphere. It helps things heat up. It also pushes that Jet Stream much farther to the north, which is almost like an atmospheric fence, if you will, a barrier that keeps a lot of that cold air way up to the north in Canada. And doesn't allow that cool air to get down into the rest of the United States.

So that is the reason. As long as it stays like that, that heat will remain. It's going to stick around for a little bit.

O'BRIEN: All right.

WOLF: But one good thing is that we can expect cooler air to move in as we make our way into the weekend. We have a front that's going to move through the eastern third of the country. It is going to bring not only cooler temperatures, but also a shot of rainfall.

O'BRIEN: Which cools everything down. All right, Reynolds, thanks a lot.

WOLF: Any time.

O'BRIEN: What are you doing to -- what are you doing to beat the heat? Show us by sending us a v-mail. It's easy. You just go to, click on the link there.

If you need inspiration, check out this video, sent in by I- Reporter Jason Jones. That's his son, Jason, kite boarding in Brainerd, Minnesota.

Let's go back to updating our top story tonight. Crews have now drilled a shaft within about 100 feet of where six missing coal miners are believed to be deep inside a mountain in central Utah.

The mining company CEO, Bob Murray, has been the public face of the ordeal. Tonight it's a very tired face. We're very grateful that he's taking a little time to update us, as well.

Mr. Murray, thanks for talking to us. I know you were going to go up to the mountain, check out what was happening there and then come down to brief us. What can you tell us, what's happened in the last hour or so?

BOB MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY: Well, ma'am, I've been living here at the mine for the last four days. And actually, I just came down from the mine, having a meeting with our management and directing a rescue effort.

I'm pleased to tell you that we are down almost 1,800 feet now with the 2 1/2-inch hole. The elevation of the employees is about 1,860. Once we get down to about 1,840 feet, we must withdraw the men from the mine, because of the potential of methane when we hole into the mine.

So, we will hole in here tonight, with the 2 1/4 drill. The 8 5/8-inch drill is down 860 feet. And the underground advancement, the third prong of what we have undertaken, Soledad, to rescue these men, has advanced now about 400 feet. O'BRIEN: So, that's a lot of good news there. Now, as for time line, how soon before you think that first drill's going to hit?

MURRAY: It's a very good question. The first drill will hit some time tonight. The second drill, some time tomorrow night. The advancement underground, we will not reach those miners for perhaps six, seven days.

It makes no difference, Soledad. Because if we can cut into the cavity with the 2 1/2-inch hole, or the 8 5/8-inch hole, we can provide sustenance, communication, ventilation, anything they need to keep them alive indefinitely.

Of course, you know, our concern throughout this, is that the initial percussion of the earthquake, the seismic event and the subsequent seismic events may have instantly killed the miners then. And but it is my job, ma'am. That's in the hands of the lord. We can't control that.

But it has been my job to get access to these men as fast as we can. We've made no mistakes. Everything we've done has been in the right direction. And I believe that we have gained access as quickly as we can.

I might say one other thing, too, Soledad, that would be important to you. And that's the families. And we feel we have administered to them in the best possible way we could.

O'BRIEN: Mine company CEO, Bob Murray, who's really has been, again, the public face of this ordeal, as he remains at the mine.

Thanks very much for talking with us. And we appreciate all the updates you've been giving us throughout the day.

MURRAY: Well, I appreciate your interest. And the interest of all Americans. And I hope I can tell you that there's a very positive outcome of all this. And thank you for your concern.

O'BRIEN: We certainly hope you can tell us that, too, Mr. Murray. Thank you.

Up ahead on 360 tonight, "Raw Politics" and why you might be voting for a presidential candidate in 2007, not just 2008.


O'BRIEN: In Los Angeles tonight, political history was made, when six of the Democratic presidential candidates took part in a forum on gay issues. The debate was sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign and a local cable network.

All of the Democrats are courting gay voters, of course, though none of the front-runners is calling for the legalization of gay marriage.

Earlier today in Las Vegas, Senator Hillary Clinton addressed another sensitive issue. She was appearing before the National Association of Black Journalists, and she was asked if she felt she was black enough to win the support of African-Americans, especially with Barack Obama in the race.

Here's what she said.


CLINTON: You know, I am really thrilled to be running at a time in our history when, on a stage, you can see an African-American man, a Hispanic man, and a woman. You don't see that on the other side of the aisle when they have their debates.


O'BRIEN: That was CNN's Suzanne Malveaux who was asking that question. Well, no matter who Democrats vote for, one thing is certain: the election calendar is accelerating. And behind the time warp is "Raw Politics".

Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, just like that old song, we've got trouble with a capital "T", and that rhymes with "P", and that stands for primaries.

(voice-over) South Carolina Republicans are the latest to jump up in the primary voting calendar to January 19. The rush to lead early voting is now so intense, New Hampshire is not ruling out taking its 2008 vote this year. Maybe at Christmas.


BILL GARDNER, NEW HAMPSHIRE SECRETARY OF STATE: If we have to, we will go the year before.

FOREMAN: About half the primaries will now be before Valentine's Day.

Bring on the dancing socialists. Republicans love saying Democratic plans for universal health care means socialized medicine. But Hillary Clinton, not loving a question about that so much.

CLINTON: I have never advocated socialized medicine. And I hope all the journalists hear that loudly and clearly, because that has been a right-wing attack on me for 15 years. And...

FOREMAN: She may not love this, either. She criticized Barack Obama for saying nuclear weapons should not even be considered in the battle with terrorists in Pakistan, saying he shouldn't make such a blanket statement.

But in 2006, she made similar comments about tension with Iran.

CLINTON: I have said publicly, no option should be off the table. But I would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table.

FOREMAN: Her campaign insists the circumstances then were different.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan says Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, has not done enough to stop the war, so she's running for her San Francisco seat.


FOREMAN: She'll need it. Pelosi is hugely popular in her district.

And the congressional summer break is not all sunscreen and karaoke. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy says the White House has about ten days to start answering questions about the warrantless wire-tapping program.

(on camera) If not, contempt of Congress proceedings could kick off, like football season, in September -- Soledad.


O'BRIEN: All right, Tom, thank you.

And a quick programming note for you. We hope to bring you a report on exorcism in America. But the late news out of Utah is making that impossible tonight. We're going to try to reschedule. We'll have more on that rescue effort at the top of the hour.


O'BRIEN (voice-over): Inside the mine where six men are trapped. What rescuers are up against. And the latest where the life or death effort stands.

Also, a break in the case.

BOOKER: I don't think words can describe the level of emotion I feel about this individual and all these individuals involved and what they've done to these families.

O'BRIEN: We'll talk about the suspects in custody in a brutal triple-murder with the mayor of the troubled city where it happened. We're "Keeping Them Honest".



O'BRIEN: Just ahead, Zen and the art of crocodile care taking. A zoo that claims its crocs are as calm as babies. It's our "Shot of the Day".

First, though, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us again with a "360 News and Business Bulletin".

Hey, Erica.


HILL: Soledad, 14 suspected terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay have been designated enemy combatants. That places them in line to be charged and put on trial by the U.S. military. Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind behind the September 11 attacks, is one of them.

All were previously listed as high-value detainees.

Support for the war in Iraq is up slightly. In a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, 33 percent said they approve of the war. That's a three-point gain since June.

Boy, talk about a tough day on Wall Street. Stocks tumbling, as worries about the global credit market sparked a broad sell-off. The Dow suffering its second-worst session of the year, losing 387 points to close at 13,272.

The NASDAQ dropped 56 to close at 2,556. The S&P was off 44.

And General Motors is charging ahead in the race to bring a mass market, rechargeable, electric car to market. Today, GM says it's going to begin road testing its plug-in hybrid.

Named the Chevrolet Volt, those tests begin next spring. And the company says it's on-track to begin production by late 2010. Which sounds great, but I've always wondered, just how much would that cost you every month to plug it into your electricity?

O'BRIEN: I've got tell you, I own a Prius. I save a ton of money on gas. But if it's going to raise your electric bill.

HILL: Yes. You've got to wonder.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it could. All right. Time now for "The Shot". Erica, you have a song that goes, never smile at a crocodile. Well, apparently, there's a zoo in Taiwan that hasn't heard that song.

The zoo's claiming that the crocodiles there are super friendly, including this 25-year-old giant, who likes to have his teeth brushed.

HILL: Nice.

O'BRIEN: Look at that goo on his teeth. That's -- anyway. He apparently likes to be tickled, too. You can see there, his jaws clearly work. Take a look. That would hurt, if he actually snapped you with them.

HILL: Yes.

O'BRIEN: The guy at the zoo says the crocs are so well-behaved because the zoo plays Buddhist prayers in the park every day. That's the secret.

HILL: I've got to be honest, I'm not trusting the Buddhist prayers with this one.

O'BRIEN: But look, he's putting his hands in. The croc, not biting.

HILL: Apparently, the croc knows him.

O'BRIEN: The crocs are never fed anything that moves. See there, he's tickling him.

HILL: He does look fairly mellow.

O'BRIEN: He does. Maybe they just feed them enough that they don't eat the people who are...

HILL: That might be it.

O'BRIEN: Could be, could be, could be.

All right, Erica. Thanks a lot.

HILL: Thanks.

O'BRIEN: We want you to send us your "Shot" ideas if you see some amazing videotape. You can tell us about it at We're going to put some of your best clips right on the air.


O'BRIEN: And up next on 360, breaking news. We may know soon if six miners trapped underground are dead or alive. We've got some new details on the desperate search, coming up next.


O'BRIEN: Hi, everybody. I'm Soledad O'Brien in for Anderson Cooper tonight.

We've been following the story, lots of prayers being said across the country for six miners who are now going into their fourth day trapped underground in a coal mine in Utah.

Are they alive? Are they hurt? Did they die when the roof came down?