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Wildfire Burns Near Los Angeles; Amazing Survival Story

Aired October 21, 2007 - 07:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN HOST, CNN SUNDAY MORNING: Good morning, everybody. From the CNN Center here in Atlanta, Georgia, it is Sunday, October 21st. I'm Betty Nguyen.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN HOST, CNN SUNDAY MORNING: And I'm T.J. Still trying to get myself together this morning. I'm T.J. Holmes. I thank you all for being here at 7:00 a.m. here in the east, 4:00 a.m. in California, where we are getting new video of a wildfire burning near Los Angeles. Firefighters battling that blaze right now. We'll have a live update from the front lines of that fire.


JOSEPH CARVALHO, JR., (via telephone): About a quarter mile, I spotted something that I thought it was just a bunch of balloons tied together.


NGUYEN: An amazing survival story coming to us from Hawaii. This woman rescued from the ocean after 19 hours. We'll hear from the man who saved her life.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Right there. You can actually see the bullet bounce off the windshield. He's been grazed. Obviously, aware, now that things have gone horribly wrong.


HOLMES: Yeah, something is horribly awry here. This video is a surveillance video of a man trying to steal a car. It was all a set up and yes, he fell for the bait. That story ahead on this CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

NGUYEN: But we do want to start this morning with a fast growing wildfire gaining momentum just north of Los Angeles. That fire is being whipped by strong Santa Ana winds. In fact it has more than tripled in size in just the last few hours. Here is some new video coming in to CNN. We do have Stanton Florea on the phone; he's with the U.S. Forestry Service. I want to thank you for getting up very early to talk to us. How many acres have been burned so far?

STANTON FLOREA, U.S. FOREST SERVICE (via telephone): Right now, the ranch fire that we're calling it is about 500 acres. NGUYEN: Five hundred acres and I understand the Santa Ana winds are blowing anywhere between 50 and 60 miles per hour. How is that hampering your efforts?

FLOREA: Well, we've had sustained winds between 15 and 30 miles an hour with gusts as much as you've said there. That's been the primary factor that's caused this fire to spread to the south and southwest.

NGUYEN: Has it gotten close to any homes or structures?

FLOREA: We had one structure lost, which was kind of an old shed, an out building. It's not imminently threatening any homes, but we expect it to continue to spread Sunday. It could potentially threaten about 200 homes late Sunday.

NGUYEN: Really 200 homes. That's a lot of people. Have you begun any voluntary evacuations?

FLOREA: The fire is still several miles from there. There aren't any evacuations. The sun will be up here in a few hours and we'll get a better assessment from the air of exactly where the fire is at.

NGUYEN: Any injuries at this point?

FLOREA: There are no injuries. We have about 200 personnel on the ground. It's very dark out, very steep terrain. We're cautious of where we're putting our firefighters due to those high Santa Ana winds.

NGUYEN: Do you know how this fire started?

FLOREA: No, we don't. The cause is still under investigation. It is an area that burns frequently. We have fires in this area. About 14 months ago, a fire called the day fire, which locals here will remember, burned about 160,000 acres in September '06. We're using some of the bulldozer line from that fire to help us with containment efforts on this one.

NGUYEN: Hopefully this one won't get near to that when it comes to the acres that are being burned. Of course, we'll be speaking with you in the next hour. If you have any updates, obviously, we're going to want to know about those. Thanks for spending a little time with us today and updating us on the fire that is burning out in California. We do appreciate it.

FLOREA: Thank you.

HOLMES: We want to turn to another story developing overnight. Two survivors were plucked from the water in the mouth of New York Harbor after their 24-foot boat was run over by a barge. Two other people died in this collision. The Coast Guard search crews were aided by police helicopters. It took about two hours of searching the dark water to find that second survivor. Moments ago, we heard from one of the rescue divers who described this amazing scene.


DET. FRANCIS VITALI, N.Y. POLICE DIVER: All of the sudden, a hand came down and grabbed me on my shoulder, which I certainly wasn't expecting under water in the dark. Hand moved up and tried to pull me up on my head. At that point, I realized, obviously, we have a live individual in here. Put my head up and realized that there was, in fact, an air pocket that was trapped inside the boat itself. Got up into the air pocket, came face-to-face with the gentleman. He was clearly very relieved to see me, but he was obviously in a state of panic.


HOLMES: Wow. Information is still coming into us on this developing story. It happened overnight. We're going to bring you more details on that as we get them. Just a few there, those details just coming into us.

Also, want to show you some new video this morning of the aftermath of a gun battle in Baghdad, Sadr City between U.S. forces and militants. The U.S. Military says six suspects in a kidnapping ring were killed. An Iraqi official put the death toll at 13; it says women and children were among the wounded. No U.S. casualties were reported here.

Well, they're just teenagers, but already they're saving lives.

NGUYEN: That is true. This morning, a scout troop is being credited with saving the life of a Pennsylvania hiker who fell and injured herself.


JANE SCHOLL, INJURED HIKER: We were rock climbing and we got to the peak and I tripped.


NGUYEN: And when the troop found Jane Scholl, she was bleeding, disoriented and couldn't walk. So they carried her three miles to a rescue chopper. This next part well that might just amaze you.

HOLMES: They didn't know how badly she was hurt, so they made a stretcher.


ANDREW SWARTZ JR, EAGLE SCOUT: We laid two sticks out and we put the two sticks through each of on our sleeves and we made it long enough for her body and laid her down on it and we all picked her up and carried her down to where the chopper was waiting for her.

ANDY SWARTZ SR, TROOP LEADER: They did an outstanding job. I believe they actually saved the woman's life.

MEGAN GALLAGHER, VENTURER SCOUT TROOP 226: I never thought it would come this soon, so it was like, wow, I really helped someone today.

SCHOLL: They were amazing. I'm going to send them a check just so they can go out and do something fun, because they were amazing.


HOLMES: Scholl cut her eye, she has a concussion, but other than that, she's OK.

NGUYEN: It pays to go to scout school.

HOLMES: Obviously, it did. It worked out.

NGUYEN: Yes it did. Also new this morning, we want to tell you about an incredible story of survival at sea. Lillie Lou Simpson is just lucky to be alive. The 49-year-old woman was high yakking off Maui when strong winds flipped her over. She spent; get this, 19 hours stranded in the ocean with only an improvised flotation device. A charter fishing boat found her in the nick of time about a mile offshore.


JOSEPH CARVALHO, JR., STRIKE ZONE FISHING CHARTERS (via telephone): At first, my first thought was that it was just a body until I got closer and she turned around and just kind of put her hand up to signal us. She was a little disoriented. She is happy. She is definitely happy. Just real weak, real thirsty, she was hungry. We just got lucky. Everybody got lucky that we were in the right place at the right time.


NGUYEN: Yes, they were, indeed. When Simpson was pulled from the water, the boat crews say she couldn't even remember her name.

HOLMES: Georgia is asking the president to intervene in its drought crises. Georgia officials warn a major reservoir supplying water to the Atlanta area has less than a three months supply left. Governor Sonny Purdue declared a water supply emergency and asked the president to declare parts of northern Georgia a federal disaster area. Part of the problem here is that Georgia is required to release water downstream to keep endangered species of mussels and sturgeon alive.


GOV. SONNY PERDUE, GEORGIA: In a frustrating manmade disaster of federal bureaucracy. The actions of the Corps of Engineers and the Fish and Wild Life Services are not only irresponsible, I believe they're down right dangerous.


HOLMES: There are also some requirements for the water to go downstream to supply water to power plants in Florida. Well the Governor Perdue he will be here with us, he will tell us more about Georgia's drought crises, he will be here with us a little later this morning at 9:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

NGUYEN: A power outage of sorts in California. San Francisco went dark for about an hour last night. Don't worry, though it was all done on purpose. It's part of a campaign to get people to conserve energy. The lights were shut at landmarks, like City Hall and the Golden Gate Bridge, but all the streetlights stayed on for safety reasons. The power company passed out energy efficient light bulbs so everybody is getting on board it seems out there in San Francisco.

Hey you might have noticed something a little different at the bottom of your screen. There. Right there, yeah. The CNN logo in the lower left corner has turned green.

HOLMES: Yes, we're trying to help out here, as well. We're going green over the next week, covering stories that affect us all from the air we breathe to the fuel we use, it all coincides with the premier of "Planet in Peril" that is a special report from Anderson Cooper with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and "Animal Planet" Jeff Corwin, that is coming your way Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only right here on CNN.

NGUYEN: All right now, a clear win in the Louisiana governor's race. Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal netted more than 54 percent of the vote. His next closest competitor scraped up only 17 percent of the vote. No need for a runoff. Jindal is the first Indian American ever selected as a U.S. Governor.


BOBBY JINDAL, LOUISIANA GOV. -ELECT: My mom and dad came to this country in the pursuit of the American dream. And guess what happened? They found the American dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana.


NGUYEN: When he's sworn in January, Jindal will also be the youngest governor in the country.

From New Orleans to New Delhi, friends and family are savoring Bobby Jindal's win. But victory is especially sweet for Jindal himself. Four years ago he lost this race. Why does he did he win this time? Well CNN's Tony Harris has more.


TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It is a storm that defied Louisiana's future. And the signs that followed left residents yearning for change. Oddly enough, change has a familiar face in 2007.

JINDAL: We have to get it right this time. Otherwise, in our lifetime, this is it.

HARRIS: Four years ago, Republican Bobby Jindal lost his bid to Democratic Kathleen Blanco.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): After the last election, people woke up and said, wait a minute, who did we elect governor?

HARRIS: Now for the first time since hurricane Katrina, Louisiana voters are choosing a new governor. Bobby Jindal embodies the comeback kid. Twice elected to Congress, Jindal is only 36 years old. No other governor in the country is that young. He is from New Orleans, an Indian American, conservative, opposed to abortion but supports the war in Iraq. He's a far cry from Louisiana's political legacies of the past. That includes the likes of Edwin Edwards. And perhaps, just perhaps, that is what voters were looking for this time around.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): It's what the governor did now. I mean, I think that has changed about everybody's mind.

JINDAL: Mom and dad came to this country in pursuit of the American dream.

HARRIS: Tony Harris, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: Well the story here we just cannot get enough of. Let's show this face again.

NGUYEN: Look at that little one. Look at those teeth.

HOLMES: This little guy survives a devastating tornado. He's found in the middle of the debris. We talk to the family about that emotional discovery.

HILLARY ANDREW, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, everyone. I'm meteorologist Hillary Andrew. We're not talking about tornado winds, but tornado-strength winds, how about 108 miles per hour. That's in California. Santa Ana winds and when they're going stop, coming right up.

NGUYEN: And this thief thought he got away with it, but police were right on his tail. Yes, this dash cam video shows how he got caught.


HOLMES: Republican presidential hopefuls face off in Orlando, Florida tonight eight candidates still in the running, including former Tennessee senator and actor, Fred Thompson, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, of course, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Now ahead of tonight's debate, some of the candidates are meeting with GOP activist and Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

Well moving on here, you need a recap maybe before tonight's debate? Stick around for our deputy political director Paul Steinhauser; he'll join us just ahead on CNN SUNDAY MORNING with more on what to watch for this evening. Soccer moms, Nascar dads may have been factors in previous elections, but so-called values voters want to make sure they're in this particular race. A weekend poll of these mostly Christian conservatives, Mitt Romney won nearly 28 percent of the vote, but Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was just a smidge lower at 27 percent, Ron Paul was third with 15 percent and Fred Thompson came in fourth with ten percent.

NGUYEN: Well we are bringing you more news in the mornings so here is some of those quake hits for you in Pakistan a national day of mourning today for the 136 people killed in Thursday's twin bombings. Police are now questioning three people in connection to the blast.

In southern Afghanistan, national security and coalition forces killed nearly three dozen Taliban fighters in a second day of fierce fighting there. And it was another day of protests in Washington. Police kept demonstrators away from these weekends World Bank and International Monetary Fund Meetings. There were no reported arrests yesterday.

I want you to take a look at these photos now from I-reporter Bill Oliver. Do you see that? Not looking at much, are you? That's because a dust storm swept over California. He says he couldn't see more than ten feet in front of his car.

Hillary Andrews joins us now. She is in for Reynolds Wolf today. Any chance those dust storms are going to continue out west?

ANDREWS: Unfortunately, big chances that they're going to continue out west. Not only today, we're talking Monday on into Tuesday. Tuesday looks like it is going to be the worst day. As we head through your Sunday even on through Monday, we're looking at more of the central coast. It's more going to be a San Luis Obispo all the way through Santa Barbara counties. As I said before, 108 miles per hour wind gusts.

We have high pressure sitting inland right off the coastline, virtual low pressure, so relatively low pressure. So we get that very strong off-shore wind and with gravity as that wind goes down the mountains, ala Santa Ana Mountains it accelerates. So that's why we have those very fast, very hot Santa Ana winds. On the other coast, beautiful, high pressure really taking over, we have warm winds humping up into Indianapolis and also into Pittsburgh. That is what is going to keep you at 80, Chicago, right through your Sunday.

Back to you, guys.

NGUYEN: All right. Hillary thanks. We'll be checking in with you a little bit later, as well.

Well a new tool for fighting crime, a growing number of police departments are now using so-called bait cars.

HOLMES: Yes these things are designed to catch car thieves in the act. Dennis Bonds of our affiliate KING in Seattle takes us on a wild ride. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS BONDS, KING (voice over): This was the scene back in March, after a thief stole a car from Belleview Community College. Police chased the man down as he made his getaway in a police bait car. A camera hidden in the bait cars ashtray captures video of the thief at work. He finds the keys of the unlocked car on the seat and takes off and the thief made a clean getaway.

GREG GRANNIS, BELLEVUE WASHINGTON POLICE: That car starts talking to us as soon as soon as someone opens the door.

BONDS: His every move, even the fist punch in the mirror is being tracked.

GRANNIS: What he doesn't know is that they're already vectoring in the officers to come and get him.

BONDS: GPS technology tracks the suspects every move including his bad decision to drive down a dead end road and is forced to turn around. Police open fire when the man drives the car right at them.

GRANNIS: Right there. You can actually see the bullet bounce off the windshield. He's been grazed. Obviously aware, now that things have gone horribly wrong.

BOND: And about to get worse. Realizing he's not seriously hurt, the suspect is back on the run. But his getaway car is designed to be remotely shut down and the door sealed.

GRANNIS: He goes for the car door which is, of course, locked. About now, he sees the officers coming up with weapons drawn.

BONDS: Dennis Bonds, K5 News.


NGUYEN: Oh, my goodness.

HOLMES: Is he crying?

NGUYEN: I think if a bullet grazed your head, you might as well.

HOLMES: Start crying. That's the way to go.

NGUYEN: Hey while the southeast is in a severe drought, politicians are playing the blame game.

HOLMES: So whose job is it to fix the water problem in Georgia and why is it not solved yet? We will have that of course.

Plus we've got this coming up.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): When we heard him and we tore all the debris off and we found him under his mattress, it was the best feeling I've ever had.


NGUYEN: Imagine a tornado hitting your house and then not being able to find your baby. Luckily, this is a happy ending. But you will not believe how the little boy was found.


NGUYEN: Definitely some anxious moments in Long Beach, California. Police say a pipe bomb exploded at a downtown parking garage, forcing much of the area to shut down for hours and scaring people who lived nearby.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I was in the restaurant and all of a sudden everything just --

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): The tables shook. We're sitting down and we're just talking and the table and our seats were trembling a little. And everyone was like, what is that? What is that?


NGUYEN: Police say no one was injured and no vehicles were damaged.


NICOLE OPPERMAN, MOTHER: I am -- I am grateful. I am very, very grateful. I don't want to let him go. I don't want to let either one of them go.


HOLMES: That is Nicole Opperman there, a Michigan mother describing here on CNN yesterday the relief of finding her baby alive after the family's home was hit by a tornado. It's the story everybody is calling a miracle.


HOLMES (voice over): There is no rational way to explain why this 14-month-old is alive when you see what's left of his family's house and his bedroom after a tornado ripped it to sled shreds.

JOE SOYRING JR, FATHER: Somehow, the crib and he got sucked out of the house.

HOLMES: Out of the house. As in one second he was asleep in his crib and the next second, this baby is outside, literally in the middle of a roaring twister.

OPPERMAN: I just started screaming and Makayla actually came out and I couldn't find Blake. HOLMES: Couldn't find him because he had been tossed like a rag doll or tossed like a tiny 1-year-old. When the storm passed, where is little Blake?

SOYRING: It was very scary. I try not to think of the worst, but I didn't know if the tornado had taken him, where he could have possibly ended up because, you know, it just -- it tore my heart out.

HOLMES: Back to the scene of the disaster, Blake's frantic family, his neighbors in a panic, combing the wreckage for any sound, any movement, any sign. Then, they heard it from beneath a tornado- tossed mattress.

SOYRING: It was just kind of a whimper because he actually had a cord wrapped around his neck probably about four times. And it was kind of just, you know where he couldn't really cry or scream as loud as he probably wanted to. Once we got the mattress off and seen that, we hurried up and unwound the cord from his neck and took him to other neighbor's house.

HOLMES: Little Blake Opperman, a little bumpy, a little grumpy, but alive, more than that he is pretty much unhurt. Can't say the family for the family's house, it is gone, all the possessions gone. But those are replaceable things. Young Blake, tough as nails Blake irreplaceable.


NGUYEN: He is just so precious.

HOLMES: And they said yesterday it's currently in his character to be a daredevil and survive.

NGUYEN: And you said the legend of Blake continues, right?

HOLMES: The legend of Blake continues to grow.

NGUYEN: Well hopefully it doesn't get anymore dangerous. Take it easy, Blake.

Hey you can always find a few sharks prowling around at night, right?

HOLMES: Yeah. Some people say real sharks do not belong in a nightclub.

Plus, Hillary Andrews is here for us in for Reynolds. Good morning to you, ma'am.

ANDREWS: Good morning. And I have some great news for some of you. Alabama, Mississippi, you'll love this forecast. We have some drought relief on the way. Georgia, you'll have to wait until Tuesday. I'll have the complete forecast coming up next.

JOSH LEVS, CNN DOT COM DESK: All right. We'll keep hanging in here over in Georgia. How did this drought turn into the story of a federal bureaucratic nightmare? This is what we're going to get to the bottom of today. What two different federal agencies are saying and why Georgia's governor is so frustrated. That is all coming up right here on CNN the most trusted name in news.


HOLMES: Hello again, and welcome back, everybody. I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Yes, good morning, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. want to give you some "Quick Hits" right now to get your morning started.

Hot, dry Santa Ana winds are pushing this fast-moving wildfire through hills of North Los Angeles. Now, no evacuations just yet, but just minutes ago, a fire official told us the 500-acre fire is expected to spread and could threaten about 200 homes a little bit later today.

Let's take you to New York Harbor, two people were killed last night when a 26-foot boat got mixed up with a tow cable, between a tow boat and a barge. Two others were rescued, one of the survivors was pulled from the sunken boat by a police diver.

Louisiana has chosen its next governor. Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal avoided a run off by winning a clear majority. Jindal, who is just 36 years old, will be the country's youngest governor when he takes office -- T.J.

HOLMES: Well, Betty, it's not exactly the thrilla in Manila, but one candidate still needs to prove he's a heavyweight in tonight's GOP debate in Florida. And our CNN deputy political director and heavyweight, Paul Steinhauser, he joins us now live from Washington with the scoop.

Good morning to you, sir.


You are absolutely right, that candidate is Fred Thompson. Tonight, it will be his second debate since he formally jumped into the White House last month. I think tonight expectations will be a little higher at the debate.


FRED THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president of the United States, no legislation will pass my desk that funds or supports this procedure without my veto.

STEINHAUSER: Fred Thompson, reaching out to Christian conservative voters Friday at the Value Voters Summit, here in the nation's capital. But the former senator of Tennessee came in a disappointing fourth in a straw poll of so-called value voters and our most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showed Thompson at 19 percent nationally, down 8 points since last month. WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: The polls have not been terrific for him. He came in an embarrassing fourth in the straw poll of values voters. So, he has to do something to jump start his campaign. He has a lot on the line in this debate. He's got to come in with a stronger performance than he did in the first debate.

STEINHAUSER: The Thompson campaign says they expect to see their candidate more engaged at tonight's debate. They say Thompson will continue to show he's the true conservative in the race, especially compared to Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. The Republican front- runner in the national polls and the front-runner in the early crucial presidential contest states of Iowa and New Hampshire tangled in the last debate.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I brought taxes down by 17 percent. Under him, taxes went up 11 percent, per capita. I lead, he lagged.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's baloney. Mayor, you have to check your facts. I did not increase taxes in Massachusetts.


STEINHAUSER: T.J., tonight at the debate, expect a little more of Romney and Giuliani going at each other. These guys, there is so much on the line for them. Also expect maybe another good performance for McCain. Huckabee is riding high after yesterday's vote. So, it's going to be exciting.

HOLMES: Yeah, Romney, Giuliani are obviously trying to make this a two-man race. And they're going after each other. We know out there on the political trail the best political team on television is not rolling around in the Greyhound. You are all rolling big time in the Election Express. So, tell us where the Election Express is going to be pulling up to next time.

STEINHAUSER: I've good news. It's coming your way. We're going to get it down South. We're going to get it down to Atlanta, Georgia, this week.

HOLMES: All right.

STEINHAUSER: Then it is going to go down to Florida. Then, hey, it's headed out West, Iowa and most importantly, it's going to be out in Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, my friend, November 15. Then down to Florida for the YouTube debate later in the month, November 28. So it will be a full month in November, definitely.

HOLMES: We know you have some pull, so please, let me get on that bus before you head out to Las Vegas. I would much appreciate it.


HOLMES: We appreciate you now, and we're going to talk to you again in our 9 o'clock hour. So, we'll see you again soon.

STEINHAUSER: You've got it, T.J.

HOLMES: All right, Betty.

NGUYEN: Just like T.J., always trying to get a free ride to somewhere.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to go to Vegas, too. We all want that.

NGUYEN: Hey, let's talk about the politics of water now.

LEVS: Yes.

NGUYEN: Because drought conditions across parts of the South are forcing people to take a closer look at where their water is going. And CNN's Josh Levs is here with me, "Keeping Them Honest". This is a big issue, especially here in Georgia.

LEVS: Right, because, you know, we live here. I was hearing the governor talk yesterday and he was getting --

NGUYEN: He was mad.

LEVS: He was really furious, it really caught a lot of people off guard to some extent and some of it had to do with politics. One thing we wanted to look at is what this bureaucracy -- it's about what is it that making him so upset. So, here you go, the story of the bureaucracy affecting this water situation.


LEVS (voice over): The descriptions are frightening.

GOV. SONNY PERDUE (R), GEORGIA: Drought is a natural disaster and we're experiencing the single-worst drought in north Georgia's history.

LEVS: How bad is it? This pole at Lake Alatoona (ph) is supposed to be a buoy. These before and after images show how Lake Lanier has changed. It's the biggest source of drinking water in north Georgia. State officials estimate the lake has about three months of readily available drinking water left. Georgia's governor says this isn't just a story of natural disaster.

PERDUE: We are also mired in a frustrating manmade disaster of federal bureaucracy. The actions of the Corps of Engineers and the Fish & Wildlife Services are not only irresponsible, I believe they're down right dangerous.

LEVS: Why? What are those agencies doing? Some of Georgia's water flows to Alabama and Florida, where it helps cool power plants, and helps keep alive fresh water mussels and sturgeon, protected under the Endangered Species Act. Georgia says 3.2 billion gallons leave the state each day. JONATHAN DAVIS, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: And we've been legally required to make those releases and we've been doing those.

LEVS: But Georgia officials say the court can legally cut back on those releases. The state points out that the Fish & Wildlife Service says the Corps operates the reservoir by it's own operating plans. And that the Endangered Species Act allows flexibility and expedited action in a drought. But so far, no change.

So, Georgia's Republican governor is calling on his friends to pay him back for some of his political support.

PERDUE: We need the president to cut through the tangle of a necessary bureaucracy to manage our resources prudently.


LEVS: And the governor says he also learned lessons from Hurricane Katrina. That the state needs to take action well before a potential disaster actually arrives in order to make sure, Betty that the necessary resources are there if it happens.

NGUYEN: All right. So, let's just get down to it. Does it boil down to saving endangered species in Florida versus, hey, humans needing water in Georgia?

LEVS: That's what it sounds like, which makes it sound like a really easy situation to solve, because obviously, we would know where it would fall. But here is where it gets tricky. And I just learned this, too.

Those mussels that are being protected, mussels actually purify water to make it drinkable. So, Florida, for drinking water, needs those mussels to stay alive. Which is another reason it gets more complicated there.

However, what Georgia is saying is that they could send less water and still keep all those mussels alive. And that it is only bureaucracy letting that amount of water being drained.

NGUYEN: Hey, what about this idea? Keep those mussels alive and have them send this purified water back to us, here in Georgia.

LEVS: Ah! OK, see, I should have thought of that. Yes, well, maybe we can ask the governor about that.

NGUYEN: I was gonna say, we're going to delve deeper into this story, coming up a little bit later this morning. In fact, the Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue is going to join us live here at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

T.J., I know you're going to ask him about that specifically, right?

HOLMES: Yeah, your ingenious --

NGUYEN: If not, I'll jump in.

HOLMES: solution to the problem.

LEVS: Betty just solved it.

HOLMES: Betty, just solved the problem.

NGUYEN: I'm telling you, I'm here to solve the world, because you know what? The "Planet is in Peril.

HOLMES: And you are trying to fix it this morning, before 8 a.m.

NGUYEN: All in a day's work. What can I say?

HOLMES: You are an amazing woman.

All right, folks, we've got some things for you to check out. Of course, yes, this CNN investigation you really cannot afford to miss. Of course, the "Planet in Peril" is what we're talking about. The premier of it, coming up, Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta, and Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin, team up to explore the world environmental issues. That is coming your way, Tuesday and Wednesday 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

NGUYEN: And right now, you don't want to mix wildlife with -- night life? Yeah, that's the position of animal rights activists.

Here's what's happening. They are calling an Austin, Texas, nightclub to get rid of the fish in an aquarium beneath part of the club's floor. Jessica Betts (ph) of CNN affiliate KVUE has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's night life in Austin with a twist. A 19,000 gallon tank flanks the floor of Qua Lounge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's almost euphoric watching people come in and seeing their reaction to the tank. It's just incredible. It's been great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it's what you'll find inside the tank that as PETA and other animal rights advocates asking for change; 12 coral reef sharks and at least three different kinds of sting rays. Animal rights group say confining wild animals like these is cruel and could put them in danger.

CELEST LANDRUM, AGAINST QUA TANK: Confining a shark or something that's meant to be free, and in the wild, just -- trying to make money off of something, that's pointless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a letter to the company on Thursday, PETA Yazine (ph) Enterprises to change what's inside its aquarium. Quote, "There are many cruelty-free ways to use the tank, such as by having beautiful swimming mermaids," end quote.

PETA representatives couldn't talk with us in Austin, but officials with Austin Zoo say they agree with PETA's argument.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just so inappropriate. There is this magnificent animal, the shark, and then they combine them with the sting ray. And then they bring them into this artificial environment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not everyone agrees with that idea. Some say when they come to a club in downtown Austin, they're looking for something a little unique, maybe even unusual.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's for visual stimulation. I think it's pretty cool.


NGUYEN: Yes, she says it's pretty cool. I think a lot of people would looking at that. But let me tell you this, PETA says there are allegations that several sharks have died since the club's aquarium opened. The club denies that, but acknowledged that one shark did die while it was being transported there.

HOLMES: Curious to see how that one works out.

Well, coming up after the break, our "Faces Of Faith" series.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's uplifting, it's refreshing, it's renewing, it's community, it's fun.

HOLMES: We'll take your workout to a higher level. Taking a look at the growing trend of exercising your body and your faith.

NGUYEN: Look at this. It is a long way down. Would you please pull the chute? Thank goodness. That scared me there for a second. You know that's the thrill for a lot of people. Daredevils from around the country took the plunge. We are going to show you the highlights.


HOLMES: On this morning's "Faces of Faith," they call the workouts -- inspired. It's an exercise program that combines religion and aerobics, where the faithful are just that, to their bodies and their souls. Our Zain Verjee has the story.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A heavenly workout for the body and the soul. Instructor Mary Ward is stepping and stretching for Jesus, along with Christians who want to exercise their faith.

MARY WARD, BODY & SOUL MINISTRIES: It's uplifting, it's refreshing, it's renewing, it's renewing, it's community, it's fun.

VERJEE: The class starts with a prayer.

CLASS: Amen.

VERJEE: And then works up a sweat to popular Christian music. Toni Kram has been taking these classes for three years and is inspired.

TONI KRAM, BODY AND SOUL PARTICIPANT: Your mind gets exercise, too, and your spirit. To me, that's not just a workout, but it's also a spiritual exercise.

VERJEE: Body and Soul's nonprofit divine routine started in the D.C. area and has spread to more than 30 states, and 15 countries.

JEANNIE BLOCHER, PERS., BODY AND SOUL MINISTRIES: You can hear the great music in the background. It has the message of Jesus Christ our Savior.

VERJEE (on camera): For many believers, part of being a good Christian means trying to stay physically fit. Many churches preach incorporating faith into health routines.

(Voice over): Pastor Steve Reynolds in Annandale, Virginia, tells his flock they need to have a bod for God.

REV. STEVE REYNOLDS, CAPITAL BAPTIST CHURCH: Hey, you know, this body has been made by God and for God, and I need to honor him in this way.

VERJEE: In the last two years, he's lost 104 pounds and written a book about it. The inspired signup for competitions. Even take that before picture and pray for the after one.

Back at Body and Soul, the workout is over.

KRAM: Your spirits get lifted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel so thankful, honestly, thankful for the Lord, for, you know, His many blessings.

VERJEE: And it's time for prayer. For these Christians, blending fitness and faith brings them one step closer to God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Jesus name we pray, amen.

VERJEE: Zain Verjee, CNN, Washington.


NGUYEN: This just into CNN, new attacks this morning along the border between Turkey and northern Iraq. The Turkish military launching an offensive in response to attacks from Kurdish rebels. The military says they've killed at least 23 rebel fighters.

Now, earlier CNN learned that at least 16 Turkish soldiers were killed in attacks this morning by the Kurdish rebels. Last Wednesday, Turkey's parliament approved military incursions into northern Iraq to track down Kurdish fighters. We'll stay on top of that story for you. It is the biggest bust of its kind; 5,000 roosters corralled in a chain of cockfighting rings. What will happen to the birds?


CROWD SHOUTING: Three, two, one, see ya! Jump!


HOLMES: See ya! Jumpers, they are really taking -- oh, look at the style points there. Really taking the plunge. What in the world are they thinking? Look at that. What have they got in their hands there?

NGUYEN: They're just having a good time, as if it's no big deal. You're jumping off a perfectly good bridge, folks.

HOLMES: It's about 900 feet. They're taking this plunge, but what in the world is pushing them to jump off this bridge in we'll explain, coming up.


HOLMES: The big story here, Atlanta, the Georgia area, certainly in the whole Southeast is this drought condition going on.

NGUYEN: And we have wildfires out West. Hillary Andrews is in for Reynolds Wolf today and she is following all of this, including that drought situation in the Southeast.

HILLARY ANDREWS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We've been seeing a lot of empty river beds. As we take a look at this moisture through the Gulf Coast, only good news. We're still in a red flag advisory, which means high fire danger for Birmingham and Huntington, Alabama.

But as you notice, take a look at all of these clouds making their way through the Southeast. Combination of that warm front, and then a new system is beginning to push its way in, that will net some one, two, even three-inch rains through Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. So we do have some relief for some.

NGUYEN: All right, Hillary, thank you so much.

HOLMES: All right, Hillary, stick around and watch this video. These guys, ultimate thrill seekers: Bridge Day in West Virginia. People came from all over the place to jump 876 feet to the river below. They didn't go splat, though.

NGUYEN: Yes, thank goodness. That would be a whole new story in itself.

But what they did was they free fall for about, what, three seconds and then they pull the chute. Well, CNN's Tony Harris has much more on these jumpers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They come every third Saturday in October to do this.

CROWD SHOUTING: Three, two, one, see ya!

HARRIS: Jumping with a parachute off the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia. It is one of the largest extreme sports events in the world, one that attracts people from around the country.

MILES DAISHER, JUMPER FROM TWIN FALLS, IDAHO: A lot of people ask why we do this. But I mean, why did Christopher Columbus explore? Why did he go across the ocean? It's because we're basically finding out what's possible, humanly possible.

KRISTEN KELSY, JUMPER FROM BIRMINGHAM, MICH.: I think it's something you're born with. My dad, he flew F-4s in Vietnam. I kinda got the gene from him. I passed it on to my son, who races motor-cross and does free-style motor cross, jumps and what have you. I don't know. It's just a calling, I guess.

HARRIS: Some jumps are simple. Others do a back flip or other trick. Either way, it's 876 feet to the rapids below. Most fall three to four seconds before deploying their chutes.

HEATHER LOUGHLIN, JUMPER FROM LUDLOW, VERMONT: I just went down, up, out, kissed the clouds. I tried to wait three seconds. I don't know if i did. I have a tendency to go, one, two, three. And it opened and it was beautiful and it was perfect.

HARRIS: The ultimate goal? Land as close as possible to the circle on the shore. A few land in the water. Others have a bit of a rough landing. And then there are those like Larry Lemaster of Ohio who combine humor with their jumps.

LARRY LEMASTER, JUMPER FROM SOUTH POINT, OHIO: We love coming out here and celebrating Bridge Day here in West Virginia and jumping off the bridge, having a good time, dressing up as pigs, acting a little crazy.


NGUYEN: That's what I want to do on my day off. Dress like a pig and jump off a bridge, you know?

HOLMES: Weren't those bunny ears and a pig nose?

NGUYEN: I want to know what happens if you land in that circular area. Do you get a prize or something?

HOLMES: Good question. And they say the key goal is to land there. I figure the goal should just be to land alive somewheres.

NGUYEN: Anywhere, there's a lot of water.

All right. We do have a disturbing story to tell you about.

HOLMES: Yes, this is out of Southern California. A global cockfighting ring is revealed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's more birds than I've ever seen, ever in my life.


HOLMES: Yes, some 5,000 roosters were found. We'll take you inside the biggest cockfighting bust in U.S. history.

NGUYEN: And an Iraq vet returns home to horrible news. First he's told that his infant daughter is missing, but the reality is even worse. Those stories, ahead.


HOLMES: Well, they are birds raised to kill. It's the illegal sport of cockfighting.

NGUYEN: Yes, in San Diego, California a huge raid turned up thousands of fighting roosters that will now have to be put to sleep. Vince Gonzales has the story.


LT. DANIEL DESOUZA, SAN DIEGO CO., ANIMAL SERVICES: It's more birds than I've ever seen, ever in my life.

VINCE GONZALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): More than 5,000 rooster, all seized by San Diego investigators in the biggest cockfighting raid in U.S. history.

(On camera): It is like a maze.

DESOUZA: Yes, it is. It's very much like a maze.

GONZALES (voice over): Lt. Dan DeSouza of San Diego animal services led CNN through this sprawling complex where birds were raised for cockfighting rings in the U.S., the Philippines and Mexico.

DESOUZA: It's a blood sport, plain and simple. These animals are put in the most horrific and barbaric situations just so someone can make some money.

GONZALES: Mexico is only about a mile that way. In fact the area just over there is known as smuggler's gulch. And right nearby is where this seven and a half acre compound sprung up. And for the last seven years, they've raised thousands of birds who were trained to be vicious, and up in the cockfighting ring.

(Voice over): Early training includes sparring. At first, without blades on the rooster's feet.

DESOUZA: They are putting little sparring muffs on them. It's like a boxing glove for a rooster. GONZALES: But when the birds are ready, razor-sharp knives are attached.

DESOUZA: Just like that, you know? It doesn't take much. That's about what it would take to go through another bird. It's just -- it's very quick, brutal and bloody.

GONZALES: Cockfighting with soon be illegal in every U.S. state. But its culture thrives on line, with videos, magazines, and fighting equipment all available. That angers animal rights groups like PETA who work to expose cockfights, like this one they video taped in Asia.

LISA LANGE, PETA SPOKESWOMAN: It's an illegal activity, again, in the United States and no company should be promoting it in any way.

GONZALES: Fifty people were arrested in the San Diego raid, up to 60 more being sought. Most face only misdemeanor charges. Prosecutes hope California will soon upgrade cockfighting crimes to felonies. They compare it to dog fighting.

SHERRY THOMPSON, DEPUTY D.A., SAN DIEGO CO.: You can't take one of those pit bulls and take'em home, and bring'em and let them play with your children and cuddle. They've been raised for a specific environment. That's exactly what happens to these roosters.

GONZALES: After their violent training, thousands of the seized roosters had to be put down by the very same animal welfare officials who rescued them. For CNN, Vince Gonzales, San Diego.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A tragic end, for a sad situation for this family and for the community as well.


HOLMES: An infant girl believed to be missing, and Amber Alert issued, but this morning new revelations leave the baby's father and the community in shock.

NGUYEN: Also, a fast moving wildfire being fueled by high winds. Firefighters battling the blaze and right now we're going to get a live update for you.



Oh, my god, he's hitting my dog (SCREAMING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, say on the line with me. Luis, Luis.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: A real-life home alone story here. A young boy walks in on a burglar. We'll have more of the dramatic 911 call straight ahead.

Whoo! Good morning to you all. This is CNN SUNDAY MORNING and I'm T.J. Holmes.

NGUYEN: Hi, everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks for starting your day with us.

HOLMES: New this morning, a sad ending to an Amber Alert in North Carolina. It turns out the infant wasn't missing. The mother had hidden her body when the baby died. Compounding this tragedy for the father, he had just returned home from Iraq. Bo Minnick of affiliate WRAL has this story.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Unfortunately, we have located the remains of the child.

BO MINNICK, WRAL: End of a two-day-long search. Sheriff's deputies say they found the body of 11-month-old Harmony Creech. The baby was reported missing Friday by her grandmother and was the subject of a statewide amber alert. Deputies found the girls body right at home in sealed in the attic and her mother Johnny Michelle Houser found the girl dead weeks ago.

SHERIFF LARRY ROLLINS, HANETT COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: I know your next question is are there charges. At this time, that has not been determined.

MINNICK: Deputies continued to question Houser, Sheriff Larry Rollins, has not said how the baby Harmony died or why her mother did not tell authorities where the body was earlier in the search.

ROLLINS: Her statement is concealing it due to fear. She was fearful to reveal the death.

MINNICK: Harmony's father Ronald Creach II was returning home Friday from a military deployment in Iraq. Deputies showed photos of Harmony to motorists hoping to get a lead in the case, although the search is now over, the sheriff says this was not an easy case to handle.

ROLLINS: Tragic end, to a sad situation for this family and for the community as well.


NGUYEN: From that story to this one, a gun battle breaks out in a quiet upscale Phoenix neighborhood. Now police are looking for a group of men they believe are responsible. Police say one person was killed and another wounded, lots of shots fired, rattling some residents.


BRENT GILFORD, WITNESS: I saw the person shooting. I was close enough that I could see the smoke come out of the end of the gun as we drove down the street. Since then I've learned that there was a person killed in the house.


NGUYEN: Police say the shooting was not random and it was not drug related.

HOLMES: In New York, a dramatic offshore rescue late last night. Two survivors were plucked from the water near the mouth of New York Harbor after their 24 foot boat was run over by a barge. Two other people died in the collision. New York police divers and helicopters joined the Coast Guard in the search. It took about two hours to find the second survivor. Listen to this. This is how the rescue diver described his startling discovery.


DET. FRANCIS VITALI, N.Y. POLICE DIVER: A hand came down and grabbed me on my shoulder, which I certainly wasn't expecting underwater in the dark. Hand moved up, tried to pull me up on my head. At that point, I realized obviously we've got a live individual in here. Put my head up and realized there was, in fact, an air pocket that was trapped inside the boat itself. Got up into the air pocket, came face to face with the gentleman. He was clearly very relieved to see me, but he was obviously in a state of panic.


HOLMES: Well, that first survivor was pulled out pretty quickly. He was pulled out just after the accident by a passing party boat.

NGUYEN: In southern California, strong Santa Ana winds are fanning the flames of a fast-growing wildfire this morning it is burning just north of Los Angeles. Growing by leaps and bounds overnight. Hundreds of homes may soon be in damage. We have Stanton Florea on the phone, he is with the U.S. Forest Service. Stanton I spoke with you last hour, you said the fire burned at least 500 acres. How fast is this thing moving?

FLOREA (via telephone): The winds really pushed it hard to the south-southwest, and it did spread quite a bit from its initial point of ignition to the 500 acres since about 10:00 last night.

NGUYEN: This is definitely a fast-moving fire, and the winds are not helping at all as you mentioned. How close is this fire coming to homes?

FLOREA: You know, it's still in a fairly remote area. This is part of the Angels National Forest near Interstate 5 near the Ventura County line. We expect it to burn into the upper end of Devil Canyon later today. And at this point, there are no homes imminently threatened, but we do expect the fire to spread. NGUYEN: You'd also mentioned last hour that the fire's threatening a condor habitat is that correct? Talk to us about that.

FLOREA: Yeah. The California Condor Sanctuary is near that area and that's all considered habitat. The day fire burned in September of 2006 in that area burned 160,000 acres, and this fire is kind of to is southeast of where that one was. We're still using some of the bulldozer line from that fire to help us contain this one.

NGUYEN: Any lessons learned from that huge day fire that you're pretty much using, implementing right now?

FLOREA: Well, that one was largely in the wilderness, as was the Zaca fire on the Los Padres National Forest earlier this year. This fire is not really in the wilderness, but it is on national forest land in a pretty rugged rural area with not many roads, making access difficult for firefighters.

NGUYEN: You have about 200 people on the scene fighting this fire. What's the plan of attack today?

FLOREA: Well, yeah, 200. There will probably be a lot more later today. One of our concerns is that the winds could be so high that we couldn't get our aircraft in the air, we couldn't do that safely. We did have Ventura County do a little recon for us last night. And then within the last 90 minutes or so, the stronger Santa Ana's we expected to arrive have definitely gotten here.

NGUYEN: I know you've got a lot of work to do. We'll be staying in touch with you throughout the morning. We'll hopefully be speaking with you in the next hour just to get an update on the fire. We do appreciate your time this morning.

FLOREA: You're welcome.

HOLMES: With Atlanta's drinking water supply running critically low, Georgia has asked the president to intervene in its drought crises. Georgia officials warn a major reservoir supplying water to the Atlanta metro area has less than a three-month supply left. Governor Sonny Perdue yesterday declared a water supply emergency and asked the president to declare parts of northern Georgia federal disaster areas. Part of the problem here is that the Corps of Engineers is required by federal law to release some of Georgia's water downstream to keep endangered species alive.


GOV. SONNY PERDUE, GEORGIA: The actions of the Corps of Engineers and the Fish & Wildlife services are not only irresponsible. I believe they're down right dangerous. And Georgia cannot stand for this negligence. If the Corps and the Fish & Wildlife Service do not act now, Georgia will hold them directly responsible for their actions for endangering the people of Georgia. They need to understand that the harm that comes to Georgia will be upon their hands.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: Governor Perdue will join us next hour to talk more about Georgia's drought crisis. Don't miss this.

NGUYEN: In the meantime, heavy rains and violent winds, there is major storm damage in a Pennsylvania community this weekend. And it seemed to catch residents off guard. Look at this. One home in Walker Township, a travel trailer, flipped over onto a vintage car, and the homeowner says a shed leveled by a tornado several years ago and rebuilt was leveled yet again. And nearby, we're told emergency responders were shocked to find trees uprooted power lines down. No injuries were reported.

HOLMES: Well Hillary Andrews with us today in for Reynolds Wolf. Do we have less violent weather to talk about today?

ANDREWS: The east coast, we definitely have less violent weather. The west coast, we're still dealing with those Santa Ana winds. Actually, if we take a look at it, high pressure still building out there, which is going to mean even more wind offshore through the California area? Take a look at some of the damage it caused, we're talking sandstorms. Whitaker Peak definitely the highest report I've seen, 108 miles per hour. This gentleman, Bill Oliver, said he couldn't even see ten feet in front of him. It took him 45 minutes just to go one mile per hour. And these pictures were taken from the inside. He said he's still cleaning up the dust. They had to clean it out through the doggie door.

Definitely still dealing with the Santa Ana winds through California. Believe it or not, they're getting worse in the Los Angeles basin. As we head through Monday and on in through Tuesday. That's your story throughout the west.

The east just beautiful, Boston, New York, enjoy your early falls days out there. Meanwhile, we're kind of enjoying the rain as you head towards the Gulf Coast. We're looking at inches of rain expected for Tennessee, Alabama, and also into Mississippi, Atlanta, you're not seeing too much in terms of relief, but give it till midweek. We'll have more. Hang on. And of course we'll have more weather here throughout the day.

NGUYEN: All right. We do appreciate it, Hillary.

HOLMES: We got a power outage to tell you about in California. Kind of, sort of San Francisco went dark for about an hour last night. And they did it on purpose. It's part of a campaign to get people to conserve energy. The lights were shut off at landmarks like city hall and even the Golden Gate Bridge. All the streetlights, of course, stay on for the obvious reasons. That would cause a problem. The power company passed out energy-efficient light bulbs as well. You can learn what you can do to protect the planet, watch "Planet in Peril" that is Tuesday and Wednesday night at 9:00 Eastern.

NGUYEN: That is good information. I put all those light bulbs in my house as well.

Look at this. Bobby Jindal, in another story, second time is the charm for him. Four years after losing the Louisiana governor's race to Kathleen Blanco, the 36-year-old son of Indian migrants won this time. And it wasn't even close. Jindal got 54 percent of the vote. His next closest competitor only came up with 17 percent. When he's sworn in next January, he will become the youngest governor in America.


BOBBY JINDAL, LOUISIANA GOV. ELECT: My mom and dad came to this country in pursuit of the American dream.


JINDAL: And guess what happened? They found the American dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana.


NGUYEN: And celebrating extends all the way from New Orleans to New Delhi where Jindal's relatives are throwing a day-long party in his honor. And definitely they are very proud of that man, that young man, we should say.

HOLMES: Thirty six years old. New Orleans to New Delhi. I like that.

Well coming up, these guys are always prepared, aren't they? The boy scouts. One group put their survival training into action after a woman falls off a cliff. The boy scouts tell us what happened.

NGUYEN: And a fisherman finds a woman floating in the ocean off of Hawaii. Stay tuned for her survival tale.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): 911 emergencies.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): Someone is trying to break in my home.


HOLMES: A young boy, he misses his bus, he ends up in the middle of a burglary. We'll bring you his adventure when CNN SUNDAY MORNING returns.


HOLMES: All right. Listen up. Here's a quick run-through of stories you need to know. Turkish troops retaliate against Kurdish rebel attacks, 23 rebels killed; at least 12 Turkish troops were killed in earlier fighting in southern Turkey.

An offensive has been launched into Baghdad. Sadr City, the U.S. military saying 49 criminals were killed in the raid. Iraqi officials claim some civilians were among the dead.

Also, people in Poland voting for a new prime minister today. The current administration has been followed by corruption allegations. The general election is taking place two years earlier than originally scheduled.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): We are the world champions!


HOLMES: And celebration, partying, dancing, a good time in South Africa right about now. South Africa beat defending champion England to win the Rugby World Cup. And they are loving it.

NGUYEN: Rugby is huge over there.

Also new this morning, an incredible story of survival at sea. Lillian Ruth Simpson is lucky to be alive. The 49-year-old was kayaking off Maui when strong winds flipped her over. She spent the next 19 hours stranded in the ocean with an improvised flotation device. A charter fishing boat found her just in a nick of time about a mile offshore.


JOSEPH CARVALHO JR., STRIKE ZONE FISHING CHARTERS, (via telephone): I could tell it was a person, and at first my first thought was that it was just a body until I got closer and she turned around and just kind of put her hand up to signal us. She was a little disoriented. She was happy, definitely happy. Just real weak, real thirsty, she was hungry. Everybody got lucky. We were in the right place at the right time.


NGUYEN: When Simpson was pulled from the water, the boat crew says she couldn't even remember her name.

HOLMES: Well, they are just teenagers. They're already saving lives. This morning, a scout troop being credited with saving the life of a Pennsylvania hiker who fell and injured herself.


JANE SCHOLL, INJURED HIKER: We were rock climbing, and we got to the peak, and I tripped.


HOLMES: Well, when the troops found Jane Scholl she was bleeding, disoriented, couldn't walk, so they carried her three miles to a rescue chopper and check this part out, they didn't know how badly she was hurt, she couldn't walk, so they made a stretcher.

ANDREW SWARTZ JR., EAGLE SCOUT: We laid two sticks out and then we put the two sticks through each of our sleeves and we just made it long enough for her body and just laid her down and we just -- we all picked her up and carried her town to where the chopper was waiting for us.

ANDY SWARTZ SR., TROOP LEADER: They did an outstanding job. I believe they actually saved the woman's life.

MEGAN GALLAGHER, VENTURER SCOUT TROOP 226: I never thought it would come this soon, and so I was like, wow, I really helped someone today.

SCHOLL: They were amazing. I'm going to send them a check so they can go out and does something fun because they were amazing.


HOLMES: Miss Scholl as you can see there, she cut her eye, also has a concussion. Other than that, she is doing just fine.

NGUYEN: Quick-thinking kids. They did the right thing at the right time. Good for them.

And here is another teenager who gets a chance to be a hero in his own home. Yes, a 13-year-old Florida boy misses the school bus, so he heads back to the house. Well, police say he ended up nabbing a burglar there. Laura Diaz of affiliate WKMG has more.


DISPATCHER: 911 what is your emergency?

CALLER: Someone is trying to break into my house.

LAURA DIAZ, WKMG: That voice is from 13-year-old Luis Gomez. After missing his school bus one morning, he was home alone, that is until this man, Mario Baez, paid him a visit.

LOUIS GOMEZ, CALLED 911: At first I knew what to do because I saw the video of when a burglar comes in and what you need to do.

DIAZ: Gomez didn't answer the door after he saw through the peephole that he didn't know the man. Instead he called 911 and that's when things got dangerous. Gomez did just that. First he put whatever he could find in front of the bedroom door, and then he hid in the bathroom and locked that door too. Baez busted right through the front door breaking the frame. He took a pillowcase and packed it full with Playstation, Game Cube and a laptop. Gomez called his mom at work.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE): He told me, mom, there's somebody in the house and he's packing up the stuff.

DIAZ: Roxy, the family dog, tried to help by barking but Baez kicked her. It all ended happily, though. The cops came and so did relief for Luis.


NGUYEN: My goodness. You know, that is really a lucky kid because things could have turned out very badly. HOLMES: A lot worse. And, you know, kids, don't miss the school bus. All right?

NGUYEN: Lesson, kids.

HOLMES: All right.

Well, this was real trouble for comedian Bill Maher at the taping of his show "Real Time with Bill Maher." He goes off and he goes into the audience to take on some protesters. If you know anything about Bill Maher, you're probably not too surprised that he might get worked up like this. Stick around and see what was going on here.


LEVS: How many days before he's on "Larry King Live" talking about that one. Hey everybody, Josh Levs now taking a look at what's hot at this morning. For starters, Hillary Clinton saying she is no front runner.

Also Americans are weighing in on the Harry Potter character being gay, and a teacher was fired over the Simpson's movie. Details on all those stories coming up.


NGUYEN: All right. Thank you Josh. Hey, first though, we want to give you a preview of today's "House Call" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, guys. I know you heard the story this week, cold medicine could be dangerous for your child. We'll look at ways to keep your kids safe, what you need to know right now.

Then, strap on your walking shoes. We'll go on a journey to fight breast cancer.

And how to fight a drug-resistant super bug. It might be easier than you think.

All that and a lot more coming up on "House Call" at 8:30.



BILL MAHER, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER:" See, this is problem with government -- do we have [bleep] security in this building or do I have to come over and kick this guy's [bleep]? Hey, hey, hey. Out, out, out. Out. This isn't the Iowa caucus. Okay? It's not a debate. The debate is between us. You're in the audience. Audience comes from the Latin "to listen." what's going on here?


NGUYEN: See, that's why live television can get very, very tricky. Yes, live broadcasts right there "Real Time with Bill Maher." The heckler was yelling about a 9/11conspiracy theory. Kicking him out didn't do much good, because just as soon as Maher got rid of him, a couple other protesters jumped up and started yelling.

HOLMES: It's amazing that we get that here and it's our own co- workers.

NGUYEN: Heckling us.

HOLMES: It's amazing.

Josh is not among them, of course. Two hats again, today, Mr. Reality, come back as the dot-com guy.

NGUYEN: You should get a raise.

LEVS: Tell me about it. Would you say that again?

HOLMES: I'm not doing it.

NGUYEN: Always interesting to find out what's popular, what people are looking at online?

LEVS: Yeah and there are great stories on there. You can get interesting details. I'm going to have to take that up with him later. Let's start with the one about Hillary Clinton. She says she's not a front-runner. Yesterday we were talking about this how nationally she is a front-runner but in Iowa it's really close. She says she's not running like she's a front runner and the thing is in Iowa, she's not technically a front-runner. But get a sense of her political strategy from our blog. The political ticker is on the front page, just go to

While you're at dot-com, you have a chance to weigh in on your own today about this Harry Potter situation in which we've now learned that this character Dumbledore has been declared gay by the author, J.K. Rowling. And so you have a chance to weigh in. Right now it's split 56/44 over where whether they're surprised and they've heard from about 40,000 people already. They're expecting more votes throughout the day.

Obviously, we know it's not a scientific poll, but it's your chance to say whether this surprises you or not based on what you knew about it.

One more story out of New Haven, Connecticut, about a teacher who was fired over a situation involving the Simpson's' movie. School officials say there was a substitute teacher who had been informed do not show this to children because it has adult material in it but he knowingly went ahead and did it anyway, lost his job over it. That is from our affiliate WCVB. Again it's all on the main page there at Can't miss it, guys.

HOLMES: How old were the kids?

LEVS: Apparently it would involve kids around 6, 7 -- grades. Sorry, fifth, sixth, seventh grade. But they feel it's young for that material.

NGUYEN: T.J. liked it.

HOLMES: I saw that movie. A little much.

LEVS: I didn't see it, was it?

NGUYEN: We're going to tell you about a dog napping foiled. Wait till you hear how much the bad guys were asking for ransom.

HOLMES: And this certainly takes guts. Your mom will say if your friends jumped off a -- they usually say cliff.


HOLMES: If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?


HOLMES: If they jump off a bridge, some people say, yes, I will jump off a bridge. Stick around and see what these guys are up to.


NGUYEN: All right. A day of high-flying fun topics around the "Water Cooler" this morning. Bridge Day over the New River in West Virginia started out a few years ago with just a few daredevils.

HOLMES: A lot more now. It's one of the largest annual events of its kind in the world. An endless stream of jumpers took the jump. It took some longer than others. Hey, hey.

NGUYEN: Thank you. Those are some adrenaline junkies. Look at this now, though, what looks like a coke vending machine, the one on the far right. Well, it's not. Get this. It is a disguise for people in Japan hoping to escape street muggers.

HOLMES: That is silly.

NGUYEN: Who thought of that?

HOLMES: A fake vending machine so it can be carried and deployed at a moment's notice. I don't know how you carry it and how you deploy it.

NGUYEN: Is it like a shoot, you just pull a string and pop, there's a Coke machine around you?

HOLMES: I guess and you just hope that the mugger is not that bright and can't see that well to see your shoes sticking out of the bottom of the vending machine. Or maybe the mugger will want a coke.

NGUYEN: Maybe deposit some change in there. You'll make some money off of it.

A couple in Columbia has their beloved German shepherd back after a dastardly dognapping. Even more outrageous, the crooks, get this, wanted $350,000 for the dog's safe return.

HOLMES: OK. And listen to how cold-blooded these guys were. They sent tapes of the dog whimpering.

NGUYEN: That is so wrong.

HOLMES: Police actually ended up setting up a trap, captured the dognappers when they turned up to collect the ransom.

NGUYEN: Oh, my goodness. All right.

Late-night cruise has deadly consequences. We're going to tell you more about that story coming up in our next hour.

HOLMES: But first today, we have HOUSE CALL with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and that starts right now.