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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Irene Deluge Hits Vermont; Widespread Flooding in New Jersey; NYC Drying Out After Irene; Irene Not Finished with U.S. Yet; Pan Am 103 Bomber Located;
Aired August 28, 2011 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Irene is not done yet. Today was some of the worst we have seen all weekend, and in a word it has been a deluge. All day heavy rains from tropical storm Irene overwhelmed creeks and rivers across New England. Quaint main streets became muddy torrents. This is Margaretville. It's a tiny village in the Catskills, just a few hours north of New York City.
Just look at the force of this water at Woodstock, Vermont. Those are propane tanks that have been picked up and carried away. Nothing can escape this current once it falls in, not even cars. Trapped in the raging waters, this sedan was batted around like driftwood. Fortunately, no one was in this vehicle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoa! Get out of here. Get out of here. Grab the mike.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: That's a reporter with our affiliate WCBS covering Irene's arrival at Ashbury Park, New Jersey. She and her crew thought they were far enough away from the water, but they were wrong.
And on Long Island, large sand berms were piled up to protect the life guard station. It worked for a while, but the waves won in the end, smashing the building into the pier.
Hello. Thanks for joining us. I'm Martin Savidge at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Don Lemon is off tonight.
Irene may have lost hurricane status but as a tropical storm it has been just as menacing. It made landfall again this morning in New York City as a category one and, in recent hours, has been sweeping through New England with nonstop wind and rain.
Right now, the center of the storm is at the U.S.-Canada border near Montpelier, Vermont. Irene's impact has been deep. It's been widespread and it will not soon be forgotten. At least 18 people lost their lives from Florida to New England. Power is out to about 4 million homes and businesses. And it might not come back for days.
Along the East Coast, many people are thankful Irene did not live up to expectations. But in Vermont, it appears the opposite is happening. People were caught off guard by the onslaught of the flooding from Irene. The state ordered no early mandatory evacuations. Now rescue teams are scrambling to save people. And it looks like the worst may have happened with the report of a woman missing. Much of the action is happening in Brattleboro, Vermont. And that's where CNN's Gary Tuchman is.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Marty, unfortunately, throughout the State of Vermont there is a lot of chaos and confusion right now, and that's because there are hundreds and hundreds of creeks and brooks like this in the state. This is the whetstone Brook but it is no longer a brook, and now resembles the Colorado Rapids. And in brooks and creeks like this throughout the state, there have been reports of people who have gone missing. At least one person is missing and presumed dead after falling into a brook like this.
What happened here is very startling. I want you to see over here. This is a very narrow brook, what was a brook. But now the land has eroded and you can see this blue building. It is an art studio. There are yoga studios, offices inside and t is about to collapse. The ground underneath has eroded because of the water that's gone into this brook. And at any time this building could collapse.
You might be able see lights flashing inside. There is an alarm going off. We were just talking to someone who has an art studio inside that building and he is just terribly sad. He actually said his office is the fourth window from the top -- the top row, fourth from the right. And he wanted to go inside to recover some of his belongings. I advised him not to do that. This building could collapse at any time.
The authorities have just arrived on the scene here. But you could see this state is not used to hurricanes and tropical storms. Last time they had a hurricane here was 1938, about 73 years ago. That was a terrible hurricane that killed 60 people in southern New England. And also -- actually it was 600 people and injured more than 1700 people. But they're not used to this type of things.
These brooks and creeks flood when they have nor'easters that come in this direction, but there have been so much water that fell in such a short time here in Vermont. But this is what they are dealing with throughout the state.
They are expecting even more problems later tonight in northern Vermont including in the state capital of Montpelier. As you could see right now, at any time, this building could end up plunging into what was the Whetstone Brook but is now the Whetstone Rapids -- Marty.
SAVIDGE: CNN's Gary Tuchman in Brattleboro, Vermont. Thank you very much.
We asked Vermont's governor why he ordered no mandatory evacuations as many other states and cities along East Coast did. He said it simply wasn't practical. Nearly everyone in Vermont lives near water.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PETER SHUMLIN, VERMONT. The problem with Vermont is that we are -- all of our downtowns are in the low lands. So, our population centers are located near rivers and streams. And, you know, you just can't get away from it in a little state like Vermont. We are a state of mountains with rivers flowing through them, and it's not like a Midwestern state or some of the big Southern states where you have huge areas of dry land. We just don't have that here in this state nor does New Hampshire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: The governor said more than 100 roads are closed in his state and that is, of course, due to flooding.
Let's get the very latest now on where Irene is, and for that we turn to Chad Myers who is at the CNN hurricane headquarters.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's a very wide storm, like it hasn't been the whole time, Marty, really. We still have 40 miles per hour winds in Boston. We have 30 miles per hour winds in New York City and we had winds in Montreal, Canada, tonight that were strong enough to blow windows out of a building in downtown. It's the nightmare that New York City was fearing. It happened 300 miles from where the storm actually made landfall.
Most of the convection is up into Quebec right now and moving into Atlantic Canada. There is still a little bit of light rain around but not enough to cause anymore flooding. The flooding is already happening. It's already running off in many areas tonight.
This will be a storm that we see tomorrow. We're going to see video of this all day tomorrow and you're going to say, "wow, how did that happen" literally.
We have flood warnings all the way from Maine, all the way down to Delaware. Nearly every county across the area that did pick up rain has hit something flooding at this point in time.
Now there are many dams that are really very, very close to failure across parts of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. If at any time tonight you live in an area where you hear sirens or you hear the police saying get out, it's time to get out now, something very bad has happened up river or upstream, because these dams are being over topped and the water going down. Some of them being eroded.
And this is the real threat tonight, especially now that it's dark. Don't drive around in it. You can't tell how deep the water is tonight. And don't try to get around until tomorrow when the daylight comes up, because it's still very dangerous out there -- Marty.
SAVIDGE: All right, Chad, thank you very much for the update.
When we come back, we will go to New Jersey where intense flooding is now the major concern after Hurricane Irene. And then later, a CNN exclusive. We visit the man convicted of the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing.
SAVIDGE: And we're going to show you now the view of Brattleboro which is Vermont, of course. That's where Gary Tuchman was. The building that was in jeopardy and many places in Vermont tonight are under the gun of water.
New Jersey is also a state that has been hard hit by Irene and though the storm has moved on, intense flooding is a major concern there as well not just along the coast but inland. Our Poppy Harlow is standing by in Millburn, New Jersey right now.
And, Poppy, what are you seeing there?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, it's died down a little bit here in terms of all the chaos here on Main Street. But what you still see behind here, Marty -- behind me is workers around the clock trying to clean up their businesses that have really been just decimated by the flooding. We had massive flooding here. The river right by here breached and it blew right over into all these places.
I want you to look at this restaurant, this Mexican restaurant. Take a close look inside here. It is full of mud and dirt. It was flooded with water. The basement still has 10 feet of water in it. So you've got all these small businesses on Main Street trying to recover. They went through this 10 years ago in Hurricane Floyd. So they know well what this is like.
But what we haven't talked about a lot today is the residents. And we've got Steven and Fran here. These are two people, they live not far away from here.
You guys are going through no power throughout your neighborhood. It's completely dark. And what's upsetting you is it's going to be a long time until that power goes back on. Tell me what your situation is.
STEVEN APPLEGATE, NEW JERSEY RESIDENT: The power went off last night. It went 11:00. And I called PSE & G and they are telling me it's going to be seven days before power gets turned back on. Next Sunday afternoon we'll have power.
HARLOW: How does that make you feel? Can't you do -- I know you work from home. How difficult is this situation for you and your neighbors?
APPLEGATE: It's very hard to live that way. The entire neighborhood is black. Nobody -- the street lights don't work. The power lines are down. You're going to run over power lines that are live. You know, it's impossible to live like that. But I have called PSE & G. I've pleaded with them to come repair the lines and they said, no, we can't, you have to wait your turn.
HARLOW: They don't have enough resources.
APPLEGATE: They don't.
HARLOW: Fran, your house is really damaged in the major blizzard we had here in the New York-New Jersey area this winter. You kind of just got through fixing that.
FRAN MYERS, NEW JERSEY RESIDENT: Everything.
HARLOW: Now what?
MYERS: Well, let's see, my back room, my family room that was repaired over the winter, it downed. A big tree branch hit it last night. And the nice new roof we put on, it's gone. And on the other side of the house, we had massive flooding coming in from the roof. Went all the day down right through the house down to the basement. We have no power. I've got three dogs. My next door neighbors have two premature twins on apnea monitors and no power.
HARLOW: And I think, Fran, just to explain what's going on here is that, you know, the water has receded from the road and Irene wasn't as bad as many thought it was going to be But here in places like Middlebourne, New Jersey, people are feeling it and it's going to last for Steven and Fran for the next seven days unless something changes. So this is what we are now feeling now from the storm and it's here for a while.
SAVIDGE: Right, yes. We hope, Poppy, that things improve faster for Steven and Fran than right now they are predicted to. Thank you very much for that.
In Pennsylvania, officials are blaming Irene for the deaths of four people there. And now that the winds and the rains have passed, the waters are rising. Residents describe shoulder high water on the streets of Philadelphia where the mayor lifted the state of emergency around noon.
Fifty miles to the northwest in the Lehigh Valley, one of our iReporters came across this small lake at intersection of Center Valley Parkway and Route 309. And even farther north in the Poconos, another iReporter came across a stream that drastically broke its banks. Heavy rains in the Poconos had already saturated the ground and that of course made things even worse.
Hurricane Irene took a swipe at New York, but it could have been a lot worse. We will assess the damage when we come back and we'll talk with General Russell Honore about what many of the affected states did right and wrong in preparing for the storm. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SAVIDGE: At this hour, all eyes are focusing on this small town of Vermont -- Brattleboro and the floodwaters, the flash flooding that is continuing to rise and the critical hours expected to come in the very early morning hours of Monday morning. We'll watch developments there. A building clearly in jeopardy.
New York City is a bit soggier tonight because of Hurricane Irene, but most of the city is greatly relieved that it wasn't worse. CNN's Carter Evans is in Manhattan with the very latest.
CARTER EVANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New York is beginning to get back to normal. This area where I am, Battery Park, was under water. It flooded this morning. It was also under evacuation but now people are back in their apartments. You could see the lights on.
And how's this for a sign of resilience for New York City? That's the new World Trade Center that you're looking at, under construction right now. Construction workers will be back on the tower tomorrow morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: I went by the World Trade Center site this morning and you would -- all the cranes, some of them have been taken down. All was secured. Back to work tomorrow, I hope. And the memorial continues to be on schedule for opening on 9/11.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EVANS: But getting back to work in New York City tomorrow morning is an entirely different story. The subway system is still not back up and running. In fact, it won't be ready for tomorrow's commute. According to Mayor Bloomberg, they have to inspect all of the tracks first and then run empty test trains over them before they could start carrying passengers again.
Buses will be running limited service tomorrow. The Staten Island ferry is operating again. And all New York City airports will open again tomorrow morning.
For everyone else? They're going to have to drive into the city and imagine what the traffic would be like there or battle with 14 million other New Yorkers here in the city for one of 30,000 taxis. It's going to be a very difficult commute.
Carter Evans, CNN, New York.
SAVIDGE: That is not going to be pretty. Well, it's been about 40 hours since Hurricane Irene first made landfall in Cape Lookout, North Carolina. So how did the states along the Atlantic Coast do in their preparation? Could they have done more? And what should they be focusing on right now? Retired Lt. General Russell Honore joins me us now and he led the military response to Hurricane Katrina. So, let's start with the good news. What did they do right?
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET.): I think the risk communication was excellent. Governors, mayors throughout the region that was threatened came on television and put their reputation on the line and said evacuate, this is what it looked like based on good science, based on one weather report.
Every time they brought in the National Hurricane Center here to give their best estimate of what was going to happen. That was excellent for the people in the affected area.
The other thing is all the government working together. That was a beautiful thing to see. Hopefully, it will work that way every day in some of the disasters we are facing with.
And I think the other piece of evacuation. Taking into consideration -- we know we got people in hospitals that could be flooded. Get them out early. It's easy to get them out and you will save more lives if you get them out before the flood as opposed to taking a risk, hoping it doesn't happen.
SAVIDGE: OK. So that's good news. Where is the area that needs improvement?
HONORE: Right now, we've got about four million people without electricity. Many of those people will have claims because they also have property damage from trees. I think before these major disasters the government might want to communicate more with people while they have power, while they have the internet up and say, hey, if you have damage, this is what you need to do, this is where you need to go in your local community because tomorrow is going to be chaos. People have roofs off, where do they go? What paperwork do they need? It's frustrating as all get out.
I think the other thing we have to get at some point in time, Marty, we should have a conversation with the American people about tree maintenance.
SAVIDGE: That's very true because the trees come down, they bring down the power lines and that's why these people wait a week or more.
HONORE: Right. I know everyone is into the green thing and the green zones but we've got to have a balance between how we manage those trees and many of them just leaning over power lines. You see them in Atlanta, any major city. People love the trees, but they cause enormous disruption to the economy and the amount of money it takes to put them back up. We've got to fix that.
SAVIDGE: Well, let's talk about going forward tomorrow. What's your major concern for all these things?
HONORE: It is getting the power back on, getting food distribution to people who live in isolated areas in the back roads of Virginia and throughout the Mid-Atlantic and even up in backcountry in New York where people are isolated and they can't get out and the food and water supply was thought to diminish. Where will they go?
Again, another thing we could have done more in the preparation is tell everybody in every county where the distribution center would be so they know where to try to get to tomorrow if they need food, water or medical care.
SAVIDGE: All right. General Honore, thank you as always for your insight.
HONORE: Good evening.
SAVIDGE: Well, the outer banks of North Carolina, they took heavy damage from the storm. Some 2,500 people are now cut off from the mainland. Next, we'll take an aerial tour of the damage. We'll show it to you. And then good news for air travelers and your Monday commute -- airports will be open. We'll have those details ahead.
SAVIDGE: You know, all the focus has been on Hurricane Irene, now a tropical storm. You might not have thought Vermont was taking perhaps the heaviest brunt but that's where we are focused. All eyes on Vermont. This is Jacksonville, Vermont. But also in Montpelier, the capital. They are under an emergency tonight where the waters there flash flooding expected to crest in the early morning hours.
Irene may not have hit New York as badly as many people have feared but Long Island, it caught the brunt of the storm as it passed through. Our Susan Candiotti is standing by live in Long Beach, New York, for us.
And, Susan, how are things looking now?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, this area was supposed to be in the crosshairs of Hurricane Irene and certainly two things were predicted and two things came true. There was flooding and there were power outages. From the eastern of Long Island, Montauk, you know, boats were sweeping away and some homes were flooded. But others experienced just localized flooding.
Power outages? Well, more than 400,000 customers remain in the dark on Long Island. One million customers throughout the State of New York. And at this hour, as you can see over my shoulder, the cleanup work is continuing at this hotel, for example, which is a few feet below sea level. Consequently, the lobby was flooded with sand and muck, and tonight they have been sweeping out all that mud from the first floor lobby and are still using water that blast away all the debris and try to shine things up.
They did not, however, lose power here. Now earlier today, late in the afternoon actually, Governor Cuomo stopped by, surprising a lot of locals and he took a look around, congratulating New Yorkers for being prepared.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK: If we had to do it all over again, we would do it all over again. I'm sure there was an economic consequence to it. And we couldn't afford that. But we couldn't afford that more than we could afford a loss of life, significant property damage. And I think because we acted the way we acted, we actually sustained much less damage in the long term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Certainly, the damage is not as bad as many had worried that it would be and everyone here very glad that Irene is over with. Well, almost. In fact, Marty, there is still some cleanup that is continuing. Back to you.
SAVIDGE: All right, Susan, we wish them good luck on that. Appreciate it very much.
Hurricane Irene cancelled thousands of flights, but we've got good news for those Monday airline commuters. Your travel outlook is ahead.
Meanwhile, the news is not so good in Brattleboro tonight, Vermont. There is a building in jeopardy and it's probably not the only one as flash flooding is threatening much of that state.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Union, New Jersey, today after Hurricane Irene passed through town. That video sent to us by iReporter Michael Ramas.
Irene just won't quit. Right now it has weakened to a tropical storm and moving from the U.S. into Canada. But all day long drenching rains have flooded areas all across the northeast. And the danger is far from over. At least 18 deaths now blamed on Irene so far. Floodwaters are still rising in many areas. More than four million homes and businesses without power as we speak, and it could take several days to get electricity flowing to everyone again.
President Obama is warning that many Americans aren't out of harm's way. He's promising swift federal assistance to victims from the storm. Irene turned out to be more of an inconvenience for major city centers like say New York, Newark, LaGuardia. And JFK airports will re-open Monday morning. New York City will also restore subway service starting at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
It could be several days before major cities like Washington, Philadelphia and New York are running on their normal transit schedules.
Alexandra Steel is here with a look at Monday's commute that's found to be a dozy.
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It certainly is. You know, unprecedented travel disruptions really to say the very least. So who's getting back on track and who's kind of still off track? So travel beginning to get its legs back. So you might need a pencil for this. So if you are flying in or out of a New York City airports, Washington good to go. Philadelphia, Boston has flights in or out today. New York City did not but they will tomorrow.
So here's the details. LaGuardia, your flight is taking you in or out through the air tomorrow. Both arrivals and departures commence tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. JFK and Newark, arrivals starting at 6:00, but departures are being held off and they commence at noon tomorrow. So that's the deal with airports.
In terms of mass transit, 4 million people a day in and around New York City take the subway. So certainly ultimate shut down really unprecedented to say the very least. Trains will open tomorrow. The one, two, three, four, five, six, seven opens by noon tomorrow. The kind of the first to get online. After that, though, the remainder, we will see at the earliest at about 3:00 in the afternoon.
So you heard the governor of New Jersey saying if you don't have to go to work tomorrow, don't. You can see why. This is just kind of the tip of the iceberg. In terms of bus service in and around New York, 2 million take that every day. Some big numbers.
Limited service has already begun. Restoring service and they are doing the bus service in this arena and in this manner. Manhattan first, then the Bronx, Queens and then they're going to pick up Brooklyn.
All right, also in terms of the Staten Island ferry that is open, was open today, will be open tomorrow. Holland tunnel open as well. And the trains, number one thing off track is Amtrak. It's good. Really Philadelphia is the dividing line. Philadelphia North to Boston, cancelled, no service tomorrow. Philadelphia South to Washington where there are certainly a lot of commuters via BWI and through Baltimore as well, you are up and running and you are good to go tomorrow. So that's just the little bit. So a pencil or pen would have been a good idea. I'll do a little cheat sheet online for you.
SAVIDGE: Thanks, Alexandra, very much.
Much more on the damage caused by Hurricane Irene. That is still ahead. But first, our Nic Robertson tracks down the Libyan man convicted of the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing. It is a CNN exclusive. We'll have it in two minutes.
SAVIDGE: We are staying on top of all the latest developments from Tropical Storm Irene, but we also want to let you know there's something new that's out there including events out of Libya.
The country's national transitional council announced today that it will not extradite Abdel Basset al-Megrahi. He's the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in Pan Am flight 103. NTC Justice Ministry Mohammed al-Alagi insisted, quote, "We will not give any Libyan citizen to the west," unquote. Megrahi may be the last man alive who knows precisely who in the Libyan government authorized that bombing.
CNN's Nic Robertson managed to track down Megrahi today. He joins us from Tripoli with this exclusive report.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Al- Megrahi was relatively easy surprisingly to find him. We had a photographed of his house. We went to the neighborhood where we thought he would be. We asked around with store keepers, and it wasn't long before we found it.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): We found Abdel Basset al-Megrahi' villa in an up market part of town. At least six security cameras and flood lights outside.
(on-camera): This is where Megrahi's house. This is where he's been living for the last couple of years. We're going to knock on the door, see if we can get any answer.
(voice-over): For 15 minutes or so, nothing.
(on-camera): I'm not sure if they have heard me so let's try the last ditch means, which is just shout over the wall.
Hello? Hello? Hello?
(voice-over): Then all of the sudden someone comes. Nothing prepares me for what I see. Megrahi apparently in a coma, his aging mother at his side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just give him oxygen. Nobody gives us advice. And some food by injection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you see, his body is weak.
ROBERTSON: He'd been expected to die almost two years ago, but convicted Pan Am 103 bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi lives. Only just.
This wasn't the way he looked when he was released from a Scottish jail two years ago. He came home to a hero's welcome, freed on compassionate grounds because doctors said he would be dead in three months. Almost immediately he began renovating this palacial house. Money, no object.
(on-camera): It doesn't take long walking around this building before you begin to realize and looking at the marble here on these expensive fittings to realize that it appears Megrahi was being paid off handsomely for all those years he spent in jail. (voice-over) In the two decades since the bomb exploded on board Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie killing 270 passengers, crew and townspeople, it seemed the secrets of the attack would die with the bombers. Megrahi always maintained he was innocent.
Just a month ago in a rare public citing Moammar Gadhafi had him literally wheeled out for a pro-government rally. I'm seeing him now for the first time in two years. He appears to be just a shell of the man he was, far sicker than he appeared before.
(on-camera): Has he been able to see a doctor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. There is no doctor. There is nobody to ask and we don't have any phone line to call anybody.
ROBERTSON: What's his situation right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He stop eating and he sometimes is come in coma.
ROBERTSON: He goes unconscious?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We just sit next to him.
ROBERTSON: All that's keeping him alive, they say, oxygen and a fluid drip. I asked about demands he return to jail in Scotland?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad, he's still in the house. If you send him to Scotland, he will die by the way here or there.
ROBERTSON: Do you know how long he has left?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody can know how long he will stay alive. Nobody knows.
ROBERTSON: It seems I have arrived too late. He's apparently in no state to talk. Whatever secrets he has may soon be gone.
ROBERTSON: Now there may be a few former government officials around who might also know the details of what Gadhafi's involvement was, who made the exact decisions, but Megrahi has maintained his innocence. Many people have seen him in Libya as a fall guy for Moammar Gadhafi's enterprise in bringing down this aircraft. So potentially, he would be perhaps one of the only people who really at this stage had nothing to lose. Now that Gadhafi is gone, he doesn't have to fear him. Nothing to lose by speaking out and pointing his finger at exactly those he believes were responsible -- Marty.
SAVIDGE: Why won't the National Transition Council extradite Megrahi to the UK?
ROBERTSON: Well, the reason that they are giving is they're saying, they don't have an extradition treaty with any country. The fact is with Britain they do. One was agreed in 2009. A special one was agree. But there are perhaps bigger reasons here. The reason Gadhafi had Megrahi brought back to the country, went to great lengths to bring him back to Libya, is because Megrahi is from a very important and large tribe here.
A tribe that Moammar Gadhafi needed to have on side to support him. Now it's a tribe that the NTC, the National Transitional Council wants to win away from Gadhafi and bring over to their side. So it seems, if they would have sent Megrahi out of the country, they could forget any support from his tribe. And they need that support right now to build the government. A lot of the country in the south is still tribes favorable to Gadhafi. So there is a lot to go, lot to play for here by the National Transitional Council -- Marty.
SAVIDGE: A very powerful reporting. Nic Robertson, thank you very much.
As they've mentioned, 270 people lost their lives on that day, December 21st 1988. Many of the victim's family members and loved ones felt betrayed when Scotland freed al-Megrahi.
How will they feel knowing that he's close to death?
Bert Ammerman joins me now on the phone from Riverdale, New Jersey. He lost his brother at the bombing of flight 103, and formally led the victims of Pan Am flight 103 organization.
Thank you very much, sir, for joining us this evening.
You probably heard or saw Nic's report there. What did you think?
BERT AMMERMAN, BROTHER KILLED ON PAN AM 103 (via-telephone): Oh, I'm happy that Megrahi, as far as I'm concerned can't die soon enough. Whether he dies in Libya or whether he comes back to the United States or Scotland, at this point is irrelevant.
SAVIDGE: The fact that the NTC says they will not extradite him, does that bother you?
AMMERMAN: No. This all changed, Martin, a couple of weeks ago. As I have been saying over and over when people asked me, the big fish now is Gadhafi and his sons. As long as Gadhafi is eliminated, which would be my choice, and his sons are at least arrested, then we could try Gadhafi for the bombing of Pan Am 103. I would support that. But we got to stay focused now and have Gadhafi and his sons eliminated. If we do that, then my brother and the other 269 people did not die in vain.
SAVIDGE: Do you think that there is any doubt that al-Megrahi is in fact as ill as it appears he is in Nic Robertson's report?
AMMERMAN: Yes. I think when he was released two years ago I vilified the Obama administration, the Scottish government. It was ludicrous to say that he would be released on compassionate grounds, a man that was convicted of massacring 259 people at 31,000 feet. It was obvious he was released for oil. We were right on that. But here we are two years later, and I have to praise Obama. He has stood by the NATO process, and without Gadhafi, he would not be almost out of power.
I'm angered with the politicians, in particular the Republicans that were trying to say that we should not be in Libya. If there is any place we should be, it's Libya. Not Afghanistan, not Iraq. We went into Iraq at best with misinformation and all likely false pretenses. We are supporting a corrupt and slack government in Afghanistan. But in Libya, the man that massacred 189 Americans at 31,000 feet, that's where we should be to have him eliminated.
SAVIDGE: Bert, how important is it for you and other family members to hear someone in the Libyan government actually own up to this incident?
AMMERMAN: It's critical. There was a foreign minister in the last month or so who said that Gadhafi did order this. I remember as if it was yesterday when Megrahi was convicted. Also Fhima was the other man who was indicted. People in the Scottish police told me over and over again, if either of them are found guilty, you have sponsored terrorism. There is no question in our mind that Gadhafi was involved.
SAVIDGE: But do you think you are being cheated out of the death of Mr. Megrahi if in fact he is going to die soon?
AMMERMAN: No, because at this particular point, I remember when I met with President Bush 41 back in April 3rd 1989, I said to him then and I maintain it that this never should have been in the criminal arena. This was a political act, an attack on the American flag. We did not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
It was put in the criminal arena because our government, the British government, the German government never wanted to have any of the truth be told. Here we are 23 years later and I think that we're going to finally see justification with Gadhafi being eliminated.
SAVIDGE: Bert Ammerman who lost a brother on that flight. Thank you very much for joining us this evening.
AMMERMAN: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: Next hour, more on the end game in Libya including a look at the flamboyant and apparently sadistic lifestyle of Moammar Gadhafi's family including son Hannibal and his wife in an eluded mansion.
CNN's Dan River talked to a woman who worked as a nanny for the family of Hannibal Gadhafi. Hear the story of how she was tortured for failing to keep the toddler quite. That's ahead next hour only right here on CNN.
And when we come back, we'll look at amazing images taken by you, our iReporters, who helped us cover the story.
But first this programming note. He had the most powerful job in the country, but his toughest job was saving his own life. Tonight at midnight eastern, 9:00 on the West Coast, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and former President Bill Clinton explore the signs, tests and lifestyle changes that could result in the last heart attack. A "SPECIAL CNN PRESENTS" tonight at midnight eastern right here on CNN.
SAVIDGE: All weekend we have been receiving incredible photos and videos of Hurricane Irene from our iReporters.
Our Josh Levs looked at them all and picked the best.
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Our iReporters have been doing a tremendous job telling the story. In fact, this map behind me show that we have been receiving iReports from throughout the path of Irene, when it was a hurricane and when it was a tropical storm.
Now let's take a look at this video right here.
LEVS: Look at that gushing. This powerful video comes from David Cadrene. He shot this in Brattleboro, Vermont. And he tells us that this is usually an idyllic Vermont brook that flows quietly through town. Look at how it changed today.
Now let's jump over to West Haven, Connecticut.
LEVS: Look at that. That is a restaurant area, busy street with all this tables outside. My goodness. Look at what happened when Irene came gushing through. Obviously the area was mostly evacuated aside from a few people who were around.
He said that there were some people who were there just out of pure curiosity who wanted to see what Irene did. He was among them. And you can see right there with your own eyes some of what Irene has done right there.
Now over to Jersey City, New Jersey.
LEVS: This was taken by Adam Rice who was out at the waterfront. There had been some evacuations in his area, but not for him. Only for people who live in the first floor of his building. And you can see the waters come gushing in. This was early Sunday morning as Irene came barrelling through.
Let's take a look at a picture now from North Carolina. We're seeing more and more images of the devastation that has struck from North Carolina. That one right there coming from our iReporter Chad Stewart in Nags Head.
If you want to see any of these pictures yourself, you can do that right here. It's called OpenStory@CNN.com.
You can just click on any one of this, and it will show you these images. You'll be able to see pictures from all over the region. For example, this one right here. This is from Bronxville, New York. Look at that. A car poking out over the water, just barely a little bit above right there.
Let's take a look at one more picture here. South Beach sea wall in Rowayton, Connecticut. There was a sea wall here now you can see what happened. It's basically been dissolved into these giant crumbles of rock.
We invite you to join the story right here at iReport.com. Send us your photos, your videos and your story. As long as they were taken safe, we'll be happy to share them right here.
Back to you.
SAVIDGE: Vermont is the state that did not order mandatory evacuations but ended up feeling the fury of the storm. These are live images. And we'll have a live report Brattleboro just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAD STEWART, CNN IREPORTER: The view from my second floor, and it is completely under water. Probably five feet under water right now. And it's everywhere. I mean, it's all the way back in the woods, as far as you can see. There's garbage in the yard in front. My truck is under water all the way up to the hood. So that's ruined. So we'll check back later. Bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: That's Irene in the backyard of Nags Head, North Carolina. That was sent to us by iReporter Chad Stewart.
On North Carolina's Hatteras Island, the storm (INAUDIBLE), Irene washed out the main highway on the outer banks and several places. And now some 2500 people are cut off from the mainland.
Our Brian Todd is with the National Guard, which did an aerial tour to see how bad the damage is. And he joins us now from Kingston, North Carolina.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, we got the aerial tour and then we landed on Hatteras Island. We got some exclusive access there because the only way to get to Hatteras Island right now is by chopper.
We went in with the National Guard and we saw this key section of highway 12 which runs north and south. This key section of that highway was destroyed. Not only destroyed. It looked like an earthquake hit it along with the hurricane.
The road was chopped to pieces by the storm surge. They've been caved in. There are downed power lines all over, and now the ocean is running over it. This is a key section of highway 12 which connects Hatteras Island to a northern island of the outer banks, which then can connect to the mainland through bridges.
So Hatteras Island is now cut off. 2,500 people there are stranded at least temporarily because of that. They decided not to leave. They ignored the mandatory evacuation order. We talked to some of them and we're going to bring those reports to you a little bit later.
But the devastation there at least in that key section is very significant, because that leaves 2,500 people stranded at least temporarily. We also saw a lot of flooded out roads, one home that had been burned as well as hit by the hurricane and is complete ashes right now. So people on Hatteras Island really feeling the after effects now. And now they've got isolation to deal with -- Marty.
SAVIDGE: How long do you think that isolation could last, Brian?
TODD: Well, you know, that's interesting because they're going to have an emergency ferry carrying supplies and food there starting tomorrow. There may be a couple of ferry services going in and out of there, but those are slow. They have a limited capacity to take in supplies.
The governor and her staff have told this people before hand to have at least three days of supplies ready. And the people we talked to on Hatteras Island said they did have that much. They'll think about it. I mean, we're already almost two days since the hurricane hit them. So they got maybe one more day and then they're going to have to rely on this supplies being ferried in which are going to come very slow.
SAVIDGE: We'll see how that goes. Brian Todd, thanks very much. We'll check back in about 20 minutes.
Lots of water and little power. Those are the challenges Rhode Island is facing at this hour. Still the governor appreciates how well his state fair avoiding major flooding. CNN's Kate Bolduan reports from Providence.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As Irene heads north, the focus here as well as throughout Rhode Island becomes cleanup and recovery. And the biggest problem according to state officials continues to be power.
Lots of damage from the wind. The strong gust that were blowing through throughout Sunday here in Providence and throughout the state. At its peak, the National Grid, which is the local power company said half of the state was without power. Crews are out working on trying to restore that right now, but state officials warn this could be, in their words a multi-day event. Meaning, it could be days before all of the power is back from the force of Irene as it blew through. Other big problems that they are continuing to face. Many downed trees throughout Providence and throughout the neighboring communities. And every community that we saw actually as we were driving through, as well as downed power lines. A big part of the problem. And they are asking, requesting and warning still this evening even as Irene, the worst of Irene has passed, they are saying please stay away from the water and off of the road so emergency crews and the power company crews, they can get to their work and trying to clean up the debris and get the roads clear as quickly as possible.
But still, many here in the community breathing a sigh of relief that the worst that was feared of Irene did not become a reality here in Rhode Island.