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"Blade Runner" Charged with Model's Murder; Mattresses on Ship Soaked in Sewage; Sources: Hagel Filibuster Vote Likely Today; Final Hours on "Floating Petri Dish"

Aired February 14, 2013 - 14:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: But I want to turn now to this Valentine's Day nightmare, a beautiful young model dead. An Olympic athlete who inspired millions around the world set to appear in court tomorrow charged with her murder.

The accused here is Oscar Pistorius known as the blade runner. The double amputee who ran on carbon fiber blades just last summer in the Olympics in London, the victim here was his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. A model and law school graduate who recently appeared on the cover of the men's magazine, "FHM."

She was very much so looking forward to today to Valentine's Day. How do we know this? She was tweeting all about it. Posted just yesterday, "It's a beautiful day. Make things happen, starting my day off with yummy healthy shake from my bo."

Here is another one, "That sounds amazing. Wow! It should be a day of love for everyone. May it be blessed," and "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow." All of this yesterday. Her body was found this morning in Pistorius's upscale home in Pretoria, South Africa. She had been shot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was in there and can you confirm that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've also received the same reports. Obviously -- by the ongoing investigation.


BALDWIN: Pistorius' arrest is totally a shock for fans worldwide. He was seen as this humble hero, a likeable guy and was recently featured in "People" magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" issue. We watched him talk about his family in a recent interview with our own Piers Morgan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first time being in the stadium was just really special. It wasn't the race necessarily. I came out and I saw my grandmother. She is 89 years old and she's flown all the way from South Africa with her pacemaker and all. I hadn't seen them in months. We've been running on the circuit so --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was just crying. She had a little flag and just to see them, I knew everything was going to be amazing.


BALDWIN: Pistorius also appeared in ads for Nike including this, "I am a bullet ad" reportedly pulled from Pistorius' web site just this morning.

If you happen to fly American Airlines or U.S. Airways, get ready change is coming. The two are merging now into the world's biggest airline. Their combined customers tens of millions of flyers just might have to make some adjustments.

Alison Kosik is with me now from New York and obviously, the first question is what does it mean for you and me? When will the fares go up?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're worried about that, right. So as far as the fares go, if you are looking to book a flight on one of these airlines or any airline at this point, you are not going to suddenly just see this spike because this merger that was announced today.

Most analysts, Brooke, they are saying no, you won't see fares go up. I know believe it or not, they are saying that mergers don't cause the fare hikes. Look at fares. They are actually up less than 2 percent a year since 2004 in recent years, less than inflation despite a surge in airline mergers.

In fact, over the last 30 years, if you look back that much, fares are actually weighed down when you account for inflation. I know it's hard to believe because when you are buying those fares, booking those fares, it certainly feels like you are paying an arm and a leg.

Here's one reason to believe that fares are going to stay in check in this case. There is very little overlap between U.S. Airways and American Airlines. I want to pull up a map here and you will notice that there aren't any shares at hubs. There are very few individual routes and comments. So that means that you still have a lot of choices where you can fly that could keep prices from spiking higher as well -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: What about if we're talking two different airlines that means two sets of frequent flyer miles, highly coveted frequent flyer miles. What happened to those?

KOSIK: Right. So what we're hearing from analysts, Brooke, is that you probably won't lose miles, but they could lose value. What I mean by that is what may happen is the combined airline of American and U.S. Airways, which by the way, will be known as American Airlines.

What they may do is they may change the standards of how much you get for those miles. Some of the benefits of the combined frequent flyer programs are likely to change. Just to give you an example, U.S. Airways dividend miles members currently are able to use reward miles for flights on United.

They will lose that benefit. Now one analyst did tell CNN Money it's probably a good idea to use your miles now. You can get more out of them. You can be certain about that because historically, you know, it can be tougher to book those rewards flights. You know, the flights cost more miles post merger.

So yes, I'd say go ahead and try to stay away from the blackout dates and book your flight and you do these miles as soon as you can -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK, Alison Kosik, thank you very much. And on the other side of the break, we are going to continue covering this, pick your adjective, repugnant, revolting, smell conditions here inside Carnival Cruise Line, "Triumph."

It's limping back to Mobile and back to shore connecting these loved ones with their other halves. Is the apology and the money going to be good enough? What are their options once they get off and what are passengers saying up next.


BALDWIN: Covering this breaking news story, this Carnival "Triumph" cruise here. Live pictures from Dauphin Island, this is one of the coastal islands off Alabama in which the cruise is heading toward port, heading toward Mobile where a lot of family members are eagerly a wading their loved ones' return after five very long days.

Remember that engine fire broke out on Sunday. The cruise was supposed to head to Cozumel and head home Monday instead, what's the day, today is Thursday here. I want to bring in Kimberly Ware. She is on board this cruise with her boyfriend. Kimberly, can you hear me?


BALDWIN: Hello to you, Kimberly. I was just talking to your son yesterday. He was telling me about your mustard sandwiches that you've been eating. How are you holding up?

WARE: We're doing really great. The crew has been wonderful so we are ready to get off of this boat.

BALDWIN: Really great?

WARE: I can't wait to see my family again. I just can't wait. We are very excited.

BALDWIN: I'm glad that your spirits are up. I talked to another passenger a moment ago and it sounds like she felt the same. Does it feel like the end is near? Can you see land at this point?

WARE: We can see some land. I think it's land and lots of oil rigs, which is good. It was very difficult being disconnected, not having any cell phone signals or anything like that, be able to contact people. It has been good and bad here. The camaraderie among passengers have been wonderful.

BALDWIN: You mentioned the cell phone signals and a lot of people are wondering how the heck are you able to call in? From what I can understand there have been makeshift cell charging stations that some of the passengers have sort of rigged on board taking turns and charging your cell phones so that you can call us.

WARE: Yes, everybody has been plugging in. The people that were smart enough to bring extension cords and things and donated them and you probably always have about a 100 cell phones being charged at once.

BALDWIN: Kimberly, what has the lowest moment for you been?

WARE: The lowest point for me is actually waking up and seeing the smoke and glow from the fire. That was very, very frightening to me and the hours after that until we knew that we were safe.

BALDWIN: How fearful were you in that moment?

WARE: How was I?

BALDWIN: How fearful?

WARE: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.

BALDWIN: How afraid were you in that moment when you saw the smoke?

WARE: I was very afraid because just the day before during the muster drill, they have stressed over and over that fire was our greatest danger on board the ship. So I was very frightened. We kept calm and we just waited for instructions and very, very lucky that they were able to get the fire out.

BALDIWN: Kimberly, I hope to at least brighten your afternoon just a little bit here because I understand we have your son on the phone. Nick Ware, Nick, can you hear me?

WARE: Nick?

BALDWIN: I understand you guys haven't spoken. Go ahead. Talk.

WARE: Nick, how are you, honey? I'm OK. I'm so glad to hear your voice. What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were here talking to you.

WARE: I know, honey. I have done nothing, but look at pictures of you on my phone and the rest of the family and wish I could see you. I'm so happy to be talking to you. I knew you would be trying to get mama help and of the ship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely.

WARE: I love you and hopefully I will be home in a day or two.


BALDWIN: Nick, do you have any questions for mom?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what time you will be getting off the ship or what's the status of that?

WARE: We had a problem just a few minutes ago, a tug has broken down. That's going to delay us even more. So I'm thinking maybe not today, maybe tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the other people you were telling me about on the lower floors? Has their morale gotten better?

WARE: The people who had to spend most of the time outside have not had it as good as me. Their morale is OK, but the small children on board and babies, elderly people that I'm worried about because we had to stand in line for food over an hour a lot of times.

I'm hoping that people take care of them getting them food, of course, the situation with the plumbing being not good. The crew has been wonderful. Cooperate have asked for nicer crew members and helpful at all times. They are in a bad situation.

BALDWIN: Kimberly, I would love to ask a question.

WARE: Honey, I love you and I'm so glad -- tell the family I love them and will see them soon.


WARE: Love you too. OK, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you, Nick, for calling in. Kimberly, here's my question because you brought up the point about how other people had it worse than you and we've seen these pictures of people are sleeping. I don't know if they dragged out the mattresses and they are in ropes and had the sheets outside. Why are they outside? Were they on the lower floors?

WARE: The lower floors were without electricity so very, very dark down there. You can't really see. Many people did not think to bring flashlights with them. Also with the sanitation issues, the commodes would not flush so you had the smell being very bad and that type of thing. There is no air circulating down there and they had to move to the outside deck.

BALDWIN: Kimberly, I'm going to let you go in just a moment, but final question is, you were aboard this cruise. What's the first thing you do once you finally get to dry land?

WARE: I hope I can just get on the bus and head home to Houston. That's the first thing I will do is look for a bus to get me home.

BALDWIN: Kimberly Ware, our best to you from all of us here at CNN. WARE: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

BALDWIN: I'm so glad we're able to connect you with your son. I hadn't talked to him --

WARE: That was wonderful. Thank you very much.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Best to you. We will take you, of course, back to this breaking story. This nightmare cruise in just a moment here, but first, I want to move on to breaking news on Capitol Hill involving President Obama's pick for secretary of defense. His potential confirmation is hanging in the balance. That's next.


BALDWIN: Back to our breaking news here on Capitol Hill, as this vote is likely today for the president's pick for defense secretary. But as you know, the fate has been basically hanging in the balance for former Senator Chuck Hagel.

Let me bring in our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash with some news she is just now getting. Dana, fill me in.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've reported earlier this afternoon that sources were telling us that there were talks of compromise that would allow a vote perhaps after the recess. That apparently has fallen apart.

So what we are told in the works as we speak, Brooke, is an attempt to potentially vote today to stop the filibuster that would require 60 votes and according to many Republican senators who and I our colleagues have spoken to in the hall ways, it is all but certain to fail.

But these Republicans say that they are expected to allow Hagel's nomination and confirmation to go through after the Senate goes into recess for a week so in two weeks. The reason they say is because they say the White House is rushing the nomination and there are too many unanswered questions about a controversial nominee.

And they say just two days after he came out of the Armed Services Committee is just too fast. On the flip side, Brooke, Democrats see this as an opportunity to make the point that Republicans are obstructing and trying to block a very important cabinet post meaning the secretary of defense.

That is the current state of play. The big picture is looks like Chuck Hagel will be confirmed, but in the short-term they will see some political skirmishes and an attempt to block him perhaps as early as today.

BALDWIN: Fireworks on Capitol Hill, Dana Bash. All right, Dana, we will be watching. Thank you so much on the Hagel vote today. In the meantime, we are going to take you back to this Carnival Cruise Line "Triumph." We have some news as we reported a little while ago here. Carnival has confirmed -- Carnival at least on its Twitter page saying, yes, the tug line has broken. Our question, by the way, that happened about 50 minutes ago.

What does it mean for the folks on board this cruise ship? Does that mean additional time must lapse as they get a replacement before these people can come home? We are going to talk about that, next.


BALDIWN: Well, as if these 3,000 plus passengers needed any worse news, it sounds like they are getting it. We have now learned that the tug line has broken. Chad Myers, this means that there is no one at the moment bringing the ship in.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, there are tugs alongside kind of keeping it stable, but there's nothing getting it closer to the dock right now. There is not a line on the boat to another tug boat towing it closer. In fact, it's actually drifting a little bit away from where it wants to be.

It wants to line up with the buoys and go straight into Mobile harbor. It has 30 miles to go. It's going to start to get dark here. Will the ship make it tonight or will they have to delay it until tomorrow? We don't know, but it's a possibility when they don't have it hooked up yet.

They can do it, but it may some take time. They don't know how the line broke. We don't know where the line broke, but we know that the line has been attached for a couple of days now as this thing has been towed through the middle of the Gulf of Mexico as it started to make the turn into the current.

There was enough stress and strain on that line and the line did stretch and snap. There is the boat right now. The ship was going to get into that channel and the markers and the line snap and it drifts to the bottom and the right. It's the drift in the current and the wind coming offshore.

BALDWIN: I know a lot of people say OK, well, then why not just, you know, grab these people on life boats and et cetera, but from what I heard these folks who have been on cruises is like it's too dangerous of an option. You have kids. You have elderly people. You have to wait and be patient.

MYERS: I have taken 25 cruises. So I know that you can put people in a tender and take them to shore to a shore excursion if the water is safe. Clearly the pilots and the captains of these ships do not believe that the water is calm enough for a small little 30 or 40 foot boat. It stays very stable and if they think they will put passengers in any danger by getting them off, they will keep them on.

BALDWIN: We are going to talk to more passengers. We will continue following this. Chad Myers, don't go too far. More breaking news here from the sea as this cruise ship limps back toward Mobile after this.


BALDWIN: Top of the hour here, I'm Brooke Baldwin, breaking news. We are covering this Carnival cruise called "Triumph," live pictures here as it is heading slowly but surely 39ish miles out here from Mobile, from this port.

You have 3,143 passengers and 1,000 plus crew members, they have been on this boat five extra days. These are the pictures we have been able to get exclusively because of our helicopters circling this cruise line earlier today.

Watch with me because you will see those sheets. People have been sending messages on bedsheets of this cruise. People have been wearing bathrobes because keep in mind you are packing for Cozumel and you are out in open air on board this cruise heading back towards Alabama because the stench is so horrendous.

You have people sleeping on the decks because the people in those bottom floor state rooms just can't stand the smell. These are all the things happening.