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Air Crash Horror in San Francisco; Canada Train Disaster; Zimmerman Trial; Shares of Asiana Tumbles

Aired July 8, 2013 - 04:00   ET





JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Pilots in training. New information about what may have caused the jetliner that crashed at San Francisco International Airport. And new details about the men flying the plane.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Train derailed. A town that looks like a warzone. Several dead, dozens more missing when a train explodes on the track in Canada. We are live.

BERMAN: And caught on camera. A neighborhood dropped when a home suddenly explodes.

PEREIRA: Good morning and welcome to a very early start for EARLY START. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Monday, July 8th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East. There's so much news, so much going on. We are starting extra early on this EARLY START.

PEREIRA: All right. Let's start with the horrific crash in San Francisco. We're finding out more this morning about the man who was at the controls of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 when it went down Saturday, killing two, injuring more than 180.

South Korean officials say the pilot did not have much experience flying a Boeing 777 and had never landed one at this airport before. Though he had landed there in other planes several times.

So many questions this morning about what exactly went wrong and how this seemingly routine flight turned tragic.

Miguel Marquez is live at San Francisco International Airport for us with what we know -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Michaela. We are -- we do have lots of questions out here. We're getting some answers from some amateur video that CNN has obtained exclusively of the crash itself. We're also learning more about who was at the helm of that plane. This is an individual who had only flown a 777 for nine times in his entire life. And authorities are looking into why it came in so steep and so slow.


HAYES: Oh, my god.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): This morning, a stunning revelation. Asiana Airlines saying at the controls of a doomed flight was the co-pilot with only 43 hours of experience in the 777 and he had never landed a 777 at San Francisco before.

Though he was a veteran pilot with about 10,000 hours of flight time --

HAYES: Oh, lord have mercy.

MARQUEZ: This was considered a training flight.

Flight 214 clipping the seawalls sliding down the runway and pin- wheeling at one point, almost fully vertical. Then erupting into a cloud of dust and smoke.

HAYES: And I was watching it come in and my initial reaction was that it was trying to divert the landing.

MARQUEZ: Officials say the pilot tried to increase speed at seven seconds before impact. At four seconds, the 350-ton plane's shake stick device jolted violently, a warning the massive jet was going too slowly, stalling.

EUGENE RAH, ASIANA PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: I looked out through the window and I knew we were too low.

MARQUEZ: Just 1.5 seconds before slamming into the seawall, the pilot called to abort the landing.

DEBORAH HERSMAN, NTSB CHAIRWOMAN: There is no discussion of any aircraft anomalies or concerns --

MARQUEZ: These new NTSB photos show seats crushed and jumbled together, amazing so many survived.

WEN ZHANG, ASIANA PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: Everybody screamed. Dark and most of the ash. Everywhere there's ash.

MARQUEZ: Some passengers thrown from the plane suffering road rash from skidding along the runway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got there within three minutes. There were flames coming off the plane.

MARQUEZ: The parents of two teenage girls killed in the crash grief stricken, their daughters headed for summer camp here in California. More than a dozen are still hospitalized, two of them paralyzed. Still such a violent crash and so few injuries and deaths.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is nothing short of a miracle that we had literally 123 people walked away from this.

MARQUEZ: A miracle prompting many questions.

HAYES: Oh, my god. Oh, my god.


MARQUEZ: And to add to the tragedy out here, the coroner saying that one of those young women who died in this plane crash may have been struck by an emergency vehicle. It is not clear whether or not they were already dead when that vehicle struck them. The mayor, addressing this, saying that look, it was very, very chaotic out there. And emergency responders were rushing to the plane trying to get to them but a very, very chaotic and tragic scene -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Further tragedy on top of already horrific situation.

All right, so there's a lot of things investigators are looking at. The plane, how it was functioning. Also the pilot, the experience that he had. How much do you think this is going to play and if there's pilot error, how much is that going to play into their investigation? It seems a bit premature at this point to point the finger at that?

MARQUEZ: Yes. I mean, that was certainly asked of the NTSB at their last press conference and we hope to get more from them today. You know, look, that is where it is clear that we are looking at right now but NTSB saying you can't go there yet. There are maybe instruments that were at play here. There may be other things that may be going on in that plane that we are not aware of yet.

They are still analyzing all of the data from the Flight Data Recorder and Voice Data Recorder to understand exactly what happened on that flight. And they will co-relate that against a broad array of information in order to come up with the best answer possible -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: More details to come to be sure in the coming hours. Miguel Marquez, thanks so much for that.

BERMAN: All right. New this morning, a different deadly plane crash to tell you about. This one in Alaska. A pilot and nine passengers were killed when their de Havillan DHC-3 went down in an airport about 150 miles south of Anchorage. This happened Sunday. The plane was apparently taking off at the time. It burst into flames and was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived. Investigators are still looking for a cause of that accident.

PEREIRA: Breaking news from Egypt where health officials say at least 34 people have been killed and more than 300 have been wounded outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo. That is where deposed president Mohamed Morsi is thought to be held. Morsi supporters said the military lobbed tear gas at them and began shooting. But the military says the incident was the result of terrorists attempting to raid the building. They claimed to have arrested some 200 heavily armed attackers.

BERMAN: And yet another big developing story we're following this morning, a runaway train disaster in Canada. The country's prime minister said a small Canadian town now looks like a warzone. At least five people are dead, another 40 still unaccounted for after a train loaded with crude oil derailed, crashed and exploded into flames. Authorities expect the death toll to climb.

CNN's Paula Newton now joins us on the phone.

Paula, what's the latest?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (via phone): John, you know what, it's really hard to fathom what this town has been through and what it has yet to face. The only piece of good news this morning is at least the fire has been extinguished.


NEWTON (voice-over): For too many there was simply no mistake. An inferno so intense it incinerated everything in its path. Minutes before the unmanned runaway train pulling 72 tankers filled with crude oil went careening into the town of Lac-Megantic, derailed with unimaginable consequences.

Earth-shaking explosions followed. The fire burning for a full 36 hours. The devastation was apocalyptic. The silence ominous. There was no word of sons and daughters who never made it home, friends and families that, yes, vanished. Town officials say some were likely vaporized by the sheer intensity of the blaze.

BENOIT RICHARD, QUEBEC FORCE POLICE SPOKESMAN: Of course, we are working hand in hand with the coroner's office and with the victim unit from Lac-Megantic, Quebec, to talk with the families. All of the bodies were transported to the Montreal Forensics to be expertise.

NEWTON: The fire utterly consumed the very heart of this town in every way, waiting for word of the missing has been excruciating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are numb. We are just numb.

NEWTON: Canada's prime minister Steven Harper toured the devastation and foreshadow the grim news that is sure to come.

STEVEN J. HARPER, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: But I know there's going to be waves of emotion over the next few weeks as the extent of this, and this is a very big disaster in human terms, as the extent of this becomes increasingly obvious.


NEWTON: The Main Atlantic Line is a U.S. owned rail company. They are already speculating that what happened, John, was that the air brakes failed. There was no power to the locomotive. When it was parked, the brakes failed, and John, that train went careening for miles until it finally ended up in this town. And really it's just shocking. There is no other word for what happened here.

When people were trying to enjoy a summer's night, John, those tankers exploded a few feet away from where they are -- John.

BERMAN: Paula, the pictures are remarkable and a lot of people now talking about tanker safety and transport safety with things like gas and crude oil.

Our thanks to you, Paula Newton, in Lac-Megantic, which is in Quebec in Canada. Hope I said that right.

Other news right now nine minutes after the hour. Still no details this morning about exactly what led to Teresa Heinz Kerry being rushed to a hospital in Nantucket and then airlifted to Mass General Hospital in Boston. She is said to be in critical but stable condition this morning. The 74-year-old wife of Secretary of State John Kerry became ill while at the family's vacation home in Nantucket.

PEREIRA: Furloughs begin today for nearly three quarters of a million Defense workers forced to take one day off a week through the middle of September. This is a result of the federal spending cuts called the sequester. The cuts impact civilian workers who handle support tasks like repairs, not active duty service members.

The furloughs are expected to save just under $2 billion. But the Pentagon has to cut $40 billion from its budget. The military is warning that these cuts will slow its ability to respond to crises around the world.

BERMAN: A privacy rights group taking an extraordinary legal step to try and shut down the National Security Agency's phone spying program. "The New York Times" reporting the Electronic Privacy Information Center plans to file an emergency petition with the Supreme Court today. They're asking the high court to stop the NSA's domestic surveillance that collects telephone records of millions of Americans.

PEREIRA: Cuban president Raul Castro now backing the Latin American countries willing to give asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Castro said it's their right to grant asylum to anyone being persecuted. But he did not indicate if he'd led Snowden fly through his nation on his way to Venezuela who's president has offered Snowden refuge. A prominent member of the Russian parliament calls the offer Snowden's last chance. For now, the former NSA contractor still believed to be at the Moscow airport where he has been for two weeks now.

BERMAN: Forecasters keeping a close eye on a tropical storm names Chantal. It is in the Atlantic close to affecting Barbados, Dominica and St. Lucia. You're looking at me for saying Chantal. I did a nice job with that.

PEREIRA: Do you have an ex-girlfriend named Chantal that caused a storm in your life?

(CROSSTALK) BERMAN: Yes. It seems like --

PEREIRA: He said it was significant. Did you hear?

BERMAN: It's like a very sultry tropical storm. Sultry and dangerous with winds, you know, 40 miles an hour.

Chad, tell us more about Chantal.



PEREIRA: You got that (INAUDIBLE).

MYERS: It is still way out in the Atlantic. We're still a couple of days from really worrying about this but yes, it's your 40-mile-per- hour storm. And we're expecting a very busy hurricane season. So we're going to watch every single one of them.

Every storm is going to be moving into the Caribbean always has a chance of hitting the U.S. That's never a possibility. If it's way out here in the Atlantic, turning to the right, we call those gutter balls. We'll watch Chantal through the end of the week.

Other than that, a lot of people are not where they want to be this morning because planes didn't get where they were supposed to get last night. If you were at the airport or trying to get to the airport this morning the planes are doing very well. Last night, there were so many storms across the northeast that things just slowed down almost to a stop.

Chicago, you could see a slight slowdown this morning as storms approach you. New York City, hey, 92 yesterday, only 87 today. That will feel like a picnic because it was hot in the city, for sure. Hot in all the big cities yesterday.

Rain is coming to the northeast, again. And the pattern is changing. It'll be stormy across the north, not across the south. But it will finally shut off some of the rain across the Deep South that's caused so much flooding.

BERMAN: Massive cool down to 87 degrees.

MYERS: I know.

BERMAN: Here in the northeast, Chad.

PEREIRA: What a relief.

BERMAN: The party favor is right down. Have a great time.

PEREIRA: Exactly.

BERMAN: Appreciate it. All right, it is that time of year again. The annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain where really, really smart people take to the streets.

PEREIRA: Let's have a bull chase down the road.

BERMAN: Thousands of them. Look at that. All members of Metsa. Luckily no one was gored --

PEREIRA: That's the part that's most amazing. Nobody was gored.

BERMAN: Lucky, too. But there's still time. You know, I should say four people are treated for injuries. No one was seriously hurt.

I'm not joking, the festival was on for eight more days. And every year, someone does end up seriously hurt.

PEREIRA: The poor mothers and wives of these men-folk.

BERMAN: You know, and people don't look good at all white with red stars. I think that's the other thing here.

PEREIRA: It's good to know that you've got a fashion statement decision on that because --


PEREIRA: I understand that's important. If they didn't have the red scarf, you'd be OK with it?

BERMAN: More OK with it.

PEREIRA: OK. Good to know.

Coming up, the emotion intensifying at the Trayvon Martin murder trial. Mothers of the victim and the defendant take the stand with two very different stories.

BERMAN: And a Michigan home suddenly explodes. The whole thing caught on camera. That's coming up next.


BERMAN: The George Zimmerman trial enters its third week today with the defense making its case for the former neighborhood watch volunteer. And as George Howell reports, Friday brought family members to the stand to try and explain a critical piece of evidence.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A rare moment of emotion from George Zimmerman in the courtroom as this week's testimony could see more family on the stand to testify on his behalf. Friday, Zimmerman was visibly affected listening to his uncle explain when he heard those highly scrutinized screams for help on a 911 audio tape. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, that is George. And I stood up, and looked at the TV.

HOWELL: Also, Zimmerman's mother.

MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Do you know whose voice that was screaming in the background?


O'MARA: Who's voice was that?

ZIMMERMAN: My son, George.

O'MARA: And are you certain of that?

ZIMMERMAN: Because he's my son.

HOWELL: It was a day of dueling testimonies between mothers. Gladys Zimmerman testified after Sybrina Fulton told the court what she heard before the fatal shot that killed her son.

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Ma'am, that screaming or yelling, do you recognize that?


DE LA RIONDA: And who do you recognize that to be, ma'am?

FULTON: Trayvon Benjamin Martin.

HOWELL: Martin's older brother, Javaris Fulton, also testified the screams were from his brother, but in cross-examination Fulton was put on the spot for once telling a reporter he wasn't positive about who was screaming only to later conclude it was Trayvon Martin.

For most of day nine, jurors listened to the medical examiner who did the autopsy on Martin.

DR. SHIPING BAO, PERFORMED AUTOPSY ON TRAYVON MARTIN: I believe he was alive for one to 10 minutes after he was shot.

HOWELL: But when challenged by the defense, Dr. Shiping Bao admitted he only recently reached that opinion just three weeks earlier. He said he thought Martin was alive only one to three minutes after the shooting. Defense attorneys also pointed out how Bao's team may have mishandled and even damaged some evidence.

When asked to recall specifics about the autopsy, there was this.

BAO: I do not have any recall. I do not have any memory of the day of autopsy.

HOWELL: Attorney Mark O'Mara asked the judge to acquit his client after the state rested its case. Arguing prosecutors had not proven second-degree murder. Judge Debra Nelson denied that motion. JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SEMINOLE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: The motions for judgment of acquittal are denied.

HOWELL: Putting the defense on deck as this trial moves into week three.

George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


PEREIRA: Dramatic pictures to show you from the Detroit suburbs this morning. That is a house exploding in Ypsilanti Township and these neighbors heard it all happen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard a serious loud boom. Loud. They said get out, get out, you have to go. It blew up. The house literally blew up and the whole back of it was down. Then we seen the guy come out. His pants were blew off of him. It was horrible.


PEREIRA: That man is being treated for burns to his legs. Apparently he drove himself to the hospital.


PEREIRA: Police think the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak. Terrifying moments.

BERMAN: Crazy pictures.

All right, coming up here, Friday was a win on Wall Street. But what will today bring? We will check your markets. The very first check of the markets on this very early, EARLY START.


BERMAN: Look at that. Looks like nighttime in New York City or at least very early morning.

PEREIRA: I thought it was --

BERMAN: Because it is very early morning.

PEREIRA: Thought it was the city that never sleeps.

BERMAN: It is the city that --

PEREIRA: Seems sleepy right now.

BERMAN: -- sort of napping slight at the hour.

(LAUGHTER) PEREIRA: Good morning. A very early morning here on EARLY START. It is money time. Poppy Harlow is here with all the business news. Almost didn't make it to us this morning.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No sleep for me, frankly, just got off a plane a few hours ago. But a lot of interesting news as we open this week of trading on Wall Street and very big week after that very good jobs report on Friday. All the major U.S. averages closing 1 percent higher on Friday. That's how investors will kick off this week.

Last week the Dow Industrial gained 1.5 percent. The tech heavy Nasdaq was up 2.2 percent. The S&P 500 are much broader gauge, gained about 1.6 percent and a much stronger-than-expected jobs report on Friday, gave a nice boost to investor confidence. And that always matters.

Meantime, shares of Asiana Airlines tumbling today in overseas trading following that airline crash landing in San Francisco over the weekend. In Seoul this morning, that stock seeing dramatically dropping 10 percent in the open.


HARLOW: It's gained a little bit of ground since but it's still down 6 percent. And we have so much more to find out about what caused its crash. We will be watching that very closely. Of course two people were killed, 182 injured after the Boeing 777 operated by Asiana crashed on the runway.

Interestingly, though, guys, Boeing shares have not been affected at all by this, the maker of the airline.

Also, it's going to be a big earnings week on Wall Street. We're going to kick off things today after closing bell. Alcoa, that's a huge aluminum maker, they will be reporting their numbers. And at the end of the week, Friday, we hear from the big banks, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo. They are among companies reporting their numbers today. Investors are going to look at the quality of these earnings, giving a lot of mixed signals on the economy.

Also people want to know how companies are doing after hints from the Feds lately that they may be pulling back stimulus that has been boosting this economy.

So big stories on Wall Street. Good jobs report but a lot of questions with corporate earnings this week.

BERMAN: A lot of questions. Big stories worth flying all night to be here.

HARLOW: Obviously.

PEREIRA: Dedicated.

HARLOW: Would never miss it. BERMAN: Your dedication is remarkable. Money time bliss for no flight delays.


Twenty-six minutes after the hour. Coming up, breaking news overnight. Violent rallies in Egypt, dozens dead, hundreds wounded, calls for the newly instated president to step down.

Folks, it's chaos there. We're going live when we come back.