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THE SITUATION ROOM

NTSB Holds Press Conference; George Zimmerman Trial Continues

Aired July 9, 2013 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DEBORAH HERSMAN, CHAIRWOMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: And I'm going to share with you some information about their experience as relayed to our investigators during the interviews and some of their observations that they reported to our team.

All of the crew members have been very cooperative and very forthright with our team. The interviews took a little bit longer than expected because we wanted to make sure they were very thorough and there were translation needs. And so that required a slower pace.

The information that the Asiana crew members provided has not been validated by our investigators, comparing it to their paper records. And so this is information that's been relayed by the individual pilots. And it could be modified if we review and compare it to paper records.

I'm going to provide you a summary of the high points. There were three pilots in the cockpit at the time of the crash. There was one pilot who was in the back seated in the cabin during the approach and landing into San Francisco.

I'm going to talk to you about the pilots and I'm going to refer to them as the pilot flying who was sitting in the left seat, the instructor pilot who was seated in the right seat, the relief first officer who was sitting in the jump seat, and the relief captain who was sitting in the cabin.

So first I'm going to talk about the pilot flying, the pilot in the left seat. He reported to our investigators that he had 9,700 hours of total flight time. He had about 5,000 hours as pilot in command. This was his initial operating experience in the 777.

To complete initial operating experience for Asiana, he's required to have 20 flights and 60 flight hours. He had 10 legs -- he had completed 10 legs and about 35 hours flying the 777. So he was about halfway through his initial operating experience on the 777. He was hired in 1994. He did his initial training in Florida.

The flying pilot is rated in the 737, the 747, the A-320, and the 777. He was a ground school instructor and a sim instructor for the A-320, A-321. He was a captain on the A-320 from 2005 to 2013. Immediately prior to his initial operating experience on the 777, he was flying as a captain on the A-320.

The instructor pilot, this is the pilot who was seated in the right seat, he's also a captain. He reported to our investigators that his total flight time is 13,000 hours. He estimated he had about 3,000 hours in the 777. His total pilot-in-command time was about 10,000 hours. He had been in the Korean air force for 10 years. He reported that this was his first trip as an instructor pilot.

The instructor pilot stated that he was the pilot in command. He was sitting in the right seat. This was the first time that he and the flying pilot that he was instructing had flown together. The relief first officer who was sitting in the jump seat reported to our investigators that he had 4,600 hours flight time. He estimated that he had 900 to 1,000 hours flying a 777. He flew F-5s and F-16s in the Korean air force. He had flown to San Francisco five or six times as the pilot monitoring.

The fourth pilot who was serving as the relief captain was not in the cockpit for the approach. As I mentioned, he was seated in the cabin. And his interview is currently under way.

Here are some observations from the crew members that have been interviewed. And, again, this information needs to be corroborated with the cockpit voice recorder and other information. We are reporting to you what the witnesses stated in their interviews.

OK, this information, again, came from the crew interviews. Approach asked them to maintain 180 knots until they were about five miles out. This aircraft has a max 160 knots to put down the landing flaps for their final configuration. The crew relayed, again, additional information. The pilot that was sitting in the jump seat, the relief first officer, identified that he could not see the runway or the PAPI from his seating position and that the aircraft was -- the nose was pitched up, and so he couldn't see the runway.

The instructor pilot stated that -- and this is the best of his recollection in the interview -- that they were slightly high when they passed 4,000 feet, that they set vertical speed mode at about 1,500 feet per minute. At about 500 feet, he realized that they were low. He reported seeing three red and one white on the PAPI.

He told the pilot to pull back. They had set speed at 137 knots. And he assumed that the auto-throttles were maintaining speed. Between 500 feet and 200 feet, they had a lateral deviation and they were low. They were trying to correct at that point. At 200 feet, he noticed the four PAPIs were red. The airspeed was in a hatched area on the speed tape, and he recognized that the auto-throttles were not maintaining speed. And he established a go-around attitude.

He went to push the throttles forward, but he stated that the pilot had already -- the other pilot had already pushed the throttles forward.

There was a description of the event. And, again, this is from the interviews of the crew, that after the impact, the aircraft ballooned. It yawed left, and it went into a 360-degree spin. Of the individuals in the cockpit, the first officer was the one that received medical treatment. He was hospitalized and released. He had a cracked rib. Neither of the other two pilots that were in the cockpit were admitted to the hospital.

There have been some questions about operations before an air carrier and what the requirements are for air carriers from other countries vs. operations in the United States. I want to say we're at the beginning of the investigation. We're gathering information that's perishable. We're doing documentation.

We will have an opportunity to look at all of that information down the road, but if you want specific details about what is required, what the regulations are with respect to training in the U.S. vs. other countries, I would refer you to the Federal Aviation Administration, who may be able to provide you more detail at this time.

Our public affairs staff can provide you contact information after the press conference about how to get in touch with them. Drug and alcohol testing is required for Part 121 carriers. Part 121 carriers are commercial operators based in the United States. Part 129 refers to those commercial operators that are based in foreign countries.

Under Part 121 requirements, crews involved in an accident are required to be tested for drugs and alcohol. We made inquiries after our arrival on scene regarding drug and alcohol testing. None of the crew members on Asiana Flight 214 were tested for drugs and alcohol prior -- post-crash.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So there you hear it from Deborah Hersman, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board.

They have now interviewed the three pilots who were in the cockpit when that Asiana plane crashed in San Francisco, including the pilot who was in control. And she confirms that that pilot was only learning how to fly a 777 and had very limited experience, 35 hours flying a Boeing 777, and no experience landing that Boeing 777 in San Francisco.

The other pilot who was his instructor did have extensive experience, 3,000 hours flying a 777. But he apparently was not in control. The pilot with limited experience was, and clearly there were miscalculations based on what she is telling us, to coming in way too slow, coming in way too low. And as a result that tail clipped the seawall and we all know what happened as a result.

We're going to have much more on what is going on in this investigation. Stand by.

We're also going to show you from a pilot's perspective what it's like to land at the San Francisco International Airport. It's not easy by any means, especially in a huge jumbo jet.

Plus, gripping testimony about the fatal shot and the final minutes of Trayvon Martin's life. We're going back live to Sanford, Florida. Much more on that story coming up. Lots of news happening today right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're continuing to follow the breaking news. New details just coming out about the crash of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport. The chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, has been briefing the news media. You have been watching her live here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Dan Simon has been watching and monitoring. He's been covering this from the very beginning.

There were four pilots on that plane, Dan. There were three in the cockpit. One a relief pilot, was way in the back part of the plane, but the two pilots in control, one had a lot of experience flying a 777, landing many times in San Francisco, the other one, very limited experience, had never done it before. And we now know what happened.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And those two people had never been teamed up before. They were in that plane together for the very first time. And that pilot had less experience than we previously thought. He had only 35 hours experience flying that plane.

We were originally led to believe that he had 43 hours flying that plane. Whether or not that makes a difference, we don't know. Wolf, but the bottom line is these were two people who had never flown together before. And obviously what the NTSB is trying to figure out is if they made some bad decisions.

That's really the focus here. What was going on inside that cockpit? Another thing that was interesting is that during the interviews with one of the pilots, they seemed to indicate that the auto-control throttles were at a certain level. As we know, the plane was supposed to be at 137 knots when it was supposed to make an approach to the runway. Instead, it was going slower. Apparently, they thought the auto-controls were set to the appropriate level when, in fact, they weren't. Those are just some of the highlights we're hearing at this point.

BLITZER: It looks like they clearly for whatever reason miscalculated as to the speed they were coming in, and they were very, very low obviously at the time as well. I'm sure they got very useful information. Deborah Hersman also saying all of these four pilots, they are all cooperating with this investigation.

Landing at the San Francisco International Airport certainly can be very, very challenging for a pilot who's not used to it.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is joining us right now. Paul is joining us right now.

What are you finding out specifically, Paul, about San Francisco?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Wolf, when we took to the air with a flight instructor, he told us that when you cross over where the water meets the runway, that seawall, you should be 200 feet in the air. And clearly with this flight, that was not the case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN: I'm here with Kushal Singl flight instructor. We're taking the exact same path that the 777 took into SFO on a parallel runway.

What's going through your mind right now as you approach?

KUSHAL SINGL, PILOT: Right now, what I'm doing is I'm making sure my airspeed is sufficient. I'm not -- making sure I don't go below my minimum approach speed, which I am currently way above that right now because we're riding on this aircraft.

So right now I'm looking at the glide path, making sure it's a nice visual glide path and that I'm going to make sure I run -- go past the runway and try to land on the (INAUDIBLE) marker. I'm monitoring my airspeed right now constantly, monitoring the outside visual, and making sure that I'm not coming short or long. Right now, you can see approach lights coming in right there. And the seabed, we're about 200 feet below before the runway where the seabed is.

VERCAMMEN: Anything unusual about landing at this airport?

SINGL: You can see right over here, the runways are really close. They are paired probably around between 750 feet.

If the other runway was in use, we would make sure we would look constantly to our left to see the adjacent traffic next to us. Also you have to make sure that there is traffic holding waiting to take off. As soon as we touch down, we have a 777 right here waiting to take off, just like it was on Saturday morning.

VERCAMMEN: When you hit 400 feet, what goes through your mind?

SINGL: We're at about 400 feet. Now I want to make sure I'm stabilized, which I am. And then I want to -- this is where I basically make the final assurance that I'm going to land in the aircraft.

Right now, I'm at about 200 feet and I will be crossing the seabed at right about 200 feet. Then off to our left is the crash (INAUDIBLE) I'm over the runway. Now what I'm doing is I'm making sure I come in. And I'm making sure I have enough space. This is a (INAUDIBLE) marker where most aircraft would land. And this is where you see all the blacktop, where most tires will touch down.

VERCAMMEN: As we pass the 777, well short of that 1,000-foot marker.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN: And back to that 1,000-foot target. So, that's 1,000 feet from the water's edge, clearly the plane way short -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And you heard Deborah Hersman of the NTSB make that point during the news conference. You saw it live here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Paul Vercammen, thanks for doing that for us.

Up next, the runaway train that turned a Canadian town into an inferno may now be at the center of a criminal investigation.

Also, the dramatic testimony today about Trayvon Martin's final moments. How long did he live after George Zimmerman shot him? That's coming up as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: At least 15 people are dead, three dozen still unaccounted for after a runaway train virtually destroyed a Canadian town.

Let's go live to CNN's Anna Coren. She's joining us from Lac- Megantic in Quebec.

Anna, police now say there may be a criminal investigation under way. What are you learning?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Wolf. A major development late this afternoon. Police confirming that they have found evidence of tampering. And this is now a criminal investigation. As you say, that death toll has risen, 15 now confirmed dead, 35 still missing. But the grim reality, Wolf, is that over the coming days, the families of those missing will learn that their loved ones are dead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COREN (voice-over): In a matter of minutes, the heart of this quaint little town in eastern Quebec was completely annihilated as seen here in this dramatic video, the only warning to residents asleep in their homes, a series of deafening explosions.

GILDON FRENETTE, RESIDENT: When I got out, another big bang came out. And I see the balls of fire (INAUDIBLE) my back going all across the street (INAUDIBLE) and I start running, you know?

COREN: Clutching his 4-year-old daughter, Gildon Frenette ran as far away as possible from the runaway train and the 73 cars of crude oil that had derailed, engulfing the town's center in flames.

At least 40 buildings were vaporized, including a popular bar packed with customers.

FRENETTE: I had a lot of friends in there who was there missing, still missing, but we don't have any hope for them, I think.

COREN: The fire raged for almost two days, so massive it could be seen from outer space. Officials on the ground described the crime scene as a crematorium and are having great difficulty identifying the remains. (on camera): In a dramatic turn of events late this afternoon, police confirmed they have found evidence of tampering and that this is a criminal investigation. The company that owns the freight train has maintained it believes this disaster is an act of sabotage.

(voice-over): The locomotive event recorder has been recovered, but investigators are having problems accessing the site due to toxic and hazardous material.

MICHEL FORGET, QUEBEC PROVINCE POLICE: Namely, there are pieces that might lead us to believe that there are some certain facts that might come to criminal acts.

COREN: Serge and Terise (ph) Barent say it's a miracle they survived. Nothing remains of their home. And their elderly who were not able to escape are almost certainly dead.

SERGE BARENT, RESIDENT: Like a war zone, that's what we think, no more than that. It's all gone. We live. And tomorrow is far away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COREN: Wolf, as you heard from those residents, this is a town in mourning. But it's also a very tight-knit community. We're seeing a lot of resilience, a lot of solidarity, people helping one another. And the feeling is that despite this disaster, despite this tragedy and this enormous loss of life, this community will rebuild -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Hope so.

Anna Coren, thanks so much.

Up next, gripping testimony about the fatal shot in the final minutes of Trayvon Martin's life. We're going to live to Sanford, Florida.

Plus, the three women held captive for a decade in Cleveland, they are now speaking out for the first time. You're going to hear their message to the world in their own words.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The judge in the George Zimmerman murder trial making a major decision -- about to make a major decision whether to allow an animation that the defense wants to be played for the jurors.

This is Judge Debra Nelson. I think she's getting ready to reach a decision. I want to listen in briefly.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, PRESIDING OVER GEORGE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL: There is more than one person. He went to look out of his glass sliding door which had the blinds drawn. He cracked the blinds. There was a light on the porch. He could only see someone or something out there. He opened the blinds and the glass sliding door. He took one step onto the concrete, looked like a tussle. Could not see an object. And then he described how they were vertical on the ground. He yelled out, "What's going on?"

Then my point being is he doesn't give another time other than when he heard the gun shot was while he was trying to connect with 911. So that would give us a time. And he said in cross that the entire time he was watching was eight to ten seconds. Did that begin when he was looking out the blinds, the crack of the blinds? Or did that begin when he took a step out onto the porch and observed that? I don't know. That wasn't testified to. So I'd like to know, in this animation, where Ms. Lauer's 911 call fits into his testimony.

MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I can tell you this: that his call connected at 19:17:15. That is in evidence.

NELSON: So that's 7:17...

O'MARA: Seven seventeen, 15 seconds.

NELSON: ... fifteen seconds.

O'MARA: You know that Ms. Lauer's call started at 2:26 -- I'm sorry. 19:16:11. And that it is 45 seconds into the call, or at 7:16:56, that the gun shot goes off.

NELSON: And that's different from the timeline that you have up on here in connection with where he was and what he saw.

O'MARA: I disagree, but I understand the court's concern. That if you -- of course, the way where I believe it lines up is, if you use the gun shot at the -- as the precise moment of the two calls. Not that it was on the call, but if it took Mr. Good somewhere around 15 to 20 seconds to get the call, place it, and wait for it to connect, we don't have that testimony, but we do have Ms. Lauer's testimony, who also testified it took about 20 seconds or so for her to make the phone call and connect.

NELSON: But he didn't say making the phone -- he said he was waiting for it to connect. And we'll have to look back, I guess, in the record to see if my notes were correct on that or not. I'm saying these are just my notes.

O'MARA: Sure.

NELSON: But as I recall him saying, he was -- he dialed the 911. He was waiting for it to connect. So that's a few seconds here or there. But then again, where's the eight to ten seconds that he viewed this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the 30-second gap between the connection time and the gunshot call and everything else. The court has hit upon the central problem here and that is there is no hard and fast ability to say that this is an accurate depiction, as for the state's perspective. NELSON: Well, in the capable (ph) sense, it doesn't have to be exact. And you know, so I don't -- I don't necessarily have a problem with other parts of it. But when you're trying to overlay a 911 call with the animation, I think it has to be closer to exact than not closer.

O'MARA: I understand. And I thought they would fix that by recalling Mr. Good to get a couple questions answered by him. But I want to make sure that that's appropriate -- well, I have the right to.

NELSON: No, I'm shaking my head because we're having the hearing now.

O'MARA: I understand.

NELSON: I'm not going to have this hearing go on for days and days. This is the hearing now. I guess I should not have -- can I please finish? OK. I guess I should not have commented. Then this wouldn't have come up, and I could just rule on it after you're finished. I'm not making these comments to -- to cause you to call Mr. Good into this hearing. We have a transcript of what his testimony is. Or we could have a transcript as to it.

I'll stop talking, let you finish with your evidence, and then I'll make my comments.

O'MARA: I guess my response was going to be to the court that, if it is accurate and seems to be undisputed in evidence that Mr. Good's phone call was connected at 7:17:15, and if we have evidence from Ms. Lauer that the decision to make the call to 911...

BLITZER: All right. We're getting ready, clearly, for a decision. The judge, Debra Nelson, she doesn't want to prolong this hearing on whether or not this computerized animation should be allowed to be shown to the jurors as evidence. She wants to wrap it up, and she's presumably going to do so. And it sounds like she's pretty skeptical about what the defense wants.

But let's bring in Ashleigh Banfield, our CNN anchor, who's been watching and covering this trial from Sanford, Florida. Also Sunny Hostin, our CNN legal analyst; Mark Nejame, criminal defense attorney.

Ashleigh, first to you. I could be wrong, but it sounds like she's going to reject this request from the defense to go ahead and allow this animation to be shown. But what's your sense?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Oh, I'm never going to guess ahead of Judge Debra Nelson. She's been a remarkable presence in this courtroom since the beginning. And she rules this courtroom with an iron fist.

What I am surprised at is that it is such a big issue. I mean, I've seen this happen in trials before, but not that often. It is a little bit weird to sort of have a cartoon-esque reenactment of a crime that comes from the theory of one side, Wolf, so I'd be surprised if she lets it in. But you know what? I was surprised that O.J. wasn't convicted. I always say that.

BLITZER: You know what? We were all surprised about that.

Sunny, what do you think? What is it shaping up, from your expert analysis?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I think it's pretty clear from the judge's recent comments that she's uncomfortable with this tape, with this reenactment.

I've got to say: You do see reenactments, certainly, in civil cases. You see them sometimes in DUI cases, because that's more of an exact science. Because you have people that can measure the skid marks. They can, you know, talk about the size of the cars and the speed of the cars.

This is a very different kind of case. We're talking about people moving around based on what witnesses may or may not have seen or heard. And so I think so the judge is uncomfortable with it, because it's just something that doesn't often happen in criminal trials. Judges are really loathe to let in this kind of -- kind of, I guess, reenactment when it almost encroaches on what the jury should be deciding, which is what really happened that night. The jury should be the ones listening to the evidence, listening to the witnesses, deciding credibility and deciding whose version of events they believe. Not through the prism of someone else's reenactment.

BLITZER: And it could be powerful evidence for the defense if she were to allow it, because it would basically back up what the defense position, as far as George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

Mark, I want you to watch. Because just a little while ago, they did show the beginning part of the animation that was prepared by Daniel Schumaker. That's his job, basically, to create this kind of evidence. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICH MANTEI, PROSECUTOR: ... where does that come from that gave you the foundation to create that portion of the animation?

DANIEL SCHUMAKER, ANIMATOR: From Mr. Zimmerman's video walk through.

MANTEI: The arrow which we talked about a moment ago. And is that what you talked about being the arrow instead of having the actual figures move without any witnesses to identify them?

SCHUMAKER: Yes.

MANTEI: OK. Let's stop here for one second. This is what we now know...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right. So you get -- you get a sense of what's at stake. The jurors have not seen any of this video. It's all being shown in this courtroom now for the judge's benefit. What do you make of these late developments, Mark?

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Look, I think it's a gift if the judge keeps it out for the defense. I think that the -- you know, the defense had noble cause here, but I think that you're hearing from this very, very grueling examination that the prosecution is giving. It's a tipoff as to how they would cross-examine it if it's admitted into evidence.

I think that the defense has put on a very strong case, and this is going to be towards the end of their case. And I think they're going to have troubles with this particular witness. I think he's an expert in his field, but I feel sorry for this guy up there. This guy just hates being up there.

And I think that if I was the defense after hearing all this, even if the judge lets it in, I wouldn't put it in. I don't think they need it. I think it's subject to great cross-examination. And I think it's going to be towards the end of their case, which is the last thing they want to do is have a weak witness set the conclusion of the defense case as we saw happen in the state's case.

BLITZER: You make a great point. Rich Mantei, the federal -- excuse me, the state prosecutor did a great job cross-examining Daniel Schumaker. And he did that without the jurors present. You make a good point. If he was to do that with the jurors present, that could undermine what the defense is trying to achieve.

All right. Guys, thanks very much. We're going to continue to monitor. If the judge reaches a decision on this sensitive issue, we'll of course have coverage of that.

Up -- also coming up, today's new developments in Egypt today as its new leader setting a timetable for elections. But where is Egypt's now-old leader, Mohamed Morsy? There he is. We're going live to Cairo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Obama administration says it's cautiously encouraged -- direct quote, "cautiously encouraged" after Egypt's interim president today outlined a timetable for new elections. The acting foreign minister telling our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, there will be presidential elections within seven months.

But as the Muslim Brotherhood buries its dead from earlier violence this week, Egypt's military is issuing some tough warnings. Let's go live to CNN's senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman. He's in Cairo for us, as he has been through this entire crisis.

So is the stage set, Ben, for more violence or are things going to ease up? BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, things have eased up a bit today, Wolf, because it's the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Many people spending a lot of time today buying supplies for a month when there is a lot of entertaining to do, a lot of social visits.

But we did hear from the military, who issued a statement saying they will not tolerate any disruption to what they called "this difficult transition."

Now, they have issued -- rather the interim government has declared that they now have an interim prime minister. That is Hazem Beblawi. He's an economist, the former finance minister. And they've set out what appears to be a road map for a return to full civilian control with elections as early as February of next year.

The problem, of course, in all of this is that the Muslim Brotherhood is refusing to have anything to do with any attempt to restore normal government here. They continue to insist that Mohamed Morsy is the legitimate president of Egypt and say they will continue to hold these demonstrations and protests in the street.

Now the interim president has sort of put out an olive branch to the Muslim Brotherhood, suggesting that he would employ or rather hire, bring in some members of the Freedom and Justice Party -- that's the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood -- as ministers in the government. All word so far is that the Muslim Brotherhood will reject any such offers -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Tell our viewers, Ben, about the troubles you have had in Cairo in recent days. Because I know not just CNN but a lot of the international media have had some major problems. What's going on?

WEDEMAN: There's a lot of anger at the international media for calling what happened here just a few days ago, when Mohamed Morsy was dismissed by the military, for calling it a coup.

When you go down into Tahrir Square, you really take a lot of flak by people who insist it was a revolution; it was a popular movement that the military simply stepped in to finish the job by dismissing Mohamed Morsy.

And the problem is that some (AUDIO GAP) -- and international networks putting out signs, carrying signs in Tahrir Square against international networks. And so at times it's a little uncomfortable to be in that area.

Ironically, Wolf, when you go to the Muslim Brotherhood rallies, however, they're more than happy to see you. So it's a bizarre situation we find ourselves in. And we're hoping this cloud passes quickly.

BLITZER: Let's hope. Just be careful over there. And thank all of our CNN personnel for the excellent work they are doing.

Ben Wedeman, we can always count on him in Cairo. Up next, survivors of a decade-long nightmare speak out for the first time. The women held captive in a Cleveland house send a powerful message to the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: All right. This just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. The U.S. Coast Guard responding to an apparent spill at a gas and crude oil platform about 74 miles southwest of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

Officials report natural gas is flowing from the well, estimated to be more than four miles wide by three-quarters of a mile long. But there's no real assessment yet of how serious this incident may be. Authorities are investigating the cause of what they're calling a loss of well control.

We're all over this story. Stand by. We'll get more information.

There's another story we're watching right now, the story that made headlines around the world. Three young women held captive for a decade inside a Cleveland home. Now they are speaking out publicly for the first time since their dramatic rescue.

CNN's Brian Todd is joining us now. What a story this is, Brian. Tell our viewers what these three women are saying.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one of them says hardly anything. The other two stress how well they're doing. These are video clips you can't help but be drawn to.

For the first time since they were rescued more than two months ago from captivity in Cleveland, we hear directly from Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. We combed over phrases and body language with a trauma psychologist.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: I just want everyone to know I'm doing just fine.

AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: I'm getting stronger each day, and having my privacy has helped immensely. I ask that everyone continues to respect our privacy and give us time to have a normal life.

TODD (voice-over): They're tightly managed but still sometimes awkward, alternately revealing and closed off, riveting to watch. I examined the kidnapping victims' YouTube video with Priscilla Dass- Brailsford, a trauma psychologist from Georgetown University who's dealt with victims of violence for more than 20 years.

BERRY: I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family and my friends.

TODD: Brailsford says from the video Amanda Berry appears to be the most stable and resilient of the three.

PRISCILLA DASS-BRAILSFORD, TRAUMA PSYCHOLOGIST, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: She's also the one who had a child, so she had something to connect to during the captivity, and that's very important, because captivity is about disconnection and being made helpless.

TODD: Brailsford says Michelle Knight seemed the most uncomfortable of all three.

KNIGHT: I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face. And with my head held high.

TODD (on camera): What do you make of the fact that she's the only one who alluded to the torture that she went through?

DASS-BRAILSFORD: You know, she's obviously conveying, YOU KNOW, the pain and suffering she went through in this period of time, but, also, it speaks to HOW her sense of self was destroyed in the process and how determined she is to now create a new identity.

TODD (voice-over): I asked Brailsford about Gina DeJesus' four- second clip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you say to them?

GINA DEJESUS, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: I would say thank you for the support.

TODD (on camera): Eight words from her and the parents do the rest of it. What do you make of all that?

DASS-BRAILSFORD: Having grown up for ten years, and she's the youngest of the three women, under a very subordinated, oppressed environment. When you're in a situation of learned helplessness for so many years, you don't take initiative; you lose your voice. You lose your sense of identity, because all of that is now shaped by the captain.

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TODD: Brailsford says she believes it may have been too early for these women to be doing this because of the fact that, unlike a single traumatic event, they've gone through what she calls a chronic, prolonged trauma, which she says brings about irrevocable change psychologically. She says these women look like they're still in a place of shock and numbness, Wolf.

BLITZER: There's no specific mention of the captor, the alleged captor, in this case, although there seems to be a little bit of an indication or indirect reference to him.

TODD: Seems to be an indirect reference. Michelle Knight at one point says in the video, quote, "I don't want to be consumed by hatred." Now Priscilla Dass-Brailsford believes that's a reference of possible forgiveness for the alleged captor. That's about as close as they come to mentioning him.

BLITZER: Well, I'm not ready to make that leap yet. But we'll see. Thanks very much.

Up next, an adorable group of dogs turns into a real, live Rube Goldberg contraption. Jeanne Moos will show us how they did it.

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BLITZER: It may be a true case of the tail wagging the dog, or a bunch of dogs. CNN's Jeanne Moos looks at an adorable doggie domino effect.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Get the ball. Get it. Douse the ball. Sink it. You are looking at a video called Dog Goldberg, you know, like Rube Goldberg, the cartoonist famous for sketches of chain reaction gizmos that make a simple task complicated. Like a doorbell that makes a dog named Peanut run in place, which in turn cause as Frisbee to be flung.

IAN SCHAFER, FOUNDER, DEEP FOCUS: That's an award-worthy performance right there. He caught it every time.

MOOS: Ian Schafer's the founder of Deep Focus, the agency that created Dog Goldberg. It's a Web ad for the dog food Beneful.

SCHAFER: It was one full take, literally from beginning to end, with all the dogs. This wasn't -- this wasn't multiple shots stitched together.

MOOS: Ian figures it took 40 to 50 tries to get that one good take. He says they were partly inspired by "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure." Pee-Wee Herman's breakfast machine also feeds his dog, Speck. And Pee-Wee must have liked the doggie homage, because he tweeted it out.

Other famous Rube Goldberg machines range from the one in the group OK Goes music video that took 60 takes. To a much admired ad called "Cog" that featured car parts interacting in a commercial for the Honda Accord.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't it nice when things just work?

MOOS: But dogs aren't car parts. Ian says the golden retriever puppies in the wagon were especially tricky.

(on camera): Didn't they just have to sit there?

SCHAFER: They -- you know, puppies don't like to just sit there.

MOOS: The actors didn't have to do much boning up. They were all trained, showbiz-type dogs. (voice-over): Ian says the only action manipulated in post- production was the ball that magically rolled straight towards the dominoes to knock them down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We rolled it.

MOOS: Kids like to try making dog-feeding machines at home. In real life, the machine freaked out the dog, but when the professionals do it, the dog's so happy its tail wags the machine.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

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BLITZER: The agency, by the way, says it took about two months to make the machine, cast the dogs, and shoot the video.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.