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Crash of Asiana Flight; Canada's Deadly Train Explosion; Snowden to Venezuela?; George Zimmerman Murder Trial

Aired July 10, 2013 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Was this a recipe for disaster? The pilot in training, his co-pilot teaching for the very first time. New information on the San Francisco jetliner crash.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Death toll rising. At least 15 dead now, dozens more missing after a train explodes in Canada. But what's this just an accident? Or could something criminal be at play?

BERMAN: And man versus shark. Diving in for a wrestling match. So what was this guy thinking? You're going to have to see it to believe it. There is some amazing video. I assure you we will show that to you.

ROMANS: I cannot wait. I'm sure he wasn't thinking.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: Look who's back. >

ROMANS: I'm back.

BERMAN: Look at you.

ROMANS: A week in the mountains, I feel great.

BERMAN: So happy you had a relaxing time.

I'm John Berman, everyone. It is Wednesday, July 10th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

ROMANS: We'll start with the new details this morning about the crash of Asiana Airlines jumbo jet at San Francisco International Airport that killed two people.

The head of the NTSB says the flying pilot was training on the Boeing 777 and the pilot instructing him was doing that for the very first time. The pilots telling investigators they had trouble with the auto throttle just before the crash. We're also learning that two flight attendants were ejected from the plane when the tail tore away from the aircraft. They survived. They're now in serious condition.

Miguel Marquez is following all the developments live this morning in San Francisco.

Good morning. MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine.

A lot of the investigation is already done -- at least a part of it. We're getting a much clearer picture of how this crash took place. Investigators now are saying it was the landing gear that hit that seawall first. But essentially a few feet higher they would have made it. A few feet lower, this would be a much more tragic story.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Three pilots were in the cockpit of the 350-ton jet when it crashed in San Francisco on Saturday.


MARQUEZ: The man in command of Asiana's ill-fated flight was experienced on the experience 747. Like this KLN flight landing on the very runway of the San Francisco crash. But this is his first time landing a 777 here.

DEBORAH HERSMAN, NTSB CHAIRMAN: The instructor pilot stated they were slightly high when they passed 4,000 feet.

MARQUEZ: The co-pilot very experienced flying a 777, but this was his first time as an instructor on the aircraft.

Investigators say the autopilot was off, but the auto throttle, a device that regulates speed, was on and set to 137 knots. But seconds before the crash, the plane had slowed dangerously to 103 knots.

HERSMAN: We are now going to be looking at flight data recorder information to validate parameters, things like the auto throttles.

MARQUEZ: But there is a speed indicator in the plane and they would also see it in bright red in white lights like on this simulation flight. They're called precision path indicators or PAPI lights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I see all red, I'm too low. If I see all white, it means I'm too high.

HERSMAN: At 200 feet, he noticed the four PAPIs were red.

HERSMAN: The impact so violent that investigators say two attendants were ejected from the plane after the tail section broke off.

ELLIOTT STONE, CRASH SURVIVOR: I believe we ended up finding what we believe was four people that were in the back, in the rubble.

MARQUEZ: Today, for passengers arriving in San Francisco, an eerie site that burned out wreckage of flight 214 a sobering reminder of how close so many came to death.


MARQUEZ: Now, we also know that no blood was taken from the pilots of Asiana flight 214 in the hours after that crash. U.S. officials saying they have no jurisdiction over foreign crews.

Back to you, guys.

ROMANS: Unbelievable. (INAUDIBLE) Thanks, Miguel.

BERMAN: All right. Turning now to the deadly train crash and explosion in Quebec. At least 15 people now confirmed dead there. Thirty remain missing and the center of Lac-Megantic is simply obliterated.

Now, we thought this was an accident. But as Paula Newton reports now, there are new questions about what really happened.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's clear police want to preserve the heart of what is now a crime scene. They've asked firefighters to stop dousing it with water. They have dozens of investigators combing through what little is left. And they made it clear they're not convinced this was purely an accident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mainly, there are pieces that might lead us to believe there are certain facts that might come to criminal acts.

NEWTON: Police refuse to describe what evidence they found, for victims caught up in this tragedy, the news is tough to take.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not frustration. It's rage. I don't believe in fight fire with fire, I don't believe in that. But this person -- this person killed a lot of people. My God.

NEWTON: Karen Blanchett (ph) worked in the Musi Bar, a place filled with patrons that took the brunt of the blaze. She's lost friends and now says she wants answers on how this could happen.

(on camera): People here continue to be horrified by this catastrophe, and the fact that oil tankers like this are still left unsecured right near their homes.

(voice-over): These nine tankers are all that's left of the runaway train that remain parked in the small town of Knox. It's here that they ran into trouble. Local firefighters extinguished a small fire. The train was left parked.

The rail company's owner says the fire department was doing its job but may have triggered a brake failure.

ED BURKHARDT, PRESIDENT OF RAIL WORLD INC.: I think the fire department played a role in this. I think that's in fact revertible (ph).

NEWTON: But the fire department denies that their actions in any way contributed to this, further complicating a challenging information.

Paula Newton, CNN, Lac-Megantic, Quebec.


ROMANS: A packed courtroom expected today at the arraignment for accused Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It will be his first public appearance since his capture back in April. Tsarnaev was indicted on 30 counts including a weapon of mass destruction and killing an MIT police officer. He and his late brother are accused of setting off pressure cooker bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260 near the Boston marathon finish line.

BERMAN: The man set to become the next FBI director admits that he signed off on waterboarding. James Comey was before a Senate committee on Tuesday. He was talking about his time in the Justice Department under George W. Bush, especially his opposition, Comey's, to wireless wiretapping.

But Comey did admit he signed a memo giving a legal OK to so-called enhanced interrogation for terror suspects. Comey said he believes that many of the tactics are torture. He said he only signed knowing that he was soon be leaving the Justice Department.

ROMANS: More disarray in Egypt this morning as the interim president tries to set a course toward new election. But the party behind ousted President Mohamed Morsy and the liberal opposition rejecting Adly Mansour's plan for a constitutional referendum in November and to hold a new presidential vote in February. This, as the military insists it can handle the nation's security, days after 51 people were killed, hundreds more injured during outside republican guard headquarters. An investigation to all the violence is now under way.

BERMAN: The future of NSA leaker Edward Snowden very unclear again this morning. There were reports Tuesday that he had accepted an asylum offer from Venezuela, but that led to a day of backtracking. And Snowden is still believed to be stuck at the airport in Moscow.

Phil Black live for us this morning in the Russian capital with the latest in this every-twisting and turning story.

Good morning, Phil.


Yes, it was a senior Russian member of parliament who announced on Twitter yesterday that Snowden had accepted an offer of asylum formerly from Venezuela. That tweet was quickly deleted. And WikiLeaks, the organization which has been helping Snowden, followed up with one of its one, in which they said, it is simply not true. He has not formally accepted that offer.

So, a lot of confusion there. We know he's been offered protection by three countries, Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua. So far has not accepted any of them. So, for the moment, chooses to remain at the Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, somewhere in transit where he's been for 2 1/2 weeks now.

When he does choose to move on, the logistical challenge remains the same. How will he do it? Increasingly, it appears that commercial flights are not an option because they likely to travel through the airspace of countries which will probably be willing to help the United States get him back.

But we might be learning something about this today because WikiLeaks has said today, they will be releasing details of what they called Snowden's flight of freedom campaign, which heavily implies they have developed a plan to get him out of Moscow, John.

BERMAN: All right. Phil Black in Moscow for us, with the latest on this.

I'm sure there will be more coming today.

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: All right. Nine minutes after the hour right now.

Tropical storm Chantal racing through the Caribbean, pounding Dominica and tearing rows of homes. It's getting closer to the U.S.

ROMANS: Chad is tracking the storm for us. What's the latest this morning, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, this thing is going so fast, that it can't get its act together. It's like a top.

Remember a top when you were a kid, you pushed a button and it would spin? Well, think about that from the top, you know, pushing it over. It would fall over. And that's what this storm is doing, it's falling over. They don't want to go to grow. They don't want to go that fast. They want to go nice and slow, 10 to 15 miles per hour and lumber across very warm water.

This thing is moving at 29 miles an hour and it's not really organized.

You thought I jinxed this yesterday, didn't you, John? But, no, actually, it looks terrible today. Disorganized. A little bit of flare-up here.

But because it's moving so very fast, I believe it's going to pass south of the Dominican Republic, probably hit Haiti, more than anything else, and then over Cuba, making a run at south Florida. But making a run over south Florida after it's been over Cuba for a long time.

Storms die of when they're over land. They build when they're over water. This storm will die off. It will hit south Florida with an awful lot of wind here, maybe 30, 40 miles per hour. Not a big wind maker like Andrew, but certainly enough to cause a little bit of problems.

The problem with this storm is that, if you take a look at this track over Florida and over Georgia and Mississippi, where has it rained the most in the last five days? Right down here. Pink zones. Six to 10 inches of rainfall on the ground over the past days. More, even a couple more inches would cause flooding.

ROMANS: So, more rain, more rain.

BERMAN: I felt like you were taunting Chantal yesterday, but maybe for good reason.

MYERS: Welcome back. By the way, I'm sorry you missed the 101 heat index. The sights and smells of 101 --

ROMANS: In New York City now. I'm not surprised. I was in the mountains and it was lovely. But now, I'm back, still in the 90s I think today.

So, thanks, Chad.

BERMAN: Let's talk more about your vacation, make us feel so good.

All right. Eleven minutes after the hour.

So it must almost be shark week here. How do we know? Because of really smart stunts like this. That is NFL super agent Drew Rosenhaus. You know, he's the author of an autobiography actually called "A Shark Never Sleeps."

He's in the water after snagging a 6-foot shark on a fishing line. He jumped in. And for some reason, probably not a smart one, he decided to wrestle the shark. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Drew, look out. Look out. That's awesome. All right. Drew, look out.


BERMAN: I'm sure he represents his client.

ROMANS: Did he say that's awesome?

BERMAN: He did say that's awesome. We know Drew Rosenhaus survives. How do we know that? Because he's on NEW DAY later this morning. He will be talking about his battle with shark here. He's also going to be talking about a lot of the developments in the sports world, right now, including the case involving Aaron Hernandez right now.

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: He knows a lot about representing NFL players, including ones that get in a little bit of trouble.

ROMANS: A shark never sleeps. And sometimes sharks swim with sharks, I guess.

BERMAN: Indeed they do.

ROMANS: Coming up, Trayvon Martin murder trial goes "CSI." A famed investigator taking the stand.

BERMAN: And killer confession, did former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez admit to murder? That's coming up next.


ROMANS: What a day at the George Zimmerman trial with the debate over forensics and who was where when, the final shot hit Trayvon Martin. And the judge left open a key decision over what jurors might see when they're back in court just a few hours from now.

George Howell reports from Sanford.


JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL: I'm not getting into this. Court is at recess. I will give my ruling in the morning.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Court went a little later than expected Tuesday. Judge Debra Nelson, the prosecution and defense wrangled late into the night, 10:00 p.m., over whether to admit text messages and photos from Trayvon Martin's phone and a computer- animated reconstruction of the crime scene that defense attorneys want admitted as evidence.

Judge Nelson questioned whether Martin actually sent the messages or someone else.

Defense attorney Don West argued that the text messages and photos weren't turned over by the prosecution in a timely manner. After hours of arguing, the judge didn't rule on either issue, adjourned court and walked off.

Flashback to Tuesday morning. Famed forensic pathologist, Dr. Vincent Di Maio, took the stand. After examining photos and other evidence provided to him by the defense, Di Maio, reached this conclusion.

DR. VINCENT DI MAIO, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: If you lean over somebody, you'll notice that the clothing tends to fall away from the chest. If, instead, you're lying on your back, and somebody shoots you, the clothing is going to be against your chest.

HOWELL: Di Maio told jurors Zimmerman's account that Trayvon Martin was on top of him is consistent with the evidence he examined. It's because of the spray pattern around the bullet wound, grains of powder that hit the skin, Di Maio determined the muzzle was two to four inches away from the skin.

He also concluded Martin may have been alive one to three minutes after the shooting.

In cross-examination, the prosecution got Di Maio to concede the scenario could have been different.

DI MAIO: I'm saying that the physical evidence is consistent with Mr. Martin being over Mr. Zimmerman. BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Is it not also consistent with Mr. Martin pulling away from Zimmerman on the ground? And you would have the same angle, he's pulling away, and Zimmerman's shooting him at that time?


HOWELL: Defense attorneys also called George Zimmerman's former neighbor to testify via video conference because she was too ill to appear in court.

Eloise Dilligard told the court the night of the shooting, she recognized Zimmerman's truck parked near the crime scene. O'Mara also asked Dilligard who she thought was screaming on the 911 video from that night.

ELOISE DILLIGARD, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FORMER NEIGHBOR: Based on the fact that I've only heard George's voice and it was a male voice, I would say it was his.

HOWELL: George Howell, CNN, Sanford, Florida.

BERMAN: Our thanks to George for that report. Of course, Another big day in court today.

And other legal news: newly unsealed court documents in the Aaron Hernandez murder case revealed that one or two accomplices claims that Hernandez admitted to fatally shooting Odin Lloyd. Among the evidence seized by police from the Hernandez home, surveillance video from after the murder that shows the former NFL star holding a gun. Investigators say Hernandez was argumentative when first questioned about Lloyd's murder. They say he slammed his front door on police when told they were investigating a death.

ROMANS: All right. Some advice now on how you can save money on your next trip by avoiding all those fees, those added fees that team to be tam tacked on everything.

I want to start with car rentals. Did you know that those rental places at the airport, they have to pay for the right to be there. They pass those rights to you.

So, if you can rent a car at an off-location, it's cheaper. You got to plan for it, of course. It's a longer commute.

Also, you probably don't need that extra insurance coverage. Odds are, your auto policy may already cover you if you happen to have an accident. Check your policy.

Also check the fine print of your credit card. Your credit card might cover you, too. You really get pushed to add that insurance when you go to check out the car. Make sure you know say ahead of time to say, no, please, I don't need it.

When it comes to parking, try to avoid the hotels that charge you for the privilege of using their lots, stay farther away from downtown. Or take public transportation if you can. Keep your eyes peeled for resort fees as well. Some popular destinations like Hawaii, Orlando, Las Vegas, they add a resort fee on top of your nightly rate to cover certain amenities like a fitness center or an Internet access for example.

So, asked first, try to find a hotel that doesn't tack that fee on top of your rate. I've asked to have that removed before when I've been working or something. I'm like, wait, I've been working at this hotel for three days.

BERMAN: Yes, this is no vacation for me.

ROMANS: They charge $25 for access to spa which I have not used.

Also, be very careful about the Internet access, you signed up $12.99 for one day and it's so slow you can't use it. Ask them to take it off. I mean, that really adds up. Ask them, you know, I'm the squeaky wheel. I'm the person who also says, take it off.

BERMAN: They must love it when you show up at a hotel. Look, it's Christine Romans. Run, run away.


BERMAN: All right. Twenty minutes after the hour.

Coming up, they call at all hours demanding your money. Now, the government is cracking down on a big debt collector. We're going to tell you how much one company is going to pay -- it's a lot -- coming up next.


BERMAN: Ahh, beautiful sunrise, New York City. The Statue of Liberty, the newly opened, reopened Statue of Liberty. A great morning here in New York.

ROMANS: Wow. All right. Welcome back to EARLY START.

It's money time. Stocks rose for the fourth session in a row Tuesday. Investors kept up the optimism that they're going to see a good showing from corporate earnings over the next few weeks.

The major markets closed with gains. The S&P is just 1 percent below it's all-time closing high. And investors are going to have that Federal Reserve in mind today. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke speaks about the Fed's first 100 years and the Fed will also release its June minutes which might show it's even closer to tapering than we thought.

An exciting day in America to talk about 100 years of the Federal Reserve.

BERMAN: That's why you rushed back from vacation.

ROMANS: Exactly. The Treasury has finally come out with names of non-banks on its too big to fail list. Five years after crisis now. Regulators named American International Group and G.E. Capital is systematically risky which would bring them under increased government scrutiny. The Treasury said these designations will help protect the financial system and broader economy from the types of risks that contributed to the financial crisis.

All right. This is the largest fine ever levied against a debt collector for harassing customers, $3.2 million. The Federal Trade Commission said in new instances, Expert Global Solutions, that's the debt collector, they called persons repeatedly or continuously with the intent to annoy, harass or abuse. Expert Global Solutions is the world's largest debt collector, with 32,000 employees, and $1.5 billion in annual revenues and the government really cracking down on debt collectors, really trying to look at some of these bad behaviors in the industry.

All right. The winner, the Ford F-250 crew pickup truck, most stolen vehicle in America. The Highway Lost Data Institute says it's the most stolen vehicle in America. Of course, Ford had something to say about that. Ford points out in many instances, the truck is elicited as stolen when it's the tools in the pickup bed.

BERMAN: That's actually a big problem at job sites and the pickups.

ROMANS: Or they say, look, our truck is so cool --

BERMAN: Everyone wants it, literally.

All right. Twenty-five minutes after the hour.

Coming up, is Sarah Palin ready for a run for office, another one? The new job she's considering, coming up next.


ROMANS: Inside the cockpit, landing at SFO. We're going to show you what the pilots of the doomed jetliner saw moments before they crashed.

BERMAN: Game change. Job change. Is Sarah Palin ready to run for another office? The job she now says she's considering.

ROMANS: Oh, and baby's first car. How a toddler shocked her parents by buying a car. Yes, she, that little girl bought a car all by herself. You're not going to believe this one.

BERMAN: It's going to be an expensive one.

ROMANS: They paid for it. They were stuck.

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone, I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes after the hour.

BERMAN: The latest on the deadly jet liner crash in San Francisco.

South Korea is now ordering sweeping inspections on airlines in that country, also reviewing training practices there.