CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

New Info on Diana's Death; Protesters, Police Battle In Cairo; Sex Offender Dad Gets Sole Custody; Judge Grants Custody to Sex Offender; New Investigation into Princess Diana's Death; Zach Hodskins Called Sports Phenom; Musk Reveals Hyperloop Plans; The Danger of Sand

Aired August 17, 2013 - 17:00   ET

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


PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. Great to have you along with us on a Saturday, I'm Pamela Brown filling in for Don Lemon.

The British media are reporting a stunning new allegation about the 1997 deaths of Princess Diana and her boyfriend at the time Dodi Fayed. Scotland Yard won't say much about this report. But the British Press Association has a bombshell allegation.

CNN's Atika Shubert joins us now from London. And Atika, tell us more about what Scotland Yard is saying about this.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Scotland Yard is not saying a lot. Basically what they have said is that they have some new information and that they are now reviewing it for its credibility and relevance, and they're not reopening the investigation just yet, but that this is something they might do later on, if they find out more from this piece of information. Now, what we are understanding about the source of the information from the British Press Association, that apparently comes from the parents-in-law of a former British soldier.

Now, what's interesting also is that Sunday People also has an article that they have just now published and they say that this came basically out of the court-martial of a British soldier recently and that the parents-in-law of a soldier that was not named in the trial basically said that he had told their daughter -- that the military forces had somehow covered up the death of Princess Diana. This is according to the Sunday People Magazine here. So, this apparently is the source of all this and what police are now doing is looking into these reports to see whether or not these reports are, in fact, credible, hopefully we'll have some details when the police come out with more information on this.

BROWN: Yes. Atika, just a shocking allegation there, and I think that it says a lot that the Scotland Yard has actually released a statement referring to this allegation as well.

SHUBERT: Well, that's what's most surprising. I mean, they probably get all kind of tip-offs all the time. But the fact that in 2008 there was already multiple police investigations and an inquiry that basically put a lot of this conspiracy theorist to rest and said, no, it was simply the gross negligence of the driver of her car and the paparazzi vehicles that were chasing her. So, to now have years later the police say, well, we have this new information that we're looking into has been a shock to a lot of people here.

BROWN: Absolutely. And do you make anything out about the timing of this report, Atika?

SHUBERT: I think the timing at this point looks like it may simply have been coincidental. But, you know, a lot of people are saying it comes right after the birth of Prince George, Prince William's son, of course, Princess Diana's grandson and two weeks before the anniversary of her death. She actually died on August 31st in 1997. Nearly 16 years ago. So, a lot of people are wondering why is it coming up now at such a sensitive time?

BROWN: Absolutely. Atika Shubert, thank you so much.

Turning to Idaho now and that's actually before we get to Idaho, we want to talk about Diana's son, Prince William. Because he talked to CNN's Max Foster about his life as a father. You can see parts of the interview Monday morning on "NEW DAY" with Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Now, we want to turn to Idaho, because that's where more than 2,000 people have been forced from their homes by a raging wildfire near the Sun Valley resort there. A red flag warning is in effect. And that means that there are high winds that are whipping the flame there. There is a new mandatory evacuation order for folks in the towns of Ketchum and Hailey and the sheriff's office, put it this way. Take your essential belongings and pets and go now. The wildfire has already scorched at least 64,000 acres there, and more than 600 firefighters are battling the blaze at this hour.

And turning to the south where flooding is a problem in many areas there as we see in this video. The streets looking a little bit more like rivers there. And this is what it looks like in Wilmington, North Carolina following heavy rains there. In some areas have gotten record rainfall this summer.

CNN meteorologist Jennifer Delgado takes a look.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well Pamela, more rain is on the way for parts of the Southeast. Look at this graphic here. We're talking two to four inches of rainfall in the forecast for parts of Florida as well as Georgia, Alabama and some of these locations where you see the orange and the red, you potentially could see six inches of rainfall. So, this is going to lead to more problems with flooding out there and that is why we have this graphic here showing you all the flood watches out there. There are multiple locations and flood warning.

A lot of this are going to last through tonight and even through tomorrow, because the rain won't stop tonight. It's got about another 48 hours to go. Now, what is causing all of this mess? Well, we have an area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico. We've been watching this for potential for tropical development. But what we can tell you is, it's kicking in a lot of moisture right along the stationary front, and that is the fuel for all of this heavy rainfall. This moisture, this tropical connection is causing all of the lows across parts of the southeast. And as we go through tonight, we're going to continue to see more of that rain.

The front starts to lift slowly up towards the north tomorrow night, but still we're not going to see the sunshine. We're not going to see the dry conditions. Not for this weekend across parts of the southeast. On a wider view, the northeast, beautiful today. It is going to be sunny again once again tomorrow. Temperatures are going to run about 10 to 15 degrees below average. Out of the west, we still have the fire threat out in areas including Idaho for this had the red flood warning and that means, we're going to see wind gusts in these locations up to about 30 miles per hour as well as single digit relative humidity values for parts of Idaho as well as into Utah. Certainly not what they want to see and a potentially dangerous situation with some of the people being evacuated -- Pamela.

BROWN: Even more obstacles for the firefighters out there. Thank you, Jennifer.

A horrible tragedy for one family in Indiana. Take a look. This fiery highway crash killed four children and three adults all relatives from the same extended family. Police say during a traffic backup a big rig rammed their SUV right from behind knocking it into another tractor trailer truck. All seven people in that SUV died. One of the truck drivers was hospitalized and the other was not hurt.

An early morning implosion on the Cal State Hayward Campus got rid of an old building and gave scientists new tools to study earthquakes.

Wow. Pretty incredible to see that. The 463 pounds of explosives used in that blast were equal to a small earthquake. So, scientists placed 600 sensors around the area to measure and map movements along nearby faults. They hope to use that data to improve disaster planning and update building codes.

From e-mails, the cell phone records. Some Americans worry the government is spying on them. But now we're learning there are plans for some local agencies to keep an eye on you as well. We're going to explain this right after the break. We hope you stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: We all hope that the fighting and killing in Egypt cool off this weekend was forgotten today.

(Gunfires)

It's right there. These are Egyptian troops shooting into a mosque where they say snipers were firing at them. Hundreds of protesters rallied and that mosque and demanding for the fourth day the return of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Security forces did not let them stay there, however.

Right now it's after 11:00 p.m. in Cairo and our Frederik Pleitgen is there. Frederik, first, start off talking about what happened at that mosque today? I'm assuming the situation is now calm and everyone have been disbursed from there.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, everyone has been disbursed and a lot of people actually have been taken into custody, Pamela. What happened was that, for about 24 hours that mosque was under siege from Egyptian security forces but also from Egyptian civilians were sort of a vigilante militia who are fighting on the side of the Egyptian government. Of course, those inside the mosque were supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi, and they had gone inside that mosque after a protest had ended in violent clashes.

The mosque itself actually for a while was being used as a makeshift hospital. People were being treated there and then it was surrounded by the government forces. The people didn't want to go out and the government actually said, there were snipers inside that mosque, and we could see that exchange of fire that went on. So the raid there went on for about 24 hours. Later it was cleared. And the protesters who were still in there then surrendered to government forces, Pamela.

BROWN: You know, Frederik, more than 170 people have been killed just in the last 24 hours. Tell us what is the tension level there in Cairo right now and are we expecting more bloodshed and violence there tomorrow?

PLEITGEN: Well, we certainly are expecting more tension, more violence in the coming days. One of the things that's happened is that the Muslim Brotherhood which of course is the organization that backed Mohamed Morsi who was ousted by those currently in power, they've called for protests everyday of the week to come. And what we've seen in the past couple of days, is that protests usually lead to violence. In the past three days, 700 people have been killed in Egypt, in protests that have been going on. So, certainly right now the tension level is very high.

And what you can see is that both sides, both the supporters of Morsi as well as the supporters of the military and the interim government are digging in their heels. Both sides say, they are the ones who should be legitimately governing this country, they feel they should be in power and neither side is willing to back down. The Muslim brotherhood is fielding tens of thousands of the people to protest and the other side says, they are going to hold firm and they issued a decree that if government buildings are attacked, they'll answer with live fire -- Pamela.

BROWN: Yes. No sign of capitulation anytime seen from either side. Frederik Pleitgen, thank you.

And now we want to take a look at some live pictures out of Birmingham, Alabama, and that's where National Transportation Safety Board officials are revealing new information on that UPS cargo plane crash that happened on Wednesday. Let's take a listen.

ROBERT SUMWALT, BOARD MEMBER, NTSB: The autopilot was engaged until the last second of recorded data. Now, let me clarify this. The flight data recorder -- excuse me, the flight data recording ended before the CVR, the cockpit voice recorder -- recording. The CVR continued to record for a few seconds after the FDR quit. And really these are two separate pieces of equipment, one records cockpit communications, the other records aircraft data. They are two separate pieces of equipment. One quick recording a few seconds before the other.

And so when I say that the autopilot was engaged until the last second of recorded data, that's not the same end of recorded data that we talked about yesterday. Because there is several seconds between each of the end of recorded data. The auto throttle, auto throttle, was engaged through the end of the recording, recorded data. The recorded air speed was tracking the auto flight selected air speed of about 140 knots, which is consistent with the expected approach speed. Yesterday we -- we discussed a sink rate alert that was enunciated and heard on the cockpit voice recorder. We also see indications from the flight data recorder that that alert was enunciated.

Now, what we will be doing is, we will be correlating several pieces of data. We'll be correlating the cockpit voice recorder data, the flight data recorder data, the radar data. That's the data that's recorded from the air traffic control radar system here in Birmingham, and other data sources. Then I'll speak to you about in just a moment. We'll be pulling all of these sources of data together to create a composite picture, a composite and accurate picture, of what happened to this airplane. I'd like to now turn our attention to the, to the airport itself.

Yesterday, I mentioned that there was to be a flight check that we had hoped to get in, the FAA would conduct a flight check of the airport navigational aids, including the precision approach path indicator lights, or the PAPI lights. That not all of that flight check was able to be done yesterday, but the FAA was able to flight check the PAPI system. The PAPI lines. And they found that the PAPI was within 1.100 of a degree of being properly aligned. We should have the full, the complete flight check package by mid-week, weather permitting. We are also obtaining airport surveillance video. We know of two of them at this point, and we've received those.

One from the airport itself, and one from the Alabama Air National Guard up on the north side of runway six and two-four. And both of these video sources appear to have captured the fire associated with the crash. I'll now speak about what we've done to learn more about the flight crew. We began interviewing pilots and training pilots who had flown with each of the pilots. With each of the accident pilots, and we have several more interviews scheduled that will occur over the next several days. As we do with any investigation, we are conducting a 72-hour history. We do this for all of our investigations.

Go back for the previous three days and try and get a picture of the flight crew's mental and physical condition before the accident. And as part of obtaining that 72-hour history, between midnight and 2:00 this morning, because that's when these people were available, because they're operating a nighttime cargo operation, between midnight and 2:30 this morning, 2:00 this morning, our investigators interviewed UPS employees and contractors who interacted with the crew as they began their duty day in Rockford, Illinois, and as they made stopovers in Peoria and Louisville. We have consistent with that, we're in concert with that, we have interviewed the van driver who drove them out to the aircraft. In Louisville.

We know that they obtained keys for the sleep rooms in Louisville. UPS has sleep rooms available for their flight crew. We know they obtained crews signed out keys for those rooms. We want to see if we can determine if they actually used those rooms. Tomorrow we will be examining an exemplar UPS A300-600 that will be park here over the weekend. And in the coming weeks, we anticipate that we will do a flight test and a UPS A300 to see how this approach would be flown in that type of an aircraft and to learn more about UPS's instrument approach procedures. The aircraft.

We have removed electronic equipment from the wreckage. Electronic equipment that may have non-volatile memory that may be able to contain additional data on what this airplane was doing. We find oftentimes that the memory chips in some equipment still gives us a lot of data. For example, the engine control module. That we know contains data about the operation of the engines. So we have obtained those memory chips from those pieces of equipment that we believe can give us additional information. The maintenance group has been working very hard in Louisville, since 8:00 yesterday morning, scouring the maintenance records of this aircraft.

And so far, they are reporting that all service militants and air worthiness directives have been complied with. And so far they've identified no anomalies, no mechanical anomalies with the aircraft. And we believe that all aircraft components have been removed from all property not belonging to the airport. However, we would encourage someone if they do, if they have come across an aircraft part that has not been recovered, we would like to know about it. Our e-mail address for receiving that information would be, please contact us as witness@ntsb.gov.

BROWN: And we're hearing from the National Transportation Safety Board, a new clues of what could have led to that UPS plane crash there in Birmingham, Alabama. As we heard him say there was a sink rate alert in the moments right before that crash. That means that were some sort of alert to the pilot and co-pilot that the plane was going too low, as we heard from him, he's also saying that they are going to look into the physical, the mental condition of the co-pilot and pilot who were killed in that crash and also continuing to analyze the data from the cockpit recorder, the flight data recorder and the radar data as well. So new clues, but we still don't have that clear picture of exactly what happened that led to that crash.

We'll going to have more on this coming up. Meantime, it is much more than a squabble between parents in Oklahoma judge has granted full custody of a six-year-old girl to her father, a convicted sex offender.

Up next, an Oklahoma mother's desperate plea to get her daughter back, right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: A child custody fight has people questioning an Oklahoma judge's decision. Now, awarding sole custody of a six-year-old little girl to her father, a convicted sex offender. This came after Nicholas Elizondo pleaded no contest to one charge of lewd and suspicious acts with the child. And spend six years in prison for the alleged rape of his six-year-old stepdaughter. When Elizondo got out of the prison, he filed for custody after his ex-wife and mother of his biological child Lisa Knight reportedly stopped granting him visits with the girl.

So, he fought for sole custody of his daughter Sarah and he won. But now Sarah's mother is desperate to get the girl back. She says, her daughter returned from a visit with him alleging that Elizondo's 19- year-old son touched her private parts. A lot going on with this story.

We want to get some more analysis here and we bring in human behavior expert Wendy Walsh and criminal defense attorney Holly Hughes. Nice to have you both with us here.

So, Holly, I want to start with you. Do you have any idea what could be behind this judge's decision, and it also makes you wonder what was going on with the mother that the judge gave sole custody to the father who's a convicted sex offender?

HOLLY HUGHES, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Right. There are several things that factored into the judge's decision. Number one, despite a court order which allowed the father visitation, the mother suspended all visitation. Judges do not look kindly when a parent disobeys a court order. That was number one. Number two, during the original hearing where he got visitation, the victim recanted, and when I say the victim, Pam, I'm talking about the six-year-old stepdaughter. He went to prison for molesting, she actually came to court all of these years later and said, it never happened. He did not molest me.

That also factored in, and lastly, there are those allegations that you just talked about. Where the little girl returned and said, her 19-year-old stepbrother touched her and the judge said they defined absolutely no evidence of that, and candid to think that Ms. Knight was making those up. So, I'm not saying I agree with his decision but those are the factors that we are hearing cited for this very controversial decision to give this little girl to her dad.

BROWN: Absolutely. And in the midst of this controversy, Wendy, you have to wonder what this does to this little six-year-old girl.

WENDY WALSH, HUMAN BEHAVIOR EXPERT: Well, of course. I think the worst thing for small children is a revolving door of parental figures, and being torn from homes that, one felt that like a secure base, perhaps, to another one. So I guess, you know, I hope that the judge and the court is taking into account the attachment injuries that can take place with this kind of moving around. On the other hand, you could look at this as a great vote finally for the rights of fathers. There have been a large body of men in this country who feel that they have been underserved in the family courts, and look at a case like this, with as Holly mentioned, all of these other factors and you say, finally, someone is looking at the right of a father to be a good parent. BROWN: Right, looking at the right of a father. But this, let's not forget is a father convicted of raping his six-year-old stepdaughter. So, it's a little bit different here. We're talking about a different scenario, Holly. I mean, what do you think?

HUGHES: Well, I think when the original victim took the stand and testified on behalf of this man who had been convicted of molesting her and said it never happened, I think that's got to weigh very heavily with the judge. We need to remember the climate at the time. They actually called them witch-hunt trials, and in this particular county where he was convicted, there were all of these child molestation cases being made by a particular police department, and a lot of them were actually reversed and found to be not good convictions.

Now, Pam, I'm not saying this guy's conviction was overturned. It hasn't been, but a lot of them were, and I think it is powerful when a girl who is now, you know, in her late teens, she's basically almost a grown woman, coming forward and saying, you know what? It didn't happen. I was kind of coerced into saying those things happened, and that's probably where this judge is hanging his hat.

BROWN: So that on that note, Wendy, do you think we're being too quick to judge? Could he about good parent?

WALSH: Well, I think we have to look at all sides of the story. Could you imagine, and I'm not saying this is the case, but I want you to imagine that really what this guy is guilty of is choosing bad girlfriends and wives to have babies with. Those who coerce young children to tell stories or the current mother of this child who said that a stepbrother, you know, molested her. The new six-year-old. So, I think that we have to be have an open mind and think of all sides of the story and I think the judge is trying to do that and the court is trying to do that. I also understand the trauma to this mother and the trauma to the child. I don't like seeing kids moved around, but let's have an open mind.

BROWN: Difficult situation all around. I think we can all agree on that. Thank you so much to both of you. We appreciate you coming on the show, Holly and Wendy.

HUGHES: Thank you.

BROWN: Meantime, we are learning some more information about that Scotland Yard has taken another look at Princess Diana's death. We'll going to have more on that right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(GUNFIRE)

(SHOUTING)

(GUNFIRE) (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: As we see in this video here, Egyptian troops shooting into a mosque where they say snipers were firing at them. This all happened today in Cairo. Hundreds protesters holed up in the mosque during the government's nighttime curfew. And today, police with guns forced them to clear out.

Scotland Yard is looking into new information about the 1997 deaths of Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi al Fayed. Police in London say this is not a reinvestigation but a look at new information. The British Press Association reports that new information includes the allegation that Diana and al Fayed were murdered by a member of the British military.

A longtime family friend says kidnapped teenager Hannah Anderson is trying to be strong. Exactly one week after FBI agents rescued her and killed her captor, James DiMaggio, 16-year-old Hannah made her first public appearance, as we see right here. It happened at a fundraiser this past week held near her home in San Diego. Records show Hannah and DiMaggio, who was a family friend, called each other 13 times before he allegedly killed her mother and brother and kidnapped her. But San Diego authorities told "The Los Angeles Times" was told Hannah is a victim and was, quote, "not a willing participant."

Tonight, CNN brings you dramatic details of Hannah's kidnapping and the heroic effort that led to her escape in the Idaho wilderness. Anderson Cooper's special report "Kidnapped, The Rescue of Hannah Anderson" airs at 6:30 p.m. eastern time.

Well, it won't be long before high school basketball season gets back into full swing. And we have found a story that with no doubt inspire you. Just ahead, you'll meet a young man being called a basketball phenom. Find out what makes Zach Hodskins so special.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Sports fans, this next video might be the most exciting thing you've seen all day. Take a look. At first glance, Zach Hodskins looks like any other basketball star, in addition to making incredible passes and hitting great shots. But look closer. Zach is doing all this with only one hand. He was born without the lower half of his left arm yet he's good enough that he has a shot at doing what a lot of kids dream of, playing for one of the top college programs in the country, the Florida Gators.

Zach joins us with his sister, Logan, to talk about this incredible opportunity and how he made it to this point.

Thank you both for being on the show with us.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: We appreciate it.

Zach, I want to start with you.

Growing up, obviously, you played basketball. You love the game. Did you ever doubt your ability to get an offer like this one, given your situation?

ZACH HODSKINS, HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL STAR: No. I never thought about it coming up. Just I love basketball so much that I just go out there and play hard and practice every day.

BROWN: Well, tell me how -- how did -- do you ever feel like it got in your way or you'd have extra obstacles as result?

ZACH HODSKINS: The fact I knew in my own self that I had to work harder at some things other people didn't have to. And I was able to do that and it never bothered me.

BROWN: And, Logan, you're a basketball player as well, growing up playing together. Did you ever go easy on Zach? I know I certainly didn't with my brother.

(LAUGHTER)

LOGAN HODSKINS, ZACH'S SISTER & HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL STAR: No. I wouldn't say we went easy on each other. I just played with him just like I would anyone else. I didn't see him as any different. We both worked hard to make each other better.

BROWN: You make a good point. Didn't see him as any different.

Zach, do you think opponents see you as different? Do they ever underestimate you on the court?

ZACH HODSKINS: I believe they do only if they don't know who I am or have never seen me play. Once I go out on the court and knock down a few shots, they guard me just like any other player.

BROWN: Got to love that. I know obviously there's a lot of trash talk on the court. Do they say anything about you, about your arm or is that a moot point considering how good you are?

ZACH HODSKINS: Maybe the fact that if I am good they're going to trash talk more. So, yeah, there's always trash talking but I can play through it. You just have to be mentally tough. And I just go out and play ball.

BROWN: You can take that as a complement if there's trash-talking. That means you're really good. Was this your dream, Zach, to grow up and play for such a great respected basketball program? And do you have dreams of maybe going beyond that, playing pro or perhaps coaching?

ZACH HODSKINS: Always been my dream get to a D-I level. I finally fulfilled that dream and the sky is the limit from here. I'm going to keep going. See what I can do after college. I just want to get into motivational speaking, a little coaching, everything.

BROWN: Wow. A lot of people will be inspired by you.

Logan, I'm sure you're very proud of your brother.

LOGAN HODSKINS: Of course.

BROWN: Tell me about your feelings, and how far he's come in his life?

LOGAN HODSKINS: I'm just so proud of him. I'm just so happy that he's achieved everything that he's worked so hard for, and it's great to have all of these opportunities that have come up. And I'm so happy for him.

BROWN: Zach, how do you think your story is inspiring others?

ZACH HODSKINS: You know, the fact that I never gave up and never felt sorry for myself. And you know, I want people to know that if you work hard at something, feel like something's holding you back in life, you can do it. You can keep going in life and never give up.

BROWN: Mind over matter.

All right. Thank you both, Zach and Logan.

LOGAN HODSKINS: Thank you.

ZACH HODSKINS: Thank you.

BROWN: Good luck to you, Zach.

ZACH HODSKINS: Thank you.

BROWN: Not that you need it.

(LAUGHTER)

All right, well, be sure to strap on your seat belts. A new kind of travel could be on its way. So are you ready for tube travel? More on that story after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Shine up your tinfoil hat. Just released CIA documents finally acknowledged a super secret or not so secret site known as Area 51. So it's not a huge surprise. In fact, just type Area 51 into Google Earth and you'll get a bird's-eye view of the secret installation. For years, there have been rumors of UFOs and alien activity there. And these CIA documents reveal U2 spy plane were developed in Area 51. They flew above 60,000 feet, which could explain some of those UFO stories.

A couple weeks back we gave you are the heads-up on the coming Hyperloop announcement. The billionaire boy genius, Elon Musk, has now revealed his plans for this new mode of transportation. Musk has already proven himself with cool innovative tech successes like his Tesla electric vehicle and the rocket made by his company Space X, the first private-company vehicle to dock with the space station. Just like the old commercial used to say, when he talks, people listen up.

Right, Laurie Segall?

She joins us with more on this.

Laurie, Musk released his plan, the idea of a Hyperloop, to be able to rocket between San Francisco and Los Angeles in about a half hour. Incredible. I think we traveled like something you see at the bank drive-thru. But how realistic is this? Do we actually think this is going to work?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNNMONEY, TECH CORRESPONDENT: I think the sentiment is, if anyone can do it, it would be Elon Musk. So he's saying it's possible and he actually showed dozens, with dozens of engineers from Tesla and SpaceX, he actually released how he thought this could actually happen. Monday, we were able to see different pictures -- you're looking at them right now, of how this would work. It is a tube-like device and you could travel, he said, up to 800 miles per hour.

I think what it's going to come down to is, is he going to be able to put in the resources to build this? Up until now, he's said, this could be a possibility, but he said if it was his top priority, he'd be able to build out this prototype in about one or two years. So I think we're all waiting for that. He also said it would take $6 billion to build this. If you think about this, that's not a lot for the magnitude of building out the fifth means of transportation -- Pamela?

BROWN: Absolutely. It's interesting, you point that out, that at this point, he's not saying this is a priority. In fact, before this he said, look, I'm done, no more, and then built out this prototype. We'll see how seriously he takes this. And if the Hyperloop does not work, Laurie, some New Zealanders have a good Plan B, right?

SEGALL: This is a fun one. They just -- a group has just gotten the permit to build out and test-fly a jet pack. I kid you not. You're looking at it now. This would allow you to hover in the air about 20 feet above land, 25 above water. They're trying to get this out for real people like us to be able to use. Can you imagine taking one of these home, Pamela? And right now, they're trying to get them out to first responders and the military to test them out, but they're saying this is a real possibility.

BROWN: But not so practical for a lot of reasons, like for family vacations, that kind of thing.

SEGALL: Right.

BROWN: But you've got that covered with something straight out of "The Jetsons," right?

SEGALL: This actually might be my favorite.

(LAUGHTER) We've all heard of the flying car. Right? A Massachusetts-based company is actually building that. They not just saying they're going to build it. They've built it and tested it out. It looks actually like a car, but it has wings and can actually drive on the highway and then fly into an airport and it can fit into your garage. I kid you not. And they're actually making a reality. They're saying if you want one of these, put down $10,000 and reserve a spot. And they're going to try to get these out by 2015, 2016.

So it's very cool when you talk about the future of travel. It's becoming close are and closer, some of these things for a long time we thought we could only imagine -- Pamela?

BROWN: Yeah. I mean, it's incredible, Laurie. It seems like we could become "The Jetsons" in no time.

(LAUGHTER)

All right.

SEGALL: Beam me out of here.

BROWN: Yeah, exactly.

Thank you so much, Laurie Segall. We appreciate it.

SEGALL: Thank you.

BROWN: A grain of sand seems pretty harmless, right? But when those grains are blown together, they can create a dangerous situation, especially for drivers as we see right here in this video. Coming up, we'll show you just how dangerous they can be.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: And time now for our new series "The Science Behind" where we explain the why behind the what. And this week, we're talking grains of sand. On their own, pretty harmless, but when blown together into a huge cloud towering dozens of feet high, they can cause a lot of damage that can be pretty dangerous.

To find out how it starts, scientists have to go back down to a single grain.

Our Martin Savidge has more on the science behind sandstorms.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are menacing to look at. And from the air, sand storms can appear to swallow up entire cities. On the ground, the sky can turn deep red, making conditions treacherous.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said you've never seen a dust storm. Where are you from? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jersey.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you think about this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't get these out there. It just rains. We get the wind but we get water instead of dust.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not my favorite weather.

SAVIDGE: Now scientists are going inside these monster sand storms, also known as haboos, like never before.

UNIDENTIFIED SCIENTIST: We track every particle and then we consider that particles can collide with each other.

SAVIDGE: The team used computer-simulators and wind tunnels to recreate sand storms following the path of more than 4,000 particles. By studying the flight of each sand particle and how they collide, researchers say it could help predict how this destructive weather phenomenon impacts the land before it strikes.

UNIDENTIFIED SCIENTIST: We are seeing the particles are reaching higher heights that, up through the mid-air collisions, studies before were predicting, let's say, a certain amount, a different height, which is less than what we predict as real for the sand storms.

SAVIDGE: In fact, their findings suggest that mid-air collisions can double the strength of the sand storm rather than weaken it as previously thought.

JESSICA NOLTE, METEOROLOGIST, NWS: They can be quite intense. They can have very strong winds in excess at times of 60 miles an hour. And they can definitely be very dangerous in the way they rapidly reduce visibility.

SAVIDGE: These new models could help scientists predict the severity of an approaching storm. So while instinct would make many run the other way, these scientists see the beauty and the power and the physics of Mother Nature.

Martin Savidge, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: A hotel's trash can be a charity treasure but only if a "CNN Hero" gets involved. Up next, meet a man who is helping thousands live better lives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Playing matchmaker between the needy and their needs, this week's "CNN Hero" takes the stuff we might throw away and puts it in the hands of those who can use it the most.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED HOTEL HOUSEKEEPER: Housekeeping.

JAMI KINNUCAN, CNN HERO: On a day-to-day basis, there's tons of items thrown away. It's shocking to understand how much hotels have in excess.

I was doing a lot of volunteering and I saw how desperate people were for all those types of things. I thought I could be that connection, that matchmaker.

My name Jami Kinnucan, and I collect donations around Chicago for charities that don't have the money and manpower to do it on their own.

We get a multitude of different items donated. Whatever charities need, we can get them those items.

I got a full barrel of shampoo and conditioner and lotion for you.

Hygiene is 365. We need hygiene every single day of the year.

There are a lot of great stuff in here.

We partner with over 40 hotels and we work with dozens of companies.

Oh, fantastic. That's a lot of stuff right there. They're going to love this.

The excess from corporations is great because there's always an overage for a damaged product that is still good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a double impact here. We're being environmentally responsible and people in Chicago are benefitting from this.

KINNUCAN: How much can you use?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two or three if you've got them

KINNUCAN: Men and women struggling with issues with poverty have as much personal dignity as anyone else. Anything they can do to look good and feel good is important.

It's a simple concept but it's very labor intensive.

This thing is full. When it's empty give me a call and I'll pick it up and I'll get you another one.

And if I can improve people's lives, it's a double bonus.

(END VIDEOTAPE)