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Surviving a Mall Massacre; Woman Found Dead in Hospital; Top Ten CNN Heroes Named

Aired October 10, 2013 - 08:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Thursday, October 10th. Time now for the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one, both parties meeting separately with President Obama this afternoon. House Republicans reportedly working on a plan to increase the debt limit for six weeks.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifying before the Senate Finance Committee right now. He is warning about the consequences of a U.S. government default.

Libya's prime minister has been released after he was kidnapped by a group of militants at a hotel in Tripoli. There are concerns it was done in retaliation from a U.S. raid that led to the capture of a suspected al Qaeda leader.

A total of seven motorcyclists now charged in that attack on an SUV and its driver in New York City. The latest suspect, a 31-year-old Brooklyn man, will be in court today.

And at number five, the captain of the Maersk Alabama, Captain Phillips, will address the National Press Club this afternoon. He's been under fire for his account of the 2009 hijacking of the "Alabama," now the subject of a film starring the one and only Tom Hanks.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Michaela.

She pretended to be dead and that may be what saved Elaine Dang's life in the end. The 26-year-old woman, she's from San Diego, she found herself caught in the cross-fire during last month's deadly terror attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. That's a photo of her as she was escaping from it. Sixty-seven people died in that four day siege, you'll remember. Anderson Cooper spoke with Elaine and Anderson's joining us this morning.

A remarkable and terrifying story that she tells.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360" AND "AC 360 LATER": Yes, incredible. She was at the mall for a -- to judge a children's cooking class and -

BOLDUAN: So innocent.

COOPER: Right. It started off like she was on the roof of the mall in a parking garage structure where they set up some tents when she heard an explosion. And I talked to her. I talked to her mom, Leanne (ph), and her sister, Mary, as well, and she explained what she went through over the next couple of hours. Listen.


ELAINE DANG, WESTGATE MALL SURVIVOR: I actually fell on top of a lady and then people fell on top of me and so our legs were sticking out. And as we were here, I heard more shooting and then the lady that I was on top of was shot. So she screamed, "I've been shot." And there was - there started to be blood everywhere.

COOPER: What's going through your mind? I mean were you panicked? Were you thinking --

DANG: Yes.


DANG: Well, my first instinct was - I was very shaky and very panicked and then I thought like, I need to focus and I need to assess the situation and figure out what I need to do. And in my head I was thinking, like, there needs to be an answer to this. so, for me, it was like, this is not it. I'm -- keep on thinking and find a way out. So I was thinking, oh my goodness, if I surrender, if I apologize, if I do whatever, I could be free. And so I was actually preparing myself to be the next one to surrender. And then another woman did it before me and I saw her do this and get up and then they - and then she was shot. So I was thinking, I can't die. And my brother was the first person I thought of, and then my sister, and then my mother and everyone else and I said, this cannot be it.

COOPER: It's hard for to you hear this, isn't it?


COOPER: Yes. Did you see what was happening on TV? Did you know that she was there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My older daughter, she told me. I thought, it's a dreaming, you know, I thought can't be. She told me her sister got shot. I said, oh my God, you know. I almost passed out. I say can't be happen my daughter, you know. Yes. I say happen to her I don't think I can live. But I'm glad she's OK.

COOPER: She's very strong. You raised a very strong daughter.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. DANG: I go back and forth between like, was I really there or -- because when I talk about it, I talk about it like -- sometimes like I'm very removed from the situation. But when I see the photograph and other photos of victims or people that I knew, that's when I realize, I was there.


BOLDUAN: Wow. You see there in that interview, it's not just a trauma for her that she's dealing with this. Her whole family is dealing with it.

COOPER: Yes. And Elaine remained -- what's interesting is, she remained calm during the whole thing. I mean she was thinking very rationally, which helped her to survive, because, I mean, three people were shot who she was --

BOLDUAN: Right there.

COOPER: You know, hiding with. She saw a woman get up, surrender, and that woman was shot as well.

PEREIRA: That's what I found most chilling. Because she was - she was so analytical, like you were saying -

COOPER: Right.

PEREIRA: What should I do to survive. And she thought of that option.

COOPER: Right. She almost was going to -


COOPER: She saw a guy get up and surrender and walk away. And then she was about to do that. She was preparing to do that. She saw a woman do that, get up, did that, and she got shot.

PEREIRA: And she was killed.

COOPER: So it's amazing that she was able to survive.

BOLDUAN: Did she talk about her recovery and where she goes from there?

COOPER: Yes. She had shrapnel -- a gas can exploded and that -- she originally thought she had been shot and that's why she had blood in the picture. But it turns out she actually -- it was just shrapnel from the gas canister. She had some shrapnel removed from her chest. She -

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Was her leg up in the interview?

COOPER: Yes, she still has shrapnel in her leg. They haven't been able to find it. She's got medical bills. And, actually, we have a link on our website,, if people want to help out with her medical bills because she's looking for help. PEREIRA: Did she talk also about even just leaving to get back here, how that ordeal worked?

COOPER: Yes. Well, she ended up going to two different hospitals. She ended up in Nairobi General Hospital, which is a very good hospital in Nairobi. I've actually been there myself. And so she got treatment there and that's where they were able to remove some of the shrapnel. But she was able to get back to San Diego, where she lives.

BOLDUAN: And she loves that country.

COOPER: She does. She wants to go back and -

BOLDUAN: Wow, she really does.

COOPER: Yes, she does.

BOLDUAN: She is a strong woman.

COOPER: Yes, she is.

BOLDUAN: And a lucky woman, but smart as well.

All right, Anderson's going to stick with us. From a very tragic story with, I guess, a happy ending, but this is also a very happy, happy story and a happy day because we get to talk about this year's CNN Heroes, the people who really make a difference in the world. We're going to be talking about CNN Heroes the top 10 honorees this year.

CUOMO: And how about a little dose of "The Good Stuff." We've got Anderson here, so we'll make it a double dose of "The Good Stuff."

Today's edition to shut down Washington got a quite - quite a sight yesterday. Here's why. A man outside of the Lincoln Memorial tackled the mother of all mowing jobs all by himself with his own lawn mow. Chris Cox is his name. He's from South Carolina. He was shocked to see our national monuments fall into disrepair because of the shutdown. So he didn't shut down. He got up and went to Washington with his lawn tools, emptying trash cans, patrolling on his bike at night and, yes, mowing. Why is he doing all of this? Listen.


CHRIS COX, (ph): It's up to us, at the end - end of the day, the citizens are the stewards of the memorials. There's no reason that we can't have our open air memorials open. As far as I'm concerned, this memorial is open. We have the tourists. We have security. We have our veterans. And if I have anything to say about it, we have maintenance and security. And I'd like to encourage all Americans to come forth and to find a memorial, to bring a trash bag and a rake.


CUOMO: Then comes the difference between government and people like Chris. Unfortunately, what he's doing, while laudable, is technically illegal. The park service eventually asked him to stop. According to Chris, one officer even told him the quickest way to get the regular guys back on the job is to not clean the monuments up so people see it and demand that something change. But --

BOLDUAN: Talk about backwards logic.

CUOMO: Yes, that's a little - that's a little to extensive, that logic. But, you know, he was doing the right thing and it's an important reminder that very often people have to take control of the situation to get government to listen.


CUOMO: So we applaud him. Thank you for doing that, Chris. And thank you for bringing us this story.

COOPER: Not easy to bring your lawn - you know, lawnmower all the way down to like -

PEREIRA: It's not easy.

COOPER: Like, how do you even get it there?

BOLDUAN: Right. Exactly. And where do you keep your lawnmower while you're going to - I mean all these questions.

COOPER: Yes. A lot of logistical things (INAUDIBLE).

PEREIRA: Do you check that at the airport? I don't know. Many questions.

COOPER: I don't know.

BOLDUAN: Anderson's next assignment, trying to get a lawnmower on a plane.

COOPER: Let's try it.

BOLDUAN: All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, weeks after a patient goes missing from a California hospital, her body is found in the hospital but in a stairwell in the hospital. What happened to her and why did it take so long for hospital staff to find her? We have new details coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back.

Officials have confirmed the identity now of a woman confirmed dead at a San Francisco hospital. Lynne Spalding disappeared just two days after being admitted there. Nearly three weeks later, her body was discovered inside a rarely used stairwell. Now her family is demanding answers. CNN's Dan Simon is live in San Francisco with the latest.

Good morning, Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. This was just a random find. This was a member of the hospital's engineering staff who just happened upon this body. As you can imagine, people who knew Lynne Spalding are still very much in disbelief and you can hear the anger in their voices.


JENNY RUAH, LYNNE SPALDING'S FRIEND: I just want to know that this would never happen to anyone else.

SIMON (voice-over): Raw emotions as friends of Lynne Spalding sharply criticized the San Francisco hospital where the 57-year-old's body was found in one of the facilities outdoor stairwells. She vanished nearly three weeks before from her hospital room. We now know why a frantic search, that included flyers and a FaceBook page called "Find Lynne," generated no credible leads because Spalding may have been dead or dying in that stairwell the whole time.

RUAH: There's so many places around here that someone could hide or go or be disoriented or be in harm's way.

SIMON: An embarrassed staff could provide little in the way of real answers.

DR. TODD MAY, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL: We are here to take care of patients, to heal them, to keep them safe. This has shaken us to our core. Our staff is devastated.

SIMON: Lynne Spalding, the mother of two with a thick British accent, was admitted to the hospital on September 19th for a serious infection. Two days later, she was nowhere to be found, 15 minutes after being checked on by a nurse. The family recalls her room on the fifth floor, highlighted by this box. The red arrow showing where her body was discovered just one floor below in a fire escape. When Spalding walked through the doors to the fire escape, the hospital says they would have automatically looked behind her. The only way out would have been to find the exit to the hospital grounds.

DAVID PERRY, SPOKESMAN FOR LYNNE SPALDING'S FAMILY: We're not here to throw anyone under the bus. We're here for answers.

SIMON: A family spokesman questioning why no one apparently looked in that fire escape.

PERRY: Lynne Spalding died alone in a stairwell and her body was there for 17 days.


SIMON: Well, people have been asking whether or not the family is going to file a lawsuit against the hospital. I think that's certainly an appropriate question to ask. But at this point, the family spokesman says it's too early to raise those questions, after all they're just beginning to grieve.

Chris, back to you. CUOMO: All right, thank you very much for the reporting this morning.

We're going to take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, they are everyday people who are changing the world. And you're about to meet the best of the best. Anderson Cooper is back with a big global announcement, the top 10 CNN heroes for 2013.


PEREIRA: Well it's here.

CUOMO: Have I mentioned how beautiful your hair looks today?

PEREIRA: Panderer.

BOLDUAN: Inside joke.

PEREIRA: Panderer.

BOLDUAN: You have to have them and tell you what the inside joke.

CUOMO: Right here. And she saved it for me. So I'll need it in the future.

BOLDUAN: That's one up the air.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Always nice when you have Anderson on the couch; as you know each week we tell you about the CNN Hero, people who are making the difference in this world to make it a better place to live. Well --

BOLDUAN: Nice because we often talk about people who aren't doing their jobs and now we talk about people who go above and beyond. Today we have a very fun and very big announcement finally revealing the top ten CNN Heroes of 2013, Anderson tried to get away, we wouldn't let him go, he's shackled in to the couch to make (inaudible) day. Who are they?

COOPER: Well yes it was -- I mean the great thing I love about "CNN Heroes" is these are as we say everyday people who are changing the world, people who see a need in their community and set about trying to fix it. They're not waiting for somebody else to do it. They're not looking for recognition. But it's nice once a year to recognize these people. We get thousands of nominations from our viewers all over the world. And we -- we whittled it down to the top ten, we finally selected the top ten CNN Heroes, and here they are.


COOPER (voice-over): From Statesville, North Carolina, Dale Beatty. After losing his legs in the Iraq war, he was embraced by his hometown and then he decided to pay it forward. Today he's modified or helped provide homes for more than two dozen disabled veterans. From Berkeley, California, Dr. Laura Stachel uses solar power to help healthcare workers deliver babies safely. Since 2009 her solar suitcases helped save lives in more than 20 countries.

DR. LAURA SATCHEL: Isn't that beautiful?

COOPER: From Trenton, New Jersey, Danielle Gletow. She's a fairy godmother for foster children across the U.S. Since 2009 she's made thousands of their wishes come true.



COOPER: From Nairobi Kenya, Kakenya Ntaiya. She made great sacrifices to get an education now she's opened the first primary school for girls in her village. She's educating and inspiring more than 150 young women.

TWANDA JONES, CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY: Come on wait to the end.

COOPER: From Camden, New Jersey, Tawanda Jones, from one of the poorest cities in the country her drill team provides discipline and inspiration to children of all ages. 4,000 of her students have graduated from high school, a 100 percent success rate.



COOPER: From East Moline, Illinois, Chad Pregracke, he's made it his life work to keep America's rivers clean. Since 1998 his team has removed more than seven million pounds of garbage in 22 waterways across the country.

ESTELLA PYFROM, WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA: All right let's get on board let's start reading books.

COOPER: From West Palm Beach, Florida Estella Pyfrom. This 76-year- old grandmother poured her retirement saving into a mobile computer lab. Now she's bringing technology and tutoring more than 2,000 low income children and adults.


COOPER: From San Diego, California, Richard Nares. He lost his son to leukemia and now he's helping low income children get to their cancer treatments giving them more than 2,500 free rides a year.

From Yaunde, Cameroon, Dr. George Bwelle. Nearly every weekend he travels into the jungle bringing surgery to those in need. Since 2008 his team has helped 32,000 people for free.

ROBIN EMMONS, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA: These are almond and tomatoes that over here. COOPER: And from Charlotte, North Carolina, Robin Emmons, since 2008 she's grown more than 26,000 pounds of fresh produce for underserved residents in her community.



COOPER: Yes. I want to congratulate all of our top ten CNN Heroes. Now each of those people get $50,000, they also have a chance to become the CNN's Hero of the year. That person gets an additional $250,000 to continue their work and that's the kind of money that can really help some of these heroes take their work to the next level.

Some of these folks have sacrificed an awful lot of worked pretty much on their own for years without a paycheck, it's kind of financial recognition can make all the difference and it's really it's up to viewers now to decide.

BOLDUAN: That's the important thing. Right.

COOPER: Voting opens right now opens today. Anybody can go to to vote. You can vote once a day every day all the way through, this airs December 1st at 8:00 p.m., where we will announce the CNN Hero of the Year.

BOLDUAN: Every year you fall in love with all of these people and their big -- and just how big their hearts are and what they can offer. You've -- it's the seventh year now.


BOLDUAN: Is there a most memorable? I mean it's almost, it's impossible probably --

COOPER: Yes I mean every year, there's so many -- I mean they're all incredible people and each one of them is worthy of winning.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

COOPER: And that's -- I like that it's up to our viewers to really make the decision, and as it should be, and it always sometimes surprise me. Sometimes it's someone you don't expect out of the ten, you think oh this person may be a front-runner just because of I don't know where they're from, but we never know who is going to get that.

PEREIRA: You know what I love about people in my experience, these types of folks, they're so very self selfless. They actually are not very comfortable with the spotlight and oftentimes it's hard to get them to talk about themselves.

COOPER: Yes. But it's nice to have a night to honor them and we put the spotlight on them. We get celebrities to come out and honor all of them.

BOLDUAN: And this is a spectacular even. It's so fun to watch. COOPER: It is fun.

CUOMO: Can you vote for more than one or no?

COOPER: You can vote for anybody you want. You can only vote once a day but you can vote every day so once a day every day for whoever you want.

CUOMO: Vote early and vote often. But also, you know what is nice about it is that it's putting emphasis on the right place.


CUOMO: I mean you know, we're doing the job for a while we often get painted in the media with what we decide to focus on. And that's one of the beautiful thing about heroes is that it's focusing on all the right things even if it's one night the effect lasts.

COOPER: And also I mean this $250,000, first they all get $50,000 and an additional $250,000 if they're named the hero of the year by our viewers. I mean that can --

BOLDUAN: $250,000.

COOPER: -- that can take their work to a whole other level.

CUOMO: It's true.

I think $50,000 can because very often as you know with these organizations, if they're 501-C3 they wind up getting matching grants. So when they can bring money in you wind up getting more money.


CUOMO: So that's good.

COOPER: Yes. It makes a huge impact there. You know you think -- there's a woman one of the 10 heroes this year, Danielle Gletow, she's a foster mom, saw a need that foster kids often didn't have even small things. Like they didn't have money to get a yearbook or, you know, clothes in the beginning of the school year. And she started this website that people could volunteer, people could give to fulfill small wishes from foster kids and it makes a huge difference in the kids' lives.

PEREIRA: The other thing I love about this, it's infectious.


PEREIRA: You know, you see this kind of thing and it inspires you, at least that's our hope that it inspires you. Even in just a small way because some of these -- look at the solar backpack. It's a simple idea, a simple concept but life changing.

COOPER: Completely life-changing. It's amazing.

CUOMO: And now you get the word out there. And so if somebody wants they go and they find an organization --


CUOMO: -- and help out these people with their good work.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: I like that.

BOLDUAN: I was inspired. You knew it. I was wishing. Anyway, it's a great day to have Anderson here.

We'll be back after a break. Go vote.


CUOMO: Rush, one of the best rock bands of all-time.


PEREIRA: Love Rush.

CUOMO: We know you're getting ready to head out. Let's get over to Indra for more check of the weather before you do -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Bad news before you go out the door, right. That's what everyone wants to see this morning. We know there's rain in the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast today and it is going to be lingering for a couple of days. Get used to it. We're talking about heavy rain, just because it's going to sitting there day after day.

So this is the total for the next three days. Anywhere from even three to five inches of rain into the mid-Atlantic and, of course, we're not going to stop there. We're going to be adding in some wind, look for some northeasterly gusts even as high as 45 miles per hour.

Last thing you want to know, the temperature well, it is cold. We're talking about temperatures five even ten degrees below normal for this time of year; your highs just into the 50s.

So a little chilly, bring the jacket, umbrella, the whole thing guys -- sweater.

BOLDUAN: All right. You got it.

Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Good to know.

That's it for us. Thanks for watching us here on NEW DAY. It's time to get to Carol Costello in CNN's "NEWSROOM". Good morning -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, thank you so much. "NEWSROOM" starts now.

Happening now in the NEWSROOM.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: We just had a very positive meeting with the President of the United States.


COSTELLO: Finally they're talking. Today Republicans meet with the President in the same room.

And snatched at dawn by gunmen, the Libyan prime minister kidnapped off his own doorstep, a pseudo coup or retaliation?

Also fire in the sky.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Explosion, shot flames out about 20 feet in the sky.


COSTELLO: A balloon tangled in power lines burst into flames and plunges to the ground.

Plus trapped.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it is kind of scary because you feel like you're about to fall backwards.


COSTELLO: Riders on the Rip Tide Rocket at Universal Studios are stuck vertically.

And torch gate, the eternal flame extinguished four times on its run to the Sochi for the Olympic Games. Russians call it a conspiracy.

You're live in the "CNN NEWSROOM".