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New Report Of Two Planes Almost Colliding; Mystery Surrounds Alleged Kidnapping Case; GM Recalls Trucks, SUVs Because of Airbag Problem

Aired May 23, 2014 - 19:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Next, nightmare in the sky, two United Airlines flights full of passengers come within seconds of a mid-air collision.

Plus, ten years after she vanished, a woman reappears. She says she was kidnapped, but some who know her don't buy it.

And another NBA owner under fire for comments about race. It is because he you used the word "hoodie"? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Brianna Keilar in for Erin Burnett tonight. New reports of a terrifying near collision in the sky. The FAA is investigating how two United flights with hundreds of passengers on board came just seconds away from slamming into each other. The planes were less than a mile apart above Houston. And this is at least the fourth time in the past month that two planes almost collided mid-air.

It's a troubling trend as millions of Americans head to the airport tonight. Memorial Day travel expected to reach a record high this weekend. Rene Marsh is live at Washington's Reagan National Airport. Rene, what more can you tell us about this latest near collision?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, we can tell you, as you mentioned, Brianna, the FAA is trying to get to the bottom of this because the bottom line is this is not supposed to happen. But it did happen. And we now know that it was an air traffic controller who put this plane on the wrong path.


MARSH (voice-over): An air traffic controller in training directs a United jet to turn, putting it on a possible collision course with another plane departing Bush Intercontinental Airport. Seconds later according to the FAA, the controller realize his mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED TOWER: Stop your turn and stop your climb.

MARSH: The two flights, each traveling more than 200 miles per hour less than a mile apart, sending off collision warning systems. Listen to stunned pilots seconds later.

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: I have no idea what was going on up there in the tower. But it was pretty gnarly looking.

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: I'm guessing he was supposed to give us a left turn.

MARSH: Another potentially dangerous moment in the sky where two planes nearly collide. In recent weeks in the skies over the Pacific, at New York's JFK and Newark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was real close.

MARSH: The rules of separation in the skies breached. The FAA's latest numbers show planes came too close nearly 4400 times in one year, 41 of them deemed high-risk events.

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: They're scary. They're unacceptable. They're worked on. But there is a backup system and people are safe.

MARSH: This is what can happen when planes get too close. In 1991, this US Air 737 at LAX landed on top of a Skywest commuter plane preparing for takeoff, 34 people died. Accidents like this are incredibly rare because of collision avoidance systems now mandated in planes.

GOELZ: The mistakes can occur through a controller making an error, through a pilot making a mistake. But remember, there is avionics on board, particularly one called TCAS, which is collision avoidance assistance.

MARSH: The FAA says it's taken steps to prevent any similar occurrences in the future, but they didn't say what those steps were.


MARSH: Well, we know that air traffic controllers, they're usually trained in realtime. Now according to the FAA, there was an instructor who was present at the moment this was all unfolding, ready to step in if necessary. But we're told that the trainee was able to correct the problem immediately. But still, you know, it's just very troubling when you have a situation in which these planes are coming closer than they should be -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Certainly is. Rene, thank you. So how does a near collision like this happen? Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT. And Tom, you know, these two planes in Texas, they still had room to maneuver past each other. But it's really too close for comfort.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is. Let me bring in the airport and talk about how this developed. It is a study in space and speed. When they took off from this airport, it looked like everything was fine. They were going in different directions. Everything was going off just swimmingly. Then this change in direction and now the problem came about.

Now, you can look at this and say look, there is still not exactly the same elevation. They're still separated by about a mile between the two of them. So really, why is anybody worried about this sort of thing? Well, the reason they're worried about this sort of thing is because if they had continued this direction, remember, they're traveling about 170 miles an hour, they could have reached a collision point out here in maybe 10 seconds more or less.

So this really is quite close. And the reason air traffic controllers knew this because they don't see these as airplanes the way we do. You fly in and out of an airport, you see airplanes in the sky. There aren't that many of them. What they see basically are big discs in the sky. The personal airspace of each airplane.

That space may change depending on circumstances overall, but they have a sense of how much space should be around that plane that is untouched by anything else, including the personal space of another plane. And in this case, that personal space got on top of each other. You see that little red spot right in the middle there?

That's where these discs collided. It's not an accident in the air yet, but that's the warning sign that one could happen, Brianna. And that's how they analyze these circumstances where it's all happening very, very quickly.

KEILAR: Yes, certainly too close. You can see it when you put it that way, Tom. What happens if two planes get into each other's space and the tower just for some reason doesn't notice, doesn't warn them? Then what?

FOREMAN: Well, interestingly enough, there is a system for that. Let's say this happens. They're getting into each other's space and they're getting deeper into each other's space, that's when this kicks in. For some years now, Congress has mandated that commercial jet line betters outfitted with something called the traffic collision avoidance system, or TCAS.

Basically, what that means is there are computers on board watching out for this. And if the computer on within plane sees another plane in its space, it will warn the pilot. It will say, somebody is getting inside your disc, inside your plane's personal space. And if it keeps coming on, what it will then do is start talking to the other TCAS computer in the other plane, and those computers will tell each other look, we're getting too close. You go high and I'll go low, and we will not run into each other.

And in fact, since this has started, there has not been a single mid-air collision between two jets that are outfitted with a TCAS system. That's pretty important, as we all keep flying in greater and greater numbers, Brianna.

KEILAR: That is an impressive last line of defense. Thanks for explaining, Tom Foreman.

FOREMAN: You're welcome, Brianna.

KEILAR: And OUTFRONT tonight, Richard Quest and CNN aviation analyst, Mary Schiavo. So Mary, you have heard this. The fourth near collision in the past month. Is this happening more, or it is just being reported more?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it's both. Back in 2010, 2009-2010, there was a 50 percent increase in the office of inspector general, my old office did a study. And they found both. They found that they were reporting more because the FAA put in an amnesty program. If you turn yourself in, you can't be penalized. But also, that they were on the rise, along with runway incursions, which is collision on the runway as opposed to in the air. So it's on the rise. Fortunately, we've got the collision avoidance equipment. But it's a troublesome problem because we want the statistics going down for accident possibilities, not up.

KEILAR: And that's pretty scary when you hear it. Richard, I want you to look at the flight tracker. We have a live flight tracker of all of the flights that are in the air right now. According to CNN safety analyst, David Soucie, the skies will actually become two times as crowded in the next 20 years. So in light of what Mary just said, should we be concerned there is just too much traffic in the air?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is of course some next generation software coming on board, which will accommodate that. That's why the U.S. is spending billions putting in a satellite navigation system rather than a radio-based system. It's took Congress many years to appropriate it. The system is now being put into operation. And that will allow for that increase in aviation.

But when you talk about these incidents and the reality of course is as Mary will no doubt agree, they are very, very small in number. Very small, but of course the effect and the devastation and the disaster completely outweighs that small number. And that is the issue. What you have to look for here is systemic reasons why.

A bad air controller, inexperience, lack of training, poor investment, poor procedures, poor management. You're trying to discover what is it systematically in the system that might need changing, rather than just a one-off event, however serious that might be.

KEILAR: Well, and to that point, Mary, what can be done to -- aside from the technology here, what all can be done to avoid these incidents?

SCHIAVO: Well, in these incidents in every case, federal aviation separation regulations were broken there is the time between takeoffs and landings, a lateral separation and a vertical separation. And they were broken. So in each case where the regulations are broken, there should be consequences. There has to be.

You can't have a total amnesty in the government for people who don't follow the rules. So one, there has to be consequences of behavior, retraining. We have to weed out the bad controllers. Pilots have to report this because the funny thing about the system is if they're not reported by anybody and they aren't reported or the controller doesn't turn them in, in 14 days, they're gone. They erase the tapes.

We have to do that. If none of this improves the statistics on their performance from the FAA, then we're going to hear once again as we heard back in the '90s, time to privatize like other nations have done. It's not something I like, but if they can't improve their performance, that's going to have to be considered.

KEILAR: So Richard, you're looking at the piece that Rene just did. Part of the issue here is you had an air traffic controller trainee. He did have someone with him. But really should this trainee have had the responsibility of that active flight?

QUEST: Well, by virtue of the fact it nearly went wrong, then the answer is probably no he shouldn't or she shouldn't. The facts speak for themselves. However, as Rene points out, it was the air traffic controller themselves, the inexperienced one that did see what was happening and sorted it out. You're never going to completely eliminate all risk.

KEILAR: Of course.

QUEST: Let's have a reality check on this.


QUEST: What you're doing here is minimizing to the lowest possible level that you ever can get to. And that of course might not be this current situation. We're still talking very small numbers, might still be too high a risk. That's why people -- go ahead.

KEILAR: And as fliers, I think all of us want that risk minimized even more. Richard and Mary, thank you so much to both of you.

And still to come, ten years after she disappeared, a woman returns. She says she was kidnapped, but some are actually questioning her story.

Plus, another NBA owner under fire for his comments about race, but were Mark Cuban's comments really racist?

And a dramatic story of survival in the Himalayas. A climber falls 70 feet. He lives and he tells us how, tonight.


KEILAR: Now an update to a story that we told you about last night. Confusion over what really happened to a woman who police say was kidnapped, raped, and held against her will for a decade. Some friends and neighbors say her story doesn't add up. Kyung Lah has her report.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The young family inside this apartment had all the outward appearance of a happy life. In pictures posted on Facebook, all smiles. They told others they were very much in love, parents to a beautiful little girl. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bail in your case is set at $1 million.

LAH: So the arrest of Isidro Garcia comes as a shock. Garcia is charged with raping and kidnapping his then girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter. Prosecutors say he held the teenager prisoner for a decade, turning her into his wife. She even gave birth to his child.

(on camera): Did you know anything?


LAH: She never said anything?

(voice-over): Maria Reyes lives next door and said she was the victim's best friend, seeing her nearly every day for five years. She says her friend spent most of her days without her husband. She had a job, her own car, and her own cell phone.

(on camera): Could she leave at any time?

(voice-over): I didn't see her being threatened, says Reyes. As a woman, her friend, I didn't see any of that. Reyes also says her friend had slowly reconnected with her mother and sister earlier this year, and says it wasn't a sudden reunion of a victim and her lost mother. This picture posted on Facebook May 11th shows the victim smiling with her mother and sister.

This is a week before she reported that she had been kidnapped ten years ago. So was she really kidnapped and held prisoner or was it something else?

CHARLES FRISCO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And from a perspective of common sense, ten years have gone by and she never, ever told one person that something was afoul? Why is that she never said anything to indicate that he did something wrong?

LAH: Imprisonment is easy to judge, but hard to understand, says Michelle Knight. She was one of three girls kidnapped in Cleveland and held prisoner, suffering horrific physical abuse for more than ten years. She says none of us can understand what this victim may have gone through.

MICHELLE KNIGHT, CLEVELAND KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: You don't know what went through her head. You don't know what that dude was doing to her. You have absolutely no clue what she went through.

LAH: It's the mental restraints, say victims' advocates that wield the most power and results in what may seem to be odd behavior to the rest of us.

MARC KLAAS, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: They're under intimidation. They're under coercion. And they're simply trying to find a way to survive a horrible situation, not really being able to see the way out until something happens.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KEILAR: And Kyung Lah with us now. Kyung, this girl, this woman was an illegal immigrant. She had slipped into the U.S. just six months before she disappeared in 2004. How much do prosecutors think that that may be playing a role in this case?

LAH: Very simply, Brianna, a lot. Remember, she is 15 years old and put yourself in her position. Prosecutors say that she had just slipped into the country. So she is in a foreign place. She doesn't know the language. She doesn't know the laws. And prosecutors say that her captor had told her if she said anything, her entire family would be deported -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Kyung Lah for us tonight, thank you.

And still to come, another GM recall today, this time for trucks and SUVs. How much trouble is the car giant in?

And a train barrels towards a car with a driver trapped inside. We'll show you what happens next.


KEILAR: This just in. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells Reuters the number of deaths associated with faulty ignition switches in General Motors vehicles is likely higher than the 13 the automaker has claimed. This news coming as GM issued its 30th recall of the year. This time the automaker is recalling 500 trucks and SUVs to fix an air bag problem.

This has all put CEO Mary Barra in the hot seat, and Christine Romans is OUTFRONT with a closer look at the woman at the center of GM's recall crisis.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mary Barra had become the face of GM's recall nightmare.

MARY BARRA, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS: My sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected by this recall especially the families and friends who lost their lives or were injured. I am deeply sorry.

ROMANS: As the recalls mount, so does the pressure on Barra, who has tried to stay ahead of the criticism. She appointed two outside legal firms to launch an internal investigation. She named a new safety chief. And she has restructured the company's engineering and quality departments. But still, the question lingers, how could she not have known about the faulty ignition switches that started it all when others knew years before?

BARRA: I was not aware that there was this issue until the recall was introduced on January 31st.

ROMANS: That was just days after she took over the top job at GM.

BARRA: A bold new culture at our company. ROMANS: Auto experts say that's not surprising given GM's massive corporate structure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an enormous company. When outsiders come to work there, the first thing they say is they're just -- it's mind- boggling.

ROMANS: But Barra is no outsider. Her 30-plus year rise at GM started with an internship. She moved through numerous engineering and manufacturing jobs, and several executive level positions then CEO. That's why some senators found it hard to believe she wasn't aware, given that GM says its engineers detected the problem ten years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a really important person to this company. Something is very strange that such a top employee would know nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it is important that we understand what your role was during your 33 years. And more important than that, that the investigation point out just who knew what and when did they know it.

ROMANS (on camera): The results of GM's internal investigation are expected next month. Until then, the CEO Mary Barra has been meeting privately with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., briefing them on the recalls. How she handles this recall crisis will likely cement her GM legacy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If she turns this around, she could be a hero. The challenge for her right now is she's got to deal with this crises. But at the same time, she has to continue to run a car company.

ROMANS (voice-over): A car company whose sales have not slowed, despite the steady drumbeat of recall headlines. Christine Romans, CNN, New York.


KEILAR: Still OUTFRONT, breaking news, Putin firing back at President Obama as Ukraine erupts in violence.

Plus, another NBA owner in hot water over comments about race. Mark Cuban apologized, but did he say something wrong?

And 10 million views and counting. The internet's newest viral star talks exclusively to OUTFRONT.


KEILAR: Breaking news: violence erupting on the streets in Ukraine as the nation prepares to go to the polls. The election coming just four months after the pro-Russian leader was ousted from office.

Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to recognize the outcome of this weekend's vote, but not before taking a swipe at President Obama, suggesting that he find another line of work after condemning Russia's annexation of Crimea.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Who is he to judge? Who is he to judge? Seriously? If he wants to judge people, why didn't he get a job in court somewhere?


KEILAR: Jim Sciutto, OUTFRONT live from Donetsk, Ukraine, I should say.

What's the situation like there tonight, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, here in Donetsk, it kind of depends where you are. You can see behind me, it's a quiet street. It's been quiet here all the day.

But we travel 20 minutes outside the city to an area where pro- Russian militants have free rein. They shut down election headquarters there, burned election materials, threatened the election workers, and as a result, more than 100 polling stations in that area have been closed. And further afield in the Donetsk and neighboring Lugansk province, a number of attacks today that killed more than 30 people, than after 16 Ukrainian soldiers were killed yesterday, you know, two of the bloodiest days since the start of this crisis, just 48 hours before these crucial national elections.

And that's the real worry here, that violence is still percolating. U.S. officials, Ukrainian officials placed the blame for that violence on Russia. And it poses at least in parts of the country a very real threat to this very important election on Sunday.

KEILAR: So much tension, Jim, between the U.S. and Russia over this. The administration has said if Russia interferes with the elections, there will be new sanctions. With the reason violence, any word on whether the White House will act?

SCIUTTO: Well, they're reserving judgment, they say, until the election happens on the weekend. You know, it's interesting. Two weeks ago, the president set in effect this new standard, this new red line, saying that if Russia impedes this election, there will be more painful sanctions, sectoral sanctions, but he didn't say when, and what impeding actually would be.

These last couple of days, to many Ukrainian officials and many residents I've spoken to, it looks like impeding the election. But I pressed U.S. officials today to say, you know, are these sanctions going to come before the vote? Will there be a deterrent value? They said they want to reserve judgment. They don't want to prejudice their choice, in effect. They want to see how the election goes.

And they say if after Sunday, it looks like this election was seriously impeded with, then they will proceed with more economic costs. And they say they have those economic sanctions teed up, if you will, this f that happens. But they're going to wait to see how the election goes on the weekend.

KEILAR: Wait see until then.

Jim Sciutto in Donetsk -- thank you very much.

The controversy over billionaire NBA owner Mark Cuban calling himself prejudiced continues. Today, trending online, more than 32,000 Mark Cuban-related tweets in the past 24 hours. And I want to play those comments for you in case you missed them last night.


MARK CUBAN, NBA OWNER: I mean, we're all prejudiced in one way or the other. If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it's late at night, I'm walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street there is a guy that has tattoos all over his face, white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere, I'm walking back to the other side of the street.


KEILAR: Now, some who heard those comments quickly called Cuban a racist. And he got a lot of flak, especially for using the word "hoodie", a word many people associate with the Trayvon Martin case. Cuban did later apologize to the family of Trayvon Martin, but not everyone thinks that apology was necessary.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: Hoodie. I'm telling you, we can't say hoodie now. We have to say the H-word. From now on, hoodie is the H-word. You can't say it. He apologized for using the word "hoodie".


KEILAR: Joining me now to talk about this: Natalie Jackson, who is an attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin, Tim Wise, the author of "Color-Blind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics", and Crystal Wright, a conservative blogger at

Natalie, to you first. Having had this role representing the Trayvon Martin family, he was wearing a hoodie when George Zimmerman shot and killed him. It became a symbol of that case. Did Mark Cuban cross the line using that word?

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY: I don't think it's about the word hoodie. I think it's about a black kid in a hoodie, and the comparison to a bald person with tattoos on their face, the only difference instead of a comparison to a white kid in a hoodie. So I think that that makes it -- the only difference is the skin color here , and that you have a child.

So, I think, you know, the hoodie is just a reason to say that it's a black kid. I think that's what most people were trying to say.

I don't think Mark Cuban's comments were racist, though.

KEILAR: OK, well, that's interesting. Crystal, what do you think about that? Specifically, as we break this up into chunks, what did you think about the hoodie part of it?

CRYSTAL WRIGHT, CONSERVATIVEBLACKCHICK.COM: It didn't bother me at all. Hoodies are glorified in rap culture and hip-hop culture, which is predominantly black. Hoodies are associated as a costume of menace for people white or black wearing them and trying to maybe not go undetected and commit a crime. That's what I associate them with.

And Mark Cuban, which reinforcing what we all have, which is obvious fears of the stereotypes which are played out in reality. In crime, violent crime, you have more young black men committing violent crime.

And as for the white skinhead with tattoos -- look, I'm a woman. I live in an urban environment. I'm always constantly aware of my surroundings.

And here is what I have to say to everybody who doesn't want to be honest with themselves that we all as Cuban said operate with stereotypes and prejudices. People have a right to dress how they want, and I have a right to be fearful of that dress. And if that dress offends me, I have a right to protect myself, walk across the other side of the street.

You know, I don't think it was racist at all. And I think that if anything, what Cuban said was, you know, he thinks we should control our bigotry through discussion and talking about these stereotypes.

JACKSON: And I agree.


KEILAR: I want to let Tim jump in here, because I saw him shaking his head as Crystal was answering the question. What is your point here, Tim?

TIM WISE, AUTHOR: Well, the problem with Crystal's argument, she is absolutely right. Not only do you have a right to have biases, you have a right to do lots of things, that it's not right ethically to do.

I have the right to stand in Central Park and yell racial slurs at people, but if I do so, I'm a jerk and somebody should call me that.

WRIGHT: Right.

WISE: In this case -- in this case, let me say this, the idea that it's rational to fear a young black kid in a hoodie is simply wrong, particularly -- let me finish, particularly for Mark Cuban, who if he knew the statistics, and if Crystal did, and I'm sure she didn't either would know that less than 2 percent of black males will commit a violent crime in a given year, less than half of those against white folks. About 7/10 of 1 percent of all black males will commit crimes against whites. Only a quarter percent of all whites will be victimized by a black person.

So, it is not rational to fear black kids in a hoodie or not. We're five times more likely, those of us who are white, like me and Mark Cuban, five times more likely to be victimized by another white person. Now, that doesn't mean we should run from white people either. But it means we have to stop rationalizing these biases by the fact that we say we them is good. And agree. That part is excellent. That doesn't mean it's a rational fear.

KEILAR: And you're saying it's irrational. But this is also something we've heard a lot of people talk about, including President Obama. He spoke about the Trayvon Martin case and this very notion in a speech last July. Let's listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator.

There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.


KEILAR: So I sort of read that, and I hear the president saying, and I'm listening to what Mark Cuban is saying, and it's just very clear that this is very deeply rooted in our culture, whether or not you're saying it should happen, it does.

WRIGHT: Right.

KEILAR: So, I wonder, you can answer this, Crystal, and I want you all to get a couple of words here, how do you move past that?

WRIGHT: Well, you move past it by talking about the facts. And I want to quickly -- I don't like Nick lecturing me that I don't know facts like I'm some moron.


WRIGHT: Excuse me. According to the Justice Department, black men are six times more likely to be homicide victims, and seven times more likely to kill with a gun. So you can talk and try to be politically correct all you want to. The fact is like the president said, in his my Brother's Keeper speech that you played, Brianna, young black men are coming from broken homes, not like intact homes that President Obama came from, in many ways because his grandparents helped raise him.

So, we have to talk about these prejudices, but also we have to talk about the root of the problems that are threatening black Americans.

WISE: You're using that data completely wrong.

WRIGHT: I'm a black woman. I'm not using it wrong.

WISE: You are. You said that the important --

WRIGHT: Seventy-two percent of all black babies are born to single mothers. That exposes them to crime.


WISE: It certainly does not.

WRIGHT: It certainly does.

WISE: It certainly does not. The facts that you stated --

WRIGHT: Brookings Institute.

WISE: Do I get to finish?

WRIGHT: No, because you're --

WISE: My name is Tim first of all.

WRIGHT: Tim, sorry.

WISE: Let me finish. My name is Tim, let me finish.

WRIGHT: Sorry, Tim. I said I'm sorry.

WISE: You said the reason that it's important what Mark Cuban said was because black folks are seven times more likely to commit homicide. What I was saying is even though that number is true, a ridiculously small number of black men actually do commit it.

WRIGHT: So who is in our jails? Who is in our federal prisons?

WISE: The fact that it's seven times more than the white number is still a small number.

WRIGHT: Tim, who is in our federal prisons. Give me the statistics.

WISE: Let me finish. One quarter of 1 percent of white people will be violently victimized by a black person this year. That is a fact, and nothing that you said rebuts that, not one syllable that you said rebuts that fact.

KEILAR: A final quick word to Natalie. JACKSON: I will say that parents were concerned about this statement perhaps because you're talking about kids identities. You're not talking about counterculture people, you're talking about kid and hoodies.

Here's the thing -- I agree with Mark Cuban that we have to be vigilant and that we have come a long way. But we've come a long way because we've been vigilant and we've had these discussions and we've pointed out when there are apples being compared to oranges like kids and hoodies and people with facial tattoos and bald heads and menacing look. They're not the same.


WRIGHT: But, Natalie, I agree with you. Cuban wasn't talking about kids in hoodies. He was talking about grown men in hood east.

JACKSON: He said kids in hoodies.

WISE: He said kids. Listen to the clip.

KEILAR: I'll have the final word. That it did seem that Cuban himself obviously with his apology felt that with some of his comments he had been inartful or gone too far.

Really great conversation. Natalie, Tim, Crystal, thanks to all you have for being with us.

And still to come, an amazing escape caught on tape. A car stalls on the train tracks with the driver trapped inside.

And a traumatic story of survival in the Himalayas. A man falls 70 feet and he lives. He tells us how he did it, next.


KEILAR: The '60s, it's the decade that changed the world. The space race, the Cold War, the Beatles and more. Don't miss the premier of CNN's new series, "The Sixties" this Thursday at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific.

And now to a shocking accident caught on tape in Florida. A woman stuck on railroad tracks barely cheats death. And it appears that it was all because of bad timing. "The Orlando Sentinel" reports 28-year-old Kristen Taylor was still learning how to drive stick shift in her new car when she stalled on the tracks. And with seconds to spare, Taylor narrowly escapes her vehicle when the train hits.

The train's conductor slowed down to approach the station. But as you can see from that debris that was just flying in the air, the car was completely totaled. Florida DOT officials tell the paper this was an extremely close call.

Now, speaking of close calls, take a listen to this dramatic video from an American hiker in the Himalayas taken just moments after he fell 70 feet. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ALL, HIKER: Oh, I'm (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I fell through that hole. Thankfully I didn't keep falling that way.


KEILAR: Now, despite breaking several ribs, fracturing an arm, John All managed to climb out of that icy crevasse on Monday. It took him four to five hours to do it. And then he called for help and he waited another 16 to 18 hours for a helicopter to reach him. All is mostly fine now. He did say that if someone else had been with him, he is convinced they both would have died. Thankfully, he is alive to tell the tale.

Common Core, two words that have ignited heated debates across the country. It's the nationwide standard use to evaluate students, schools and teachers. And for Melinda Gates, Common Core is a subject that she's very passionate about.

Here is Erin Burnett.


ERIN BURNETT, "OUTFRONT" HOST: Melinda Gates is on a spending spree, spending billions and billions and billions.

MELINDA GATES: It feels amazing.

BURNETT: Since 2007, Melissa and her husband, Bill Gates, have spent at least $28 billion on causes ranging from tetanus and polio immunizations in Africa, to promoting contraceptions, to combating homelessness in their home state of Washington.

GATES: I don't always come with a camera.

BURNETT (on camera): What, for you, is the best part about this job?

GATES: The best part is when you see somebody lifting their family up out of poverty and it is changing the trajectory of their life. To me, it is incredibly rewarding.

BURNETT (voice-over): It's not the life Gates imagined when she was a little girl in Dallas, Texas. Her mother stayed home, her father was an engineer. Melinda was the valedictorian of her class.

And by the time she met Bill in 1987, she was already a solo success. She had earned her MBA, purchased her first home and was a manager at Microsoft.

Gates married Bill in 1994 and has devoted much of her time since to raising her three kids, Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe.

The 49-year-old mom says her kids inspire her to fight for the things she believes in. It's one of the reasons she is determined to make sure American educators do the same thing.

One of the causes she feels most passionately about right now? Common Core.

(on camera): So, when you talk about Common Core, it's standards and not curriculums. So, what exactly does that mean?

GATES: The Common Core is a set of clear and consistent guidelines for all students no matter their grade level in both math and science and arts. It says what do students need to know at their grade level to go on to college?

BURNETT: So, is it kind of like a check list?

GATES: It's a set of guidelines that they can absolutely go down and see, these are the things that I need to know that my students learned this year in algebra in ninth grade, so that I'm ready to make sure that they can go on to tenth grade.

BURNETT (voice-over): Common Core was developed in 2009 with the help of the Gate's Foundation. But it has only recently made its way into classrooms of 44 states. Gates says Common Core is a necessary step to make America, currently ranked 16th in literacy and 27th in map, competitive once again.

But the program also happens to be a political lightning rod. Indiana, which was one of the first states to adopt the standards, is now the first to pull out. Similar moves are under way in several other states.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It puts entirely too much stress on the teachers. It puts entirely too much stress on the students.

BURNETT: And conservative activist Tony Perkins warns the program could actually hurt the learning process.

TONY PERKINS, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: Any time you interject something into the classroom that moves parents farther away from the educational process, it hurts. The problem with Common Core is that it is a one-size-fits-all education -- approach to education. Parents see this as a detrimental move when it comes to the education of their children. I think we're just beginning to see the start of this. It's far from over.

BURNETT: But Gates defends her cause, saying consistency is exactly what America's schools need.

GATES: We need to prepare all students to go on to college whatever college they choose. So, whether they're going to choose Harvard, or whether they're going to choose a community college or they're going to choose something in between, they need to know that they're prepared and that's just not what's happening today.

BURNETT: Criticism doesn't faze Melinda Gates. She says she's trying to concentrate on solving problems, problems that have been persistent and too daunting for even the most powerful governments to take on.

(on camera): Do you ever feel -- I'm sure it's motivating on what level, right, that you can make a difference, in this most important issue facing the country. This health care, right, these are the issues. But do you ever feel frustrated?

GATES: Well, I don't -- Bill and I don't look at it that way. We look at what is the opportunity, and as our friend, Warren Buffett, who has invested in the foundation, says is that philanthropists get involved with the things that are the difficult problems. We have difficult issues in the United States around education, around some of these low income students. So, we look at it more as an opportunity.


KEILAR: That was Erin reporting and she'll be right back here next week.

And still to come, the viral video taking the Internet by storm, 10 million views and counting. The star of the clip is OUTFRONT, next.


KEILAR: Michael Jackson's comeback is almost complete. His latest album "Xscape," debuted at number two on the Billboard chart this week. It is the late singer's highest charting album in 13 years, with sales of 157,000 copies.

Stunt marketing like this Michael Jackson hologram has been credited with the sales bump, which brings us to tonight's number, 10 million. That's how many views this video of 17-year-old Brett Nichols has racked up in just three days.

His impression has taken the Internet by storm and kept the King of Pope firmly in the spotlight this week. If "Xscape" does reach number one next week, as some think it will, Bret may have had something to do with it.

I had the opportunity to speak with the Internet's newest superstar last night.


KEILAR: OK, you're 17 years old which sort of begs the question of how you became such a big fan of Michael Jackson. How did that happen?

BRETT NICHOLS, IMPERSONATION OF MICHAEL JACKSON WENT VIRAL: It all started in 2001, I discovered his 40 anniversary reunion with his brothers, and after that, I just sort of thought, no one else can really sing and dance and make it look that good. So, I just want to -- I don't know, something about it that really caught my attention, I thought it would be something cool if I could do it.

KEILAR: So, how did you go about doing it, going from not doing these moves to really being just the spitting image of him as you move?

NICHOLS: Well, it really sort of took off the time YouTube came out. And all the short moves were easy to find. Really after that I was able to practice, just watching him. There is no other way to learn.

KEILAR: So, you studied and studied and you were able to replicate this. As I'm watching your classmates here, they were going nuts for you. Was this the first time they had seen you perform as Michael Jackson?

NICHOLS: No, not really. I had performed a few years earlier to my sixth grade talent show, similar routine, but not -- definitely not in front of a crowd of that many people.

KEILAR: And had you improved over a couple of years, I imagine?

NICHOLS: Yes, very much. Yes.

KEILAR: So, check this out. A couple of people -- people don't know how good you are. So we want to put this side by side with the real Michael Jackson, look at this.


KEILAR: Watching this, Brett, what do you think?

NICHOLS: That was all that was going through my mind when I was performing. I just drew a huge blank because I was so nervous. But all I saw in my mind was this performance and thought well, I hope I'm doing that.

KIELAR: Well, you certainly were and we're so excited having you on tonight, thank you for being with us, Brett.

NICHOLS: No problem, any time.


KEILAR: "AC360" with Wolf Blitzer starts right now.