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Team USA Preparing To Take On Belgium; Plane Forced To Land After Slide Deploys; Dangerous Storms Leave Trail Of Destruction; Obama To Name New VA Chief; World Cup Fever Takes Over Rio; New Twist in Toddler Death

Aired June 30, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Team USA gearing up for its big World Cup match against Belgium. As you know, the U.S. made it out of the group of death. Now they run into a hot Belgium side. They won all three games here in the World Cup. So the questions is, can the Americans keep the dream alive? We're going to take you inside a wild weekend of action here and show you a side of life that is often kept hidden. But first let's get back to Kate in New York with a serious air scare -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Chris, thank you so much. We are going to get back to you in just a second. This happened overnight, it was a scare in the skies over the Midwest. United Airlines Flight headed for California was forced to land though in Wichita, Kansas after the evacuation slide, you can kind of see in the pictures deployed mid-flight. So were the passengers in danger and how could something like this have happened mid-flight?

Aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, has more on this. Really frightening ordeal that the passengers went through overnight. What do we know, Rene?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: We can tell you just look on social media. Passengers calling this the scariest flight of all time. The plane descending 20,000 feet within minutes after this emergency slide accidentally deploys, filling up the back of the plane.


DIANE MODINI, PASSENGER: All of a sudden you saw their faces go like this and you heard a big bang and a hiss.

MARSH (voice-over): Shock aboard a United Airlines flight when an emergency slide accidentally deployed mid-air, inflating inside the back of the Boeing 737 carrying more than 100 people. Passengers report hearing a distinct popping noise before the slide started filling up inside the cabin. Flight attendants rushed to assess the situation.

MODINI: They had a panicked look. They took the carts and ran backwards to the back of the plane.

MARSH: No injuries reported but the plane en route from Chicago O'Hare International Airport to John Wayne Airport in Southern California was forced to make an emergency landing in Wichita, Kansas, descending over 20,000 feet in 10 minutes, according to

MODINI: The first thing that went through my mind is if the chute opened, then it probably popped out the door, which mean we would probably lose pressure immediately. But luckily, that didn't happen.

MARSH: Passengers took to social media to share pictures and video of the frightening experience. Former Nebraska quarterback, Taylor Martinez tweeted this picture of the slide. Writing, scariest flight of all time, #emergencylanding. This isn't the first time a slide has accidentally deployed on board a flight. Last year, a slide opened on a JetBlue flight, pinning a flight attendant against the wall of the plane. Passengers on board the United flight say it's lucky everyone was seated and no one was in the back of the plane when the slide deployed Sunday night.


MARSH: There were reports someone tried to open the door on board this flight. The airline actually says that did not happen. Now, the FAA in its statement calling this a door issue. We know that they are investigating as well as maintenance crews to figure out exactly what caused this to happen -- Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Rene, thank goodness there wasn't a flight attendant standing there or even somebody waiting for the rest room when that door issue happened. All right, thank you for that. Hopefully that will not happen not again anytime soon.

I want to talk about Mother Nature flexing her muscles again. Wild summer weather bringing more severe storms, flooding and baseball sized hail to the Midwest. Yes, it is June, folks. Serious damage left behind. Apparently we're not out of the woods yet.

Turning to the southeast, what's expected to be the first named storm this hurricane season, that could certainly ruin the 4th of July plans for millions of people on the east coast.

Meteorologist, Indra Petersons, is following all of this weather. Some of it dangerous, some of it inconvenient. It is messy to say the least.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You nailed it. It is June. We are still talking about severe weather that you typically see in the spring time. Now it looks like we may be getting that late start to the tropical season. Arthur may just be on the horizon.


PETERSONS (voice-over): Flash flooding strikes the Midwest. Severe thunderstorms leading to raging floodwaters in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Minnesota. The overflow making for dangerous driving conditions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rain is coming down pretty hard. You can barely see anything. The car hit. As soon as it hit, you know, it shuts off, starts floating, and puts me against the curb.

PETERSONS: This weekend's rainfall making Sunday one of the all-time 10 wettest days in Memphis. And this is just the beginning. This week's forecast calls for a threat of thunderstorms, hail, and even tornadoes stretching from Kansas to Michigan. Over the weekend, emergency crews were ready to go as more than 100 residents in the city fled their homes.

A similar scene in Arkansas where floodwaters rushed into homes like this in the eastern part of the state. In Minnesota over the weekend, the ominous sky opened up to this. Torrential downpours. It left residents braving the streets in St. Paul.

People and cars dodging the puddles of rain overflow onto city streets. The storm with flashes of lightning closing down a run way at the airport. This is possibly a preview of more severe weather to come.


PETERSONS: This what everyone on the east coast is looking at, a 60 percent chance in the Atlantic for development into what could be Tropical Storm Arthur. So let's take a look at it. All the models really going to be developing it right along the coastline. Notice what happens, first the rain in Florida then in the Carolinas.

But right around the 4th of July itself, continuing up the coastline, looking like a bulls eye around D.C. Now some of the models producing a little bit higher. You can see the spaghetti model.

This shows all the models of where they think it's going to go. A lot around of them around D.C. A lot of them towards New England and the northeast. Either way, it's the entire eastern seaboard. That is the concern as we head into the 4th of July -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: That means amount of people need to be keeping an eye on this. You'll be on top of it. Indra, thank you so much.

Also happening today, President Obama is set to announce a new leader for the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs. The president will tap former Procter & Gamble CEO and also a West Point graduate, Bob McDonald. The move comes a little more than four weeks after Eric Shinseki resigned amid a firestorm of controversy after CNN revealed a scandal to keep veterans on secret lists for care.

More details this morning from CNN senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. Many calling this an unusual pick, Jim. What are you hearing?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kate. President Obama will make his selection official with an event at the VA later on this afternoon. Reaching outside the government to select McDonald, the president is sending yet another message to this troubled department that it's time to change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you to all of you who are here this afternoon.

ACOSTA (voice-over): It's a White House gamble that Bob McDonald, who ran one of the nation's top companies during the great recession, can bring some big business discipline to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The former CEO of Procter & Gamble, McDonald graduated from West Point in the top 2 percent of his class.

But he is not well known among veterans groups. This is definitely a surprising pick. The head of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said in a statement, "McDonald is not a name that was on anyone's radar over the last few weeks."

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are going to do right by our veterans across the board as long as it takes.

ACOSTA: One month after the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the president now has a better sense of the department's corruption that resulted in secret list that concealed long medical wait times for veterans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a breach of trust. It is irresponsible. It is defensible and unacceptable.

ACOSTA: Last Friday, the White House issued its own scathing report finding a corrosive culture has led to personnel problems across the department that are seriously impacting moral and, by extension, the timeliness of health care. On the day Shinseki stepped down, the president said the VA need an overhaul.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I want somebody spending every minute of every day, figuring out have we called every single veteran that's waiting. Have they gotten a schedule? Are we fixing the system?

ACOSTA: So far congressional leaders on VA issues still don't know much about McDonald. Bernie Sanders said he wants to meet McDonald in order to ascertain his views on these important issues. While Republican Jeff Miller want heads to roll, saying those who created the VA scandal will need to be purged from the system.


ACOSTA: And making the Bob McDonald pick even more unusual is the fact that he has donated money to Republican candidates over the last several years. Even Mitt Romney, Mr. Obama's one-time rival back in 2012. He even got a contribution back in that presidential campaign. That may explain why House Speaker John Boehner released a statement saying that Bob McDonald is the kind of person the VA needs right now -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: He got a huge job ahead of him. First and foremost getting through the nomination and confirmation process in the Senate. Jim, thank you so much at the White House for us as always. Thank you so much. Let's get back down to Brazil. Chris is back over there for his -- I feel like that's your work travel. Every weekend, you travel down to Brazil, cover the World Cup. It's not too bad, buddy.

CUOMO: Easy flight, 11 hours. Let me set the scene for you. The stakes, the tension and the crowds are all much bigger now. Rio De Janeiro seems to be swelling with tourism all over the world. It's common to hear four or five languages being spoken as you cross the street.

Everyone shares one thing. That's the love of football. Check this out though, even on Copacabana Beach, there's all these things to stare at but football wins. Just crowds of dozens of soccer crazies. The beaches in general are so full. You have all these merchants toting their ads, T-shirts. The Brazilian flag walking through scores of people there. It's just everybody is trying to get tan.

Everybody is trying to get into the scene. A beautiful place. It's really just filled up. So you have the festive atmosphere for sure. Over the weekend, everything went crazy. Brazil nearly crashed out of the World Cup. This would have been a very different story if Brazil got out. The reaction could be so negative. Nail-biting game.

It went into overtime in penalty kicks. Let's bring in Lara Baldesarra, the anchor of CNN International World Sport. She's in Salvador, Brazil where the U.S. is going to be playing Belgium tomorrow. We'll get to that, but Lara, fill us in on everything that happened this weekend.

LARA BALDESARRA, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR, WORLD SPORT: Chris, you're absolutely right. If Brazil had of lost in that shoot-out, I don't know what would have happened. The city would have been crying together. I was in a lovely little place, a lovely establishment watching the match with a bunch of Brazilian supporters. I'm not lying, there were tears after Brazil managed to win.

The key player in that match, Julio Cesar, the keeper. My goodness, when it comes to penalty kicks, it is not meant for the keeper. You expect the penalty kicker to actually score. Odds are always stacked against the penalty kicker. But Julio Cesar, this is a guy we all thought would be the weak link to the squad.

He really hasn't had the best of careers in the past year or so I guess. Before that he was on an Italian team. We thought he would be the weak link. Look at that. He's the guy that saved the day and really saved Brazilian hopes and Brazilian cares. We did see Brazil, they do have a weakness. And of that game, Chris, Neymar picked up an injury. We will have to wait and see if he is available for the next match.

CUOMO: So that was a big one. I love watching that guy hulk. On the back of his jersey, just one word, Hulk. Got to respect that. People are talking about whether the side is strong enough to win. That's the whole bar for them. Even win or failure. But other big games were nail biters that weren't really expected, right? BALDESARRA: Absolutely. Greece and Costa Rica went to kicks. Greece didn't look that great coming through their group stage. But they managed to do it, they are very defensively sound team. Costa Rica has been the surprise team, managing to escape a difficult group with Uruguay, Italy, England, and that game went down to kicks also.

And the Greek guy, he missed his last penalty kick. Costa Rica is through again. It's really quite incredible. Mexico had been knocked out. Actually, where I was watching the Costa Rica game, all of the Mexican fans jumped on board. Somewhat neighbors. Why not cheer for them.

We are seeing a lot of surprise. That's what this whole World Cup has been about so far. It's really quite exciting.

CUOMO: All right, let's not confuse why I'm actually down here. The U.S. is getting reading tomorrow. I need to find out what jersey they are going to wear so I can be in the proper kit with the rest of the side. Look at Belgium. Belgium won all of its games. The U.S. does not have a great record against them historically.

This side is supposed to be really strong but maybe underperforming. Size it up for me. What do we feel about the U.S. side versus them at full strength and how strong the side is? I hear there's another broken nose for the U.S., right?

BALDESARRA: Jermaine Jones has a broken nose. Now we have two broken noses on this American team, but I don't think that's going to impact either Clint Dempsey or Jermaine Jones, who both have the broken nose. Belgium, they are a strong team. I wouldn't say they're underperforming. They're just getting their feet wet. They are an inexperienced team. The more they play, the better they look.

They have been working on mental lapses, which is what you get with inexperienced teams. And I would say this Belgium side is so inexperienced because they are. One player on the roster who has any World Cup experience. That actually becomes quite crucial. Not so much in the group stage, but when you get to these knockout rounds because it's a whole different feeling.

What happens is you know you have to win. The goal changes. The goal at the beginning of the tournament is simple to get out of the group that you're in. The goal now is to keep on winning. You want to win. You want to win the World Cup. So that is where experience can hurt you.

I talk about experience. It sounds like the USA has a ton of experience in this roster, but they don't either. There is only six guys on the American roster who have any World Cup experience. I guess it could kind of go either way in terms of the experience front.

But Chris, expect this Belgium/USA game to be very physical, to be very defensive, and I would say we're going to see extra time in this. And we could possibly be going to kicks as well. So, I hope that doesn't happen. It will be a very evenly matched match, Chris. CUOMO: An evenly matched match. Baldesarra with another bold

prediction that it could go to extra time. We'll have to see. Let me know if you can figure out what they're going to wear, because I want to have the right jersey on. You know, it's huge. It's huge. You know, everything is about superstition now.

So, I'll be back to Laura in a second. Right now, though, let's head back to New York to Kate and Mick.

PEREIRA: It's all about the right outfit.

BOLDUAN: It's all about the right outfit, if this really does go to penalty kicks, I don't know if anyone's blood pressure can handle it.

PEREIRA: Oh my. I feel for the goalkeeper. That is so intense. Such focus.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris. We'll be back to you.

PEREIRA: All right. We'll be watching.

Let's give you a look at your headlines now 15 minutes past the hour.

North Korea is preparing to prosecute two American tourists accused of, quote, "perpetrating hostile acts." Jeffrey Fowle and Matthew Miller were taken into custody in separate incidents earlier this year. Miller allegedly traveled to the country, seeking asylum and then tore up his tourist visa. Fowle was reportedly accused of leaving a bible in a hotel. The U.S. State Department has yet to comment on either case.

Breaking overnight, extremist group taking over large part of Iraq and Syria formerly declares a creation of an Islamic state. The spokesman for ISIS says it stretches across much of northern Syria and Iraq. The Iraqi military says it is in the process of retaking Tikrit, but residents tell CNN soldiers are nowhere to be seen.

Back here at home, General Motors will announce compensation plans today for victims of accidents caused by defective ignition switches. The automaker could spend billions on payouts. Thirteen deaths have been linked to the problem. Although many argue the figure is higher. The company still faces a federal criminal investigation into how it handled safety flaws this in those defective vehicles.

Dramatic surveillance video to show from New Orleans. It's from a shooting on Bourbon Streets early Sunday morning. You can see crowds of people taking off running, crawling for cover when gunshots rang out. Nine people in total are injured, two of them critically. Police are still searching for two gunmen who they say got into some sort of an argument and started shooting one another.

And dozens of people got more than they bargained for on a ride in SeaWorld in San Diego. A power failure left them stranded four hours, 220 feet high in the sky tower which takes riders up for a panoramic view of the city. Employees managed to get water and snacks to the people that were trapped while they waited for the power to be restored. SeaWorld officials say there was never any danger to the people trapped. Like I said, they just got four hours of the panoramic view.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. I'm tired of this panoramic view, thank you very much. Love it, love it. There's that tree again.

PEREIRA: Kid's Big Ben.


BOLDUAN: All right, all right. We're going to take a break.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, we have a new twist in the case of a toddler who died after being left locked in a hot car for hours. His father is already behind bars. Now, people are wondering if police are investigating the mother as well. We have the new details for you.

PEREIRA: Plus, nine years after he disappeared, a marine deserter has finally surrendered. He's not a first time offender. We're going to tell you about his bizarre disappearance.


BOLDUAN: New developments this morning on a death of a Georgia toddler. The little boy died when he was left locked in a hot car for hours.

Now, police are now investigating Cooper Harris's mother just days after the boy was buried in Alabama. The boy's father, Justin, is already behind bars facing murder and child cruelty charges.

Nick Valencia has been following the story. He's at the CNN Center right now for us. So, Nick, I think a lot of people are wondering why the mother now seems to be the focus.


New search warrants released this weekend had created even more questions surrounding the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris.


VALENCIA (voice-over): A day after she defended her husband against after people called him a murderer, CNN has learned she may have to defend her own actions. In search warrants released this weekend, police said, quote, "Leanna Harris, the child's mother, was also questioned regarding the incident amid similar statements regarding researching in car deaths and how it occurs." Police did not say when the search was done.

Left alone for seven hours in an SUV, 22-month-old Cooper Harris died. The high temperature that day was 92 degrees. The boy's father, Justin Ross Harris, has been charged with murder. He says he's not guilty. Harris phoned in to his baby's funeral service and was heard over the

speaker phone sobbing. He thanked the crowd for their support. Hundreds there stood to applaud him. Cameras were not allowed inside.


VALENCIA (on camera): You're here.

BROWN: Even if he's done a horrible thing.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Carol Brown, a long-time family friend, was one of those in attendance.

BROWN: I mean, he could have gone to the car and not seen the little boy if the boy was sleeping, you know? It could have. I mean, he could have been distracted. But I do have questions about it.

VALENCIA: Questions that may also be aimed at the boy's mother. Why would both parents do a search as police say for how long it takes a child to die in a hot car? Still to determine if this was a tragic coincidence or something much worse.


VALENCIA: The boy's father is being held without bond. His next court appearance is on Thursday -- Kate, Michaela.

BOLDUAN: All right. Nick, thanks so much. So many questions. I mean, they're moving further along in the investigation, but they sure aren't there yet, right?

PEREIRA: So much heartbreak in that story.

BOLDUAN: I know.

PEREIRA: Next up on NEW DAY, he says he was kidnapped but officials say he's a deserter after nine years on the run. We'll tell you about the charges that he's facing this morning.

BOLDUAN: Plus, it's video you have to see to believe. A man seems to pull off a crazy stunt on a North Carolina highway. The wild ride, ahead.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Let's take a look at your headlines.

Breaking overnight: a United Airlines flight bound for southern California was forced to make an emergency landing in Wichita, Kansas, happened after an evacuation slide accidentally deployed inside the plane midair. The flight originated at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Ninety-six passengers, five crew members aboard. We're told no injuries have been reported. ISIS has declared independent Islamic state across its controlled

territories in Iraq and Syria. That announcement comes as Iraq's army tries to retake the city of Tikrit.

NIA Elbagir is live from Baghdad with the latest for us -- NIA.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, the battle for Tikrit is still raging at this point. The Iraqi army just simply cannot afford to cede any more territory to ISIS who are fighting furiously because they know that taking Tikrit will take them just that crucial step closer to the Iraqi capital.

A ray of hope being seen here for the Iraqi government with the delivery of these new contingency of Russian fighter jets because it's really only in the sky that they can hope to maintain any kind of an upper hand and they have been calling in air support as often as they possibly can get away with it. Of course, this all comes as ISIS has announced an Islamic state, a caliphate stretching they say from the north of Syria to the east of Iraq, and what makes this propaganda fight so deeply is there is a truth in that statement.

They do control quite a vast swath of that geography. The Iraqi government hoping that that tide might finally be turning, although we're not yet seeing any chance of that yet here on the ground, Michaela.