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Hurricane Arthur Makes Landfall; Dramatic Rescue Of Stranded Hiker

Aired July 4, 2014 - 07:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. For more of our coverage of Hurricane Arthur. The Category 2 storm picking up speed as it makes its way up the east coast Nags Head, North Carolina, very popular vacation spot, still feeling the effects of Arthur this morning.

That is where Erin Kelly from our affiliate, WAVY, is and has been throughout the morning. Erin, you were talking about the wind gust and the wave that you were seeing earlier. What's it looking like now?

ERIN KELLY, WAVY REPORTER: We're seeing wind gusts, Kate, take a look behind me, and can you see the waves have been crashing into Jeannette's Pier behind us here. We have seen the wind are still continuing to come on to the shore like this all morning long even as Arthur moves away and up above the pier the turbines, the wind turbines that provide a lot of electricity for the pier, they have really been going all morning long as well.

We still have been seeing people come out here, as we have since early this morning. People have been coming out to check it out. More people are along the beach here as the day has -- the daylight has come over Nags Head. More people want to come out and check it out here, but this is not an area that was under an evacuation order so a lot of people stayed here and a lot of people had rentals for the 4th of July. They boarded up homes and got their bottled water and decided to ride it out.

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. And of course, the curfew, many of the curfews, they have lifted. Folks are going to start coming out. We were talking to a Dare County official a little earlier, and they were just about to send out their own crews to give us a sense of where the damage and trouble spots are. Have you been talking to folks who come out of their homes, what they are seeing?

KELLY: Right. Well, we've not seen any damage from where we stand right here at the pier, but we understand some people are in hotel rooms that have water leaking in. There was some flooding, certainly flooding on Hatteras Island, but we're off the island. We understand that dare county officials were going to be going out and checking out the problem areas they had, also wanted to restrict people coming into the county at one point. Because they wanted to make sure that there was enough room for everybody who needed to be working on the problems to get around. They lift that had restriction and now a restriction for Hatteras Island. They don't want people going on the Bonner Bridge and frankly a lot of areas there are flooded right now.

BOLDUAN: Still, as it may be getting better, you can still -- I can almost feel the wind gusts as I'm watching you. Still there's a bit of -- a lot to be dealing with this morning as light is coming up. Erin Kelly with our affiliate, WAVY, thank you so much, Erin. Good luck out there.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Want to continue to watch this situation. Take a look at those rough waves in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. The eye of the storm has passed finally, but the surge still poses a danger.

Our Indra Petersons has been in Kill Devil Hills for a few days now, it seems, and you've been watching things progress. We saw somebody in the water. You've been talking about the wind whipping up the sand on the beach and the strong surf. Tell us about conditions now -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Still really in the wind shift. We were talking about those winds originally again this morning coming in from the east and that brought all of this water from the ocean well onshore. So we had this huge drop here. You can actually see all the beach erosion. You can actually see how far it is, that's the concern here as now we talk about those winds switching directions.

Because you're still talking about water rising that high, if not higher. Now you're talking about the wind coming out of the west so that's the concern here as the water comes off the sound. You're going to have that very shallow water. It can come in as a higher storm surge. You're talking about a good 3, 4 feet. Doesn't sound like a lot, but quickly in a matter of minutes, 15 to 20 minutes the water goes 5 feet.

That can go over some people's heads and it's dangerous. Only takes about 6 inches to knock you off of your feet. Of course, we continue to have the strong winds out here. Out of nowhere it seems like they are calm and it really gusts up on you again. Almost like have you to fight it out here, but, again, we're starting to see the rain come back again.

And we're seeing almost another round as these bands do switch in from the rest and I keep mentioning to everyone, whatever impact you saw on the front side of the system there's a complete opposite on the back side. They are even stronger and even though this is making its way offshore.

We still have those outer bands that we're really kind of fighting here right now. Power concerns, storm surge still going to be a concern here. Many people, about 17,000 people already from the northern portions of South Carolina and North Carolina out of power. We still have the threat of these winds as they rip out here. That will remain a concern for us and of course, here on the ocean side you can see that water is going back in this direction and we're starting to see it recede back into the ocean. Remember this, storm is going to stay strong. It's heading towards you guys and going to the northeast and holding on to its power.

It will stay south of Cape Cod, again, still south of Cape Cod expected to have 90-mile-an-hour wind. A lot going on here, not only here in North Carolina, but also heading in your direction -- guys.

PEREIRA: This is the thing. Indra seems very slender, a fiercely strong woman and can stand up to the winds and the force. Strong winds that are buffeting her around there.

BOLDUAN: Indra, thank you so much. We're going to get back to you. That's a mean surf behind her and one of the things you forget when you're watching on TV. You are not only getting the wind, but the sand that's whipping into you as well. Exfoliation that you don't want.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, we'll have more of our coverage of Hurricane Arthur. We'll speak with a woman who is riding out the storm and see how she is holding up.

PEREIRA: Rescue team rushes to save a hiker stuck on the side of Seattle area cliff. Imagine that predicament, hanging on for dear life on the side of a cliff, a camera strapped to the rescuer's helmet captures every moment of that drama.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Hurricane Arthur blasting the east coast with strong winds, heavy rain, and as you can see, Kill Devil Hills still experiencing some pretty rough surf. People who live there really braced for the worst, but they did hope for the best. Let's see how things have really gone for him.

Vida Peters, she lives there. She and her husband own a bed and breakfast at the beach. They rode out the storm. Rita is joining us on the phone right now. Rita, thank you so much for waking up and joining us.

VIDA PETERS, RESIDENT (via telephone): Sure.

BOLDUAN: I'm sure it was not even waking up and joining us. Maybe a pretty long night for you. What was it like in the height of the storm?

PETERS: It really wasn't too bad. I mean, we've had -- we were here for Irene and for Sandy, and compared to those this one was really minimal.

BOLDUAN: A lot of what I'm seeing on social media from folks on the outer banks was really just talking about the winds that they were seeing, shaking their homes. What was the biggest thing that you guys were feeling at the bed and breakfast? PETERS: I mean, we felt the winds, but again, the winds hitting the house were not even near what we've experienced before. This is a 70- year-old house. It's been here for a while. We put the shutters down and you really don't know what's going on outside, so it wasn't bad at all.

BOLDUAN: Sounds like that 70-year-old house is going to be there for a whole lot longer.

PETERS: I hope so.

BOLDUAN: No kidding. How many guests do you guys have staying with you this weekend?

PETERS: We were supposed to have a full house for the holiday weekend. We had one room that cancelled completely out. We have another that's probably heading in today, but we did have a couple of our rooms that decided to come in and check out yesterday and weather the storm so they were here with us last night.

BOLDUAN: Do most of your guests come in from out of town? I worked in North Carolina and know that a lot of folks that live in the outer banks, they have gone through this a lot. They are kind of storm veterans, if you will, but it's the folks coming in from vacation from out of town that I think have a lot of the concern.

PETERS: I think you're right. We did have one couple that was supposed to be with us for four days. They came from the Boston area. They stayed through Thursday and then they did decide to leave on Thursday before the storm came. We have people here from Raleigh, Pittsburgh, and they were -- they were OK. One gentleman that is staying with us, he said he spent the last year in Afghanistan so he could ride out a hurricane. He was OK with that.

BOLDUAN: That is sure an important little bit of perspective right there, no kidding.


BOLDUAN: What's going to happen today for you guys? I'm sure you'll get going. You've got a business to run.

PETERS: We're getting ready to make breakfast for our guests, and really, you know, a lot of times we might have water in our front yard, standing water. We don't even have that. Route 12 in front of us is not -- doesn't have standing water so, I mean, we're really in pretty good shape.

BOLDUAN: Looks like you're luck they time around. Thank you very much. Have a great holiday weekend, and hopefully you and your guests will have a great time.

PEREIRA: What is she cooking for breakfast?

BOLDUAN: I don't want to know. I'm so hungry I can't hear someone talking about food. PEREIRA: Maybe get a little meal.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Vida.

PEREIRA: And it's nice to know, a little perspective too. They've lived through Sandy and others and nice to know this one wasn't as bad.

Next up on NEW DAY, a daring rescue of a stranded hiker. Check this out. Imagine being caught in that predicament. It is all caught on tape. We'll show you this terrifying ordeal ahead.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. We're going to return to our Hurricane Arthur coverage, but we're also following another big story, growing outrage at a small California town over immigration. More protests are expected today in Murrieta, where the government is planning to bring in buses of undocumented immigrants for processing.

Some people there fear it could get uglier than what they saw even earlier this week, when dozens of angry protesters shouting "USA" as you hear there, as well as "go home" met three buses of these migrants transferred from overwhelmed border facilities in Texas. Really a whole lot going on there, big national debate obviously at the center of it. CNN's Kyung Lah has much more on it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention U.S. border patrol.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A lone internet radio host and his sidekick continue to protest outside the border patrol station in Murrieta, California. He and others promise they'll be out in force for an anticipated 4th of July arrival of more undocumented immigrants to this facility, a move dividing and polarizing this once quiet bedroom community in Southern California.

After this, the blockade by protesters, forcing three buses of 140 undocumented migrants from Central America, many of them women and children, to leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Use the word illegal aliens.

LAH: Then a heated town hall pitting resident against resident along cultural lines. Murrieta is this week's ground zero for U.S. immigration policy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think the city is prepared for this, I don't think so.

LAH: What is driving these two sides, Murrieta resident, Steve Hesson, who runs a plumbing company and never took a political stand before has gone from a bus protest to verbal sparring at the town hall and promises to keep the heat on.

STEVE HESSON, MURRIETA RESIDENT: These people are so excited to be here and look out the windows going, my gosh, what's happening?

LAH (on camera): You were blocking their way in.

HESSON: Not because of them, because of standing firm, letting the officials know this is not the right way to handle this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Latinos are the ones that run your country.

LAH (voice-over): On the other side, Murrieta resident, Lupello Rivera, better known for his Mexican music has suddenly become for the migrant hero, after this protester spit in his face and others slung visual slurs at him.

LUPELLO RIVERA, MURRIETA RESIDENT: That was completely uncalled for. We are here on a protest, and a protest, we act like adults. We're not here to fight.

LAH: Mirroring the national fight, both sides digging in and refusing to back down on this Independence Day. Kyung Lah, CNN, Murrieta, California.


PEREIRA: And the hope is that tempers will stay clean and clear and calm in Murrieta, California. CNN will be covering that story as Kate mentioned. It is the center of a national debate right now about immigration.

Right now some insane video to show you, incredible video from a mountainside rescue in Washington State. Look at this guy, clinging on the side of a cliff. He's a hiker, got caught on a cliff with nowhere to go, some 5,000 feet up.

Ground teams would have taken hours to reach him, but there wasn't that much time so a chopper crew flew in, they jumped into action, were able to pull him to safety. Christine Romans, this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: He did not think he could hold on any longer. They were running out of time. We hear about these rescues and we are amazed by the story. The only thing impressive than the story are the pictures.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's sitting on about a three-foot ledge or so.

ROMANS (voice-over): A stranded hiker clings desperately to the side of a Seattle area cliff, as this helicopter team plans how to rescue him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is not much room, but get me down there and we'll see how this works.


ROMANS: The crew responding to a call for help from the hiker who was unsure how much longer he could hold on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rescue drop secure.

ROMANS: Thankfully, he's able to maintain his grip as an emergency worker steps out of the helicopter and descends. A camera strapped to his helmet documenting every moment of the perilous rescue. He reaches the hiker, securing him with the harness before the pair are lifted off the cliff and into the air. The rescuer's camera capturing their terrifying view as they are gradually hoisted to safety and secured inside the chopper.

Then finally back on solid ground, relief and gratitude from a hiker who was unsure if he would make it off the mountainside only hours earlier.


ROMANS: Terrifying. That a hiker walks away. What is unclear is how in the world he became trapped in that position in the first place but no doubt happy to be alive. Hiking, finds himself at 5,000 feet in this three-foot crevasse.

BOLDUAN: What goes up must come down, but came down a different way than it went up.

PEREIRA: Why he was hiking up in the pass, that's craziness.

ROMANS: I think the bravery and the strategy of those rescuers is unbelievable. You heard them say there's not much room for me, but lower my down and a handshake and a thanks, buddy.

PEREIRA: Walked away under his own power. I'm still amazed by that.

ROMANS: I can't look at the pictures.

PEREIRA: I'll have a nightmare about that. Thank you, Christine, for that.

We'll take a short wreak and clear our minds. Coming up on NEW DAY more hurricane coverage, thousands remain without power. Crews are working to get it back as Arthur rolls up the east coast. We're going to continue to bring you coverage, the latest on the storm, where it's headed, what you can expect to feel.

BOLDUAN: After a narrow defeat in a Mississippi primary runoff, Chris McDaniel is challenging the election results and offering rewards for evidence of voter fraud. What is going on in Mississippi? Chris McDaniel is going to join us live.

And also just in case Arthur dampened things for the 4th, some cities along the East Coast celebrating the fourth of July a day early.