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Mideast Cease-Fire Falls Apart; Investigators Turned Away From MH17 Site; Lightning Storm Kills One, Injures More; Plane Hits Father & Daughter On Beach; Interview with Yigal Palmor, the Spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry

Aired July 28, 2014 - 06:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Deadly day at the beach, a freak lightning storm hits more than a dozen beach goers in L.A. One person is dead, others hospitalized.

In Florida, another freak accident, a plane making an emergency landing on a beach hits and kills a beach goer.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Good morning. It is Monday, July 28, 6:00 in the east. Chris is off today. John Berman back with us once again joining this morning. Big questions looming in the Middle East, of course, after a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came crumbling down. Both sides agreed to hold their fire for part of the weekend.

That went back and forth and back and forth, but an extension quickly evaporated with both sides not surprisingly blaming the other. Overnight, the U.N. Security Council called for an immediate end to the hostilities. What are the prospects for a new ceasefire today?

Martin Savidge is joining us from Jerusalem with the very latest developments. What are you hearing from the ground, Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. I wish I had better news. You know, over the weekend, our hopes were raised with the temporary pause in the fighting. Maybe it could be extended. Sunday, everything fell apart. Today the fighting goes on.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Early this morning, the United Nations Security Council convening an emergency meeting calling for a renewed ceasefire that would allow the delivery of urgently needed assistance into Gaza, but neither sides accepted, both agreeing to only a few hours of peace and rejecting previous deals for a truce.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a ceasefire, they violated it. Now they're violating their own ceasefire. Obviously we'll take whatever action necessary to protect our people. SAVIDGE: The Israeli military detonating explosives in two tunnels that they say Hamas uses to get fighters into Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry heading home empty handed after six days of exhaustive diplomatic meetings.

On Sunday, President Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone condemning attacks from Hamas against Israel and also stressing the need for an immediate ceasefire. Outrage continues to grow over the number of civilians caught in the crossfire including grade schoolchildren injured in Thursday's mortars strike at the United Nations building used, which was being used as a shelter for Gaza families.

Israel Defense Forces confirm a single errant mortar landed in the courtyard of the school, but they denied responsibility for any deaths pointing to their footage of the strike and claiming the courtyard was empty at the time of the attack.

Officials from the U.N. and the Palestinian government report 16 people were killed and hundreds wounded. A CNN team visited the shelter several hours after the attack and found evidence of badly injured civilians.


SAVIDGE: Israel says that yesterday 74 missiles were launched from Gaza into Israel. Meanwhile, the death toll of Palestinians in Gaza now over 1,032 -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Martin, we'll come back to you shortly. I'm sure this also marks the ending of Ramadan. That's why some thought there could be some kind of ceasefire in the works. We'll see how things progress throughout the day, of course.

Coming up, we're going to speak directly with the Israeli Foreign Minister's Office about the possibility of a ceasefire maybe in the works today as well and the Palestinian perspective from the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Arafat. He'll be joining us as well.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking news happening just moments ago. Investigators that were headed to the MH17 crash site were turned away. They had expected to access the site, but they ran into some trouble from separatists. Our Nick Paton Walsh was with them along the road there. We saw the explosions. We did hear them.

Obviously too dangerous for the inspectors to get through. At least 13 people including two children have been killed in the latest escalation of fighting in Eastern Ukraine. This comes as the U.S. releases satellite images that it says proves that Russia has been firing across the border into Ukraine.

We want to get the latest now from CNN's Matthew Chance who is in Kharkiv.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After a weekend of intensive fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels, the international investigation into the MH17 crash have been brought to a virtual standstill.

In the nearby Ukrainian town, pummeled with rockets leaving at least 13 people dead including two children, both sides blaming each other for the bloodshed. Elsewhere, too, violence blocking access to the site, turning away dozens of Dutch and Australian forensics experts, here to collect human remains and evidence from the wreckage.

Government forces confirm they are now fighting to retake areas near the wreckage despite earlier assurances of a ceasefire. Meanwhile diplomatic pressure on Russia is being ratcheted up. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging Russia's foreign minister to cut off the flow of weapons into Ukraine.

The U.S. State Department also releasing satellite images purportedly showing Russian forces firing rocket launchers and using artillery strikes on Ukrainian military forces across the border. Sergey Lavrov says there have been no unlawful border crossings, inviting OSCE monitors to see for themselves. The fighting in this region intensifies, there seems no let-up either to the war of words.


CHANCE: All right, John, despite that initial optimism that there would be access today for the international investigators and for the OSCE delegation that's accompanying them, we are hearing word now that a CNN team on the ground near the crash site telling us that witnesses have said the delegation, the investigators and the OSCE have now been turned back from the crash site.

That's still to be fully confirmed. That's the latest reports we're hearing. It seems for a second day in a row the international teams have been unable to get to that crash site because of the deteriorating security situation there.

BERMAN: Just about 20 minutes ago, Matthew, we heard explosions. We saw smoke rising from the area where they were to be headed. So what do these investigators do now? They're all in the region. They want to get to this site and see what they can as soon as they can. It's been already ten days or so since that crash. What are these investigators going to do now?

CHANCE: Well, I doubt very much whether they're going to give up because of this setback over the past two days. They're going to stay here and continue negotiations with both sides and try and gain safe access to that site. It's crucial that they do that for a number of reasons.

First and foremost there are still dozens of bodies, passengers, crew members, on board MH17 that have still not been accounted for. For the sake of human dignity those remains have to be gathered as much as possible and repatriated to their respective countries. It's also personal belongings have taken away as well, but also clues that could lead investigators that are still there on the ground, clues that could lead them to establish more clearly what it is exactly that happened to this downed Malaysian airliner. Their task is not done yet.

It's unlikely they'll give up at this early stage. So I think what we'll see in the days ahead, more negotiations, more efforts to try and gain safe passage into that crash site.

BERMAN: You say the task is not done, it's barely even began with that fighting going on near that crash site. Matthew Chance for us, thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Back here at home, we have some pretty scary and deadly events happening on beaches on two coasts really. Let's talk about the first one, a rare lightning storm hits the California coast killing one person and injured at least a dozen others.

Let's get to Indra Petersons on that freak lightning strike. Indra, it seems very rare, some seven people or more?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Incredibly rare. I mean, California, they're used to seeing monsoonal thunderstorms out in the mountains and deserts. What they are not used to seeing is monsoonal desert thunderstorms at the beach. That's exactly what they saw yesterday when a sunny day quickly turned deadly.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounded like a sonic boom. It literally shook the building, shook us on the courts.

PETERSONS (voice-over): A sunny day at California's Venice Beach turned deadly Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I happened to see this crazy bolt of lightning that I had never seen ever in my entire life.

PETERSONS: A rare lightning storm took beach goers by surprise leaving one man dead and a dozen others injured.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard the biggest boom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hit the ground and felt it come over us.

PETERSONS: The sound of thunder captured on tape. Emergency crews treated at least 13 patients at the scene, all of whom according to officials were either in or near the water. Of those, a scuba diver seen here after being resuscitated. Seven adults and one teenager were transported to local hospitals. One man in his mid-20s lost his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It felt like somebody punched me in my head. It went down the right side of my body. My calf locked up and I fell over. I looked up and everybody else was falling over. BOLDUAN: Helicopter footage captured by CNN affiliate, KCBS, shows lifeguards rushing to help an injured swimmer and administering CPR before loading the man into a truck and bringing him to an ambulance. A terrifying scene leaving beach goers in shock.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven't ever seen in L.A. something like that and heard thunder that close. It literally knocked me off my chair.


PETERSONS: So how rare is it? If you're in Florida, you have a one in 600,000 chance of getting strike by lightning. In California, it's one in 7.5 million. In the summertime, you have monsoonal thunderstorms, high pressure, but it stays in the mountains and deserts. What happened is it shifted farther to the west yesterday, it's exactly what they saw. It was a gorgeous day at the coastline.

You could actually see maybe a few scattered showers out there. But out of nowhere, very quickly, in only 15 minutes that thunderstorm came right across the area and proved deadly. Many Californians not used to seeing it and weren't really aware of what to expect.

BERMAN: It happened so fast. It says they were on the beach and boom.

BOLDUAN: I think that was the big question for a lot of people. It's like why were you on the beach if there was a thunderstorm coming through? They had no idea.

PEREIRA: Not used to seeing, as you mentioned, Indra, not used to seeing that kind of weather there.

BOLDUAN: Unbelievable. Thanks, Indra.

PEREIRA: All right, let's take a look at some of your headlines now. Good morning, everyone. The Libyan government is appealing for international help after oil tankers caught fire during fighting at the international airport in Tripoli. A convoy of British diplomats fleeing violence have made it safely into Tunisia.

Their vehicles were fired upon during that trip. All of this after the U.S. Embassy in Libya evacuated its personnel. Fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi at its highest level since the revolution three years ago.

Chairman of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees are set to reveal details of a tentative deal to reform the VA health system. The deal reached over the weekend is expected to address short and long-term needs of the agency following the waiting list scandal exposed by CNN. Both chambers will need to approve the deal. Congress' summer recess, a reminder just days away.

A testy exchange between an air traffic controller and a Delta pilot has gone public. The Atlanta Air Traffic Controllers heard telling the pilot after landing Friday that he's on the wrong taxi way called Lima when he's on the one called Mike. Take a listen to the back and forth.


UNIDENTIFIED AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: I don't have an attitude. I'm saying it looks like you joined Lima instead of Mike, and I'm just trying to correct you before you stay in Lima.

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT 1: OK. Because my God there's another plane out there like six miles away. Your attitude is really something, sir. We're out here on Mike. Good morning.

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT 2: Settle down Captain Happy.


PEREIRA: Delta says it's looking into the exchange adding that passengers' safety was never compromised. When you consider the number of close calls that we've had, it makes you wonder if there is some tension going on more often between pilots and air traffic controllers.

BOLDUAN: And the skies are more crowded, the taxiways are more crowded. There's no room for that, though.

PEREIRA: Captain Happy.

BERMAN: One thing I don't care about here is bruised feelings. I don't really care --

PEREIRA: Is the plane in the right place --

BERMAN: That's what I care about. That's what matters there.

BOLDUAN: If it's not, forget about Captain Happy or Mr. Attitude. Let's just get to the right place.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, talking about the lightning in California. Another horrible accident to tell you about in Florida that killed a father and leaves his daughter fighting for her life. A plane had to make an emergency landing and it hit the pair on a beach. We'll tell you what happened.

BERMAN: New concerns this morning about the spread of Ebola after word that a second American is being treated for the virus. We'll have the details ahead.


BERMAN: Now to Florida's Gulf Coast where a family beach outing took an awful, awful turn. A father was killed, his daughter left fighting for their life when they were hit as this plane made an emergency landing at the edge of the water.

Alina Machado following the developments from Miami.

Like I said, Alina, this is just an awful story. ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, John. This man and

his daughter were doing something that all of us have done at some point in our lives, going for a walk on the beach when the unthinkable happened.


ZACK ARCENEAUX, WITNESS: She had what seemed to be friends, even if they didn't know her, they were there comforting her.

MACHADO (voice-over): A mother distraught after her husband and 9- year-old daughter were hit by a small plane while walking along a beach in Venice, Florida.

ARCENEAUX: The dad looked in very bad condition. They were performing CPR on him. He has blood on his face.

MACHADO: The pilot of the plane forced to make an emergency landing after sending a distress signal to authorities.

ARCENEAUX: Definitely not something you expect going on the beach, having fun with your family. It's terrible to have something like that.

MACHADO: The man struck on the beach identified by authorities as 36- year-old Ommy Irizarry was killed at the scene. His 9-year-old daughter Oceana airlifted to a children's hospital and said to be in critical condition. Both a pilot and passenger in the plane uninjured.

ARCENEAUX: It's got to be devastating. My prayers are definitely with them in this time.

MACHADO: Videos from the scene shows the 1972 Piper Cherokee on the sand feet away from the ocean, the front landing gear destroyed. According to local reports, preliminary evidence suggests the plane may have lost power. Authorities are still looking into what caused the fatal crash.

WENDY ROSE, SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: We don't know exactly what caused the crash, but the NTSB is on route to Venice and will investigate fully.


MACHADO: We're told the man was from Georgia. No word yet on how long this investigation will take -- John and Kate.

BERMAN: All right, Alina. Thanks for that.

Just an awful story. Alina said, you're walking on the beach, the last thing you're thinking.

BOLDUAN: As she said, everybody does this. Thanks so much, Alina.

Take a big turn now to Major League Baseball. Welcoming six new members into the hall of fame over the weekend, a big change from last year when no big names got in.

Andy Scholes has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report."

So, what is the deal, Lucille?


Good morning, guys. You know, last year, the talk around the Hall of Fame centered around who didn't get in from the steroids era with the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clements, and Mark McGwire, all being shut out. But this year we got back to celebrating some of the game's greatest players.

Enshrined into Cooperstown were pitching grates Tom Glavine and Tom Maddux, slugger Frank Thomas, and managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. Torre was apologetic after the ceremony because he forgot to thank long-time Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

Turning on this morning, NBA fans who already own a LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers jersey can let out a big sigh of relief. LeBron announcing on Instagram over the weekend that he's going to go back to the number 23. King James changed to the number 6 when he took his talents to South Beach. He says, it's only right that he goes back to 23.

Colts owner Jim Irsay awaiting punishment for his charge of driving under the influence and possession of prescription drugs. He had 29 grand on him at the time of his arrest. Obviously Irsay is still keeping cash on hand, he made it rain at Colts training camp on Saturday. Check this out, Irsay handing out $100 bills to fans who were there just to watch practice. How about that? The owner walks up and gives you a $100 bill.

BERMAN: You're Texas fans, Andy, you don't need to be paid. Colts fans apparently need to be paid.


BOLDUAN: No, no, easy. I'm wearing my Colts colors. I didn't realize that.

BERMAN: Did somebody pay you to do that, since apparently it takes compensation to cheer for the Colts?

BOLDUAN: Never. It's just a thank you. We're more generous with our fans than others, OK?

Thanks, Andy. Good job, Andy. Thanks for coming to my defense as always, Andy, love you lots.

BERMAN: Next up for us on NEW DAY, the ceasefire is no more. Israel has resumed air strikes in the face of rocket fire from Gaza. We will speak with an Israeli official about this operation and how long now this might last.

BOLDUAN: Plus, there's no undoing history. How would a rematch look today if President Obama had to go up against Mitt Romney? We'll have a look at surprising poll numbers coming up later this hour.


BOLDUAN: Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is over, and violence has begun to rage again in the Middle East. The U.N. Security Council overnight very importantly says it wants one back, a ceasefire in place immediately. So, with the blame getting tossed around, how does a ceasefire return and more importantly how can they make it stick?

Let's get more -- let's get the Israeli viewpoint from Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry. He's joining me now from Jerusalem.

Mr. Palmor, thanks so much for the time.


BOLDUAN: Of course, I want to get your take on the news that happened overnight for us here in the United States. The U.N. Security Council coming out with a vote to say they want to see an immediate humanitarian ceasefire put in place. Will Israel agree to that?

PALMOR: It has already put in place. We have been holding our fire since last night and we are now maintaining an unlimited humanitarian ceasefire. Our troops will only fire if they come under direct attack. Other than that, we are maintaining an unlimited ceasefire.

BOLDUAN: So there has been no offensive operations since yesterday, since that ceasefire fell away?

PALMOR: Exactly. Exactly.

No offensive initiative of any kind. We are continuing the engineering operations to destroy tunnels, but no offensive operation inside Gaza territory.

BOLDUAN: I want to ask you about those tunnels. But first really quick on this ceasefire, you say Israel is agreeing to the ceasefire. Where does that leave things? Where does that leave things with any agreement with Hamas?

PALMOR: We must distinguish between a situation of ceasefire when both sides cease to shoot, and that is, of course, a prerequisite for any further negotiations and more general arrangement which would include other -- well, other steps that are not necessarily in the military realm.

Now, we are backing the Egyptian plan which stipulates that first the fighting must stop and then we can discuss grievances. This plan has been just now given the support of the Security Council, it is supported by I think almost all of the international community. But more important, supported by Israel, the Palestine Authority, and Egypt itself of course, the relevant parties on the ground.

(CROSSTALK) BOLDUAN: One very relevant party has not agreed to that which would be Hamas as you well know. Where do things stand today? It sounds to me like the ceasefire of the weekend, that fell away. Rockets began being fired as Israel has reported into Israel once again.

You're saying Israel is responding to that fire. But you still maintain that there is no offensive, there is no offensive action being taken by Israel still today.

PALMOR: Not only is there no offensive initiative taking place, but we are also taking some fire from Hamas without responding. We're intercepting the rockets naturally with the Iron Dome system, but we are not directly responding to each and every rocket that's fired into Israel. We are maintaining an unlimited truce, unlimited ceasefire. That's the way it should be.

BOLDUAN: One thing that Hamas wants and they have told us is they want the Israeli ground troops out of Gaza in order to make a ceasefire stick. Is that something that is Israel will consider?

PALMOR: I didn't hear any of that in the U.N. Security Council resolution or statement. I didn't see anything like it in the European Union's foreign minister's statement.

Hamas are standing alone against the whole world, the whole international community. They're in no position to dictate conditions. There is an international consensus around ceasefire and the Egyptian plan, and this international consensus should not be shattered by the rejectionism and extremism of a terror group.

BOLDUAN: Also, late yesterday President Obama spoke by phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We heard when President Obama pressed the prime minister to agree to a ceasefire because President Obama said he was very concerned with the mounting casualties that are happening over there. What was the prime minister's message to President Obama?