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Helicopter Crash in New York City; Diplomatic Gamble with North Korea; Northeast Braces for Storm; Reaction to School Safety Plan. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 12, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:46] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We do have some breaking news out of Nepal right now to bring you. A plane has veered off the runway, crashing while landing at the Kathmandu Airport. A spokesman for the airport says he fears mass casualties. And you can see the aftermath on your screen right now. Early reports from police say at least 13 people have been hurt and at least 67 people were on board this plane. There is a rescue operation underway. Right now emergency crews have been able to contain a fire that broke out on the plane. We'll bring you details as we have them.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Wow, look at that picture.

All right, we're also following more breaking news. Five people lost their lives in a helicopter crash here in New York City. Amateur video captured the chopper going down.

We've got CNN's Dave Briggs telling everything we know at this time.

Dave, thanks for doing this.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Still don't know much.

Good morning, Chris.

The National Transportation Safety Board expected to arrive here in New York City to investigate this deadly crash this morning. Now it happened just before 7:00 p.m. last night here in Manhattan. The chopper pilot, Richard Vance, the lone survivor.


PILOT: Mayday, mayday, mayday.



BRIGGS: The desperate pilot of this helicopter sending a frantic mayday call after losing altitude above New York's East River.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PILOT: East River. Engine failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a little broken up. Say it one more time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had an engine failure over the East River.

BRIGGS: Amateur video capturing the helicopter plunging into the freezing river, then quickly tipping over and taking on water.

DANIEL NIGRO, FDNY COMMISSIONER: There were six people on the helicopter, the pilot freed himself. The other five did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was waving his head -- his hand and he was waiving like -- he was like asking for help.


BRIGGS: Tug boats rapidly arriving on the scene. Emergency responders working desperately to rescue the trapped passengers.


NIGRO: The five people besides the pilot were all tightly harnessed. So these harnesses had to be cut and removed in order to get these folks off of this helicopter, which was upside-down at the time and completely submerged.


BRIGGS: Two passengers were pronounced dead at the scene. The other three rushed to the hospital where they later died.

The helicopter was chartered by New Jersey based Liberty Helicopters for (ph) photography tour. This is the company's third crash in 11 years.

The water there in the East River, just 40 degrees. As we mentioned, the third crash in the last 11 years for Liberty. The last one in 2009 when the same type of helicopter crashed in the Hudson River killing nine passengers.

I called Liberty this morning. No public comment at this point.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, what a horrible story, Dave. Thank you. Let us know as soon as you find out anything more.

BRIGGS: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: So, Listen to this. O.J. Simpson giving a hypothetical confession to the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O.J. SIMPSON: As things got heated, I just remember Nicole fell and hurt herself. And this guy kind of got into a karate thing. And I, well, you think you can kick my ass? And I remember I grabbed the knife. I do remember that portion, taking the knife from Charlie. And to be honest, after that I don't remember, except I'm standing there and there's all kind of stuff around and --

JUDITH REGAN: What kind of stuff?

SIMPSON: Blood and stuff around.


CAMEROTA: All right, so Fox is airing this never-before-seen interview from 2006. It aired for the first time last night. This was originally part of a book deal that Fox canceled after criticism that it was insensitive to the victims' families. The book's publishers says Simpson's lawyer told her he was ready to confess as long as he could frame it hypothetically as in if he did it. A jury, you'll remember, acquitted Simpson of the two murders. He was later found responsible in a civil suit.

What a bizarre interview to watch last night.

CUOMO: Yes. Right. Not new, though. I mean we haven't seen the interview.


CUOMO: But we knew this, that he had said some years ago, if I were going to do it, this --

CAMEROTA: There was a book about it.

CUOMO: And some people thought it was about him raising money and him trying to find a way on. This was very controversial and shut down. But this is the part you didn't get to see was his follow-through on that. Remember, legally, doing it in a hypothetical would remove him from exposure.

[06:35:04] Now, double jeopardy would remove him from criminal exposure anyway.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. So he can't be tried again.

But it's not hypothetical when you say, I just remember -- I do remember this moment. I remember.

CUOMO: Well, it's hypothetical if he puts it in the context of, here is this imagined scenario of how it could have happened. That's what they say. But you have to watch it for yourself.


All right, so we will be talking about this and examining it coming up in our next hour. We will have the woman who conducted that interview with O.J. Simpson. What Judith Regan thinks about the alleged confession now 20 years later -- sorry, ten years later.

CUOMO: All right, he shocked the world and his own staff by jumping at the chance to meet with Kim Jong-un. What was behind the president's decision? Was it just impulse? Next.


CUOMO: The North Korean government has yet to officially respond to the South Korean announcement of potential talks between Kim Jong-un and the U.S. president. It comes as U.S. leaders say neither side is making concessions ahead of the sit down.

So what does this all mean?

[06:40:00] Joining us now is Gordon Chang. He's a "Daily Beast" columnist and author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World."

Let's first start with the practicalities and then get into the potential of what might be, all right?

So, do we think it happens?

GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST, "THE DAILY BEAST": I think it happens because it -- on Kim Jong-un's part, it makes a lot of sense. You know, the Kim regime, as people say, had always wanted a sit down with an American president because it elevates Kim and it sort of legitimizes him on the world stage. That by itself is a really important win.

From our perspective, we keep South Korea on side. And that's critical because -- for a number of reasons. And so for Trump's point of view, it also makes sense to sit down. So I think it happens. It may not happen by the end of May, which is what Trump signaled on Thursday, but it occurs.

CUOMO: Why no word from the North? Do you take that as a signal that they may not have been expecting to hear Trump jump at the offer?

CHANG: Two possibilities. One of them is that, you know, the North Koreans have always wanted to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington. And the reason is, if they get the U.S. off the peninsula, they can intimidate South Korea into submission. That's the long-term goal of the Kim regime.

So Kim obviously thought, OK, I'm going to cause some problems between Moon Jae-in, who doesn't like us anyway, and Donald Trump. Well, I don't think Trump actually thought about this on Thursday, but he did come out to the right decision because he said, yes, I'll do this because President Moon wants me to. And, therefore, it keeps the alliance strong.

CUOMO: Why do you think that Trump didn't think about it? You think that this was an impulsive move?


CUOMO: I mean there is evidence for that, right?


CUOMO: The staffers didn't know. They didn't have a plan to say yes. But that's what you think it was. You -- what was the play for Trump?

CHANG: Oh, I -- probably for Trump is because he had always talked about sitting down with Kim. You know, this is something that has not been done before. You know, as Donald Rumsfeld says, if you're going to make mistakes, make new ones. This would be a new mistake.

CUOMO: Well, but, look, also, he has created a potential positive opportunity here. What they do with it, how they plan for it, how they execute it, those are all really big ifs. But you do have to say, there is potential for something better than, is this the week that they launched something or test something in a way that makes the U.S. respond and then where are we?

CHANG: Yes. This is really good for us. I mean the South Koreans said --

CUOMO: Could be good for us.

CHANG: Could be good for us. Kim said -- Kim, according to the South Koreans, said that he's committed to denuclearization. You know, even if he isn't, and I'm sure he's not, what happens is Kim is -- you know, Trump is putting Kim to his word. He's testing him. If Kim doesn't come through, and he's probably not going to, it really means the U.S. then has more support around the world to cut off money flows to North Korea. That's absolutely critical.

And, so, you know, Kim has to need -- he needs sanctions relief anyway. So that's another reason why he wants to come to this meeting. Trump is going to actually put this coalition around the world in a much firmer basis if these talks fall apart because Kim doesn't follow through on the promises the South Koreans said he made.

CUOMO: Does it help with China too? They're, obviously, the biggest pocket in this.

CHANG: It helps with China in some sense because the Chinese have always said, look, we will vote for sanctions, but there must be dialogue at the same time, because U.N. sanctions resolutions actually talk not only about coercive measures, but also encouraging talks.

CUOMO: Right.

CHANG: So what we're doing by this is Trump says, yes, I'm talking.

CUOMO: He's encouraging talks. And if they don't follow through, then that's one more stick to use with China in terms of why they should bend their policy aims to what the South and the U.S. want.

CHANG: You said it a lot better than I could.

CUOMO: Oh, no, I've only -- I've heard you say it several times. But if you had to put a number on it right now, just so people's heads can get around this, the chance that we see a meeting between the North Korean leader and the United States president is at what percentage right now in this calendar year? Let's not hold it to (INAUDIBLE).

CHANG: Yes. Eighty-five percent.

CUOMO: Eight-five percent.

Gordon Chang, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.

CHANG: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.

All right, Alisyn, to you.

CAMEROTA: All right, the third nor'easter in less than two weeks is targeting New England. Some places could get another foot of snow. I thought it was supposed to be spring soon? Well, the forecast, next.


[06:448:03] CUOMO: It's just one after the other. The northeast still recovering from that one-two punch, now bracing for a third nor'easter in just 10 days. What are we looking at?

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has the forecast.

Am I right? Is this definitely going to be a nor'easter?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. No question about that.

Now, you're only going to get a couple of inches in New York City, but it will be all snow this time, not that rain/snow slush mix. But from Connecticut, through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, up to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, that's where the big snow will be.

Right now it's in -- it's in Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky, overnight, picked up eight inches of snow already, but it moves up the coast and it just brushes New Jersey, and New York City and even Albany, but it's pouring down snow across New England here as the storm runs right up over the cape. Cape Cod will be the real ground zero for the wind. It could be 60 miles per hour there.

But look at the numbers here, 12 to 18 inches of snow everywhere there's pink. And more where there's little spots of purple.

Now, if this happens, and I do forecast this, I think this is going to be what we're going to see. Maybe even Worcester could see 18 or 20. This would be the biggest snow of the year so far, topping the 13 inches that Boston had in early January.

You know, I think Punxsutawney Phil really has run the gambit. I think we're done here, Alisyn. At least I hope he's done because that -- you know, and by my watch, that was six weeks. He said six more weeks. I don't want seven. CAMEROTA: I mean is he that precise?


CAMEROTA: That like clockwork it just ends exactly when he says it's going to end?

MYERS: Yes, it's going to end on Wednesday.

CAMEROTA: OK. Fantastic. Thank you. Thanks so much, Chad.

MYERS: All right.

CAMEROTA: All right, so the White House putting out the president's plan for school and gun safety. So what do the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School think of it? We'll ask them, next.


[06:53:34] CAMEROTA: The White House has unveiled a plan to address gun violence and school shootings. It includes funding to train teachers to carry firearms, but does not include the president's proposal to raise the age limit for buying rifles to 21. It has been almost one month since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Two survivors are with us now. Alfonso Calderon and David Hogg.

Guys, thank you so much. It's great to see you. As always, thank you very much for being here.

David, let's start with what the White House's proposal is. I'll put it up on the screen for everybody.

It does not include, as we said, a plan to increase the age limit, but it does provide qualified personnel, as they put it, meaning teachers, with firearms training. It supports retired law enforcement and veterans to transition to working in schools as security guards. It urges states to allow firearm removal from threatening individuals. It creates a task force to study age restrictions. And it supports the fix NICS program by Senators Cornyn and Murphy.

What do you think of the White House's proposal, David.

DAVID HOGG, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: Well, I think what the White House's proposal does is it answers basically one of the three main issues that we're trying to face here, which is mental health, universal background checks and just more gun control in general. And what President Trump showed when he said that he wanted to raise the age to 21 is bipartisanship and that he wanted to work together on this and save some lives.

But the other thing that he showed after that is that he's no better than the other politicians because he said -- he called out other GOP members and said that you are -- essentially you're owned by the NRA and that's why you don't want to take action. But then he stepped back down from where he was and that's why we're seeing this stuff.

[06:55:12] And I ask him, why? Show us that you're better than these other politicians. That you aren't owned by the NRA and that you actually want to take action. Those proposals were great. But proposals without action remain proposals.

CAMEROTA: So, Alfonso, you were one of the students -- the eight students, I believe, who actively lobbied the Florida state legislature. And it worked. I mean in the space of three weeks after the massacre at your school, Florida passed this, you know, fairly comprehensive bill. Here's what is in that bill.

They raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21, they banned the sale of bump stocks, they give law enforcement greater power to seize weapons temporarily from people who are dangerous, they provide additional funding for more school security officers. And they arm some teachers.

How are you feeling about this today?

ALFONSO CALDERON, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR: I mean, you've got to enjoy the victories when you have them. I have to be a little bit grateful to the Florida legislature because when I went there to Tallahassee a few weeks ago, it was not looking great. You know, they ignored most of our meetings. They disrespected us. But I'm glad that now they're taking the American people, and the kids, especially the ones striving for change, seriously.

CAMEROTA: So that said, as you guys both know, the NRA is suing Florida because of this.

CALDERON: Of course.

CAMEROTA: The NRA doesn't believe that 18-year-olds shouldn't be able to buy firearms. They say that that is their constitutional right. So let me read to you the NRA's statement. Preventing a responsible 20- year-old from purchasing the best tool for self-defense will not stop a deranged criminal intent on committing a crime. Imposing a three-day waiting period on rifle and shotgun purchases would not have stopped any of the high-profile mass shootings in recent years.

What's your response, David?

HOGG: My response to that is, Nick Cruz was 19 and legally bought his assault rifle. It's offensive that they would say that because this would have stopped him because he would legally not have been able to get this gun. But he was able to. And that's part of the reason why we had this massacre that occurred -- occur at our school.

And I know what the NRA likes to do. The people at the top of the NRA like to do, is they like to hide behind the Second Amendment and say that this is our constitutional right. We're Americans. And what they're really trying to do is say, let us sell you more guns at an even younger age, put more people at risk, scare more people, cause more violence, kill more people, and sell more guns.


CALDERON: Absolutely to that I have to add, when are you going to use an AR-15 for self-defense? Please explain that to me. I find it absolutely preposterous that anyone could claim that you're going to use a military grade assault rifle in order to defend yourself, especially in schools, because, as you may know, one of our dear lost teachers here, Mr. Scott Beigel, was shot before he could even reach his classroom. It is ridiculous to assume that that is a self-defense weapon.

CAMEROTA: I mean, look, you know what they would say. I mean I've heard it a million times from the NRA, is that they want to have the same fire power that the bad guy has. So if only the bad guy has the AR-15 and but the good guys are prevented from buying it, that's, you know, sort of an unequal setup that leaves them as a sitting duck.

HOGG: Well, I think that's just a false notion. If you look at all the other countries like Canada, like Sweden and so many others that are first world countries and are places that have more developed gun laws and are more restrictive on gun ownership and see it more as a privilege rather than a right, they allow people to own guns, just in a way more controlled way and make sure that they're still allow to own then in a responsible and respectable way. And we want to make sure American can do that too. We just don't think that mentally deranged individuals, people under the age of 21 or anyone else that has like a criminal background, for example, should be able to get a weapon.

CAMEROTA: So, guys, listen --

CALDERON: You know, they always talk about the narrative --

CAMEROTA: Yes, quick --

CALDERON: I'm sorry.

CAMEROTA: No, quickly go ahead. Go ahead, Alfonso, before I get to your (INAUDIBLE).

CALDERON: We always -- they always -- thank you. They always talk about the narrative of good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns. But to that I say, what if the bad guys couldn't get the guns because we have comprehensive gun laws. Because that's not what we have in this country right now and it's every evident because of what happened at my school right there.

CAMEROTA: OK. So let me get to the action that you all are taking. You've taken out this full-page ad in "The New York Times." I'll read just a portion of it. And this is about what's going to happen on March 24th and the march, the national march that you're hoping for.

Please help us. Adopt a school in your area who wants to attend the "March for Our Lives" in Washington and pay for them to do it. Donate buses, flights, train tickets. Donate your time or your talent or donate directly to "March for Our Lives." For this to be really never again, we all have to stand together. What are you both hoping for on March 24th?

HOGG: What we're hoping for is comprehensive bipartisan work where we would come together as Americans and not debate each other as Democrats and Republicans, but discuss this as the Americans that we are, because, at the end of the day, we all bleed the same American blood. And we need to realize that, come together and work together to save our children and save our future, and that's what we want to do on March 24th.

[07:00:13] CAMEROTA: Alfonso, last word.

CALDERON: Absolutely.