Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

Mine 911 Tapes Released; Doctors More Optimistic About McCloy; Some Preparing To Head Back To Work At Sago Mine; Some Republicans Want To Replace DeLay; Sharon Critical But Stable; Pat Robertson Sparks Controversy; Taunting al Qaeda Tape; Anna McCloy Speaks; Sago Mine Investigation

Aired January 6, 2006 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou.
And I'm in Jerusalem tonight, and to our viewers, you're in the SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time.

Happening now, delayed reaction. It took nearly 90 minutes before anyone would learn 13 miners were trapped in that West Virginia coal mine. Could the time have made a difference? We'll have the emergency 911 tapes and a timeline.

Misdiagnosis; there is also word it was not medical personnel that declared the miners dead. Could they have been alive when they were found -- where they were found?

And emergency operating procedures; here in Jerusalem, doctors perform a third emergency surgery on the Israeli prime minister to stop the bleeding in his brain. How might a non-recovery threaten to destabilize the region?

I'm Wolf Blitzer, in Jerusalem, and you're in the SITUATION ROOM.

Here in Jerusalem the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is in critical but stable condition after undergoing brain surgery for the third time since suffering a stroke on Wednesday. During this latest four-hour operation, doctors say they stemmed bleeding in his brain and reduced pressure inside his skull. Mr. Sharon remains in a medically-induced coma. His personal surgeon spoke to CNN after the surgery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. FELIX UMANSKY, SHARON'S SURGEON: He's stable now. His intercranial pressure is normal and all of the other parameters, the blood pressure, respiration, everything is stable. He is under anesthesia because we want him to be sedated to control his blood pressure, to reduce his brain metabolism and to give him the best chances to recover.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: We're going to have much more on Ariel Sharon's latest surgery, his condition here in Jerusalem. That's coming up this hour. First, though, there are new developments tonight in that West Virginia mine disaster that killed 12 men. Officials are now releasing those 911 tapes, other emergency calls. Let's head out to the scene. Our Brian Todd is there for us in Upshur County, West Virginia, along with CNN's Adaora Udoji, CNN's Chris Huntington, by the way, is in Pittsburgh with more on the condition of the survivor, Randy McCloy.

First to you -- Brian Todd.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, these 911 tapes offer us a chilling account from some of the first responders on the scene, before the rest of us found out what happened that awful morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): From the time of the explosion, nearly an hour-and-a-half passes before the world gets its first inkling of what's happened inside the Sago Mine.

Monday, January 2, 7:55 a.m. A call from the mine to the Upshur County 911 Operator.

OPERATOR: Upshur Emergency Squad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am. We need an ambulance to the Sago Mine.

OPERATOR: OK. This is the one up on the Sago Road?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am.

OPERATOR: OK. What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something happened inside the mine there.

TODD: Less than 15 minutes later, an emergency crew is on the scene with the first chilling account of what rescuers are facing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised, we're being informed -- we are on scene. We're being informed that there are several men trapped inside. We're going to need a lot of help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Certainly, hearing that there were several men trapped inside came as quite a surprise, quite a shock, and then I think your adrenaline kicks in and you just start doing what you're trained to do.

TODD: Benny Nazelrod, fire chief in Adrian, West Virginia, says his station is less than five miles from the mine. His teams get their quickly. But by law, only specially trained mine rescue teams can go inside.

CHIEF BENNY NAZELROD, ADRIAN, W.V. FIRE DEPT.: You do feel helpless. You know there is only a certain amount you can do, and your normal instinct, when you're in any type of rescue, is to go help.

TODD: We know of no 911 calls between Monday morning and late Tuesday night. At 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, the first inaccurate reports have come from inside the mine and one emergency response team radios another.

OPERATOR: Go ahead, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. You might as well stand still right where you're at, Gary (ph). They did find them and they're all OK, I guess, so I think we might be transporting. I'm not exactly sure. But we're stuck out here.

OPERATOR: 10-4, man.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Now, in the next two minutes another call comes in saying that the miners are alive, and there is one from an incident commander requesting any medical unit that can transport patients.

The 911 supervisor tells CNN they never received any official call that the miners were dead. They found that out by watching the news -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting. Thank you very much.

There's also new information tonight on the condition of the only man who survived that disaster, 27-year-old Randy McCloy.

CNN's Chris Huntington is outside of the hospital in Pittsburgh where McCloy is in a medically-induced coma.

What's the latest there?

CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, technically Randy McCloy is still in critical condition, but the doctors here at Allegheny General Hospital and McCloy's family members are much more optimistic now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUNTINGTON (voice-over): For Randy McCloy's mother, it's the small things that give her hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's fighting really hard to become completely, you know, awake and alert.

HUNTINGTON: Doctors are seeing slight improvements in his kidney, liver and lung function, but McCloy remains in a coma and the doctors say it appears he has suffered some brain damage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do believe that there has been some injury, that he is not waking up as quickly as we had hoped for him to do. HUNTINGTON: So today, with his other vital signs strong enough to make the trip, an ambulance moved McCloy to a Pittsburgh hospital where he is undergoing treatment in a special pressurized oxygen chamber.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are doing this because we want to leave no stone unturned, we want to offer him every possible benefit.

HUNTINGTON: The married father of a four-year-old son and a one- year-old daughter remains on dialysis and on a ventilator.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Now, Wolf, the biggest concern for doctors right now, twofold. One: Randy McCloy's left lung, this is the lung that had been collapsed. It has been restored to its ability to breath with the assistance of a ventilator, but it is collecting fluid and it's still inflamed, and that's one of the main reasons they want to keep him sedated, in this medically-induced coma.

The other big concern is his brain activity. On the positive front there, while they have detected some injury in the rear portion of his brain, which the doctors here, the neurologists, describe as primarily the area for motor skills and some vision, but not necessarily cognitive area, the good news there is that a second CAT scan this afternoon showed no worsening of that condition. So there is guarded optimism about Randy McCloy's chance for recovery -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, we're all praying for him. Thank you very much, Chris Huntington, reporting from Pittsburgh.

Despite the disaster, some are already preparing to go back to work at that Sago Mine.

CNN's Adaora Udoji is there for us. She picks up this part of the story -- Adaora.

ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf.

Indeed, we've heard a lot of people this week talking about coal mining as a way of life, a way of life that they are very proud of here in West Virginia. So proud that even one of the men who escaped the blast on Monday says he has every intention of going back into the tunnels.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UDOJI (voice-over): Ron Grall was in the Sago Mine, felt the enormous blast, and just barely escaped the explosion. After living through the painful hours of rescue efforts, he intends to go back, back to the mineshafts where his 12 friends died.

RON GRALL, SAGO MINER: That's what I love to do, and I don't know anything else.

UDOJI: The people who anxiously waited and prayed at the nearby Baptist Church hour after hour either worked with the men, knew them or know someone who mines. West Virginia is coal country, the nation's second largest coal producer, a state where mining isn't just a job, it's a proud profession.

HOMAR HICKMAN, AUTHOR: These are not pick and shovel guys. These are guys that are very technically proficient, they're very well trained.

REV. HOWARD SWICKS, HAVEN HOPE WORSHIP CTR.: It's a very respected way of making a living, it's a very respected occupation in this region. And, you know, I think that's where the almost -- it's almost like a brotherhood, if you will.

UDOJI: A brotherhood of generations, sons following their fathers. Today jobs start at around $30,000 a year, alluring money for someone without a college degree.

For roughly 100,000 miners around the country, living with danger is part of their DNA.

GRALL: I just like to do it.

UDOJI: Even now after the deaths of his friends, many like Grall want -- need -- to get back to work. It's what they do and it's how they earn a paycheck.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

And there are worries about just how long the Sago Mine here is going to be closed and what that's going to mean for those miners' families. So while they and the community mourn the death of those 12 miners, many, though they won't come on camera, say they are concerned about what the future will bring.

The company has said that they will pay their employees for the past week and then try to place them elsewhere until the mine reopens. And, Wolf, then life goes on.

BLITZER: All right, Adaora, thank you very much. Adaora Udoji reporting for us from West Virginia.

Let's get a quick update on some other important stories making news. CNN's John King is joining us from Washington.

Hi -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Wolf, and back to you in just a minute, but as you noted, some other headlines.

And we begin with a major political drama here in Washington. Embattled Congressman Tom DeLay, of Texas, faces what could be a major challenge to his combat hopes. Some moderate and conservative Republicans are circulating a petition calling for elections next month to permanently replace DeLay as House majority leader. Fifty signatures are needed to trigger an election and GOP sources tell CNN they're about halfway there.

DeLay temporarily stepped down in September after he was convicted on money laundering -- indicted, excuse me, on money laundering and conspiracy charges. He's denied any wrongdoing and his spokesman says tonight he still believes Mr. DeLay has the majority of support in the Republican caucus.

Residents of some hard-hit New Orleans communities have succeeded in blocking the demolition of their homes, at least temporarily. Yesterday angry residents took to the streets to try to keep wrecking crews out of their neighborhoods. Tonight the city agreed to halt the demolitions for two weeks to allow a federal judge to hear arguments from community groups.

He was renown for his smooth baritone voice and his big heart when it came to fundraising for charities; 72-year-old Lou Rawls died in Los Angeles this morning. He had been undergoing treatment for lung and brain cancer. Rawls' hit, "You'll never find another love like mine," topped the R&B charts back in 1976, but he may have been best known for the "Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon," which raised millions of dollars for the United Negro College Fund.

Martha Stewart's hopes of clearing her criminal record appeared to fade today. A federal appeals court upheld her conviction for lying to investigators about a stock sale. Stewart served five months in prison and five months of house arrest just last year but had appealed her conviction anyway.

And fire has destroyed a landmark church on Chicago's South Side. That church played a key role in the development of gospel music. The cause of today's massive blaze at the Pilgrim Baptist Church is under investigation. Fire officials, though, say work was being done on the church's roof just before that blaze broke out. The church was originally built as a synagogue in 1890. Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson is said to have performed there.

Those are the headlines here in the states for now. Back to Wolf in Jerusalem.

BLITZER: All right, John, thanks very much, and we'll get back to you for some other news later this hour.

In the meantime, let's go to New York right now, CNN's Jack Cafferty standing by with the "Cafferty File." Hi, Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: How you doing, Wolf? Good evening, from New York City.

If you're having problems at home, you might be able to blame some of them on the cell phone. A new study shows people who consistently use cell phones are more likely to be less satisfied with their family life and they may have more stressful communication within their families.

The study from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, shows that things like cell phones and pagers allow for more spillover between work and home, something most of us have probably figured out when the office calls during dinner or over the weekends.

This may be especially true, according to the study, for working women who let their work cut into home time and vice versa. Here is the question this hour: how do cell phones affect your family life? You can email us at CaffertyFile@cnn.com, or you can go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile.

Not a problem I've ever had to concern myself with, Wolf. I've never owned one, never intend to.

BLITZER: And I take it you don't have a Blackberry either, is that right?

CAFFERTY: That's absolutely correct, and a myriad of other technological gizmos that have simply passed me by.

BLITZER: All right, Jack. We'll get back to you very soon.

Still to come here in the SITUATION ROOM, Pat Robertson blaming Ariel Sharon's stroke on the wrath of God. Now the White House has some tough words for Robertson. We have that story.

Plus, trapped at the bottom of a mine. Were all 12 workers really dead when they were found? Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a closer look. You'll want to stick around for this part of the story.

Also, the sole survivor, the only man who made it out of that mine alive. We'll hear from his wife in her own words.

You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. We're live in Jerusalem tonight monitoring the condition of the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Doctors say he's in critical but stable condition after undergoing brain surgery for the third time since suffering a major stroke Wednesday.

Mr. Sharon is among a handful of Middle Eastern leaders who have shaped the regions history, first during decades of war and more recently in halting steps toward peace.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: (voice-over): Ariel Sharon was a warrior long before he tried to become a peacemaker. By all accounts he was a brilliant field commander in all of Israel's wars, in 1948, 1956, 1967 and finally in 1973, when he led Israel's counterstrike against Egyptian forces along the Suez Canal, a move that turned the tide in the war.

There has been a long history of warrior peacemakers in this part of the world. Sharon's immediate predecessor, Ehud Barak, was Israel's top general before he became prime minister. The late Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by an Israeli Jew 10 years ago in Tel Aviv, had served on Israel's battlefields as a highly decorated military officer and became chief of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Over the years, there has been a similar warrior peacemaker trend among Israel's Arab adversaries. The late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who rose through the military, electrified the world by his stunning announcement in 1977 to travel to Israel, address the Knesset and make peace with Israel.

His successor, Hosni Mubarak, a one-time Egyptian Air Force commander, has maintained that peace treaty with Israel over all these years.

The late King Hussein of Jordan led his forces in battle against the Israelis over the decades, but all of that stopped when he authorized a peace treaty ceremony with Israel in 1994 in Aqaba.

A year earlier, the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian's top warrior, seemed to come tantalizingly close to a peace deal with Israel when he shook hands with Rabin on the South Lawn of the White House, egged on by then President Bill Clinton. But that peace remained elusive.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

And now with Sharon effectively removed, it's up to a new generation of Israelis and Arabs to try to pick up the burden. The end, though, of that warrior peacemaker period may be over.

Here in Jerusalem tonight, the Israeli prime minister lies in a hospital bed after suffering a massive stroke and undergoing three rounds of surgery. Just a little while ago I spoke with Mr. Sharon's senior adviser, Ra'anan Gissin, about his boss' political future, and Israel's.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RA'ANAN GISSIN, SHARON ADVISER: We trust the doctors and we pray, but you can sense that what you see in the country today, the sense, the prevailing spirit of Sharon, and maybe that is what lies in the offing with regard to the future of the Israeli political system.

BLITZER: It's unlikely he'll be able to emerge from this and resume a political career, even under the best of circumstances.

GISSIN: I know. We don't know, you know, what condition he will be coming out of it, you know, if he does. And, of course, everybody wishes a quick recovery, and we're getting messages from all over the world.

But I think in a sense, and perhaps you've sensed it in the past, Wolf. In Israel, when you're in a crisis, in a major crisis, whether it's war or critical decisions have to be made, the whole tribe gathers around the bonfire, and this time maybe the leader is gone, but his spirit is alive.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Ra'anan Gissin, speaking with me earlier today.

Pat Robertson's controversial comments yesterday sparking additional angry reaction today.

Let's go to CNN's Mary Snow, in New York. She's got the latest -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the reaction to Pat Robertson's comments has been one of outrage and has come on many different levels, and today some sharp words from the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): As the president made his way to Chicago, a White House spokesman sharply criticized Pat Robertson's suggestion that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was a punishment from God.

He said, quote, "I think those comments were wholly inappropriate and offensive and really don't have a place in this or any other debate."

The controversy started Thursday on Robertson's program, "The 700 Club," aired on the Christian Broadcasting Network. Robertson called the Israeli prime minister a friend, but suggested his stroke had occurred because of his Middle East policies.

Sharon ordered Israeli troops and settlers to withdraw from Gaza. Robertson cited the Bible as justification for his remarks.

PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: He was dividing God's land, and I would say whoa unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the European Union, the United Nations or the United States of America. God says this land belongs to me, you'd better leave it alone.

SNOW: Anti-defamation League Director Aid Foxman (ph) expressed outrage. He called Robertson's comment unchristian and went a step further.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His peers, Christian leaders, Christian ministers, need to condemn it, need to say this is unacceptable.

SNOW: The Christian Coalition, a political organization which Robertson founded in 1989, declined to comment on Robertson's remarks. Two prominent Christian leaders, Evangelist Billy Graham and the Reverend Jerry Falwell, through their representatives, also declined comment.

Some say it's important for Christian leaders to speak out because Robertson has a big following.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To many people in the world, Pat Robertson is the representative of Christianity throughout the United States. He's the only person they know. So when Pat Robertson speaks, it's not taken as a joke. It's taken as a serious comment from a major religious figure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: We invited Pat Robertson to appear on this program, but through a spokesperson he declined -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary Snow, in New York, thank you very much.

Still to come here in the SITUATION ROOM, Osama bin Laden's No. 2 man. He's now resurfaced, personally taunting President Bush. We have the tape.

And miner 911 tapes as well. We'll hear for ourselves what happened moments after the explosion. Did help come fast enough? We're taking a closer look.

You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

KING: I'm John King, in Washington. We'll go back to Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem in just a few moments, but first a developing story here.

Sources familiar with the case are telling CNN a former congressman who pled guilty to taking bribes wore a hidden microphone to help gather evidence for the FBI.

CNN Congressional correspondent Ed Henry is tracking this story and has the latest for us -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, that's right. CNN has confirmed with two sources close to the case that Randy "Duke" Cunningham wore a wire in which his conversations were recorded for a short time. This was after he agreed to cooperate with the FBI investigation and before he himself pled guilty to accepting over $2 million in bribes.

The sources say the aim of the wire was to get information from defense contractors. It was not aimed at members of Congress. But I can tell you, Republican lawmakers are nervous about what the contractors may have said when Cunningham was wearing that wire. There is a possibility that contractors could have implicated other lawmakers beyond Cunningham.

This story was first reported by "Time" magazine on their Web site today, now confirmed by CNN. It's the last thing Republicans need right now, already reeling from the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Also today's news that a coalition of Republicans are pushing for new leadership elections to keep Tom DeLay from becoming majority leader again. I can tell you, interesting start to this election year -- John. KING: Very interesting start. Ed Henry will stay on top of this story for us. Ed, thank you very much. Congressman Cunningham's sentencing scheduled for late next month.

He's Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant, and he's weighing in on a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. Ayman al-Zawahiri tells President Bush "admit defeat."

Our national security correspondent David Ensor is here with details -- David.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATL. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, as you say, the Zawahiri tape taunts President Bush and it does so on a tape which has, as has been common in the last few Zawahiri tapes, has English language subtitles on it, though it's sent to an Arabic language broadcaster which tends to block them off.

Still, the message is clearly meant to reach here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ENSOR (voice-over): Al Qaeda's number two man said on the videotape that the Bush administration's decisions to draw down troops in Iraq soon is, quote, "the victory of Islam."

AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, AL QAEDA'S DEPUTY LEADER (through translator): Here they are and in the blessing of God begging to pull out, seeking negotiations with the Mujahedeen, and here is Bush, who is forced to announce at the end of November that he will be pulling his troops out of Iraq.

ENSOR: President Bush has said troops in Iraq will draw down, not pull out, and that it was a good sign, a sign that Iraqi forces are better able to cope on their own.

The terrorist leaders comment shows the tape was likely made after Mr. Bush spoke November 30. Ayman al-Zawahiri also comments, as he often does, on a range of news developments; on the Pakistani earthquake victims and on the recent Egyptian elections.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: We can tell from the content of these statements that these people are well-informed. That suggests to me that they're not in some cave in the middle of nowhere with no access to newspapers, no access to radio, no access to satellite TV, no access to the Internet.

ENSOR: A U.S. counterterrorism official says while the tape mentions recent events, it is, quote, "the same well worn jihadist rhetoric."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Officials also note that while we've heard from al-Zawahiri frequently in the last year, his boss, Osama bin Laden, has been silent since late 2004, not that officials think he's dead. They don't. But bin Laden may be so worried about his security, they say, that he's forced to lie very low indeed -- John.

KING: With his deputy waging the public relations war front.

Thank you, David Ensor, very much.

And now we'll go back to Wolf Blitzer, in Jerusalem.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, John.

Let's check in with CNN's Anderson Cooper for a quick preview of what's coming up tonight on 360 -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Wolf.

Yes, at 10:00 Eastern, a 360 exclusive, the first pictures from inside the church when the families were told the horrible news, that only one miner, not 12, had survived. You can imagine it was a chaotic scene, a tragic scene, of course, one that we've never seen before, until tonight at 10:00.

We're also getting more details about the mine's communication system. That's at the heart of how those families got the misinformation that their loved ones were alive. It's a shocking look at how low tech the rescue operation really was. It makes you realize there must be a better way so this kind of thing doesn't happen again.

All that and more at 10:00 Eastern time -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, we'll be watching, Anderson. Thank you very much.

Just ahead, sole survivor. He's the only man who made it out of the mine alive. We're going to be hearing from his wife.

And miner 911 calls. We'll hear firsthand what really happened just moments after the explosion occurred. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting tonight from Jerusalem, where we're monitoring the critical condition of the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. We're also monitoring the continued fallout from that mining disaster in West Virginia.

When he awakes, Randy McCloy's wife says she wants to tell him just how much she loves him, she's so proud of him. She wants to talk about their lives together on the road ahead.

Anna McCloy spoke at a news conference in Pittsburgh just a short while ago from that hospital where her husband is recovering.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA MCCLOY, RANDAL MCCLOY'S WIFE: My husband had a lot of faith, especially for God. Every morning, we would meet at the door, I'd let him out, you know, and that's when he would tell me, bye, he loves me and the kids, and you know, kissed me. And then before he would go out the door, he said God loves you, and he loves me, too. And then he would go out the door. And I'd just wait until the taillights were gone before I would shut the door and lock it. So if -- it plays a big role.

QUESTION: How has it sustained you now, with you and your family? How is that faith helping you cope with what you have to go through now?

MCCLOY: It's helping. Without it, we wouldn't be coping. It's given us hope. If he pulled -- he was strong enough to pull through 41 hours in the mines, he's strong enough to pull through this.

QUESTION: Is there something in your husband's personality that would have given him the strength? Tell us a little bit about what he likes to do. Tell us about his personality, something that's given him the strength to survive all that time down there.

MCCLOY: He loves people. He loves our children and me. And it's -- I know 100 percent that it was our kids that pulled him through this. He's always told me that no matter what, because you know, he knew he was in a dangerous job, and if something happened, he said he would survive, because he had two kids and a wife that he loved and he would take care of.

QUESTION: Anna, many people believe your husband's story is an incredible one, of his surviving. How do you see it?

MCCLOY: I'm coping. What was the question?

QUESTION: Many people, media, and the people around the country, around the world, see your husband's survival as an incredible story. How do you see it?

MCCLOY: Oh, yes, it's amazing. It's amazing. It's a miracle.

QUESTION: Anna, there's been some -- I guess your father was quoted as saying he believes that maybe the other miners (INAUDIBLE) oxygen tanks or did stuff to help protect him. I mean, do you believe that? How do you believe that he became the only survivor?

MCCLOY: I couldn't guarantee that, but it may be a possibility, because they weren't just, you know, pals working together. They were actually a family down there. They didn't talk about -- you know, they talked about their families.

My husband would come home and tell me that that's what they talked about, their kids, their grandchildren, their wives. That's what they talked about. They were a family, they weren't just friends. And I figured that they thought of Randy as one of their sons and wanted to take care of him.

QUESTION: Anna, Chris, how are you doing, with (INAUDIBLE). You look 100 percent different, better than you did yesterday. How do you feel? MCCLOY: I'm coping. I still -- I don't know what to -- I really don't know what to feel.

QUESTION: It's the first time I've seen you smile.

MCCLOY: Yes. It goes from day to day.

QUESTION: Can I ask you something you were asked earlier today. (INAUDIBLE) I want to ask you here again, what it's like for you and your children when you have been in to see Randy, particularly for your children?

MCCLOY: It's hard. It's hard. My little boy, you know, he asked me, I told him that his daddy had worked very long hours, and that he was tired, so he had to rest. He was sick. And my little boy says, well, that's OK, because my daddy's going to get better for me.

QUESTION: What are the names and ages of your children?

MCCLOY: I have Randal III. He's 4 years old. And there's Isabel Hope. She's 1.

QUESTION: Did Randal ask the question about his daddy?

MCCLOY: Yes, Isabel, she's only 14 months old, so she's -- she hollered "dad, dad dad," when she's seen him.

QUESTION: Anna, it's likely that publishers and production companies will want Randy to tell his story. How do you think you'll react to that? How do you think you and Randy will react to that as a couple?

MCCLOY: Well, I'll leave that up to him. If that's something he would want to do, then we will work together, and we'll do that. But it may take some time for him to cope with everything he's been through. And then we will discuss doing something like that.

QUESTION: Anna (INAUDIBLE)?

MCCLOY: We've known each other ever since grade school.

QUESTION: Like, what grade?

MCCLOY: First grade. And we've been together ever since I was 13 years old.

QUESTION: Started dating?

MCCLOY: Started dating when I was 13.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCCLOY: We've always liked each other, I think, practically. We were always really good friends and then ended up...

QUESTION: This afternoon, we've had, you know, some encouraging news as far as I understand, that there are improvements along the way. For you, given everything that you've seen up to this point, what type of -- how does that news hit you? How does that impact you and your family when you're going through this long struggle?

MCCLOY: It makes me happy to hear that there's just the littlest bit of improvement. I'm still, you know, proud with that improvement.

QUESTION: Anna, what's the first thing you're going to -- have you thought about it -- the first thing you're going to say to Randy when he wakes up?

MCCLOY: I've thought about that a lot. And I probably would be speechless. I mean, I know that I'm going to squeeze him, I'm going to squeeze him, because right now it's kind of hard to hug him like you want to hug him, and I want to just tell him how much I love him and how much I'm proud of him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Anna McCloy, speaking earlier about her husband, Randy McCloy. He remains in critical condition in that Pittsburgh hospital. People all over the world are praying for him. We're praying for him tonight in Jerusalem, as well.

Still to come, miner 911. Hear what happened moments after the explosion. Plus, were they really dead? The doctor on the scene tells our Sanjay Gupta why there now could actually be some doubt. That's next right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back, we're here in Jerusalem tonight monitoring the condition of the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. We'll have more on that coming up.

But let's return to that coal miner tragedy in West Virginia. Today, a chilling glimpse into how events unfolded and how the first responders reacted. Here are some excerpts from the emergency tapes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 911, you have an emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a guy here at the mines he needs looked at, checked out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. I'm going to connect you to EMS. Stay on the line, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Emergency squad. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am, we need an ambulance at the Sago Mines.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. This the one up on the Sago Road?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, something happened inside the mines here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't know exactly what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I couldn't venture on just yet, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to get one rolling out here fast though.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. All right. OK. Now, this is the Sago Mines on the Sago Road, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. All right. We'll get her rolling as soon as we can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Be advised we're being informed we are on the scene, we are being informed that there are several men trapped inside. We're going to need a lot of help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. You might as well as just stand still right where you're at Gary. That they did find them and they are all okay, I guess so I think we might be transporting them. I'm not exactly sure, but we're stuck right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 10-4, man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I need 10 medic units. I need you to notify Healthnet. Get me any available aircraft that can fly. I need you to call Webster County. Find out how far the critical care truck is out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Need two people who are dispatchers to stay back and assist in calling other counties. I will notify you of who in just a moment. I need everyone else loaded up and brought to scene. Bring them in off Tallmansville Road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're not real busy, which you probably are, just try to give him a call. Of course he probably already knows.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And what am I telling him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they're bringing them out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they're all alive?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as I know so far.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Bye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Our senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is just back from West Virginia where he met the doctor who treated the sole survivor, Randy McCloy. Could the other miners though have actually been alive when they were declared dead? That's a haunting, haunting thought.

Sanjay's in the CNN center with an exclusive report.

Sanjay, what's going on?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a frightening thought for sure Wolf.

I talked to Dr. Robert Blake. He is the first doctor, the only doctor, that went down into the mine. The first person to actually see Randy McCloy. To start I asked him specifically about that. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROBERT BLAKE, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: I ran over and saw him laying in one of the floors of the bus. And he was working to breathe using accessory muscles. He was not moving. He had a pulse.

And I asked him if they had a breather on him, one of the rescue personnel had a breather on him. And I asked him was it high flow or what they had. And he said it was oxygen. I was like can you give him high flow oxygen and push air into his lungs? And they said yes. So they switched the switch and gave that.

I was under the assumption that he had carbon monoxide poisoning. I touched his leg and it felt semi-cold, but at that point, we were very close to the surface.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: And what was more striking in some ways, Wolf, was that, you know, he had a decision to make at that point to send Randy McCloy back to the surface and go back down into the mine to go look at the 11 miners that at that point he thought were alive. I asked him specifically about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BLAKE: We took the word of the care workers that were in there, the rescuers. You can't be 100 percent sure unless you have a physician ideally looking at them and know.

But one thing I didn't say earlier is when we met that second to last bus coming out, he said that the directors said everybody out of the mine now. So I couldn't have proceeded any further to check them anyway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: And what he is specifically talking about there, Wolf, is that he did not go into the mine. A medical professional did not go into the mine to actually examine those 11 miners and to declare them dead.

This is a haunting question. It is maybe in some ways somewhat considered an irrelevant question at this point but Dr. Robert Blake told me specifically that typically what's done is a medical professional goes in there, examines them and declares them in the situation of a mine, in the situation of hypothermia. It's a difficult call to make.

A medical person did not make it in this case--Wolf.

BLITZER: What a haunting thought that is. Sanjay, very briefly, let me switch gears. You're a neurosurgeon. What's your assessment on these latest medical bulletins involving the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon?

GUPTA: Really remarkable, Wolf. Three operations in less than 48 hours. That is a very rare thing in it of itself. I think in so many ways, the dye was cast after his first hemorrhage back a couple of days ago when you and I first talked about it.

The fact that he had a significant bleed at that point really set the tone for this. Three operations now, this is just a very grave situation. I can't imagine that he's going to have any capacity neurologically whatsoever at this point--Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Sanjay, thank you very much. Sanjay Gupta reporting for us.

Up next, picking up the pieces after tragedy. An intimate look at two towns that share the same pain. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: I'm John King in Washington. We'll go back to Wolf in Jerusalem in just a moment, but first, after the tragic ending of the Sago Mine disaster, attention is now turning to the investigation. Our Ali Velshi is here with the "Bottom Line" -- Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, John, the investigation is going to be led by the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration. They've told us an eight-person team is already in West Virginia. But there are some issues with that already.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration also regulates mines and some critics are saying that when the agency that regulates an industry also investigates it, it may not be inclined to look at whether the rules are tight enough or whether the enforcement of those rules are strong enough.

One former head of the Mine Safety Health Administration and a former head of the National Transportation Safety Board both said that the NTSB is a better model. It investigates transport accidents like train crashes or plane crashes, but it doesn't oversee the transport industry.

At least one lawyer we spoke with today said he was surprised that the company that owned the mine, International Coal Group, also handled the media and information flow rather than the government agency that oversees it. He told us he found it strange that the Department of Labor handed off that responsibility to a public company.

As for the investigation, some of the things that are going to be looked at, we've talked about the miners' equipment, the breathing apparatus, the ventilation system and the way that the rescue effort was handled. And one matter that you can expect to stay in the forefront, John, those 208 safety violations that the company received in 2005 -- John.

KING: An excellent point, Ali. Many in Congress saying they want to know why MSHA, that government agency, did not shut that mine down. Ali Velshi with tonight's "Bottom Line." Thank you, Ali.

And the investigation, of course, into what happened is just beginning. But one woman has already started her own memorial to the lost miners and she's doing it on the Web. Our Internet reporter Jacki Schechner has that story.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: John, this is one of those things that I am so passionate about when it comes to the Internet. It's the sense of community, the idea that anyone in the world can come together in one place.

Now, there's a woman online named Gracie Stover who's been running this Web site on West Virginia mining for five years. She comes from a coal mining family. Now, when this accident -- tragedy happened, if people Googled West Virginia mining, they would have come up with her Web site.

People were getting in touch with her saying how can we offer condolences to the families in West Virginia? Well, you can do that now at her Web site. She has an opportunity for you to white to her to say what you'd like to say, to express your condolences.

This is part of a greater community online where people were really talking about this. She says -- we talked to her today -- that there is really nobody in West Virginia that isn't touched by the coal mining industry in some way. So if you'd like to do that, send your condolences to the families via Gracie's Web site -- John.

KING: Jacki Schechner, that's very touching. Thank you very much . It's very interesting to see how quickly you can act on the Internet. Very touching story there, and now back to Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, John. Let's find out what's coming up right at the top of the hour. Paula Zahn is standing by in New York -- Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Wolf. Thanks so much. It seems just about every hour we are learning even new details about the horrible miscommunication at the West Virginia mine. None of us will ever forget the sense of celebration when the miners' families got word that 12 of the 13 men were alive, or the heartbreak and anger when they actually learned the truth. Investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has uncovered new information about what may have gone so horribly wrong.

Also, did the U.S. miss a golden opportunity to capture Osama bin Laden? Well, a former top CIA field commander is breaking his silence and he said we had him in our sights. His story at the top of the hour and some of the controversy it has spawned -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Sounds good. Thanks very much, Paula. We'll be watching.

Still to come here in THE SITUATION ROOM, we're going to check back with Jack Cafferty and the Jack "Cafferty File." He's in New York. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Good thing to do at this time, wrapping up the week with the "Cafferty File." That means Jack Cafferty is in New York -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: Thanks, Wolf. A new study showing people who consistently use cell phones are more likely to be less satisfied with the quality of their family life. The question is, how do cell phones affect your family life?

Susan in Franklin, Tennessee writes, "the cell phone, laptop and PDA are just devices that allowed the real problem to be made manifest -- the idea that for a salary, a company owns an employee."

Emily in Knoxville, Tennessee: "Once, while dining with my cell phone-addicted sister who feels compelled to answer every single cell call she receives, I finally got her attention by phoning her from across the table."

Jean in Johnson City, Illinois: "My husband's cell phone never stops ringing. I don't remember the last time we got all the through a meal without having him answer a cell phone call. I've learned to keep a book in my purse when we go out to dinner so I'll have something to do while he rattles on with somebody from work. And of course, all these calls are necessary. He's mastered the art of conversation all right, just not with me anymore."

Michelle in Dearborn, Michigan: "I was about to rant about the fact that my husband and I can't go out to eat without his cell phone ringing, until I realized I was using my cell phone to send you this e-mail. Oh well."

Curtis in Portland, Maine writes, "I have no family, no cell phone, no pager, and I'm bald -- thanks for asking."

And John writes, in response to my crack that I don't own a cell phone, I've never owned a cell phone and will never own a cell phone, I got this: "Dear Caveman, cell phones give our family peace of mind, preventing simple delays from frightening elderly parents. Turn it off, Mr. C. Stop your whining."

I guess I will, Wolf.

BLITZER: Excuse me, Jack, I'm on my cell phone. No, never mind. Jack Cafferty, we'll see you back here Monday in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting tonight from Jerusalem.

Don't forget, Sunday on "LATE EDITION," I'll still be here in Jerusalem. Among my guests, the Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Sunday, 11:00 a.m. Eastern, 8:00 a.m. Pacific. Until then, thanks very much for joining us.

In the meantime, let's head over to Paula Zahn. She's standing by in New York -- Paula.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines