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U.S. Military Moving More Assets Into Iraq To Fight ISIS; Surgeon General: Measles Outbreak "At a Critical Tipping Point"; California Measles Cases Up 68 Percent Over Two Weeks

Aired February 4, 2015 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, the U.S. military moving assets into Iraq in the war against ISIS. A live report from the pentagon ahead.

Plus, dramatic video, a plane barely clearing tall buildings, tumbling sideways into a bridge in a river. It appears more than a dozen people survived. How?

And more breaking news, the measles outbreak growing tonight as it's explained on the anti-vaccination movement, just how easy is it to opt out of vaccinations. We have a form. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, U.S. officials telling CNN at this hour that the U.S. military has moved more assets search and rescue assets into Northern Iraq. We're going to have more on this breaking headline in just a moment. It comes as Jordan's King Abdullah vows a quote-unquote, "relentless war against ISIS" even after executing two terrorists in retaliation for the brutal murder of that Jordanian pilot burned alive. Across Jordan, large angry demonstrations on the streets, they are calling for retaliation against ISIS. It's support the king will need as he widens Jordan's war against ISIS. ISIS today responding releasing another video allegedly showing clearing crowds reacting to the video of the pilots horrific execution. It includes a tight shot of a young boy saying he would burn the pilot himself if he got the chance.

Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT tonight. Barbara, you're breaking the story about a move of more American assets in Northern Iraq. What can you tell us?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Erin. There's a lot to understand behind the scenes. There are certain rescue assets. Essentially aircraft that would go in with troops and try and rescue any downed pilot on the ground. Any pilot from the coalition. And you'll remember the Jordanian pilot had mechanical trouble. He ejected, he went down inside Syria. Since that, the coalition, some members especially the United Arab Emirates have been concerned that search and rescue assets were not close enough by if one of their pilots went down. Now, tonight, we know that the U.S. has moved some additional air assets, some additional rescue aircraft into northern Iraq. But I can't emphasize strongly enough. We're being told it is not because of this situation that the UAE got out of the coalition air strikes because it was concerned. It's not because of the Jordanian pilot in particular. In fact, what really happens is the coalition moves these air assets for search and rescue around all the time depending on where the targets are, depending on what they're doing. So, it's something to carefully watch but it just gives us more insight into how the coalition is operating and how they move things around as they begin to go after all of these targets deep inside Syria -- Erin.

BURNETT: Of course, as the U.S. President is about to ask for authorization for force. And the questions are, what would that mean? Will that mean more? Barbara, ISIS releasing another video, you know, that young buy we were just talking about saying he would burn alive that pilot if he had the chance. What can you tell us about this video?

STARR: Well, the video is terribly disturbing because of course it shows people in Raqqa Syria, which is the ISIS stronghold in Northern Syria assembling outside, watching a number of large video screens, watching the execution, chanting and cheering. Look, Raqqa the town is in ISIS stronghold. But I think it needs to be said, we do not know how many of these people may have been compelled by ISIS to turn out on the street and watch all of this -- Erin.

BURNETT: Barbara, thank you.

And also tonight, there are new questions about whether the President's much touted coalition to fight ISIS is crumbling.

Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The king of Jordan now back home to grief and rage over the vicious murder of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. And now promising relentless war against ISIS. Jordanian is vowing revenge, an earth shaking response. That means preparing to step up air strikes. While in Washington the king told senators needs more help.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We need some technical types of more sophisticated weaponry. There's a huge bureaucratic bottleneck in the State Department.

KOSINSKI: At the same time comes the news never mentioned by the administration that the United Arab Emirates another key regional partner has suspended its airstrikes after al-Kasasbeh was captured in December. The White House today downplayed any impact of using this race to air power.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, we certainly have appreciated the wide range of commitments that the United Arab Emirates has made to this broader coalition including the military commitment. But, you know, John, I can tell you that the pace of operations in Syria has not slowed.

KOSINSKI: The administration touts that the coalition is 60 countries strong. When you look at who is actually conducting airstrikes that number drops way down to eight in Iraq and in Syria now only four. The U.S., Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The U.S. still doing the lion's share. Nine hundred forty three airstrikes in Syria. Four of the other nations combined have done 79. That means those Arab countries in that region have contributed only about three percent of total airstrikes. So, will they step up after a Muslim coalition soldier was burned alive?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: As terrible as this thing was it was a gelling force. It caused the country of Jordan to realize that first of all they were next in the crosshairs of ISIS but secondly it also shows what a dastardly organization this is in terms of killing Muslims. They are killing more fellow Muslims than they are westerners in this conflict.


KOSINSKI: Analysts see that this will have a real mobilizing effect especially on Arab partners feeling that the UAE suspension of air strikes will be only temporary that they too will feel pressure to do more. And that possibly the most important contribution that Jordan can increase, it's not just the airstrikes but intelligence getting into those tribes across the border and that is seen as being crucially important for. Even being able to target ISIS -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Michelle, thank you very much. Certainly they did have excellent intelligence. They figured out when the pilot in fact had been killed. Something western intelligence could not do.

OUTFRONT tonight, the former Navy SEAL Team 6 member who shot Osama bin Laden Robert O'Neill along with CNN military analyst General James "Spider" Marks. General Marks, let me start with you. United Arab Emirates suspending its participation airstrikes back in December. They're saying there weren't adequate procedures in place to rescue captured personnel. Look, it's a serious issue. Maybe a fair point. But I am a bit confused by it. Because it seems if you're going to war you're part of a coalition, you are going to accept that some of your fighting force may die, is going to risk their life. Right? You can't say, well, I'm only going to go in if I'm sure that no one is going to get hurt. Right?

GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Erin, completely, what you do is do your risk assessment and then you try to mitigate that risk and you make a determination as to whether you can execute the tasks as defined with the resources available in the training of the personnel. Look, ISIS achieved its objective. UAE has now backed out of the coalition. It's not going to participate because of this barbarous, heinous terrible act that occurred. ISIS right now is checking a block saying, okay, that's one less coalition partner. The real issue is, how do you step up the pressure against ISIS that gets well beyond just air strikes. These are very aggressive air strikes and they're very pointed. The case in point is you've got to contain it and then at some point there has to be without doubt. There has to be a coalition that allows for boots on the ground and it's got to have moderate Arab nations that are bringing this force to bear.

BURNETT: Right. And not just small parts of it. I mean, key parts of it. Rob, when you look at the landscape in Syria, obviously it's a complete war zone. The United States has no intelligence on the ground. You've been on many rescue missions obviously, also including the mission to rescue Captain Phillips from Somali pirates. If there was an American pilot being held by ISIS right now like that Jordanian pilot was being held. Would you feel comfortable, given this environment, going in to try to rescue him?

ROBERT O'NEILL, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Good evening, Erin. Thanks for having me again. Obviously, if there was an American pilot on the ground, we would be doing everything we could as I'm sure we did with the Jordanian pilot. Would we be comfortable? Probably not just due to a sort of a vacuum and a luck of intelligence on the ground. Like General Marks said, we're going to need boots on the ground, not necessarily Americans but definitely coalition especially Arab allies. Right now we don't have it. So, that leads to everything, you know, how are we getting there? How is on the way in, is there going to be resistance? When we land, how much resistance? Would it be the right place? If it's not the right place is it booby trapped? How are we going to get out? Things like that, so a luck of coalition boots on the ground makes a rescue operation I'll be it possible not as likely as we did have people on the ground.

BURNETT: All right. Interesting point about the boots on the ground. So, General Marks, look, the latest numbers for the war against ISIS and Syria are this. Just to make the point. Ninety two percent of the air strikes have been conducted by the United States. About eight percent by Arab nations. So, the administration, you know, anytime we had an official on, they talked about the 60 countries involved in the U.S. coalition, right? This coalition word is a central to everything here. But when you hear numbers like that, is it a coalition?

MARKS: It is certainly a coalition but not in its real full some kind of a rich complexity that you'd want to have with the various members. Clearly the United States always takes the lead and is willing to risk its young men and women like Roberts on missions like this in order to accomplish the task that our president has laid out for and we signed up for. And we have to drag along our partners, our coalition partners in order for them to step up. So, they sign up, they wanted to be a part of it but they're not willing to really do the heavy lifting. We have signed up for an intergenerational fight if this is Erin what is going to look like going forward, where the United States is going to do 90 percent of it. This is going to take over 20 years. We're going to have to accept it. It's the new normal. And we've talked about that. But the real notion of our being involved in this type of a fight going forward is real. It's accurate.


MARKS: And it is going to include all elements of power in order to make it right.

BURNETT: So, Rob, is there any hope to rescue the American woman? There's a 26-year-old American woman that we all know is being held by ISIS still tonight. Is there hope to rescue her? O'NEILL: There's always going to be hope just based on every one

on our side on the good guys' team. From the intelligence to the operators to the people that we do have on the ground. Yes, there's hope and we're very, very capable of it. But we just need to be more realistic. We need to increase our chances by improving our percentage on the battlefield then we need people on the ground to help us for the intelligence real time intelligence so we can get that but yes, there's always hope and I never doubt our men and women.

BURNETT: And of course the questions comes down to who will those boots be on the ground? Whose troops? What country will send those men and women in? Thanks so much to both of you.

OUTFRONT next, breaking news, the measles outbreak in America growing today. New numbers just coming in tonight. This is the surgeon general tells CNN that we're at a critical point in the fight against the virus.

Plus, the last moments of TransAsia Flight 235 as it crashes into the river. Also, there were survivors miraculously. And we have their stories.

And a commuter train slamming into an SUV dragging it 400 feet as the third rail -- into the train's first car. We have new details on what may have caused this horrific commuter crash.


BURNETT: Breaking news, the measles outbreak on the rise. New numbers tonight join cases in California alone are up nearly 70 percent in two weeks. A surgeon general telling CNN in his first in- depth interview saying that we're, quote, "at a tipping, critical tipping point." But he stopped short saying there won't be a requirement from the federal government for parents to vaccinate.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And just to be clear, you would not want recommend mandating vaccines at this time except for medical exemptions. Correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, that's correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And you would not want to significantly change the opt out process, the exemption process overall? You still want to allow people to exempt based on personal religious or medical reasons?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, on that I would say is that while I don't necessarily believe that we are at a stage where we need a federal mandate when it comes to vaccinations, I'm not in favor of an expanded exemption process. And I'm concerned as it is that the current exemption process in some states is too permissive.


BURNETT: Too permissive. All right. Forty eight of the 50 states allowed for religious exemptions. Nineteen states also allows parents to claim philosophical or personal belief exemptions which could just be because you don't like the toxins, you don't like it. Is this increasing trend putting children in harm's way? Suzanne Malveaux is OUTFRONT.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The measles outbreak that began in California's Disney Land continues to spread across the country. Now engulfing at least 14 other states. In California a state where parents are allowed to refuse to immunize their children. Now almost 100 confirmed cases.

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL DIRECTOR: The more kids aren't vaccinated the more risk there is that measles will regain a foothold in this country.

MALVEAUX: A foothold that almost took hold in the city of brotherly love.

DR. PAUL OFFIT, VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER DIRECTOR: I lived through the 1991 there the measles epidemic. I think anybody who lived through that ended up being scarred by it.

MALVEAUX: Within just a few months, the outbreak engulfed 1400 people and killed nine after two churches refused to vaccinate their kids citing religious believes.

OFFIT: It was just incredibly painful to watch these children being pulled out of their homes so one of the next, dead from measles.

MALVEAUX: The city ultimately got a court order to forcibly vaccinate the church's children.

OFFIT: And there was a panic in this city. There were schools that were canceling trips to the city. It was terrible.

MALVEAUX: Could that scenario play out today?

OFFIT: I think certainly it could happen. Hopefully it won't.

MALVEAUX: Well, all 50 states require children to be vaccinated for measles. Forty eight states allow for religious exemptions. Nineteen states also allow philosophical exemptions for one's personal beliefs. In California where vaccination rules are more lenient. 3.3 percent of kindergartners last year, more than 18,000 were allowed to skip vaccinations.

OFFIT: Nobody is ask to see where in the major talks of their religion, it says don't get vaccinated. Nobody asked to have a cleric that works in their religion, write a letter that says, this is not our belief. And so, it's usually just to say sort of default mechanism to allow parents who chose not to get vaccinated to more easily make that choice.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX: Over the last five years the medical community has

watched with alarm as people all across America have been citing personal reasons to avoid vaccinations. And -- for the country had been getting hit by the measles flair outs from you're talking the Amish in Ohio, Somali and Minnesota, Orthodox Jews, Jews in Brooklyn to evangelicals in Texas. And now, Erin, you've got this case in California.

BURNETT: All right. Suzanne, thank you very much. Well, the latest numbers are just in late tonight. There are now 99 confirmed cases of measles in California. To give you a sense of how the virus is spreading quickly and now fully a third of those cases no one actually knows, according to the California Health Department, how those people were even exposed to the virus.

Joining me OUTFRONT, Dr. James Watt, the California Department of Public health. He's the chief of the Division of Communicable Disease Control. Dr. Watt, I really appreciate you're taking the time. Because there are so many questions. Look, thanks to max vaccinations, measles was declared eliminated in 2000 but obviously measles cases arising in California right now. You're a doctor. You must be so frustrated to see this.

DR. JAMES WATT, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASE CONTROL, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: We are very concerned to see the spread of measles in California. And we are working very hard to control this current outbreak. That's really our primary focus right now to make sure that we take every step that we can to prevent additional transmission.

BURNETT: So, let me talk about this the forum. This exemption, you just heard Suzanne reporting on it. Personal belief exemption. And let me just make clear to our viewers. This is different than a religious belief. But you have a forum here, a forum in California. Parents, they got to talk to their doctor. Acknowledge their doctor, you know, told them about vaccines and then they can check that they don't want their children to be vaccinated. Why do you believe in personal belief exemptions?

WATT: Well, I'm not going to get into the political question of how the personal belief exemption is structured. I think that we are taking steps to ensure that as many people as possible are immunized. That's one of the reasons we've been implementing the new law that you mentioned which requires that parents talk to a doctor before they take the personal belief exemption. That new law was modeled on a successful experience in the state of Washington which did something very similar and saw a decline in personal belief exemptions. We have done the same thing. And in the first year following that change we saw a 20 percent decrease in personal belief exemptions.

BURNETT: All right. So, that 20 percent drop, I want to get into that in little more detail. Because it sounds good. I believe it was from 3.1 to 2.5. You know, we went through your website today, county by county. There were plenty of counties where the personal belief exemption actually rose when this formed was introduced. Mariposa County, Mono County, Lassen County, to name a few. In San Francisco County those personal belief exemptions actually went up 10 percent. All of these levels would put the vaccinated population rate below what it needs to be for heard immunity. And that's clearly a problem. What are you going to do about it?

WATT: Well, I think you're making a very good point. And one of the concerning things about people being unimmunized. Is that that tense to cluster in certain geographic areas. And that's something that we've been monitoring as well. What we're doing about it is we're working hard with a variety of partners to convey the importance of immunization. That vaccines are very important tool to prevent disease, that they're safe and that they protect not only the individuals who are vaccinated but the people around them as well.

BURNETT: Right. So, back to this personal belief exemption. Right? Because part of the reason these rates in these counties, I mean, they are rising. It's causing the rate to dip below that crucial heard immunity level which you can start to lose if it's less than 95 percent of your population is not immunized. It's obviously an issue. So, let's say someone believes that vaccines caused autism. Something which has, it's not true, something the study has been retracted, right? But they believe that. They talked to their doctor. Their doctor tells them no, no, no, no, please vaccinate. People tend to believe things like that as phase. They say, you know what? I'm going to do it anyway. They go check the box and they go ahead. How can you allow someone to be exempted because they believe something that is not true?

WATT: Well, I think I'd like to focus on the importance of helping to provide accurate information to people. You make a very important point about the importance of believes. And the reality is that there's this tremendous proliferation of information that's out there for parents. It can be very, very confusing. Part of our job is to make sure that they have accurate sources of information. And that's part of the importance of having them talk to a doctor as well. Research has shown that the most influential voice in parent's decisions about vaccination is their doctor. Doctors have tools at their disposal, know how to talk to parents about these issues. We have been working to provide those for them and then this new vaccination law also creates another opportunity for doctors to talk to those parents.

BURNETT: Look, I know as a doctor, look, the law of California is the law. I understand you don't set the law. But when you start to have these clusters, like you have in California, 23 of the 58 counties have overall vaccination rates, below 90 percent. You end up in a situation where, even a vaccinated population could start to get sick. You can have an epidemic start to spread. People could die. You know, it looked like at a state like Mississippi, they don't allow exemptions at all for personal belief. They haven't had a single case of measles this year. When you think about it as a doctor, you know, because of this exemptions that there could be people that die because people choose not to get vaccines, how does that make you feel?

WATT: Well, I think that this is a really important conversation to have. The first step that we can take here is to make this information available. That's something we've been working very hard at at the California Department of Public Health. We take all of that vaccination information, we put it up there on the website for you and for others to see. People can go in and see what the situation is in their school. That's really a critical first step so that people understand what's actually happening. And that that can lead to an opportunity for a conversation about why are these decisions being made and what are the implications of these decisions. And one of the things we've seen with the current outbreak is that a lot of conversation about the importance of these decisions for the entire community. And I think that's a very healthy conversation to have. I'm glad that we're thinking about the benefits of vaccines not just for individuals but for the community as well.

BURNETT: Yes. So hard to understand that the personal belief exemption, how states, not just your state but states in general allow it for beliefs that maybe just factually inaccurate. But thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it. Dr. Watt obviously trying to fight the spread of that measles virus in California.

OUTFRONT next, a dramatic plane crash video. We're going to break down the sequence of events in the final seconds of Trans Asia Flight 235. We're going to talk about the survivors and about what happened.

Plus, the plane crash landed upside down in a river. Upside down in a river. And yet there were survivors including a 2-year-old child.


BURNETT: Breaking news tonight: the first clue into what might have caused a jet packed with passengers to lose control. The mayday crash killing more than 30 people. Dash cam catching the plane's final moments as it rolled 90 degrees and struck that taxi and a highway and then plunged into the river.

We are now learning that minutes after the jet left the airport, the pilot issued a mayday call, declaring an, quote, "engine flameout".

And tonight, rescuers are scouring the river where the plane went down. They are looking for the few passengers still missing. Of the nearly 60 onboard there were survivors, 15 survived. You'll hear some of their incredible stories coming up.

But, first, David Molko is OUTFRONT live in Hong Kong. And, David, what are they saying about the crash tonight?

DAVID MOLKO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the grim search for survivors, more than 12 people unaccounted for still under way, the search for answers underway as well. Investigators, though, have what they need, not only the black boxes but that incredible harrowing video giving them a firsthand look at just what may have gone wrong.


MOLKO (voice-over): Dramatic dash cam video captures the final seconds of TransAsia Airways Flight 235. The pilot's desperate call.

PILOT: Mayday, mayday, engine flameout.

MOLKO: With the plane losing power, the left wing dips. It hits a passing taxi, then clips the bridge before crashing into the river below. Of the 58 passengers and crew on board, more than 30 were killed. More than a dozen injured.

About 11:00 a.m. local time, the twin engine turbo is flying low and slow as it barely clears a tall building. As the wing drops, it appears the left propeller had stalled. After slamming into this cab, the wing, then the tail strike the bridge. The cab driver and his passenger miraculously survived. The plane is designed to fly only on one engine, but experts say it's difficult.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: It's very tricky and often what happens is what you see here. One wing dips, the wing that doesn't have the power, and it pitches over and it can lead into a stall.

MOLKO: Rescuers in boat pulled survivors from the wreckage, including this little boy who appeared to be in good condition. The rescue operation went on well into the night.

Taiwanese officials say the plane was less than a year old and had just completed a safety check. Both black boxes were recovered from the plane's tail. It's TransAsia's second fatal crash in recent months. Last July, a similar ATR 72 plane crashed in heavy rain, 48 were killed.

It's been a deadly time for a part of the world experiencing a tremendous spike in air travel from the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501, to the still missing Malaysia Flight 370, to late 2013, another ATR 72 crashed on landing in Laos in extreme weather, killing all onboard.


MOLKO: And back to July 2013 when Oceania Flight 214 crashed in San Francisco. Three died. More than 180 injured.

SCHIAVO: Whenever you have a dramatic build up in demand for aviation and airlines are adding aircraft very quickly, there tends to be an increase in accidents because there's such a rush to get more equipment, more pilots, more service, more planes. And the problem is, is you're bringing a lot of pilots online quickly.

MOLKO: Hours after the crash, the fuselage of Flight 235 flying upside down was pulled from the river.


MOLKO: Erin, what's happening right now in Taipei, search and rescue teams are out on the surface of the river. They are lowering equipment into the water to look and listen for any sign of life. On the banks the mangled wreckage of the fuselage from the TransAsia flight luggage, dozens of pieces has been lined up in neat rows outside the wreckage. And, Erin, the grim reality is that many of those pieces will never be reclaimed by their owners.

BURNETT: That is the grim reality.

All right. Thank you very much, David Molko.

And OUTFRONT: Richard Quest, and aviation analyst, Miles O'Brien.

And, Richard, the video is stunning to watch. This plane had been in the air for only about 4 minutes when it went down. So, when you watch that video and you see the plane coming over the highway here, right, and then it veers almost to its side. All right. What do you see?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: All right. Well, the first thing to establish is, that by the time this video, whatever caused the engine's to flame out, the mayday had already happened. I mean, this plane is only a few hundred feet in the air.

Now, it its maximum we believe it got to about 1,300 feet. It's about five miles from the airfield.

So, what you're looking at is firstly what caused the engine flame out. The engine stopped. Since this is one of the things that pilots practice, did both engines fail, or just one? Because if one failed the plane should have been able to continue flying.

BURNETT: Wouldn't it have been because this was a --

QUEST: No. The plane is designed to compensate for that. And also it is the single greatest thing that pilots practice is losing an engine.

BURNETT: Being able to balance.

QUEST: The critical moment of flight. The final thing to ask if both engines failed, a disaster was inevitable. Was the pilot trying to avoid something or was the final stall of the wing that (INAUDIBLE)

BURNETT: So, Miles, I want to play what the pilot said before crashing. Here it is.


PILOT: Mayday, mayday, engine flame out.


BURNETT: When you hear that. If one of the engines failed, would that be enough to cause the plane to bank like it did or do you think you're looking at a double engine failure?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Couple of thoughts here. First of all, the rules of aviation are aviate, navigate and communicate. It seems like they might have had things backwards because they weren't controlling that aircraft. It's important to know, yes, there's enough power on one engine to fly the aircraft. You know, obviously, not well but get it back safely to the airport.

However, if the engine that fails doesn't feather, which is to say the prop continues to wind mill and the prop is not put edge on, it might as well be a giant trash can lid out there. And trimming the airplane, controlling the airplane, if that is the case is next to impossible. In fact, what the crews should do is pull the power back on the existing engine and glide in and try to do a Sully style landing.

So, if the auto-feather failed and if the crew didn't use the manual auto-feather or was confused to which engine is out, which frequently happens, this could easily be an uncontrollable situation.

BURNETT: But, Richard, does it look, I mean, obviously, you're saying the event happened but the plane goes over the highway and then over the river. Does -- is it possible they were aiming for the river?

QUEST: Who knows? That turn is or that bank to the left wing is so brutal.

BURNETT: You're saying that's clearly uncontrollable.

QUEST: But I think also this question of feathering of the engine, this is the -- basically what you're doing, if this is, if you come out you'll see the propeller. You've got to turn the propeller so that it is not like a sledge hammer into the wind at that crucial moment. That's what Miles is describing. That's why you may see this left wing. But I think that that last moment is one of extremist and was not a carefully calculated.

BURNETT: Not planned.

Miles, a local survivor is telling a paper because there were survivors and we're going to have their stories. They had no warning. There was no explosion. What would they have experienced? Would they have though, would they have known something was wrong in the last seconds? Or --

O'BRIEN: I don't know how much realization they would have had. This would have happened quickly. I'm certain they didn't have an opportunity to make an announcement in the short time that they had. This would have been a very sudden, quick end for those who did not survive.

BURNETT: It was. And, of course, that is horribly tragic. There were survivors, though, which is miraculous in its own way.

Thanks so much to both of you.

And next, as many as a dozen people may have survived. The youngest passengers may have had the best shot and one of them was so very, very young.

Plus, a train crash, a deadly one. A scene that's horrific and unimaginable -- that's the description of those there -- right here in the United States. How did it happen?


BURNETT: "Mayday, mayday, engine flame out." Those were the final words of the pilot at the controls of this jet which lost control, rolled 90 degrees in its side, clipped an overpass. It crashed into a river below. And it was a tragedy. At least 30 lost their lives. But in so many plane crashers, there are not survivors, and in this one there were.

Miraculous stories of survival, men, women and children who walked away from a crash that left their plane in pieces. Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT with the survival.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Moments after this plane crashed, rescuers raced to the scene. This toddler somehow survived. He was pulled from the wreckage and placed into the arms of a rescuers in the boat.

DR. KRISTY ARBOGAST, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: A child has several advantages in a crash environment. Their bones are more pliable. So, they can with stand forces -- higher forces without fracture.

BROWN: On land, rescuers are seen rushing other bloodied survivors on stretchers to the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): These patients seem to have been hit by a huge force from the outside. They suffered trauma from their heads and legs and limbs and body.

BROWN: Amazingly, a taxi driver and passenger inside this mangled car hit by the plane also survived. The driver told the Taiwanese press he fainted when it happened. One first responders who went inside the plane right after the crash told "The Taipei Times" many passengers were tangled up in their seat belts and hung upside down.

Aviation experts say surviving plane crash like this depends on a number of factors including altitude, fire and better planes.

SCHIAVO: Seats are supposed to have greater G-force resistance, the flammability standards are increased. Making a plane crash survivable is something our own NTSB has been interested in for years.


BROWN: I'm told, so far, 31 confirmed dead, 15 injured, 12 still missing. That search and rescue mission continues tonight. And also, we learned, according to the Taiwanese official news agency, that a 1- year-old toddler and his parents survived the crash, but, Erin, still unclear if that's referring to the little boy in the video that we saw, this incredible video, or another child rescued from the crash -- Erin. BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you so much. So incredible

to see that child just surviving.

Well, next, a deadly crash in the United States. A commuter train colliding with an SUV. Rail crossings may be the most dangerous part of a drive home.

And on a lighter night, Jeanne Moos with coast guardsman first rescue. One very cold, very lucky canine.


BURNETT: The victims in Tuesday's deadly train crash are being identified tonight. Six people were killed. Commuters just trying to get home during rush hour north of New York City when the train smashed into an SUV. The dead include a young mother, a museum curator, and a financial manager. The impact of the crash so severe, the SUV was ramped 400 feet down the track, which is farther than the length of a football field.

Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Survivors and officials used the same word to describe the tragedy in New York -- horrific.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are pulling the windows off, trying to get off through the emergency windows. Screaming, yelling, it was just total panic.

SAVIDGE: It happened during Tuesday evening's rush hour. Rail officials say a woman in a black SUV became stuck when a crossing gate came down on her vehicle. Investigators want to know not just what happened but why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know that we want to send somebody to look at the signals, the rail traffic signals, the highway signals as well as the crossing arms.

SAVIDGE: The intersection of rails and roads has always been a problem. The Internet full of heart stopping videos showing near misses and collisions caught on camera. According to public awareness group Operation Lifesaver, a person or a vehicle is hit by a train about every three hours in this country. To see the problem from an engineer's perspective, CNN took a ride in the engine of a Chicago commuter train operator Jeff Kline controls the seven-car train weighing a million pounds, carrying hundreds of passengers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How fast are we going now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixty miles an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how long would it take to stop?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Controlled stop? Like coming into a station, probably take about four tenths of a mile.

SAVIDGE: A fully loaded freight train can take up to a mile to stop. Last year, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, 239 people died in what are classified as highway rail accidents. That's actually 120 fewer deaths than just a decade ago. In 2008, Congress backed a high-tech solution called positive train control that would monitor tracks ahead for obstructions such as cars and could stop a train automatically but the system is expensive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The alternative to that is looking at in the federal government is trying to force railroads positive train control certainly much more costly, we're into the hundreds of millions of dollars right now and we haven't even had the implementation of that system.

SAVIDGE: Instead, railroads are focused on less costly low-tech solutions, such as raising public awareness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just urged motorists to always be alert especially around railroad crossings, always be on the lookout for a train, because the train can come at anytime.

SAVIDGE: Technology may yet help prevent train vehicle collisions. But until then, drivers offered simple advice: never try to beat a train.


SAVIDGE: I should point out that there was nothing to suggest in the accident last night in New York that the woman was trying to beat a train.

Let me point out an app, it's called the Railroad Crossing Locator App put out by the federal government. Once you download it and click on it, it will show you every crossing located in your immediate area. Click on the crossing. It tells you the railroad system that uses it, what time of day it's used, the signals that are there, it even tell you what is the cargo that's routinely crossing over that point. Pretty handy stuff -- Erin.

BURNETT: Certainly is, Martin. Thank you very much.

And next, a very lucky Lab wandering eight miles from home just to jump in a freezing lake.

Jeanne Moos with Bailey's icy rescue.


BURNETT: A man risked his life in the frozen Great Lakes to save man's best friend. Jeanne Moos has his story.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We'll never know why Bailey the yellow Lab jumped into icy Lake Michigan, but if Coast Guard Petty Officer Tim Putnam hadn't put on the dry suit and rescue her, she'd have been a goner.

So, you must have looked like an alien to this dog as you approached.

TIM PUTNAM, PETTY OFFICER, FRANKFORT U.S. COAST GUARD: The dog at that point would have been excited to see even an alien too because he was pretty shook up.

MOOS: It was a bad idea for Bailey to jump in, but at least the dog picked a great spot right there by the coast guard station.

Coast guard staffers were holding a morning meeting when someone actually saw the dog go in.

The guardsman hit the search and rescue alarm and Tim Putnam, tethered by a rope, went to the shivering dog and the man on shore started to pull them in.

PUTNAM: Telling her, we're going to get back and you're going to be OK and telling her she's a good girl.

MOOS: The dog was in the water for around 40 minutes and Tim?

PUTNAM: I was definitely pooped.


MOOS: It was this video that stopped Rebecca Mills in her tracks.

REBECCA MILLS, BAILEY'S OWNER: I saw my dog on the news.

MOOS: It turns out going on 8-year-old Bailey had gotten loose and traveled 8 miles to the Frankfort, Michigan Coast Guard Station.

MILLS: She's an escape artist. He knows how to open the garage door.

MOOS: Using her paws to push a button on the garage wall, Rebecca got to meet and thank the guardsman who saved her dog.

MILLS: It was emotional for me because it's like, God, you just risked your life.

MOOS: For Tim, his first ever hands on rescue was a dog.


MOOS: And you never forget your first.

PUTNAM: She's adorable, too. You know, everybody seems to love her.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

You were panting more than the dog. PUTNAM: Yes.

MOOS: New York.


BURNETT: And Jeanne reports Bailey is doing just fine, laying in the floor like nothing happened.

Well, before we go, we want to send our warmest congratulations to our senior producer Andrew Haig (ph) and his wife Christina on the arrival of baby boy, William Martin. Look at how beautiful that family is. Right after the birth of baby and she still looks that gorgeous. Normally, Andrew would be in the control room telling me to wrap right, we're going to be late to Anderson. Now, look, it's great if you're watching, Andrew, but we'll forgive you if you spend time with that beautiful little boy. Congrats again to Andrew and his new family.

Thanks for joining us. Anderson, we're on time.