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Security for the Fourth of July Celebrations; Holiday Security Heightened Amid Terror Threat; New York Governor: New York A "Top Target" For Terror; New York Escapee To Daughter: See You "On The Outside." Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 4, 2015 - 06:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Heavy security dominating this 4th of July holiday. Law enforcement out in force with calls for vigilance on this 239th birthday of the nation.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Plus out of control fireworks. Several people hurt when malfunctioning fireworks fly into the crowd at a Colorado town display.

BLACKWELL: And can you imagine this, this huge catch, this fisherman looking for grouper, but he ended up with a shark in his kayak.

KOSIK: I don't think he found it so funny.


KOSIK: Good morning, everyone. I'm Alison Kosik. I'm in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Always good to start a Saturday with you and as millions of Americans, I'm sure you're one of them, celebrate the 4th of July holiday, officials are warning you to be vigilant.

KOSIK: Law enforcement is on alert this morning ramping up security everywhere from national monuments to state parks as officials warn celebrations could be the target for terror attacks.

BLACKWELL: The concern is really being felt overseas as well as embassies, consulates, meet with security teams and review their efforts to stay safe. One U.S. Air Force base in England is calling off its celebrations today because of this increased security threat.

KOSIK: So far, there haven't been any specific threats, but intelligence officials say there has been an increase in chatter in the days leading up to the anniversary of our nation's founding.

BLACKWELL: Sunlen Serfaty joins us with a look at security at the site of one of the country's biggest celebrations, the National Mall in Washington. Sunlen, good morning. SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Alison. Hundreds of thousands will gather on the National Mall later today. While a major security presence isn't anything new for Washington during the 4th of July, this increase in strong warning coming from the intelligence community certainly has officials on edge.


SERFATY (voice-over): Ramped up security across the nation on this holiday, in Washington, checkpoints for those watching the fireworks with 18,000 feet of fencing in place to protect the National Mall, special patrols at Washington landmarks and heavy police presence authorities is saying in both seen and unseen ways.

LT. ALLAN GRIFFIN, U.S. PARK POLICE: We prepare for worst-case scenarios and we have contingencies in place should they occur. We don't anticipate that they will.

SERFATY: Much of the anxiety stems from a bulletin issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, warning of potential attacks by ISIS this holiday weekend. U.S. officials say there's no intelligence about specific or credible plots, but there has been an uptick of chatter from ISIS encouraging their followers to attack during this time.

The dominant concern is homegrown violent extremists, supporters of ISIS within the U.S., who may be inspired to carry out their call to action.

ASH CARTER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: In the year of social media and phenomenon like ISIL, unlike al Qaeda in the old days there doesn't have to be, won't necessarily be a commanding and control relationship between somebody who instigates an incident and ISIL as an organization. There are self-radicalized, self-organized people on social media.

SERFATY: These so-called lone wolf attacks are a challenge for the intelligence community, much harder to pick up ahead of time. It's not just in Washington. Police forces across the nation including New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, are on high alert, and not just in the streets but online.

GRIFFIN: There are people assigned monitoring, monitoring social media and known websites.

SERFATY (on camera): Looking for any specific --

GRIFFIN: That's correct, any kind of watch words. So it's constantly being monitored.


SERFATY: Now these threats won't go away likely with the holiday. Law enforcement officials say another area of concern of a possible threat is because this is also the holy month of Ramadan, which lasts until the 17th of this month. So likely this sort of anxiety, sort of increased security posture will not go away until then -- Victor and Alison.

KOSIK: And from Washington, we head to New York where Boris Sanchez joins us live from Penn Station. Good morning, Boris. Governor Cuomo calling New York a top target for threats, what extra security are you seeing?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very expanded law enforcement presence here, Alison. About 42 million people are going to be traveling this weekend so officials are focusing in on travel hubs like here at Penn Station in New York.

You mentioned Governor Cuomo, yesterday announced that he was expanding staff and patrol at the emergency operation center in the city. Officials have also told us that they are placing snipers and spotters in key locations and strategic locations across the city to watch crowds.

[06:05:06] We also know they are scanning for explosives by land, sea and air. They also have 7,000 cameras all across the city fanned out looking for any suspicious activity among crowds. Officials telling us they're prepared for any kind of attack.


JOHN MILLER, NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: So when you look at that diversity of techniques you also see that they are following the ISIS call and the ISIS call, as well as that of other terrorist groups, has been to use what you have on hand, and that means if you can make a bomb, you're a bomber, but if you can't, use a gun.

If you can't find a gun, use a knife. If you can't use a knife, find a car. So when we look at that, that is a broad spectrum of threats and it's something to prepare for.


SANCHEZ: The governor also asking New Yorkers to stay vigilant and report any activity that seems out of place. Clearly this is going to be a very busy weekend for law enforcement.

KOSIK: And those fireworks display is happening tonight, Boris, across New York City. What kind of presence should people expect as they get out there to watch those shows?

SANCHEZ: Certainly. Like I said before, an expanded law enforcement presence. One unique note, placing special attention on the harbor and the areas out at sea where they have boats scanning for radioactive devices and explosives is clearly a full-court press this weekend.

KOSIK: All right, Boris Sanchez live from Penn Station, thanks.

BLACKWELL: For more let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes. We also have with us terrorism and security expert, Sajjan Gohel. Good to have both of you with us. Sajjan, I want to start with you, and to put punctuation on what we heard from that New York City counterterror official, the call from ISIS to use what you have, where you are, fundamentally changes the view from the U.S. on these terror attacks. Gone are the days possibly of these large-scale attacks.

SAJJAN GOHEL, TERRORISM EXPERT: Very much so, Victor. It not the al Qaeda mass casualty plot, people going abroad for terrorist training, coming back to carry out an attack, say targeting transportation system. Today's type of terrorism that ISIS purports is sporadic, spontaneous.

It's not necessarily very sophisticated, but still the visualization of terrorism is something that they promote whenever they issue a message. Unfortunately, their followers tend to react.

A couple of weeks ago they shoot a message to followers to make Ramadan the most bloodiest month on record. You had attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia, and France so there's a worry whenever they issue a threat, people will try and act independently.

BLACKWELL: Tom, that makes it really difficult to investigate because often attacks are not orchestrated by ISIS, but instead inspired by ISIS. Doesn't that eliminate some of the quote/unquote "chatter" investigators typically use?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's right, Victor. You know, in the old days with al Qaeda, the chatter was that because the attacks were micromanaged by Bin Laden or KSM close to Bin Laden and that involved a lot of back and forth communication.

OK, attack on this date, do this, do that, send us money, OK, we are sending you money, go to this bank and withdraw the money. You could track finance and communications, to some extent, and if not the specific content of communications you did see the amount of chatter going back and forth.

Now there's no chatter that way. They put out this, as mentioned, the word, go kill, and there's no need to respond to that. Just go do it when you want to, how you want to, whatever's available to you.

When there's no back and forth traffic, there's nothing to intercept. Now, fortunately, most of these terrorists have put something on social media to indicate a desire to do something and somehow you know that word gets to the authorities.

The FBI can then sign the JTTFs to look at that group or group of persons. But now, without that back and forth, you're left with the FBI trying to read minds. Who is thinking of doing something? When are they going to do it?

BLACKWELL: Sajjan, help us understand, we talked about it here a bit this morning, the calendar, not only the 4th of July but it's the holy month of Ramadan and the increased value for some on attacking during the month. GOHEL: Well, Ramadan as you just mentioned is the holiest month for Muslims, a period where they have to fast regularly. It's deemed to be the most holiest period for their lives. It's a very warped period for terrorists because they deem themselves to attain greater spirituality if they carry out attacks during this period.

We have it on record in the past, where Ramadan attacks before. Unfortunately, ISIS is also believes in targeting symbolic events, 4th of July, of course, very important for all Americans.

[06:10:12] They want to try to capture the attention to get the focus off from celebrations and more on the fear factor. But, at the same time, we should have a lot of faith and confidence in the U.S., local, and national law enforcement agencies.

They will do whatever they can to foil this. Unfortunately, after -- for the terrorist, they have to be lucky once, the authorities have to be lucky all the time.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that is always the concern. Sajjan Gohel, thank you so much for joining us this morning. Tom Fuentes, stick around, we'll continue the conversation throughout the day.

KOSIK: This is a shocking sign inside a police van, telling cuffed passengers to enjoy the ride. It could be up right now in a city that has a real struggle between police and its citizens.

Plus -- whoa, a terrifying moment as a fisherman swims for his life after his kayak is flipped over by a shark, but he gets back in his boat and catches it. We'll show you the video and hear from the kayaker next.


KOSIK: This morning, we're learning much more about the two convicted killers who broke out of a New York state prison and were on the run for almost three weeks. David Sweat has been talking a lot to police since his capture last Sunday.

Detailing how law enforcement came so close to getting him before he was caught. We are also finding out more about his fellow escapee, Richard Matt, who was shot and killed by police. Matt reached out to his daughter in a letter.

[06:15:07] CNN national correspondent, Deborah Feyerick has details.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Killer, Richard Matt, was so confident he would elude immediate capture after breaking out of his maximum security prison he sent his daughter a letter.

Law enforcement sources telling the "Buffalo News," Matt wrote, "I always promised I would see you on outside. I'm a man of my word." The daughter, who lives in a suburb of Buffalo, New York, reportedly receives the letter three days after her father's dramatic escape from Clinton Correctional Facility, about 350 miles across state.

There's no indication she knew in advance of her father's plans. Matt spent 20 days on the run before a border patrol special operations team found him alone behind a tree. He was shot three times in the head after apparently aiming a .20 gauge shotgun at an officer.

Matt's body has been taken to the Buffalo area after his family had a change of heart and decided to claim the body. The funeral home said there will be no public or private services.

David Sweat is listed in fair condition. He continues to heal from two gunshot wounds sustained during his capture. Police put out a photo of the type of backpack he was carrying when arrested just two miles from the Canadian border.

They believed the inmates took it from a camping ground in Franklin or Clinton County, and are asking the owner to come forward possibly to trace the escapees' route.

(on camera): The department of corrections has been criticized for failing to order a total lockdown in the Clinton facility following a fight in the yard a week before the escape.

The corrections official tells CNN that only a partial lockdown was necessary because the melee among 30 inmates in the prison yard lasted less than a minute, involved no weapons, and only one injury.

Security measures have been tightened to ensure daily random cell checks and weekly security inspections. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


BLACKWELL: A fireworks accident at a 4th of July celebration. This morning, people have been injured. This happened when a malfunction sent fireworks into the crowd. We'll show you more of this.

Also a closer look behind the terror threats this 4th of July weekend. We'll show you why officials are so concerned about lone wolf attacks specifically and the risk they pose.



KOSIK: Welcome back. Here's a look at other stories we're watching right now.

BLACKWELL: It's 20 minutes after the hour here. Massachusetts police are asking for help in identifying a toddler whose body washed ashore along the Boston harbor last week. Officials have released this computer generated sketch of the girl.

They say she was about 4 years old, you see here brown hair, brown eyes. They add that her body, which was found in a zipper striped blanket inside of a trash can, showed no obvious signs of trauma. So far, they've received thousands of tips, but still have not been able to identify this girl.

Let's take you to Texas now where a man has died in alligator attack. Witnesses say the man took off his shoes and his shirt after someone warned him not to swim in the water. A nearby sign said "no swimming, alligators."

However, the man jumped in anyway and was immediately attacked. A state game warden on the job for 22 years says, it is the first fatal alligator attack he can recall probably because people didn't jump in because the sign said "no swimming, alligators."

KOSIK: A fireworks malfunction injuring nine people during a show last night in Colorado. A shell exploded in its tube and landed in the crowd instead of firing into the sky. Look at this.


KOSIK: That's really scary. All nine people were treated for minor abrasion burns at the show and then released. An investigation was launched immediately after the incident.

BLACKWELL: Protests in Greece now where polls ahead of a vote on a referendum for a proposed new bailout, the polls are too close to call. Those in favor which would require Greece to accept more austerity, more cut backs to get the deal are slightly leading those who oppose it. A no vote on Sunday could mean the beginning of Greece's exit from the Eurozone, the 19 countries that used the euro as currency.

We'll have a live report. CNN's Richard Quest is there in Greece. He'll join us later this morning.

KOSIK: Back here at home, flood watches, severe storms, all of that's going to impact many of your July 4th celebrations, bummer.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera. This is not going to be a great weekend for some people.

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's summer, this happens pretty much every summer. Some areas get thunderstorms through the afternoon. But the problem is this year we'll have a line that is not going away. The potential for flooding is here.

I don't think we'll talk too much about severe storms. There will be a few isolated storms that could reach severe levels here. We have one right now across Northern Mississippi, but mainly it's going to be a flood threat here.

We are talking an additional 1 inch to 3 inches in an area that has picked up 6 inches in the last 24 to 48 hours. This is what we're talking about. Look at these flood watches from Arkansas through Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and into parts of Georgia, including Atlanta as well so a soggy 4th of July.

This is not the kind of day you wake up, clear sky and then afternoon storms. No, it's already raining and it will continue to rain throughout the day as we put the forecast into motion. Right along that boundary, not much movement here, that is why the flood threat is there.

It's going to rain over the same areas and we have showers across the northeast. I think we'll be in good shape up there as the showers begin to push off east after 9:00 p.m. and that's when the fireworks get going here.

In the southeast, looking for more heavy rainfall, as far as accumulation, anywhere from 1 to 3 inches, that's going to be a problem here. Stay indoors, have fun, enjoy yourself. Keep in mind heavy rain across the southern U.S. on this 4th.

KOSIK: And watch the fireworks on TV.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that's good. That's good.

CABRERA: Why not?

KOSIK: Thanks, Ivan. Cities across the country are stepping up security this July 4th. But how do authorities and the military prevent lone wolf attackers from setting their sights on holiday events? We are going to have more on this threat coming up next.

BLACKWELL: Later this morning, you know, there are these lingering tensions after the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.

[06:25:05] Well, a photo has emerged from the inside of a police van in Baltimore that one sergeant calls concerning. Now there's an investigation. What are the larger implications here?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Jane Weldon has been hosting the game at her Wimbledon home for seven years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a 5-minute walk to the all England club. You can see the courts and hear the roar from center and number one courts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apartments with sw-19 post code start at 2,200 a week and family homes top out at 23,000,000. Players willing to play big for the convenience of walking to work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So just something really nice about Wimbledon. You can have a normal life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger Federer requires two houses when he comes to Wimbledon to accommodate his growing family. He is looked after by Joanna who finds private homes for most of the top players.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are quite superstitious quite a lot of players, I think. I mean, I can never get a player to go and live in a house that's number 13, for example.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wimbledon business owners know the value of privacy. If they can keep their clients happy, they'll be returning for years to come.



[06:30:00] BLACKWELL: Bottom of the hour this morning. Thanks for joining us this Saturday. Happy July Fourth. And on this weekend, security across the nation is ramping up. New York's governor is adding manpower, enhancing monitoring operations for this weekend's holiday. And officials across the country are boosting security at fireworks shows and landmarks. And concerns are much higher this year, in part because of the calendar, Fourth of July happening during the Holy month of Ramadan and terrorist networks have taken to social media, urging supporters to carry out attacks during this weekend.

KOSIK: And among the fears this holiday, the threat of a lone wolf attack on soft targets. Those places more vulnerable to attack. Officials worry that there could be attacks similar to the recent ones in Tunisia and France. CNN's Rene Marsh takes a closer look at what's being done to protect July 4th festivities. Rene?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the nation's capital alone, 600,000 people are expected to take subways while 2 million flyers per day are also traveling to Fourth of July celebrations. But as Americans move from point A to point B, law enforcement remains on high alert for terrorists on U.S. soil.

LT. ALLEN GRIFFIN, POLICE: We prepare for worst-case scenarios and we have contingencies in place, should they occur.

MARSH: Those reassurances being echoed ahead of celebrations across the country.

EVERETT GILLISON, PHILADELPHIA DEPUTY MAYOR: Philadelphia is already part of an enhanced security network.

MARSH: Despite the assurances there's only so much authorities can do to secure so-called soft targets.

JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: What I fear the most is what we saw in Tunisia last weekend, which is one or two people with automatic weapons and they simply go into a place where it's really crowded or they go to a bridge where traffic is stopped or a tunnel and just simply taking out 40-50 people. That would be as effective as any large-scale bomb.

MARSH: And ISIS has been encouraging followers to launch attacks wherever they can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look behind me, it's the most iconic image of America. And so we know that it is something that people who don't like us would want to do something and maybe even try to make a statement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These kind of targets are soft targets. They're very easy to go after. You've got a gun, you're willing to die for your beliefs.

MARSH: Authorities say the best thing anyone here can do is be aware of their surroundings. And if they see something that doesn't look right, alert authorities immediately.

Well, airports have been seeing high volume as well. TSA officers are being extra vigilant, flyers should expect random checks at the airport. And if you take a look, just behind me, you see that setup that is where the Fourth of July concert will happen here, at the Nation's Capital. Law enforcement, they will have their eyes closely glued to this event. They're expecting thousands and thousands of people to show up. An important point we want to make here, they are warning people to be alert, but they are not telling people to stay home. They want people to come out and enjoy, but just observe the surroundings around them. Victor, Alison?

BLACKWELL: Rene Marsh, thank you so much. Let's bring in CNN military analyst, Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

General, good to have you this morning.

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING (RET.) U.S. ARMY: Good morning, Victor, how are you?

BLACKWELL: Very well, thank you. So, we've talked a lot about the law enforcement role, the police departments and so forth. But I wonder, is there a military role this weekend that likely we're not seeing in protecting some of these sites?

HERTLING: Well, certainly not yet, Victor. And this is all related to something called the posse comitatus federal forces, the U.S. military cannot get involved in these kind of security actions with the police. Now, you could -- a governor could call up the National Guard if it was an extreme emergency, but that's hasn't happened yet and it's very difficult to defend with military forces against these so called soft targets.

Now, we do have Air Force flying cap all over the United States, that's always happening. Combat air patrols in case of some type of incoming aircraft or something like that, and they will react in that way. But the soft targets are very hard to defend against.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, and that's a term that we talked a lot about after 9/11, actually on that day. Let me ask you about not just the law enforcement role of military, but the target element. I mean, being out in public this weekend, wearing the uniform, I mean, is there a direction that's coming from the higher-ups.

HERTLING: Well, there always is. And it's usually commanders will usually tell their forces, do not wear uniform in public unless there is some type of special occasion. Now, certainly there are a lot of parades on the Fourth of July and certainly a lot of cities that are close to military bases like to have soldiers participating or even things like ROTC units participating.


HERTLING: But again, that's conducted under an assessment and what are the dangers there, should we allow military forces to do those kind of things? All of those are handled by base commanders, post commanders in the local area.

BLACKWELL: So, you brought up assessment and there was a directive that came out for military bases across the country -across the world, actually, and including the consulates and the embassies, to look at their security procedures. What does that likely look like? What is that?

HERTLING: That happens quite a bit, actually, Victor. As a commander in Europe, as an example I commanded in Europe for two years, you would get requests from the Department of Defense, the embassies have received it from the State Department, saying, conduct an in-depth threat assessment because of these things. Now, what I'll tell you, as a commander in Europe, every event we held we would conduct threat assessments on the event and we had continuous, ongoing threat assessments. You have a small group of people that come together, that actually do that. But I think the notion that this weekend, because of the Fourth of July holiday, and because of the admonitions of Mr. Adnani, who is one of the ISIS leaders saying, attack during Ramadan, this will give you additional credit in heaven during this holy month, that assessment has been ordered just to make sure everyone's doing it and turning it in. It's actually a written document that you conduct intelligence feeds and see how you are prepared to address any kind of threats in your local area.

BLACKWELL: All right, Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, thanks so much.

HERTLING: Thank you, Victor.

KOSIK: Police in Baltimore have opened an investigation after a sign was found inside a police van that tells passengers to enjoy the ride. How did it get there? And will it increase already-heightened tensions in the city?



BLACKWELL: 20 minutes until the top of the hour now. Concerning and unacceptable. That's how a Baltimore city police sergeant describes the words on this van. Take a look. Located inside the door of a police van. And look closely, it reads "Enjoy your ride, because we sure will." The photo first surfaced in the Baltimore "City Paper," which says it spoke to the photographer. The image is going public as tensions remain high following the death in police custody of Freddie Gray. You remember this story. While the department could not confirm the authenticity of the sign to CNN, officials say they are taking the issue, quote, "very seriously." And although I think there is some confirmation from the department that it's authenticated, I want to bring in Cedric Alexander, CNN law enforcement analyst, public safety director for DeKalb Count here in Atlanta or in Georgia. Good to have you with us this morning.


BLACKWELL: So, you know, first thing that jumped out to me is that there is a sign inside a police van. Are there these snarky signs inside police vans often?

ALEXANDER: You know, I've been in law enforcement a long time and I never seen a statement as such in place any side - inside any prisoner van. So, I'm quite sure to the community there this is a very aggravating event, and certainly to the police department as well, too. And I'm very acquainted with the commissioner there, Tony Patch.


ALEXANDER: He certainly has real concern with this and has launched an investigation into this signage that you see there on the inside door of this van.

BLACKWELL: And of course, the inference here, it refers to these rough rides that we've reported on. Does it matter to you, and we know that this was just discovered this week, but does it matter to you if it was placed there pre-Freddie Gray or post-Freddie Gray?

ALEXANDER: Well, you know, it's disturbing either way.


ALEXANDER: If it was there before Freddie Gray, then it certainly is suggestive of this is an attitude that, you know, that permeates throughout the culture, may be, of that agency. If it was placed there after Freddie Gray, then someone, somehow finds this to be very humorous and it's not. And it's not a good light that you're trying to shine upon your department, and particularly in a community where the leadership and community leaders are trying to establish a much stabler, stronger relationship. So there's some work there still yet to be done in that community, but I'm more than confident that that work is going to take place, both with its leaders and police and the community as well, too. But that type of signage certainly needs to be investigated, will be investigated there in Baltimore, and I think at the end we'll see what the outcome's going to be.

BLACKWELL: In addition to the Baltimore investigation, there's this DOJ investigation that looking into the Baltimore P.D. to determine, and I want to read here the quote, "if there's a pattern or practice of violating constitutional rights." How do you imagine something like this playing into that larger investigation, that larger conversation?

ALEXANDER: What it suggests here again, Victor, is that something systemically and culturally may be wrong inside that police department. Because if that signage is an indication of how it takes care of its prisoners that we've become responsible for once we take custody of them, that's a much bigger issue. But here again, I think an investigation is going to reveal much more specifically as to when that took place and persons or persons involved.

BLACKWELL: All right, law enforcement, Cedric Alexander, always good to have your insight.

ALEXANDER: Good seeing you, happy fourth.

BLACKWELL: See you too. Alison.

KOSIK: This is really dramatic video now. A ten-month-old baby drifting out to sea almost a mile, crazy. This, as the parents sunbathe. You can see her right there in her yellow inflatable. Rescuers frantically try to reach her. I'm going to give you more details coming up the next hour.

Whoa, a terrifying moment as a fisherman swims for his life after the kayak he's in flipped over or is flipped over by a shark, that's coming up next.



BLACKWELL: Man, listen that would be the last time you would see me out that far in a kayak fishing. You see the guy here swimming for his life after that shark flipped him off that kayak. This is in the middle of the ocean. Man was Ben Chancey, he was fishing for a goliath grouper, when this eight-plus foot bull shark knocked him into the water, this is off the coast of Florida. So, you see the captain, he swam to safety on a support boat. But then, here's the part I don't get, he went back into the kayak to finish what he started and unhooked that fish. He spoke to CNN last night about this adventure.


BEN CHANCEY: I made it to safety and we flipped the kayak back over. And at that point of time, I felt like the shark had won the battle. I thought I was winning, but when he flipped me over I fell like I lost the battle and it was kind of vindication. Hopping back in and finish it off. You know, it's like if you fall off a horse, you'd better get back on.


BLACKWELL: OK. Chancy didn't let the near-death experience shake him. He was back in the water again yesterday.

KOSIK: You mean you wouldn't go back in the water?

BLACKWELL: I wouldn't go back into that water.

KOSIK: All right.

BLACKWELL: A shark right there. We know what's happening right now with sharks. KOSIK: All right. This shark attack coming at a time when East Coast

is already on a heightened alert. You know there have been ten attack along North and South Carolina along the coastline. That's higher than the average of six attacks per year off the coast of those two states. And the latest attack happened near Ocracoke Island in the outer banks. A man was swimming in waist-deep water when a shark pulled him under water and then bit into his rib cage, and bit into his hip, and his lower leg, and both hands.


KOSIK: And he managed to get away leaving a big trail of blood from the water to the - but surprisingly, he's in really good spirits, recovering in the hospital. Now some people are second-guessing their weekend holiday plans, though. Others are still planning to hit the waves. And I want to talk more about this. Joining me now is the director of the Florida program for shark research, George Burgess. Good morning.


KOSIK: So in a column for I know that you said that we should be careful about overstating this threat about sharks, writing, "Before we start killing sharks, let's all relax, shark bites are few and far between, they occur for reasons overlooked amid the breathless broadcast and suspenseful scenes from "Jaws." But all right, so are we going overboard here in the media or is there really a legitimate fear out there that a shark attack may not be as rare as it seems these days?

BURGESS: There's certainly legitimate fear in North Carolina, where we've had seven attacks in three weeks. It's an unusual circumstance. And obviously, there's a reaction needed in that area. The problem is that sometimes folks have taken that North Carolina bit and turned it into the entire United States.

KOSIK: All right. But let's talk about maybe why this is happening. So, I'm understanding that the conditions at the moment are kind of a perfect storm for sharks with warmer water, drought conditions, higher salt levels. More people in the water. So it's almost like, you know, the odds are stacked against the swimmers. Then again, you think of the time this is happening. People at this time of the year, there's always more people in the water, the waters are getting warmer, some even say climate change is contributing to this. So, is this really unusual anymore or is this the new normal?

BURGESS: A little bit of both, I guess. It's unusual because this has never happened in North Carolina, per se, and it's the first time that that community's had to react to a series of attacks over a short period of time. Put it in perspective, Florida this year already has seven attacks. So, but we're not hearing any kind of an uproar here. It's because we've dealt with that in the past in -- it's not a story. But one thing is going to happen, and that is there are going to be more attacks year in and year out, simply because the human population continues to rise and with it a concurrent interest in aquatic recreation. So, one of the few things I as a scientist can predict with some certainty is more attacks in the future because there's more people.

KOSIK: That is scary. And I just started surfing, so I may dial that back a bit knowing that. Let's, for a quick moment, talk about the guy in Florida who is fishing who we saw when a shark caught his fishing line, he didn't want to let the shark get the best of him, but he found himself flipping out of his kayak there into this shark infested water. If someone were to find themselves face-to-face with a shark what do you do? What can you do to survive?

BURGESS: Well, first of all, I'm going to ask you to restate shark infested water. It's shark inhabited water. Sharks don't infest. That's their natural environment. But second of all, the point I'd like to make is, we classify this kind of incident as a stupid human trick. And eventually evolution will take care of that itself. That said, if you're face-to-face with a shark in the water and it's actually approaching you, pop it on its nose, they have a sensitive nose. They'll most likely veer away, and you can use that extra time to get out of the water. But just remember to hit very accurately because just south of the nose is the mouth.

KOSIK: Wait, did I hear you correctly, tap on its nose?

BURGESS: Yeah. More than a tap. As hard as you can hit.

KOSIK: That's if it's face is right there. But I guess, you know, it's - you're better off trying, right?


BURGESS: Yeah. I mean, you're asking for last case scenarios. And there's even a (INAUDIBLE) case, if you want. You're in the mouth of the shark, claw at its eyes and its gill openings, the openings right behind the eyes. Both of those are sensitive and some experiences demonstrated that if you're clawing in the eyes, they'll let go.

KOSIK: All right. And fight for dear life. George Burgess, thanks so much for your perspective on this.

BURGESS: Yeah, good to be with you.

BLACKWELL: Heavy security for a day of celebration. Coming up at seven, huge crowds gathering across the country with a major law enforcement presence greeting them. We are live in New York and Washington. Plus -- the U.S. women's national soccer team looks to knock off the defending World Cup champs and take home the trophy.

I'm not going to ask if they have shot. I'm going to ask how good is their shot, because I think they can do it. We are live in Vancouver, next.