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CNN NEWSROOM

Limited Evacuations Resume after Buses Set on Fire; Deadly Attack in Jordan; New Unity Government Announced in Lebanon; North Korea Takes Wait-and-See Approach to Trump; Hungarian Socialite Zsa Zsa Dies at 99; McCain: Russian Hacking Threatens American Democracy; China and Trump Clash over Drone Seizure; Officer Saves Woman's Life on Highway. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired December 19, 2016 - 00:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:00:10] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Free at last. Several hundred Syrians escaped the hell of Aleppo after a fragile evacuation deal resumes.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Gunmen carry out a deadly attack at a popular tourist spot in Jordan. Now authorities are trying to find out if they belong to any terror group.

VANIER: Plus Hollywood loses a personality of the Golden Age. A look back at the extravagant life of socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor.

ALLEN: Zsa Zsa Gabor -- she was with us a very long time.

Thanks for joining us. We're live here in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier. And CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

The evacuation deal that could save thousands of lives in the eastern Aleppo is back on. Hundreds were evacuated to the Aleppo countryside on Sunday but thousands more are still trapped in freezing temperatures after surviving a brutal offensive by the Syrian government.

VANIER: It's been an agonizing wait for those who are still stuck in the rebel-held areas. Convoys were stopped for hours after an attack on rescue buses heading to other besieged areas.

Our Muhammad Lila has more from the Turkish-Syrian border

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After a weekend of desperation and disappointment there finally appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. The U.N. is referring to these as limited evacuations. We understand just about five buses or so filled with people who are being evacuated from the eastern part of Aleppo to the Aleppo countryside. Now this was part of a bigger plan, a bigger transfer or exchange, if you will, of civilians who were trapped. There are some civilians in a couple of pro-regime towns that have been encircled by jihadi militants including elements of al Qaeda. They've been besieged in those towns for more than a year and a half.

And as part of this arrangement, people in those towns are going to be released in batches of about a thousand or so and concurrently similar numbers will be released from the eastern part of Aleppo.

Now the big question mark in this is because you're dealing with a transfer, it requires a lot of guarantees on the ground, not just observation from the United Nations and relief organizations but it also requires a certain buy-in from all of the militant groups on the ground as well as the Syrian army and the pro-Assad militias.

And we've seen over the weekend that there are some elements that don't want this evacuation to take place. Of course, the biggest example of that were these buses that were headed to those besieged towns to take those people out. Well, some of those buses were set on fire before they can even reach there. No group has officially claimed responsibility for setting those buses on fire but we do know that it happened in an area where there is a heavy al Qaeda presence.

And there some rebel commanders in eastern Aleppo who were not happy with that. They wanted this evacuation plan to go through. What effectively happened was the group that set those buses on fire sabotaged this evacuation plan and left the lives of thousands of people on both sides hanging in the balance simply because many people are still sleeping out in the cold and they're unsure if they're going to have enough food to eat tomorrow.

Muhammad Lila, from the Turkish-Syrian border -- CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Andrew Tabler joins us now from Washington via Skype. He's author of the book, "In the Lion's Den: an eyewitness account of Washington's battle with Syria" and what a battle it's been.

Andrew -- thanks for joining us. I want to first start by talking about the fate of Aleppo. Why are they considered to be such a turning point, Aleppo, in this conflict?

ANDREW TABLER, AUTHOR: Well, it's Syria's largest city. It's been divided since the opposition tried to take over the city in the summer of 2012. And the government's retaking of it after squeezing it in besieged areas, perhaps the largest humanitarian disaster in terms of scale, at least, in the Syrian war.

So lots of reason why it's making headlines. And even the evacuation has proven more difficult than any one imagined.

ALLEN: Absolutely and for months and months and months, we have seen these repeated airstrikes and the children and the elderly running for their lives and being trapped in the rubble. It just goes on and on. But you say sadly, Aleppo is not the end of this war. Talk to us about that.

TABLER: No, it's not. President Assad, who has pledged to retake every inch of Syrian territory does not have the troops to retake and hold all those territory. He only holds a little bit north of a third of Syrian territory at the moment. So in order to do that, he's on a very long timeline in years probably, which presents all of us with a very difficult situation, the regime is not going to go away and that's for certain.

[00:05:09] And at the same time, it's incredibly brutal in terms of the assertion of authority in terms -- to take over areas by destroying it. But even after that the problem is that so much of Syrian territories outside the government's control that becomes quite continuously chaotic, and in the case of ISIS and the al Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, has (inaudible) extremists and those -- all those things spell disaster on a number of levels, not just for Syrian policy or Middle East policy but global security as well.

ALLEN: Let's talk about that. You say Assad doesn't have the military power outside of Damascus perhaps, to control thing but he does have Russia on his side. We have only seen him a few times. He is ensconced in Damascus. It seems like he's still so much in control. But you say not so much.

TABLER: Well, it's not so much the -- it's a very interesting situation where President Assad has definitely held on and many in the (inaudible) have hunkered around him. But his ability -- just the number of deployable troops, deployable manpower that can be sent to a new area particularly and to hold and it's very limited.

That's the reason why so many Iranian-backed Shia militia, Lebanese, Hezbollah, Iraqi and Afghan Shia militia have been showing up and besieging Aleppo. So -- and what's interesting is with the arrival of these Iranian forces come dynamics that are not Syrian. And that's what we're seeing in the evacuation of Aleppo that the evacuation of east Aleppo, which has been besieged for months is being held up because of the evacuation from -- to Shia villages in Idlib province ran by the opposition. So it's the evacuation for evacuation and outside those Shia villages where we had the burning of the buses today.

ALLEN: Right, a quid pro quo in this evacuation for these poor people in Aleppo.

And Andrew into all of this, a new administration led by Donald Trump. What does that do to the mix, perhaps?

TABLER: It's a very good question. Of course, until now President- Elect Trump has been quite adamant that he wanted to see what was possible with Russia diplomatically and otherwise in fighting terrorism in places like Syria.

He's also been critical of the opposition in Syria particularly the covert program by the United States that supports the opposition. But of course, cutting that program which many think he might, would deny the United States of intelligence on this sort of -- if President Assad has the horses, so to speak, or the men to retake this territory then these moderate rebel groups are as important but he doesn't.

So for at least some time the U.S. is going to have to marshal these forces and corral them and keep them away from extremists and it's going to be difficult.

ALLEN: So Aleppo is just one step in this horror.

All right then. Well, Andrew Tabler, we appreciate you joining us. Thank you for comments.

TABLER: My pleasure.

VANIER: And for many of us the atrocities that have been taking place in Aleppo are just unimaginable. Only those who have survived know how brutal the Syrian civil war has been.

ALLEN: Our affiliate (inaudible) TV talked with a family that lived under heavy bombing in eastern Aleppo. They say and we quote, "We lost a lot of the beauty of life. We lost our families, our people, and our homes."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever think that the bombings and the war would stop?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Every time I head the bombs, I thought we wouldn't wake up the next morning and that we would die. If not in the evening, we would die in the evening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the most difficult during the war?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hunger. During the siege, we left the dinner table always hungry. There was not enough food for everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are 17 years old now. Did you go to school the last five years?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You lost five school years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love to study and I love to write. But I love most of all to draw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been drawing anything during the war?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. But I have nothing to draw on. I have no pen and I have nothing I can write with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you wish for? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish for safety and security again. Back in Syria and to all the people. I want to live as we did before without bombings and hunger.

[00:10:10] I want all children to live in safety. And that nobody will be scared anymore. Only that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: The sweet, sweet young girl caught up in all of this madness.

We've also seen a glimpse of the hell Aleppo has become from a seven- year-old girl. Bana Alebad and her mother have documented their daily lives on Twitter. Turkey mediated the new evacuation deal so before the evacuations resumed on Sunday, Bana and her mom directed a tweet to Turkey's president and foreign minister.

VANIER: This is what they wrote. "Please, please, please make the ceasefire work and get us out now. We are so tired."

The Turkish foreign minister then replied, "Difficulties on the ground won't deter us, sister. Rest assured that we are doing all that we can to get you and thousands of others to safety."

Staying in the region, Jordan says a cowardly terrorist attack has left 10 people dead and dozens wounded. Gunmen opened fire on police in two locations on Sunday then moved into a castle popular with tourists. That was in the city of Karak. Four attackers were killed after a standoff with the security officers.

ALLEN: The victims include security members, civilians and a Canadian tourist. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is in Jordan. She has more about it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The attack being described as a terrorist attack by Jordanian officials has come to an end, according to a statement from the security services in Jordan.

They say what is ongoing right now is clearing and calming operations around the area of the main attack around that castle in the city of Karak to the south of Jordan.

They say that four attackers who they described as terrorists were killed in this operation. They say they found a large number of automatic weapons on them as well as large amounts of ammunition. Also in the house that these attackers described as terrorists were using in a town near Karak, they say that they found suicide vests and explosives there.

According to Jordanian authorities, this was multiple shooting incidents that took place in southern Jordan. To the north of the city of Karak in the town of Qatraneh (ph) there, security forces came under fire and also in Karak itself. These two shooting incidents, one where a police patrol came under fire, but the deadliest most serious incident was when gunmen positioned themselves in the Karak castle that 12th century crusader castle, one of the main tourist attractions in southern Jordan.

And they opened fire on a nearby police station there. They were surrounded by security forces and gun battles ensued for a few hours.

This type of attack is rare in this country. Jordan really tied itself with its security and stability in the midst of this turbulent region but this key U.S. ally has been a target of terrorist organizations according to officials here who say that they have thwarted several terror plots over the past year including one by ISIS.

It is still unclear who is behind this attack on Sunday, being blamed on terrorist groups by Jordan where the government says that it is investigating the identity of the attackers and what affiliations they have.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN -- Amman.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: The Lebanese president and prime minister are forming a new unity government.

VANIER: The cabinet consists of 30 ministers from all of the country's religious sects and from most of its political parties. Among the prime minister's top priorities is protecting Lebanon from the effects of Syria's civil war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAAD HARIRI, LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This government which I describe as a national unity government when I accepted the mission of forming it will go straight to fixing what can be fixed in its short lifetime which we want it to be several months from crisis facing the people including trash collection, electricity and water. The first political mission of this government is to reach a cooperation with parliament a new electoral law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Lebanon has had a caretaker government for more than two years now.

VANIER: Settlers of a West Bank outpost have decided to suspend their battle against a planned eviction.

ALLEN: Amona residents say they have accepted an Israeli government offer to build 52 new homes and public facilities in the area. An Israeli court ruled Amona had been built on private Palestinian land and declared the outpost illegal.

VANIER: North Korea's leader is usually quite outspoken about the United States. But he's been strangely silent on the presidential election. Why? We'll tell you after the break.

[00:15:03] ALLEN: And a long life of fame comes to an end. A look back at Zsa Zsa Gabor's personal life and her overshadowed career.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANIER: House Republican and Democratic senators want a special bipartisan panel to investigate Russia's alleged hacking of the U.S. election in order to help Donald Trump win.

ALLEN: John McCain and three other senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking for a select committee to look into the matter. McCain slammed the U.S. response so far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The President has no strategy and no policy as to what to do about these various cyber attacks that have possibly disrupted an American election. We need a select committee. We need to get to the bottom of this. And we need to find out exactly what was done and what the implications of the attacks were especially if they had an effect on our election. There's no doubt they were interfering and no doubt that there was a cyber attack.

[00:19:58] The question now is how much and what damage and what should the United States of America do? And so far we've been totally paralyzed.

This is serious business. If they're able to harm the electoral process then they destroy democracy which is based on free and fair elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: You know, the question is how there could be proof at what they did and how they maybe had affected our election.

Well, one country that hasn't weighed in on Trump's election is North Korea. Although the President-Elect has given many indications he will shake up U.S. foreign policy, it's unclear how will deal with Pyongyang.

VANIER: As Paula Hancocks reports, the uncertainty has kept North Korea unusually quite.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When it comes to insults, North Korea does not pull punches. South Korea's impeached President Park Geun-Hye has been called a prostitute and a blood-thirsty dictator. U.S. President Barack Obama was referred to as a monkey and a heinous war maniac.

But Mr. Obama's successor, President-Elect Donald Trump has still barely been mentioned in the weeks since the election.

JASPER KIM, EWHA WOMANS UNIVERSITY: Trump is a wild card. And I think Kim Jong-Un simply doesn't know how to size up this person and vice versa. Sot it's an interesting tale of two alpha males and how they're sniffing each other out at this point.

HANCOCKS: Trump was referred to as a wise politician by Pyongyang during the campaign after suggesting U.S. troops could be pulled out of South Korea.

Since then state-run media has officially said the U.S. should face up to the reality of a new (inaudible) North Korea. But the unofficial word coming out of Pyongyang is let's wait and see.

PARK HWAN RHAK, KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY: I heard from a North Korean official that they do not want to make any provocative actions until they know what kind of North Korean policy of the U.S. next administration.

HANCOCKS: A stark contrast to a couple of months ago. This year alone Kim Jong-Un has carried out two nuclear tests and two dozen missile tests. Never in its history has so much testing been done in such a short period of time.

During the campaign Trump referred to Kim Jong-Un as a bad dude as well as almost praising him for taking over from his father so convincingly as well as saying he'd be happy to have a hamburger with the guy. Not the worst idea, according to some experts.

KIM: Trump is a self-professed negotiator, deal maker. I think that's how he sees sort of the political landscape including with North Korea. So with what he's saying it's both an offensive and a defensive and that's a classy negotiation play.

HANCOCKS: One negotiating play that may actually backfire is Trump's apparent willingness to confront China. The U.S. needs China on board for these U.N. sanctions against North Korea to have any chance of working. If Beijing starts to move further away from Washington, experts say it may actually start to move even closer to Pyongyang just to teach Trump a lesson.

Paula Hancocks, CNN -- Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Zsa Zsa Gabor, we have said that name for decades and decades. A superstar -- she has died at the age of 99. The Hungarian socialite and her sisters came to the United States at the outbreak of World War II.

VANIER: Nischelle Turner reports that Zsa Zsa spent decades in the gossip columns for her many marriage while her acting career actually took a back seat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She became one of the most recognizable figures in Hollywood with her trademark gowns, elaborate jewelry and Hungarian accent, famous for being famous.

While Zsa Zsa Gabor's acting career was perhaps undistinguished, the former beauty queen's outspoken ways grabbed headlines.

ZSA ZSA GABOR, ACTOR: Well, I always tell the truth. That's why everybody hates me because I'm telling the truth. People don't like to hear the truth.

TURNER: Gabor and her sisters, Magda and Eva, immigrated to the United States from Hungary. But unlike Eva who starred on TV's "Green Acres", Zsa Zsa didn't immediately have showbiz aspirations.

A five-year marriage to hotelier Conrad Hilton produced a daughter, Francesca, that made her a great-aunt to a later generation of celebrity sisters Paris and Nicky Hilton.

After she divorced Hilton, Zsa Zsa married actor George Sanders. She said that union became her catalyst to fame.

GABOR: They put me on a talk show as Mrs. George Sanders. The next day (inaudible), cover and all the covers. MGM approached, MGM Studio if I want to work for them. I said yes.

TURNER: Zsa Zsa went on to make more than 50 films including 1952's "Moulin Rouge".

She also appeared in the Orson Welles classic "Touch of Evil". But it was her off screen appearances that grabbed the most attention. In 1989, Gabor generated a media sensation when she was convicted of slapping a Beverly Hills policeman. She was sentenced to three days behind bars. Gabor parlayed the attention into TV and movie appearances including a cameo in the "Naked Gun 2 1/2".

[00:25:04] In fact it was once joked that Gabor played herself more often than any other role.

The acting roles dwindled in her later years but that didn't keep Gabor's name out of the press. A car accident in 2002 left her partially paralyzed and she was subsequently in and out of the hospital for a series of health scares.

But it was her marriage to Prince Frederic von Anhalt, her ninth husband that provided plenty of bizarre tabloid fodder. Von Anhalt, who married Gabor in 1986 once claimed to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter after the actress's death. Paternity tests later disproved that claim.

In 2011 he announced an unusual plan to make Gabor, who was 94 years at the time, a mother again, using an egg donor and a surrogate mother, a plan Gabor's daughter Francesca called weird. It was one of many public disputes Francesca had with Von Anhalt whom she once accused of taking Gabor away from her. The two would eventually reach a truce over Gabor's care in July of 2012.

As her personal matters still made headlines well into her 90s, Zsa Zsa Gabor will perhaps be remembered as a professional celebrity who seemed happiest living life on the front page.

(END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VANIER: A warm welcome back to our viewers around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.

ALLEN: And I am Natalie Allen.

Here are the top stories we're following this hour.

[00:30:00]

(HEADLINES)

VANIER (voice-over): A wait to be evacuated from Eastern Aleppo is especially excruciating for the wounded.

ALLEN (voice-over): Simon Israel from ITN reports a makeshift hospital was not given enough ambulances to evacuate patients. We want to warn you: some viewers may find this report upsetting.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON ISRAEL, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They said they needed 50 ambulances for 120 patients. Today they were promised only two under the renewed evacuation plan. Yet in every corridor, in every corner, on every inch of floor, lie the injured, the sick and the dying in this makeshift hospital basement.

(CROSSTALK)

ISRAEL (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) asks our camera woman (INAUDIBLE) updates. He's been waiting a week and the bleeding won't stop.

As the hours ticked by, still no news; no ambulances, no buses. The desperation, the urgency increases.

This man wants his friend to be treated as a priority; now they've been told only two ambulances will be coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Two cars are only enough for four cases. Nothing more than that. The rest of the injured people are still in the only field hospital left inside the city. The rest of the injured are all over the streets and no one is listening to our calls.

ISRAEL (voice-over): And then there are the babies, whose cries are barely heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): She's two months old, just arrived here in the hospital. They were at the checkpoint for three hours and the weather was very cold. They couldn't cross and they came back. She has cramps now, there's no pediatrician and no basic medicines.

ISRAEL (voice-over): Their release from Aleppo has been hanging on one crucial condition, the freedom of hundreds of others in the besieged pro-Assad villages of Foua and Kefraya. A convoy of buses was laid on.

But then a Sunni extremist faction intervened and set fire to the fleet before it could reach those villages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language)

ISRAEL (voice-over): "We won't let you evacuate the Shia, you pigs," said one attacker. "They'll only come out when they are dead."

Back in the rebel enclave of Eastern Aleppo tonight, all hope has been crushed. And the sick and the injured have returned to their precarious existence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Now we are cleaning the hospital, preparing all the rooms to start working again. And we are -- we will stay here now. And we don't know if we will leave. And no hope at all to leave.

ISRAEL (voice-over): But that is not the picture Syrian state TV is broadcasting tonight. It showed half a dozen buses with -- it said -- militants and their families waiting at the checkpoint to cross into the west of the city and to freedom. Yet not one person can be seen on the coaches or on the roadside.

The injured and the vulnerable are supposed to be their priority in an evacuation from a war zone, where civilians and fighters live alongside each other. Tonight, by any account, they were not.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: They certainly were not. We'll keep you posted on developments as this story is continuing to development on the evacuation.

China's seizure of a U.S. underwater drone has sparked a war of words with U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump.

VANIER: The device was snatched by China in international waters last week and Trump responded with angry tweets. China now says that it will return the drone but it is --

[00:35:00]

VANIER: -- taking Trump to task for his reaction.

CNN's Matt Rivers has more in Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the seizure of this U.S. Navy underwater drone by a Chinese naval ship really played out along the entirety of the weekend.

We found out about it on Friday, it was on Saturday that the ministry of defense here in Beijing confirmed what had happened and said it would be returning that drone to the United States. And then it was President-Elect Donald Trump's turn to weigh in.

He tweeted twice about this issue, with the second tweet appearing to be a little more aggressive, saying that the United States should just let China keep the drone and not worry about getting it back.

And then on Sunday it was the state-run media here in China. It was their turn to weigh in on all of this. And it was the state-run tabloid newspaper called the "Global Times," which is known for its provocative use on issues like this that really stood out to us.

Let me read you some of the editorial that was written about the subject.

It read in part, quote, "The tone of a bystander fanning flames in Trump's second tweet is particularly worrisome, that he might treat the relationship between superpowers as a game. Given that he has not been in the White House, the official Chinese rhetoric about him so far has been measured.

"But this restraint will not last when he officially becomes president if he still treats China the way he tweeted today."

And that really matters because state-run newspapers in China are just that, they are state-run, nothing gets published here even if it is an editorial without the sign off of Communist Party censors.

And so while you might not see a spokesman with a ministry of foreign affairs getting up and making a provocative statement like that, the fact is that this is a state-run newspaper expressing state views.

Now, a big question here that's remaining in Beijing, is how will this incident affect U.S.-Chinese relations going forward. If you look at what has happened over the past couple of weeks. It's just the latest negative incident, frankly, in terms of the relationship between both sides and it all surrounds the incoming Trump administration.

Donald Trump taking a call in early December from the president of Taiwan and questioning the One China policy and then tweeting about this latest incident and it's drawn the eye of the Chinese government.

And so whether that is part of the Trump's administration plan moving forward, we're still not sure this kind of tough take on China.

But it is safe to say here at least on the Chinese side of things that the Chinese government given their statement statements in what they're saying in state media not really happy so far with the take and the track of the incoming Trump administration -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: We'll take a very short break. When CNN NEWSROOM comes back, a police officer is faced with a medical emergency on a highway. What happened next was caught on the dashcam video.

(MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:40:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VANIER: Welcome back.

A police officer in Oklahoma is being hailed as a hero after he rushed to save a woman suffering from a heart attack.

ALLEN: It was all caught on dashcam video. CNN's Stephanie Elam has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is just after midnight on Halloween. Blanchard, Oklahoma, police officer Jordan Jones is parked along a highway when a pickup truck speeds past him, hazard lights flashing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you got going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could tell when he got out of the truck he was frantic.

ELAM (voice-over): Jeff Letty's (ph) wife, Tina Costello (ph), awoke, complaining of tightness in her chest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, we need to go to the hospital now.

ELAM (voice-over): But they live out in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had to make a decision whether to wait for an ambulance to arrive from a long distance or get her on the road to help.

ELAM (voice-over): Along with daughter, Brittany, they hit the road; 20 miles from home, Tina's face turned purple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was panicked. It's the middle of the night, the woman you love is completely unresponsive and you are about halfway between home and the hospital.

ELAM (voice-over): He's racing to where there's usually a police cruiser.

Officer Jones is there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Blanchard, 48-year-old female, not breathing, unconscious. I'm going to try to get her out of the truck and start CPR.

ELAM: Did you think it was too late at that point?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I did. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, she's gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, she's not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's got a weak pulse.

ELAM (voice-over): For two tense minutes, Officer Jones performed CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to give her two breaths, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, baby. Oh, baby, come on. I can't lose mama, no.

ELAM (voice-over): Then a sign of life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's breathing.

Come on, Tina, take a breath. Come on, there you go.

ELAM (voice-over): Tina is moved to an ambulance, emotional. Jeff (ph) and Brittany thank Officer Jones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He grabs you and he puts his big arm around you and he says, "It's going to be all right, buddy."

ELAM: What did you think when you watched the video?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just cried, just cried. I just love Officer Jones. He's an angel, he's a true angel.

ELAM (voice-over): Dr. Jeff Crook (ph) operated on Tina as soon as she got to the hospital. One of her arteries was 90 percent blocked.

ELAM: Would she have lived had it not been for the intervention of Officer Jones?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think she would have. Starting the CPR when he did greatly improved her chance of survival.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a hero, he did everything he could.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't just save Tina's life; he saved our family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every night I go out to make a difference in somebody's lives and that was just a night I won.

ELAM (voice-over): Stephanie Elam, CNN, Blanchard, Oklahoma.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: All right, Officer Jones, doing his job and the some.

And that will do it for this hour of CNN NEWSROOM, I am Natalie Allen. And I'm Cyril Vanier, "WORLD SPORT" is up next. Then we'll be back at the top of the hour with more news from around the world. Stay with us, you are watching CNN.