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A woman comes forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault; CNN's coverage of major flooding in the Carolinas; Shark attack in Cape Cod; Aired 5-6 pm ET

Aired September 16, 2018 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRES)

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: It's 5:00 eastern, 2:00 in the afternoon out west. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom." So glad you could be with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. And we are locked on two major news stories that matter to millions of people right now.

A woman accusing President Trump's Supreme Court nominee of sexually assaulting her years ago, now coming forward. I'll take you live to Washington with full details in just a moment. And also right now, the major flood emergency in the Carolinas. Water pushed by what's left of hurricane Florence still rising fast.

People are still being rescued. All roads into a major coastal city are under water. Nothing moving in or out. And this situation is very desperate. These levees are holding back a river trying to burst out of its banks. If those levees fail, it will be a monumental flood disaster. We are live with our reporters in the Carolinas in just a few minutes.

First, though, the breaking news involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and disturbing new details about alleged sexual abuse. "The Washington Post" is reporting that an accuser who previously wanted to remain anonymous is now coming forward to tell her very personal story.

Supreme Court reporter Ariane De Vogue is joining us from Washington. Boris Sanchez is at the White House, also with us, CNN legal analyst Shan Wu. Ariane I want to start with you. What are we learning about this accuser and what she says happened to her?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right, Ana. This woman has come forward publicly accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a party more than 30 years ago when they were both in high school. According to "The Washington Post," the woman's name is Christine Blasey Ford. She's a professor at Palo Alto University.

It's worth noting that Brett Kavanaugh has vehemently denied her allegation. On Friday, he issued a statement saying, I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.

But in "The Washington Post," the woman said that she attended a party in suburban Maryland back in 1982, and Kavanaugh and his friend were there. She said they were stumbling drunk. She alleges she was corralled into a bedroom, and at one point, he tried to take her clothes off. He put his hand over her mouth. She said, I thought he might inadvertently kill me.

He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing. She tells "The Washington Post" she was able to escape the room, but she only shared the details of these years later in 2012 with a therapist and her husband. According to the article, the husband recalls his wife using Kavanaugh's name, but the therapist notes, which have been reviewed by "The Washington Post," do not mention him.

And it's also worth noting that the other man, who was then a teen, who was in the article, he has told another publication that he had no memory of this and never saw Brett Kavanaugh acting that way, Ana.

CABRERA: Ariane, "The Washington Post" says Ford decided that it is her story and so if it's going to be told, she wants to be the one to tell it, but why now?

DE VOGUE: Well, we've seen the letter. We've seen -- at least heard about the letter that she sent Dianne Feinstein. And keep in mind, Ana, this letter was sent back in July, before the hearings, before any time that Feinstein got to meet with her. And in that letter, she suggests that it's difficult to come forward, but she felt that this was important as a citizen. It was important for her to come forward.

CABRERA: And s I read "The Washington Post" article, it also sounds like she was concerned about some of the details that had leaked out not being completely accurate, so she wanted to make sure her story was told in the way she remembered it. Boris, I'm curious if the White House is responding to this.

BORIS SANCEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Ana. Yes, the White House singing the same old song, repeating a statement that they had put out several days ago before Christine Blasey Ford came forward with her name on the record to "The Washington Post." I'll get to the exact response from the White House in just a moment.

I did want to point out, as I'm speaking to you, we just got a response from Senator Lindsey Graham weighing in and this is really unique. Lindsey Graham saying that though he sympathizes with the statement put out by the judiciary committee in which several Republicans stated sort of doubt about why Democrats were bringing this up now, if Senator Dianne Feinstein had that letter from Blasey Ford back in July.

He does say, quote, "If Miss Ford wishes to provide information to the committee I would gladly listen to what she has to say." He's essentially offering Mrs. Ford the opportunity to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about this encounter that she alleges that she had with Brett Kavanaugh when they were both in high school.

Getting back to the White House response now, I noted that Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah essentially just pointed to a statement that the White House had put out several days ago, what Ariane just read, where Judge Kavanaugh says that he categorically and unequivocally denies that any of this ever happened, whether at high school or any other point in his life.

[17:05:13] President Trump has been uncharacteristically quiet on twitter. He has not weighed in on this all weekend, even now after "the Washington Post" published the story. I do want to point to previous reporting by CNN, just something to keep in mind. On other occasions when people close to President Trump, whether people that he has endorsed like Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore or someone with close ties to the RNC, Steve Winn.

When people close to the president have been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior before, sources have told CNN that the president has had to weigh his own accusations of sexual misconduct as he crafts a response. We don't know if that's what the president is dealing with right now, if that's part of something he is considering as he prepares a response, if he plans to respond, but it is a question that we're posing to our sources here at the White House right now, Ana.

CABRERA: Shan, let me ask you about the timing as well because Senator Chuck Grassley called it disturbing, the timing of these allegations. What do you make of the timing?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The timing of the allegations actually, Ana, goes to her credibility, in favor of her credibility because at the time that we are learning from the reports that she first made these I disclosures, they were well in advance of her having any reason political or otherwise to fabricate anything.

She made them in the context of first disclosing them to her husband and then disclosing to the therapist. So, those occurred years ago. That really adds to her credibility. You know, when I was a sex crimes prosecutor, we had to assess literally hundreds of cases and another factor that is really important here that adds to the credibility is the effect of trauma on survivors.

And this type of a gradual disclosure with more details coming forward over time is typical of the effects of the trauma as was her reaction at the time. Feeling very embarrassed about it, not wanting to come forward. And even in the details of "The Post" article from what we see, those details that she remembers so clearly are the ones that are important to a victim.

She remembers the hand over the mouth, the laughter. We had a case where we secured the first life without parole sentence for a rapist and what that victim remembered was the smell of the rapist. So those things are very credible details. Of course, we don't know if that means it happened or not, but there's no question that's a strong enough case that it deserves very careful investigation.

CABRERA: Ariane, Kavanaugh again categorically denies this allegation. Has she provided any new evidence or proof to back up her story?

DE VOGUE: Well, "The Washington Post" notes that at the time she didn't and it's only back in, I think 2012, when she talked to the therapist and her husband about it. What's interesting also, we heard there about Lindsey Graham, but Dianne Feinstein, who's the top Democrat on the committee, she has also released a statement and she was in an odd position here, right, because she got this letter all the way back in July.

And then the woman did not want to go forward. And then today the woman has gone forward. So Senator Dianne Feinstein, she said, "I support Mrs. Ford's decision to share her story, and now that she has, it is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation. This should happen before the senate moves forward on this nominee.

So again, that's from Feinstein, the top Democrat here. And she's suggesting that the FBI should look into this now that this woman has decided to come forward.

CABRERA: Shan, do you agree with Feinstein? Does this merit a federal law enforcement investigation?

WU: I think it does. It's long past the time an actual criminal charge could be brought, but in this particular context where you need an investigation before the confirmation hearings to have meaning in terms of the review of this conduct, it would make sense to have the FBI conduct that.

Of course, they could actually have the hearings themselves, do that investigation, but it could make a lot of sense to have trained law enforcement agents go and talk to the people who they can identify as being on the scene such a long time ago. It certainly calls for that type of heightened scrutiny.

CABRERA: Ariane, Brett Kavanaugh, he has already faced claims. He received information stolen from Democrats offices and that he lied to Congress about his role in the confirmation of other federal judges. Those claims have not derailed his nomination or this process. Why would this be different, if it is at all?

DE VOGUE: Well, that's the thing. His supporters come back, and they say he had five investigations -- FBI investigations for all the positions he held, including a circuit court seat. And they say after all of this, this has come forward. And they expressed concern about how late this letter has come out in the process.

[17:10:03] And I talked to a White House official earlier today and he said, we are going to stand by the judge's denial here. Felt very strongly about that.

CABRERA: I was just going over this article and according to "The Washington Post," this alleged victim says she engaged Debra Katz, who's a Washington a lawyer known for her work on sexual harassment cases and this was earlier in the summer and on the advice of Katz who believed Ford will be attacked as a liar if she came forward.

Ford took a polygraph test administered by former FBI agents in early August. The results, which Katz provided to "The Post," concluded that Ford was being truthful when she said a statement summarizing her allegations was accurate. Shan, does that polygraph test matter?

WU: It matters a great deal although polygraph tests are not admissible in court. When they're administered by a very skilled polygrapher, such as a former FBI agent, they carry a lot of weigh for investigators as well as for lawyers. Lots of times it's significant if the client or accused person does not want to take the polygraph.

This person was willing to take the polygraph. She passed it, and polygraphs are given a lot of weight, for example, in many of the security clearance procedures, people have to regularly take polygraphs. So, that is a sign a lot of weight in the law enforcement community.

CABRERA: All right. Shan Wu, Ariane De Vogue, Boris Sanchez, thank you, all. Much more to come, obviously, from this story. And we are continuing our storm coverage in the Carolinas. A dire situation is emerging. Look at these images. Hundreds of rescues as flood waters are overtaking whole neighborhoods -- flood waters that are still rising. Rivers have not (inaudible) yet. Rain is still falling, and my colleague Erica Hill is there live from the flood zone in just minutes. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Erica Hill live in Fayetteville, North Carolina with our continuing coverage of what is now tropical depression Florence. This is a storm where, as you can see, there's a break in the rain here where we are, but that does not mean it is all over. There's still more rain to come in the forecast through tomorrow. This as rivers, small creeks around this state are already swollen.

You can see in the park behind me, I have to tell you, it has risen at least a couple of feet in the last few hours since we've been here. And yet, this break in the rain has people coming out to the park to see the situation. And that is exactly what officials are warning against. This is not the time to come outside. This is the time to heed those evacuation warnings and also to stay on safe, higher ground.

I want to get you a sense of what's happening around the state of North Carolina. And let's begin our coverage with CNN's Kaylee Hartung, who's in Wilmington, North Carolina, a city that at this point is essentially shut off and that is having a major repercussions for everything that people need in that city including fuel. Kaylee?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Erica. We've got a brief respite from the rain here in Wilmington too as well. And just as you mentioned, people wanting to walk around, officials cautioning that is not what you should be doing. We left the last location we were in because in part you could see sewage bubbling up in the waters that were overflowing from the river behind me.

You mentioned that Wilmington essentially an island now. The mayor of Wilmington telling me you can't get any closer to this area than 40, maybe 20 miles until you get to impassable roads. So for anyone who left this city and is trying to come back to assess the damage to their home, you can't. The highway patrol will stop you on the road before you even try to pass through those high waters.

They've also stopped FEMA trucks, who have tried to bring assistance here, and trucks from the power companies trying to restore power to this area. We are hearing the first signs of some people in this area getting their power restored.

And Erica, you mentioned fuel. It's an asset that is a hot commodity right now. People need it, and it is hard to come by here. Those fuel trucks not able to get into the city either. But I can say that people don't need to worry for any fear that there was of the water plant or the sewage plant shutting down here. Those will continue to run.

The mayor was able to find some additional resources, some diesel fuel in the port here to keep those city operations up and running. The mayor says he feels like they have made a lot of progress, but they know they have a long way to go and this situation continues to evolve. We don't know where these flood waters are moving, and that is such a concern for so many in this area that will continue in the days ahead.

As we talk about those impassable roads, it will take these rivers cresting before those waters will recede again. And again, it's one of those unknowns. You just don't know when that will happen. Could it be tomorrow or the next day? Forty-eight hours would be a long time for us to continue to be locked into this city, as we are now, Erica.

HILL: It certainly would. Kaylee Hartung with the latest for us. We know a curfew is going to be upon you soon as well. Want to check in now with meteorologist Allison Chinchar who's in the CNN Weather Center. And as we're talking so much about flooding, Kaylee brings up a point it could be days. We're hearing that from officials.

I know here in Fayetteville, Allison, they're telling us that the Cape Fear River, which hit 53 feet during Matthew and they are expecting could go well over 60 feet this time around, that crest will likely not happen until Tuesday morning.

ALLSION CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and the million-dollar questions really are, A, when does it finally stop raining and, B how high do those rivers finally crest at? Because you have to understand, you really need to know how much rain falls in one spot to know how much water is going to go into those rivers.

But it just keeps raining in a lot of these locations. So you'll notice those gauges, those forecast gauges for a lot of those rivers, keep having to adjust because of the rainfall.

[17:20:01] Now, some adjust back down, but the majority of them are adjusting up as we get more heavy rainfall. You can see we have this new heavy band that's starting to slide just west of Myrtle Beach, up around Lake Marion, South Carolina, then up through western Lumberton.

But also keep in mind some of these more inland areas, Greensboro, Charlotte also getting some very heavy rain. In fact, in Charlotte it has been raining for the last 30 hours straight. Wilmington has had the last 35 or 36 hours of rain straight. But you have to keep in mind though, it's been raining for a lot longer than that. They were just getting the intermittent bands when the storm first started making its approach.

We still have flood warnings, flood watches, flash flood warnings. The most serious color being this red one here, OK, and that's where a lot of our flood emergencies are located as well. The problem is going forward as more of that rain falls, you're going to start to see that red color expand a little bit more. That's not what you want to have. It's expanding because there is more places get rain and water.

That means more places are going to be flooding. Flooding is not just the only concern though as that rain pushes into areas of western North Carolina and portions of Western Virginia where you start to see that rise in elevation. You're also going to have the concern about landslides and mudslides as well as that heavy rain comes down especially when it comes down at a very heavy rate.

That's going to be the big concern in some of those isolated downpours that you see. We've had a lot of rain already, widespread amounts of over 20 inches especially along the coast, but even further inland, a foot of rain has been very widespread for the rainfall totals, and now we are simply going to add more.

Widespread amounts, you see this yellow color here, that's two to four inches, but the orange is four to six. And Erica, we even still have the potential to add an additional six to 12 inches in some of those isolated spots that are still getting the torrential downpours with the thunderstorms as well.

HILL: All right. Allison Chinchar with the latest for us. Allison, thank you. You may have seen on the map there, Allison mentioned west Lumberton. Lumberton in particular is a major focus, and the Lumber River there where there are concerns about levees being breached.

We're going to take you live to Lumberton next. We're also going to update you on the situation in South Carolina. We have a live look for you, a line of cars. These are folks trying to make their way back in after evacuation orders have been lifted. More on that just ahead.


HILL: We are at Cross Creek Park in Fayetteville. Just to give you a sense of how quickly the water is rising, this creek actually feeds into the Cape Fear River. When we got here a little bit before 11:00 this morning -- you see that light pole in the distance? We could see the base of that lamp pole.

The water has continued to rise throughout the day. During Matthew, it was well over my head where I am standing now. It's going to continue to rise overnight. These are all the major concerns as to what happens next, how much water continues to fall, and of course where that water goes.

We want to give you a sense of what's happening now around the Carolinas. Let's take you to South Carolina. Scott McLean is in Conway. He's about 15 miles north of Myrtle Beach where some evacuation orders have been lifted, but that area, Scott, is not out of the clear yet.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, Erica, it is not. As of 9:00 a.m. this morning, people were allowed to go back to their homes in the Myrtle Beach area and in Horry Count where we are. We're in Conway, as you said, about 15 miles inland.

People are returning to their homes, but the flooding, we're starting to see the first signs of it and this is some of it. This is actually somebody's driveway down there. You can see it looks more like a canal from this vantage point.

I'm actually standing on what would be normally a road. You can see it actually stretches all the way down to that bridge where you see that golf cart driving around. He actually tried to see how far he could get into the water. Got about a couple yards in and decided that it wasn't worth it because it gets pretty deep down there.

Obviously the swamp in this area has backed up into this area and it's only going to get higher. You can see in this house here, the water has been steadily rising inch by inch as we've been here for the last couple hours. It's almost at the door there. It's completely over top of the swimming pool in the backyard.

And this red house here, it will likely have flooding before this is all said and done. This area has had 13 1/2 inches of rain, Erica. There may be a little more to come. There's some coming down right now. Certainly nothing heavy or anything like that, but the problem is that all the rain that's fallen in this area and in others has to go somewhere and eventually it finds its way into the creeks and streams and the rivers.

The one in this area, the Waccamaw, well, it's at 11 1/2 feet or so above what is normal. It's still got six, seven feet to go perhaps before this is all said and done, but this is a slow-moving disaster. It could be Friday or even beyond before this river actually crests finally. And so that's a whole week after this hurricane actually hit that people might finally start to see some of the destruction from it.

And let's not forget, Erica, that this is the same area like many of these spots that we're seeing flooding in that also got hit during hurricane Matthew. So now for the second time in just two years, these people are having to deal with flooding all over again.

HILL: Yeah, so true, Scott. Thank you. And speaking of areas that were hit hard during hurricane Matthew, I want to take you to Lumberton, North Carolina, not too far from where we are here in Fayetteville, where CNN's Polo Sandoval has been for the last couple of days, and you've really watched this progression of the waters, Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDNT: Erica, the view you have right now is from the camera mounted on top of our roving coverage vehicle. [17:30:03] With that, we can give you sort of a wider shot, give you

some more perspective, especially on this street that's now turned into a virtual boat ramp. Only minutes ago there were two trucks here with trailers loaded up with their boats and then headed out after doing a rescue. I witnessed four people with their four dogs be pulled to safety her back on dry land.

That family told me they were trying to hold out as long as they can, but the water levels simply got too high. And let me tell you why this water level is only going to go even higher. There are two levees here in the city of Lumberton that officials are closely watching. The first one, the main levee, which you'll find on the banks of the Lumber River that is overflowing -- officials saying at last check that levee is still doing okay.

The second levee is a man-made, makeshift mixture of pebbles, rocks, sand that was built in the days -- in the last few days. People identified a certain spot here in Lumberton where the water poured in during hurricane Matthew. So what they did, they graded this levee to try to defend the town.

Well sadly, as we were riding with the U.S. Coast Guard to get to a higher view, we watched that levee breached, compromised, as how officials are describing it, so that water began to pour into certain parts of neighborhoods. Now, I am told that a majority of those neighborhoods have been evacuated.

However, there are still some folks who are still in their homes. Some of those rescuers just left this area a little while ago, told me somewhere in there, in a home, there is an elderly person who they made contact with. That person refused to leave. They said they made it through Matthew. They should be able to make it through this.

Officials saying that's not a wise decision because the river is expected to go at least a foot higher than it did during hurricane Matthew. So we are likely to continue to see some of those rescues. Again, the main levee here, according to officials, is still okay. But that official warned if that gives out, in their words, then all bets are off.

HILL: Nobody wants to get to that point that's for sure. Polo, appreciate it. Ana, as you are seeing from our correspondents around the region and as we're hearing from officials, the big concern right now is not just what's coming with the flooding and that rain that's still going to fall. We've got some more falling now here again after a little respite for us as well.

But it's that people become complacent. People are out and about like the people we're seeing here in the park, that people decide to stay because they were fine the last time around. Each storm is different. The flooding each time is different. And as Polo pointed out, there's expected to be so much more this time around, Ana.

CABRERA: It doesn't look good. Thank you, Erica Hill. And as we continue our storm coverage, we'll speak with a family caught in this catastrophe. My next guests, stranded in the aftermath of Florence as her and her family try to get from Georgia to Virginia. She'll join us live when we come back.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turn around. There you go. We want this side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burro racing is, wow. Burrow race is fantastic spectacle. It's -- he's going to wear me out for the race getting ready.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Colorado, a one of a kind race has been climbing the Rocky Mountain trails for the past 70 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pack burro racing started in 1949 between Leadville and Fairplay. They needed revenue because the mining was dying. The towns got together and they decided to have a burro race.

GUPTA: This year, 89 teams started the race in Fairplay, a world record, according to the Western Pack Burro Association.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burro racing does require training because you have to have a relationship with your ass.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Learning how to motivate an ass is unique.

GUPTA: All puns aside, this is a physically challenging 29-mile ultra- marathon through the Rockies, featuring elevations over 13,000 feet. But the course might be the easiest part of the competition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burro racing is brokering a deal between you and an animal that's known not so much for cooperation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could get the guy who won the Boston Marathon out here running with a donkey and he could get last place. It's about how well you cooperate as a team, maybe even more so than how fast you and your donkey are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the negotiation you have to deal with this guy, the terrain, the trails are brutal. But they're so sure footed. These critters, they just have a good work ethic. These burros can run a four-minute-mile if you can hang on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is their race. I love to run their race with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're humble beasts. They'll change your life if you own one.

GUPTA: This year's winner, Kirk Courkamp, finished in just over six hours, but completing the race can present one last challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Burros are color blind. There's a white line on the street, they don't know what that is yet. Your burro sees this finish line going from end to end, there's no way out and the donkey stops. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you cross that finish line with the burro, I

don't care if you're last ass, it's an exhilarating feeling to know that you got your partner across the finish line or they got you across the finish line.



CABRERA: Welcome back as we continue to monitor the levees across the Carolinas as the flood waters continue to rise. One area of concern is Lumberton, North Carolina. The water levels are already at 25 feet, and officials say if they get much higher, quote, all bets are off.

Even with this levee holding, the city is already under water in many areas. Our next guest, Hailey Burgalow, is actually stranded in the city as we speak and is joining us now by phone. Hailey, first of all, I want to make sure you and your family, everybody is doing okay.

HAILEY BURGALOW, STRANDED RESIDENT(via telephone): Yes, everybody is OK.

[17:40:00] CABRERA: I understand that you and your family were actually trying to drive to Virginia from Georgia, and the roads were too flooded, forcing you to stop in Lumberton. What is your situation right now?

BURGALOW: Right now we're actually being rescued and taken to a shelter.

CABRERA: And this is like rinse and repeat for you because that's what happened to you last night as well, right?

BURGALOW: Yes, it is.

CABRERA: Can you fill us in on the details of how that unfolded?

BURGALOW: Well, last night we -- we're driving 95 north and realized we couldn't go any further. So we took the exit into Lumberton and the alternate route was also flooded, so we tried to get back on 95, which was also under about three feet of water.

CABRERA: Were you afraid of that water flooding your car?


CABRERA: What was going through your mind?

BURGALOW: I was scared, nervous. I didn't know if we were going to be OK.

CABRERA: And here you are again. What is the current situation why you got stranded again?

BURGALOW: Because we were looking for gas and most of the gas stations that we stopped at were either out of power or didn't have gas.

CABRERA: Why did you decide to travel during the storm?

BURGALOW: We already had a planned visit to Georgia and we didn't think it was going to be this bad.

CABRERA: And you stayed in a shelter last night. Obviously the reality sinks in. What stories were you hearing from others who were there as well?

BURGALOW: They were talking about how they have stalled out their cars. They might not make it back home. Some people were talking about all the fallen trees and stuff that's blocking their path so they had to get out and walk to the shelters.

CABRERA: What is your plan now?

BURGALOW: Now, I guess we're just going to stay at the shelter until we're able to get gas and get back on the road to Virginia.

CABRERA: So you're still going to try to go to Virginia. Your plan has not been thwarted at this point, it sounds like.


CABRERA: And who are you with?

BURGALOW: I'm with my sister, her boyfriend, and my aunt.

CABRERA: Have you ever experienced a hurricane and the results of a hurricane like the aftermath?

BURGALOW: I have not.

CABRERA: So what has this been like for you?

BURGALOW: It's been pretty scary, but, I'm not going to lie, it's kind of cool too. I mean, it's nice to see everybody work together to help each other.

CABRERA: Well, Hailey Burgalow, we wish you the very best. Please stay safe. Please make good decisions and don't travel if it is too dangerous. Really want to make sure you get where you're going safely. Thank you again for joining us and sharing your story.

BURGALOW: Thank you.

CABRERA: We have seen dozens of desperate families pulled from the massive flooding throughout the Carolinas, but this one really caught our eye. There in a baby carrier, a one-week-old infant trapped in a trailer park in Rocky Point, North Carolina, just north of Wilmington.

Family getting that little bundle of joy out of harm's way with the help of these brave first responders. Look closely there, you see tears of relief as they head to safety. Swimmers are being urged to stay out of the water following a deadly

shark attack off the shores of Cape Cod. What we're now learning about the victim, what exactly happened, and what experts think this means for Great White sharks and humans off the coast of Massachusetts going forward. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."


CABRERA: Welcome back. We now know the identity of the man who died in a suspected shark attack off the coast of Cape Cod this weekend. Twenty-six-year-old Arthur Medici was pulled from the water and given CPR, but he couldn't be saved. It's still unclear what kind of shark attacked.

This stunning video shows just how close Great Whites have gotten to the Cape Cod shore. You can see a shark right there swimming very close to a research boat. That is the shoreline there in the background.

Joining us now, Andy Casagrande, a cinema photographer who has covered some underwater video which has been featured on Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" and "Planet Ocean."

So Andy, glad to have your voice with us. Thank you very much. If confirmed, this is the first deadly shark attack in Massachusetts in 80 years. What's your reaction?

ANDY CASAGRANDE, CINEMA PHOTOGRAPHER: Yes, I mean, any time there's a loss of life, whether it's a human life or a shark life, it's never a good thing. Like you said, it's been 80 years, 82 years, 1936, I believe, the last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts. I mean, the reality is Cape Cod is a known White Shark hot spot. This is a place where they're feeding on seals. The seal population has rebounded to the point where the shark density has increased.

You get tons of bathers, recreational water users in the water all the time. So the fact that it happened is not hard to fathom. The fact that it hasn't happened more often, in my opinion, is hard to fathom. I mean, sharks have proved they're not targeting humans. We're not on their menu.

CABRERA: We're not on their menu. There has been an increase though in the shark sightings, as you mentioned. Just how close to shore do sharks usually come?

[17:50:05] CASAGRANDE: I mean, there's footage of sharks, White Sharks rushing right up within, you know, a few feet of water up to the sandy beaches to chase seals. They do it in South Africa. They do it in Cape Cod. People think that White sharks might live out in the deep blue sea, but these are coastal predators.

They hunt mammals. We are mammals. It's very unfortunate but it's a rare fact of life that sharks occasionally they make mistakes. And it's just -- and it's unfortunate, but humans need to learn to co- exist with sharks. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is up there doing great work, great research, educating the public. So, it's just -- it's life.

CABRERA: Well, educate me then. What should you do if you are in the water and you see a shark nearby?

CASAGRANDE: If you see a shark, maintain eye contact. If you panic and try to swim away and you trigger that instinct for the shark to chase you, it's not a good thing. The reality is, anywhere White Sharks are hunting seals or other large mammals, you need to be where -- if it's murky visibility, if you see seals in the area, it's likely the best idea to just get out of the water.

Stick to the beach and the sand, enjoy the sun and just realize it's a risk every time you go in the ocean. It's a very low risk but it's possible.

CABRERA: Worst case scenario, I'm going to go there. If a shark attacks, what is the best way to fight back or to try to escape?

CASAGRANDE: So a lot of people think punching a shark in the nose is what you should do. The reality is their eyes and their gills are they most sensitive organs. So, it's like you're trying to choke the shark out or blind it.

So, if you happen to find yourself in the unfortunate situation inside the shark's mouth, go for it's eyeballs or its gill slit and yes, the reality is you do want to fight back. You don't want to, you know, like there's certain other predators like Grizzly Bears where you want to sort of play dead.

This is the scenario where you do need the fight for your life. And tourniquets and knowing what to do for immediate medical trauma to react, it sounds like every one did what they could but it was simply too late.

CABRERA: As I mentioned at the top there, you are a cinematographer so you've been close to some of these animals. Have you had any close calls?

CASGRANDE: I've had a few, but I'm always jumping in the water aware that sharks are there and actually want to encounter them. I want them to come right up to me. In my opinion, sharks are among the most polite predators on the planet. I've been doing it for almost two decades. I've got all my fingers and toes. I have never been bit. I don't plan on it, but I also take every precaution and try not to do anything, you know, unwise.

CABRERA: Well, Andy Casagrande, we're still glad you can be with us to give us more information and to get the word out to spread the awareness as you mentioned. Thank you.

CASAGRANDE: You got it.

CABRERA: Get out now. That is the word from officials in North Carolina as waters continue to rise. More on this dangerous situation, next. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."


CABRERA: The National Weather Service is now broadening its warnings into inland North Carolina where fears of flash flooding and river swells are there loud and clear, beginning to cut off major roadways. This is already hindering both evacuation routes and emergency rescue teams. CNN's Miguel Marquez is live in Pender County. Miguel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Highway 421 in Pender County. It's now a lake. Several hundred yards wide, this lake, down that way is Wilmington. Up that way is Raleigh. You can't get there. This is all runoff from the long creek that feeds down into the Cape Fear River. It is still rising. The Cape Fear River is still rising.

On the other side of this area, Wards Corner where we are, is the Black River. That river is also rising and cutting off roads there. It is becoming dire for the situation, for this location. Officials that I speak to here say they had 300 calls for water rescues in this area overnight and they were able to get to about 172, but they need more resources.

They lost two ambulances in the water overnight. They don't have enough fuel for some of their rescuers to get to those rescues. In one case, there was a woman and two children clinging to a tree for much of the night as helicopters try to pluck them out. We don't even know yet whether they survived. It is critical -- it is a critical time for the people in this county and in this area.

There are shelters open, but the rain keeps coming down and the rivers keep rising and it is not clear how long the people can survive here especially those who have been cut off by very fast rising waters. Back to you.

CABRERA: You're live in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Erica Hill is with us in Faytetteville, North Carolina where city officials say the worst is yet to come. They are talking about flood waters that continue to rise. Covering homes, trapping families inside.

[18:00:01] Right now the water is not going down and there's a very desperate situation unfolding not far from there where a levee made out of sandbags and gravel is the only thing standing between a rising river and major disaster.