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Tropical Storm Florence Causing Catastrophic Flooding; Cajun Navy helping people and pets escape the flood zone; swimmers on Cape Cod are on edge after a man is killed in the first fatal shark attack in Massachusetts in more than 80 years. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 16, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:21] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Hello on this Sunday. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for being with me.
Our breaking news this hour, the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh could be in question this hour as his accuser goes public, revealing new information about an alleged sexual assault decades ago, an alleged assault Kavanaugh has categorically denied.
As of right now, eight Democratic senators are calling for Kavanaugh's hearing to be delayed. And now, Republican Senator Jeff Flake has joined them.
According to the "Washington Post," Flake tells the paper he doesn't believe the committee can vote until it hears from Kavanaugh's accuser.
Another lawmaker we have been closely watching is Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and she has not yet said how she will vote on Kavanaugh. And here is how she reacted just a short time ago when asked about these accusations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Well, I obviously was very surprised. And it's an issue that I brought up with him last Friday, and he denied it as he did in his written statement. That's really all I have to say at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think, should the Committee vote coming up here this week?
COLLINS: I'm going to be talking with my colleagues, but I really don't have anything to add at this point. As I've said, I did ask -- I did read the letter last week and asked the judge in a telephone conversation on Friday about it. And he was very emphatic in his denial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe the accuser?
COLLINS: I don't know enough to make a judgment at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: Now, again, here is what has caused all of this. Just a short time ago, Kavanaugh's accuser came forward publicly. Her name is Christine Blasey Ford, and she is talking exclusively to the "Washington Post."
Ford has shared new details with the paper not only about the alleged attack but also about potential evidence that could back up her story. "The Post" writes this about the night in question.
While his friends watched, she said Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it.
When she tried to scream, she said he put his hand over her mouth. I thought he might inadvertently kill me, said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.
CNN Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue is joining us now.
Ariane, tell us more about Ford and this information she reveals.
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right, Ana. As you said, this woman has come forward, publicly accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And the assault was at a party more than 30 years ago, she said, according to "The Post."
As you said, her name is Christine Blasey Ford. She is a professor at Palo Alto University in California.
And, Ana, it's important to remember that Brett Kavanaugh actually released a statement on Friday. And he said, 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 she attended this party. It was in suburban Maryland back in 1982. She said that Kavanaugh and a friend were stumbling drunk. She alleges she was corralled into a bedroom.
And at one point, he tried to take her clothes off and he put his hands over her mouth, and that's when she said she thought she might be -- he might inadvertently kill her. She said he was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.
She did tell "The Post" that she was able to escape the room, get up and leave. And she only shared this information years later in 2012 with a therapist and her husband.
According to the article, the husband recalled his wife using Kavanaugh's name, but the therapist's notes, which have been reviewed by the "Washington Post," do not mention him.
So, Ana, that's where we are right now in this story. CABRERA: Ariane, so much has been said about the timing once that
letter was revealed by Senator Diane Feinstein. And now, this woman who had wanted to be anonymous has chosen to go public. Do we know why she is coming forward now?
DE VOGUE: Well, in the letter to Feinstein, she said she felt like as a citizen she needed to go forward and she'd be guilty if she didn't. But still, at that point, she just wanted to bring the allegations forward, and she wasn't sure whether she wanted her name to become public.
[19:04:58] And the "Washington Post" today quoting her, she said that she did not want her credibility chipped away. So it was important for her to put her name on this, and she did it just a few hours ago in that "Washington Post" story.
CABRERA: Ariane de Vogue, thank you for bringing us that update.
And now, I want to bring in "Washington Post" reporter Sean Sullivan because he just spoke to Republican Senator Jeff Flake who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And, Sean, I understand Flake told you he thinks the vote should be delayed?
SEAN SULLIVAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): Well, what he said was that he had made it clear that he is not comfortable moving ahead with a planned vote on Thursday unless the Committee has had a chance to hear directly from this woman.
He said it really needs to be taken seriously and that she must be heard. And so here, you're seeing a Republican senator saying that you can't move forward on this thing until we hear more. Pretty striking comments from Senator Flake right there.
CABRERA: Flake isn't up for re-election in November. How much of a role do you think that plays in why he is now the lone Republican coming forward in saying this?
SULLIVAN (via telephone): Well, when you look on the whole of Senator Flake's record, he certainly has been more willing to speak out about President Trump's administration, his nominees, and his agenda than other Republicans.
And as you point out, he doesn't have to go before voters again this year, but he does have a degree of power here on the Judiciary Committee. And if he were to side with Democrats and vote no, then he could have the potential to tilt the vote in the committee right now.
So he is just one senator certainly willing to speak out more than most Republicans but, again, a senator with a considerable amount of power in this whole process.
CABRERA: Sean, I'm sure you are frantically reaching out to all of your sources and the senators that I know you've developed relationships with. Are you hearing or getting a better sense of where this goes from here?
SULLIVAN (via telephone): Well, right now, I think a lot of Republicans are being cautious. They're being careful.
You're not hearing or seeing a lot of statements from Republican senators. You're seeing a lot from Democrats today saying that this vote absolutely needs to be delayed. We need to look into this further.
And so I think a lot of Republicans right now are trying to figure out how they are going to be responding to this and how far they are willing to go in terms of calling for a delay or in terms of echoing what Senator Flake is saying.
But the lead at this hour is we're hearing a lot more from Democrats than we are from Republicans. There's been a lot of radio silence on the GOP side.
CABRERA: A lot of people are putting out statements. Although we have reached out to a number of senators on both sides of the aisle, no one wants to come on tonight as you point out. It seems like they are huddling, determining where they go from here.
Thank you very much, Sean Sullivan, for joining us.
CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju is standing by now on the phone with us.
Manu, I know you are reporting that Judiciary Committee members are setting up calls with Kavanaugh now. What more can you tell us?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, not just with Kavanaugh but also with the accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Senator Chuck Grassley, the Chairman of the Committee, Ana, has announced that he will have phone calls with Judge Kavanaugh and with Dr. Ford sometime before the scheduled vote on Thursday.
In addition, Diane Feinstein, the ranking Democrat who got that letter that she gave over to the FBI that contained these allegations, she also plans to have some follow up phone calls with both of these individuals, Kavanaugh and Ford.
Now, Grassley is making it very clear, Ana, that he wants to move forward with this vote on Thursday at least at this point.
But if there becomes opposition from the ranks the way Jeff Flake has made that concern, if we have other Republicans coming forward, it may be too difficult for him to go forward with that vote on Thursday. And that would really make it hard for the part of the Republicans to confirm this nominee by October, which has been their goal all along.
So the big question is whether or not these phone calls in the next couple of days will be enough to satisfy concerns of people like Jeff Flake and other Republicans so they can make the decision about whether or not they can, in fact, move forward with that vote on Thursday.
CABRERA: Manu, level with me here. What are the odds that this hearing happens on Thursday as planned?
RAJU (via telephone): It is really just too hard to say at this moment. You know, I have covered a lot of these Supreme Court nominations, many over the years. And this one is turning out like no other that I have seen.
Of course, it harkens back to Clarence Thomas day but those circumstances, also, much different than today's in a lot of ways. And it's very difficult to see how -- to predict exactly what happens.
Watch Susan Collins of Maine, watch Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the two moderate senators who hold the key ultimately to determining whether or not he will be confirmed. Both of them have been mum so far about this today.
[19:09:58] If they start raising some significant concerns, give their view, he will be in trouble. But if they resolve her concerns -- their concerns, then he could be confirmed. So a lot of work has to be done behind the scenes for Republicans to move forward with this nomination.
CABRERA: And, Manu, we know you are doing a lot of work behind the scenes, continuing to try to report this. Please check back with us if you get any new information, and thank you for joining us.
And now, I want to turn to CNN senior political analyst and former adviser to four presidents, David Gergen.
David, are we witnessing an Anita Hill moment?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's possible. It's very possible, Ana. This is taking a very strange unpredictable turn, hasn't it?
And listen, I think it's very hard to resolve what the merits are on this case. The Republicans have a point in saying this is a very late hit, that this all should have been -- come to the committee earlier so they could have had an ample chance to investigate fully, that this puts them in a very awkward position.
Having said that, though, I think the country has come to a different place. People are much more sympathetic to women and the dilemmas they face in coming forward.
And one has to feel some sympathy, a great deal of sympathy for this woman. After all, she has been trying to do the right thing, but she knew all along that if she went public, as she has been forced to do by events, that there was a good chance she was going to be pilloried, vilified publicly. And she's trying to protect her family, to protect her won -- protect herself.
I do think that, on the merits, the Republicans would be wise -- and I think this is the just thing to do -- to take a pause and bring her in for -- let the country see her. Let the country see Kavanaugh debating this. Let the country help make up its mind, not just do this over phone calls that will be suspect right from the very beginning.
CABRERA: Let me just reiterate because Kavanaugh's accuser is now on record. She has shared a detailed description of the alleged attack. She has therapy notes from 2012 where she talked about the alleged incident. She has passed a polygraph test administered by a former FBI official. Can Kavanaugh overcome this?
GERGEN: Well, I think there is credible evidence on her side. There is no question about that. I think it's particularly important that she talked to her therapist about this back six years ago. She didn't name Kavanaugh but she said she was physically assaulted.
Her husband -- that she and her husband had been talking about this. She went to one of the best or one of the key lawyers who takes sexual harassment cases, a woman who urged her to take a polygraph which she passed, you know.
So there is a lot there that says she's got some credibility. And she is, after all, could very well be the victim of a serious assault when she was a teenager. She was 15 or 16 years old, so I think we have to be very sympathetic to that.
But on the other hand, you've got to check it out and it takes time to do that. Who is she? How credible is she? What do we not know about her background? Is there some possibility she has been put up by somebody else to claim all of these things? Is this a hoax or is it real?
And I think the only way you do that is to take your time and figure it out. And this is a big test for Republicans. I know they want to shove it on through, but the perception is, of course, that they have been stiff-arming. They stiff-armed Garland and now they're stiff- arming to get Kavanaugh through.
They should slow it down and be respectful of a different point of view in the country. And I think if they just shove it on through here without serious effort to get to the bottom of this, there are going to be a lot of women out there who are going to be thinking, how do I express my frustration and anger? And they will be looking to the midterms and, frankly, the general election in 2020.
CABRERA: At least one Republican, Senator Jeff Flake, is now calling for this vote to at least be put on hold until this accuser, Blasey Ford, comes forward.
CABRERA: This is according to the "Washington Post," of course. What are the chances Kavanaugh's hearing doesn't happen on Thursday as scheduled? And is there any harm, politically, for Republicans to delay it?
GERGEN: I don't see the harm for Republicans to delay it unless they look weak to their base, but that's -- you know, this is not a question of being strong versus weak. It's a question of what's right and what's wrong.
And on this issue of Jeff Flake, he is central to this because the vote in the Judiciary Committee, there are 11 -- I believe there are 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. If he switches his vote over to the Democratic side, that potentially could mean that this nomination won't get out of committee. It could potentially kill it in the committee.
So as CNN just reported, Jeff Flake has a fair amount of leverage in this. And he -- it may be a badge of honor to him to deal with this in a way which is more respectful of women than it's going to be interpreted by a lot of women if the Republicans shove it through without a serious attempt to get to the bottom of things.
[19:15:03] CABRERA: David Gergen, always great to have your perspective. Thank you so much for being with us.
GERGEN: Thanks, Ana. Good to be with you.
CABRERA: Coming up, parts of the Carolinas bracing for some of the worst destruction yet from the remnants of Hurricane Florence. We are there live on the ground where water levels are still rising.
CABRERA: It is the never-ending storm. Florence continues its slow, relentless march inland, drenching the Carolinas and creating a flood danger more immediate now than when it made landfall two days ago.
All through last night and today, swift water rescue teams have been out in full force, rescuing some 900 people statewide including families with small children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The river appears to have come -- just came quick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn't you evacuate earlier?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I didn't have anywhere to go.
[19:20:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was awful?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it awful?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Just a short time ago, the death toll from this storm rose again, now at 18. And among the victims, a baby who died when a tree fell on her family's mobile home. Nineteen thousand people are in shelters across both North and South
Carolina tonight, and more than 700,000 homes and businesses are still without power. And with the rain still falling, many neighborhoods are cut off, turned into virtual islands.
CNN's own Derek Van Dam experienced that first hand in one North Carolina county.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Imagine if this was your home. Imagine if this is your farm. This is what people are dealing with in Murrayville, North Carolina.
We are very close to the closed interstate, I-40, a major artery for this location. We just got on to the scene here. I'm going to double check to make sure that no one is in this house.
Doors are locked. Hopefully, they have been evacuated.
But obviously a dire situation for people here. Floodwaters rose very quickly last night. You can see homes behind me here that are also flooded out. Residents telling me that they have never seen flooding this bad, even with their benchmark storm, Hurricane Floyd, back in '99.
This is going to be one for the record books. In fact, Florence already setting state records for tropical rainfall well over 30 inches, and it's not done yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Again, that was Derek Van Dam.
Tonight, more than 6,000 National Guard troops are on duty as the governor of North Carolina warns the state has a tall task ahead in cleaning up all the storm damage.
My colleague, Erica Hill, is joining us now from Fayetteville, North Carolina where officials are warning the worst is yet to come. Erica?
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, that's exactly what they were telling us from the wee hours from this morning when we first got in touch. They said the worst is still yet to come and now is not the time to be complacent.
Here in Fayetteville, there are some mandatory evacuations in effect. And police officers and firefighters actually went door to door in several neighborhoods last night, knocking on those doors.
We spoke with one woman who said she opened the door. She got the warning from officials. And having been through Matthew, she knew that it was time to get out, and that's why she was packing up her car when we saw her earlier today.
In terms of what's happening here on the ground, they are ready. There are a number of rescue teams who are ready and set to go. We spoke with one of the task force leaders earlier today who said if those calls, when those calls come in, they can jump right into action.
I do want to tell you, though, two of the fire stations actually had to be evacuated, Ana, because of where they are in flood zones. Some of their assets brought to other fire stations so that they, too, can still continue to help.
To give you a better sense of what's happening around the region, Polo Sandoval, my colleague, is just south of us in Lumberton, North Carolina, a town that also remembers quite well what happened during Matthew and is now bracing for another round. Polo?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, it is a critical night for the city of Lumberton and about 21,000 people who call this part of North Carolina home. I'll tell you why.
The Lumber River is expected to crest by tomorrow morning which means many people here are expecting a repeat of what took place two years ago, as you mentioned, during Hurricane Matthew when the Lumber River overflowed its banks and, really, was flowing through many neighborhoods.
In fact, it's happening again, and this is what officials have been warning about for the last several days.
The residents in this city wanted to get ahead of the situation so what they did earlier this week -- or actually last week, they basically created a manmade levee, a temporary levee, made out of gravels, sandbags, concrete barriers as well, identifying a key part in the city where they say the water poured in during -- or flowed in, rather, during Hurricane Matthew.
Sadly, however, that has actually been compromised. How do we know? We saw it ourselves while we were accompanying the U.S. Coast Guard on one of their surveys. We witnessed the water seeping through this barrier that had been created by residents.
It certainly wasn't for nothing, however, because that certainly bought them precious time. This was an opportunity for these homes to be evacuated, these neighborhoods to empty out, for hundreds of people to head to higher ground.
There is, however, a main levee, the one that you'll find along the banks of the Lumber River. That is what is still doing OK, according to city officials. It is still doing its job as it's designed.
If that is compromised, however, then officials fear that all bets are off and then they could see severe flooding throughout the rest of Lumberton.
HILL: Got it, Polo.
Polo Sandoval with the latest for us there in Lumberton. Polo, thank you. I want to also get you caught up on what's happening in South
Carolina. There has been so much talk about North Carolina. South Carolina, obviously, feeling the effects of Florence as well.
[19:25:00] Take a look at some of the video that was captured by one of our colleagues earlier today. This is a waterspout off the coast of Myrtle Beach. And I can tell you, it's actually not far from where we were yesterday.
This is just off the coast. Anyone who is familiar with that area, this is the row along Myrtle Beach. Of course, miles of shoreline there that so many families have enjoyed it for their vacations.
And about 15 miles inland from where that area is, is where we find CNN's Scott McLean who, tonight, is in Conway, South Carolina. A lot of folks there allowed to come back in, Scott, I know, but there are major concerns about the flooding that could come in the next few days.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, there are, Erica. You know, this really does feel like the --
HILL: We lost Scott's shot there, but we will try to get it back up for you later. But just to give you a sense, too, obviously, both the Carolinas hit very hard here.
In terms of the area where Scott is, we were up and around in that area yesterday morning as well. We woke in Myrtle Beach, drove up to the Conway area where he is right now, and there was some flooding there.
The main concern from officials is what could come in terms of flooding. I think we may have Scott's shot back up.
Scott, can you hear me?
I don't -- so we don't have Scott there. But just keep in mind, what we're hearing from officials, including the mayor of Myrtle Beach, is that the next couple of days will be critical in terms of rivers in the area that are going to crest.
They are looking very closely at the Waccamaw River, at the Pee Dee, at the Little Pee Dee River, all of these. And also concerns, of course, Ana, of flooding that could make its way down into South Carolina from North Carolina, Ana.
CABRERA: Thank you for the very latest, Erica. Coming up, our storm coverage continues. And we're going to talk with a woman in Wilmington, a victim who was in her home with her children when the roof came flying off. Her story next, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
ANA CABRERA, HOST CNN NEWSROOM: The City of Wilmington, North Carolina is essentially an island right now. This is just one highway still passable around Wilmington, but the Mayor says that for 20 to 40 miles in any direction nothing, can get into or out of the city. Every road is flooded. That means no fuel deliveries, no emergency supplies, no FEMA crews, no power company trucks. Wilmington, for now, is cut off.
On the phone with us is Christina Dow in Wilmington. She was in her home when the hurricane ripped her roof right off. She and her two young boys have been staying in a shelter. Christina, thank you for spending the time with us. First, how are you? How are your boys?
CHRISTINA DOW; HURRICANE FLORENCE SURVIVOR: We are doing the best that we can.
CABRERA: What is your situation right now?
DOW: Well, went in a shelter for a couple of days. Right now a friend of the family, Sabrina, she told us that we can come and stay over here with her. She doesn't have power but she said we are more than welcome to come over here and stay with her for a while.
CABRERA: We are looking at pictures of the storm damage at your property. Walk me through what happened when that roof came off.
DOW: Well, we were -- we actually, everybody was laying down asleep that night. And we started -- my son told me that some -- it was leaking some downstairs so we put pots down and everything. And then like that morning it was dripping more. So we was like everybody was getting up and getting -- and I looked out the back door and because I heard a noise and I saw this real big metal piece that was on the back in the deck. Well, I thought it came from the neighbor's storage unit. And I looked again and I'm like, no, it can't be. So I went upstairs. And when I walking up the stairs, it was raining on me in the house.
So I ran in there to wake up my younger son. And I woke him up and told my other son to go down stairs. While he was going downstairs, I heard a noise and I turned and I saw -- I just, I saw something. And I screamed for him to go downstairs and then it broke and the whole ceiling caved in. It hit him on the shoulder going down. So I got the other son up, had him to get on some clothes, my mama and everybody was downstairs. So we went to run downstairs. And while we were down stairs, I called 911 for us to -- I told them I needed to seek shelter like now. And she was -- the 911 dispatcher said it is not safe to leave the house. You don't need to go outside.
I said, ma'am it is not safe here. Like -- then I heard another noise. I'm like, OK, I think more of the ceiling is falling upstairs and we need to leave now. Like, I'm in tears and everybody is in tears. We are trying -- you know, it was just chaos.
DOW: So she told us where to go and she looked up a shelter and we went to Codington Elementary School to seek shelter.
CABRERA: OK. DOW: So we was there for a couple of days, and then yesterday my pops had forgotten his medicine and I forgot my other son's medicine so I needed to go back to the house. So I went -- me and my oldest son went back to the house. We went in and I was easing my way up the stairs to get the medicine.
And was feeling everything -- I was looking up at the sky.
CABRERA: Wow. Christina...
DOW: And I walked up.
CABRERA: I'm sure that was so scary, and I'm glad to hear that your boys are okay especially when you described one of them being injured by a part of the roof collapsing -- the ceiling collapsing into your home. At this point we know that the rain has become also an issue and some flooding.
Quickly, if you will, you had a chance to go back into your house. Do you know if you are being impacted, as well, by the water?
DOW: Yes, it is pretty bad in there. Everything is getting soaking wet. Nothing is -- I don't think there is anything is salvageable at this point. We went in and I was in the living room part and just with all the rain -- I had to wear my rain boots, I had to wear my rain coat. It was just still pouring down rain inside the house on everything.
CABRERA: Well, Christina.
DOW: It just wasn't -- it just wasn't safe to just go in and try to salvage stuff so we just left because I was just scared at -- because the wind was blowing with and being so open, it just seemed like everything did sound like it wanted to cave in. So we just left.
CABRERA: Safety first, of course. I can only imagine how overwhelming this may be for you and your family in determining also what is next. I really wish you the best of luck, Christina, thank you very much for taking the time with us.
DOW: Thank you so much, too.
CABRERA: Please stay safe. Coming up, we'll talk to a member of the Cajun Navy who is helping people and pets escape the flood zone. And just a reminder, if you want to help those impacted by Florence, there are ways to donate, give blood and get in touch with charities that are responding. Just visit cnn.com/impact for more ways you can help. We'll be right back.
CABRERA: What happens when the rescuers need rescuing? The driver of this Humvee with a Marine and two first responders from Onslow County, North Carolina tried to make it through a flooded creek when things didn't go as planned, these good Samaritans stepped in to help them. And fortunately, everyone made it out okay. But just look at those flood waters. There have been hundreds of other rescues this weekend by the Coast Guard, by local officials, volunteers as the water is still rising and for more on that, let's send it back over to Erica hill in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Erica?
ERICA HILL, CNN REPORTER: Ana, thank you.
Just a little bit south of where I am is Lumberton, North Carolina, which suffered a lot two years ago during Matthew. And what folks there are really focused on is the Lumber River. They are watching the levies there, they are watching the dams in the area, they are even watching this makeshift levee that they are hoping holds. And on standby and ready to go if more rescues are needed, there are a number of folks and officials as you mentioned, that are also members of the all-volunteer America's Cajun Navy, which have been instrumental, as we know, across the Carolinas over these last few days. And joining us now is Taylor Fontenot who is the Texas leader of America's Cajun Navy and joining us.
You are actually in Lumberton. Give us a sense, have you been called in at this point to help out at all?
TAYLOR FONTENOT, CAJUN NAVY: Yes. A lot of it is also kind of monitoring the situation and kind of keeping my guys ready, if that dam breaks, those in the water, (inaudible) so we have been very careful today. We are actually just coming back from two German Shepherd rescue and (inaudible) people on there so heading back to (inaudible) I believe, and so (inaudible).
HILL: So you are actually helping to rescue people's pets, the pets of people who had to evacuate right now?
FONTENOT: Yeah. The first night I got here I was in Fayetteville at (inaudible) Drive and we got the call that Newburn needed boats and we drove three hours straight through the hurricane and we are the first boats there somehow and took a police officer and a firefighter out with a navigator and a couple of hundred rescue [trucks] between 4am and 8am and my team just killed it and I couldn't be more proud of them. So what we are seeing is...
HILL: So many people are not only -- go ahead, Taylor, I'm sorry.
FONTENOT: I just don't leave animals behind and a lot of people are - they can't bring their animals to shelters, they can't bring animals in the hotel rooms, and that is actually against the law, they can at the time -- state of emergency, and family forced to leave a pet at home, just for me to come here and say bye to my dogs broke my heart.
HILL: Listen, I understand. As somebody with pets for so many of us they are like family. And I know that people are so grateful to you and your fellow volunteers with the Cajun Navy that you are coming in to help out and I don't know if people realize that you are out there also helping the pets because these are, for many people, these are their families and they need a place to go. Once you are able to rescue them, are you able to reunite the pets with the owners if you are able to or are there shelters to bring those animals to while they are waiting to be reunited?
FONTENOT: Well, we actually brought a guy who lives in Texas that has a 53-foot horse trailer that he has converted into a mobile kind of a command center for rescuing dogs and pets. And today I met him and you will see down here and we really turned around, went out and we just rescued six horses...
37 dogs and 6 cats off one property, they evacuated the owner the night before. And we went back the other day and got the pets. And I'm glad we did because of what happened with the levies the day, and those pets wouldn't have made it if we had waited a couple of hours.
HILL: Wow. Well, you all are doing remarkable work. I know you are doing a lot of it on very little sleep and you are all doing it out of the goodness of your hearts. So thanks again. Taylor, thanks for taking some time for us tonight.
FONTENOT: Thank you so much.
HILL: Ana, so many people pitching in addition to the thousands of officials and teams from across the country who are here as well.
CABRERA: In the worst of times, you see the best in humanity. Erica, thank you. We will continue to check back in with you.
Also ahead in the newsroom, swimmers on Cape Cod are on edge after a man is killed in the first fatal shark attack in Massachusetts in more than 80 years. We'll get a live report next.
We now know the name of the man who died in a shark attack off the coast of Cape Cod this weekend. 26-year-old Arthur Medici was riding a boogie board, and witnesses say he was severely by then in his legs. He's the first person to die in a shark attack in Massachusetts since the 1930s. Now it's unclear what kind of shark was involved, but look at this stunning video. It shows just how close great whites have come to the Cape Cod shoreline.
Alison Kosik is joining us from Cape Cod. And Alison, what more are you learning about this latest attack?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN REPORTER: Ana, tonight there was a vigil to remember 26-year-old Arthur Medici, and we saw dozens gather here, dozens who surfed with him, who swam with him in these waters behind me, and they walked to the water's edge and in true surfer style they threw fresh flowers into the ocean. This is the guy they describe as a guy with a bright smile who had a bright future ahead of him, whose life was cut short as you said, he was boogie boarding at noon on Saturday and a great white shark injured him so severely he took his life.
Now the beaches here are closed, and they are closed indefinitely. I talked to some surfers today though who are questioning what that's really going to accomplish by closing the beaches?
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TIM GORDON, SURFER: The same conditions that were here yesterday when the person was attacked are the same conditions that are here today and will be tomorrow and will be ten years from now. It's exactly the same. This environment doesn't change for us. We have to change for it.
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KOSIK: Now witnesses tell investigators that they saw Medici, that he was attacked only 30 yards, that's 90 feet from the shore, that is shorter than the length of a football field. The sharks are not strangers to Cape Cod beaches. There's been a certain surge in the population of gray seals, gray seals attract their natural born predators, sharks so oftentimes, people who are in the water here, Ana, will literally be swimming side by side with seals and not really know if there's a shark somewhere else in the ocean nearby.
CABRERA: Alison, we see the signs behind you saying that the beach is closed. Any idea what the plans are moving forward? At what point do they determine whether it's safe to reopen?
KOSIK: That's a real good question because one shark expert who we talked with was kind of surprised that the beaches are closed indefinitely. Usually after a shark attack, the beaches close just for 24 hours, so this is closed indefinitely. It's up to the town, it's up to those who manage the beaches to figure out when the beach will open, even the shark expert is wondering what they are actually waiting on and what they are discussing. Ana?
CABRERA: And as you've been talking with shark experts, what safety tips can we offer swimmers? Obviously this always gets your hackles up when you hear of these shark attacks if you're going to the beach.
KOSIK: Yeah. I mean, I did ask one shark expert, when is it safe to go back in the water? And he said, you know what, it's a hard question to answer because at this point, they have been seeing over the summer, there have been sharks -- seeing sharks swimming in shallow water. Their suggestion is don't swim in deep water because that's where the sharks are really going to be swimming in that deeper water. Ana?
CABRERA: Alison Kosik reporting from Massachusetts for us. Thank you so much. A quick break, we'll be right back.
The National Weather Service is now broadening its warnings into Inland North Carolina where fears of flash flooding and river swells are beginning to cut off major roadways. CNN's Miguel Marquez reports.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN REPORTER: This is Highway 421 in Pender County. It's now a lake. Several hundred yards wide this lake, and down that way is Wilmington and 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 this 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 and we don't even know yet whether they survived .
It is a critical -- it's 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.