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Rescue Under Way at Commercial Diving Vessel; Coastal Floridians Watch for Hurricane Dorian; Motives Behind Latest Shooting in Texas Under Investigation. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired September 2, 2019 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] CHAD MYERS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Up near -- up, you know, into (ph) Atlantic Beach. These areas are going to see winds over 100. They are going to see absolute damaging winds. Not 185, like the Great Abaco did. The Great Abaco --
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Right.
MYERS: -- we don't even have a decent picture out of Great Abaco because they can't even get there yet. The winds are --
MYERS: -- still 85 miles per hour. They would love to take a helicopter over there and go land and see what's there, but they can't. They would love to take a boat, to go over there. You can't put a boat in the water with 85 mile-per-hour --
MYERS: -- gusts. We simply don't know what's happened to that island. But, you know, I mean, we know about what happened to Barbuda, we know what happened to some of the other Caribbean islands, a couple of years ago, with a storm of lesser power than this. We can imagine that there is --
MYERS: -- just destruction.
HARLOW: I remember those images, Chad, out of Barbuda --
HARLOW: -- and your point, that was a lesser storm in terms of the wind and how long the rain hit there, wow. OK, thank you very much, Chad. We'll get back to you in a little bit. We'll have much more on Hurricane Dorian ahead. Stay right there.
HARLOW: All right. We are back to the breaking news out of California this morning. Just a tragic story. The senior chief of the U.S. Coast Guard, Aaron Bemis, spoke with me, last hour, by phone. He said that rescue operations are still under way right now. Multiple fire departments are on the scene. This is, of course, over that blaze that broke out at 3:15 a.m., local time -- Pacific time -- this morning in Ventura County, California, on that commercial diving boat.
A 75-food boat had people out there, 39 people, passengers and crew, for a Labor Day diving trip. We know that five crewmembers were able to escape the burning vessel. What we don't know is the status of the 34 others on board. Listen to this.
AARON BEMIS, SENIOR CHIEF, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD (via telephone): The fire's been put out multiple times and reflashed. So there's multiple Coast Guard and local Ventura County Fire Department assets on-scene, but we're not able to yet breach the hull and see if there's anybody -- any survivors at this point.
HARLOW: You're not able to breach the hull? Can you tell us a little bit more about what that means, what kind of boat we're talking about here?
BEMIS: You bet. It's a 75-foot commercial dive vessel that reportedly had 39 people on board. The five crewmembers were able to disembark the vessel because they were up forward in the main cabin. The 34 passengers were below decks. And the report that we got, it was that they were trapped by the fire.
And the fire was so intense that even after it was put out, you know, we're not able to actually embark the vessel and, you know, look for survivors --
BEMIS: -- at this point. So that's still ongoing.
HARLOW: Is the belief that these people were sleeping on the boat when the fire broke out?
BEMIS: The people were in a berthing area, which is a section of the boat where people do sleep. And the fire kicked off at 3:14 a.m. local Pacific time this morning, so chances are good that they were asleep in the berthing area.
HARLOW: What time, again, was that?
BEMIS: It was at 03:14 Pacific Standard time.
HARLOW: 3:14 in the morning.
BEMIS: Yes, ma'am.
HARLOW: OK. You have been able to rescue some people off the boat. But obviously, not everyone. Because you believe there are still victims on that boat? Can you give us any sense of numbers? Meaning at least how many you were able to rescue.
BEMIS: Five crew members were able to disembark the vessel on their own before Coast Guard was on-scene, due to where they were located on the boat. They were up, forward in the main cabin. So they were not trapped by the fire.
But another 34 people are reported to be on the boat. We won't have a strong figure or names until the crew -- the ship's manifest is --
HARLOW: But just to be clear, it sounds like you're saying, sir, that only five people that you know of, safely got off that boat. That none of the 34 others on board that you know of, at least at this point, were rescued by the Coast Guard. Is that correct?
BEMIS: That is correct.
HARLOW: Again, that was senior chief of the U.S. Coast Guard, Aaron Bemis. My thanks to him for calling in in the middle of such a tragic situation. Again, the fate of 34 passengers who were on that boat, we still don't know at this time.
We'll get back to that in just a moment. Hurricane Dorian, though, continues its slow crawl up Florida's east coast. Millions are under hurricane warnings and watches right now. Two phrases being used to describe this Category 5 storm: "very slow-moving" and "catastrophic."
Let's go to Rosa Flores. She's in Daytona Beach. And, Rosie, you showed us, last hour, those ominous clouds creeping in. What are you seeing, what are you expecting?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're seeing high tide right now, Poppy, if you take a look at the beach behind me. And we have been seeing what the CNN Weather Center told us we could expect, and that is very rapid showers. They're windy, they're brief, and we're going to be seeing those all day long. We're not expecting some of the major bands until either later today or tomorrow.
But this area, now, is under an evacuation order. And you can see that individuals here, heeding the warning. Now, we're on the barrier island, and the evacuation order applies to the barrier island, anyone living in a mobile home or an R.V. park, and any of the low-lying areas.
Now, this also means that the shelters are now open. We understand that there are 34 across this county, but eight or nine are most likely going to be needed.
But, Poppy, I can tell you, one of our producers, John (ph) Cowles (ph), have been driving up this Atlantic boulevard, one of the main streets here, and he says that it really looks like a ghost town. So at least in the tourist area, it looks like individuals are heeding the warning.
We actually just talked to a couple that was on the beach, and they were here just to check on their business, make sure that everything was boarded up before heading home. They said they're not in the evacuation area, at least not for now.
So that's what we have Poppy, in Daytona Beach. We're seeing very brief bands from Hurricane Dorian, and that's what we're expecting all day today -- Poppy.
HARLOW: OK. Rosa Flores, thank you so much for being there, for your reporting. I know you'll stay on top of this. We'll get back to you soon.
In the meantime, homes and businesses up and down the coast there, the eastern coast of Florida, preparing, hunkering down as Hurricane Dorian inches closer to the United States. We'll take you live to Vero Beach, ahead.
HARLOW: All right, welcome back. We're continuing to follow the latest on Hurricane Dorian. Let's get to our Marty Savidge, he joins me again from Vero Beach, Florida.
I mean, Marty, when we talked, last hour, the shop owners, the people there, spectators, they're not taking this that seriously, it sounds like.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they aren't. And they're still here, Poppy, even though the weather, we know, is clearly just beyond the horizon here.
Weather conditions are a part of it. And they've been fairly good. The breeze is steady, probably about 10. Wave states, building. But here's what I really want to show you, it's what's on land. We are under a mandatory evacuation. And yet the beach is the most popular place to be, right about now.
In fact, there are 11 counties in the state of Florida, under mandatory evacuation, this being one of them. It started about two hours and 46 minutes ago, and the crowds have only grown larger, here along the waterfront.
And they're expecting hurricane-force winds, either late today or tomorrow, we're talking 80, 90 miles an hour. We're also expecting a storm surge that could overtop some of the dunes on the barrier islands here. So that's the reason that safety officials have declared this.
The bridges are open to the mainland, that's why I think people still feel confident. They've also been trusting, very much, in the weather forecast, believing this storm is going to make that turn. But nonetheless, these people are all gathered, here on the waterfront, taking a look and risking a bit as they wait for this storm to arrive -- Poppy.
HARLOW: They certainly are. OK, Marty, thank you for being there, for your reporting. We'll see what is to come.
Meantime, to the massacre in Texas over the weekend. The FBI, this morning, is combing through 15 different crime scenes in and around Odessa, Texas, trying to figure out why a man went on this killing spree that lasted more than an hour.
HARLOW: Right now, investigators are trying to figure out why a man opened fire on innocent people across West Texas, killing seven and injuring 22 others over the weekend. "The New York Times" is reporting this morning that the gunman was fired from his job as a truck driver, just hours before he began the shooting spree.
Scott McLean is back with me in Odessa, Texas this morning. I know there are so many questions, so few answers. But are you learning anything from investigators about motive?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, there's about 130 FBI investigators, combing through 15 or so different crime scenes around this city. And they're all trying to answer that one question, "Why did this happen?" This shooter is a 36-year-old man with a pretty scant online footprint. He also has a pretty scant criminal past, just two misdemeanors dating back to 2001, that we could find.
Officials say this does not look like terrorism, so what is it? Well, authorities are out at his property, which is about 15 miles west of here, searching, trying to figure out what the -- what might have motivated him.
A neighbor told CNN that he would actually sit on top of his house and shoot at animals in her yard. She also mentioned, they had a dispute that ended with him showing up at her door with a rifle in his hand.
Now, we know that in this case, he used an AR-15 type of weapon to carry this out. He was on the loose for about an hour. He also, at some point, hijacked a U.S. Postal Service van, which added to the confusion as to where these shots were coming from. Listen to some of the dispatch audio that illustrates that point.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we're locking (ph) that down. Do we know if the people have moved from one vehicle to the other, or do we have two vehicles?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't have (ph), if they moved. They just know there's at least one male occupying a mail truck. They believe he's part of it. It's going to be the second active vehicle, last seen heading westbound again (ph).
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MCLEAN: So keep in mind, Poppy, that audio that you just heard there was recorded about 40 minutes after this whole incident started. They were still trying to get a handle on what exactly they were looking for.
All of it culminated here with the crash and then the shootout with police. The driver of that mail van, her name was Mary Granados -- she was actually caught on a doorbell camera earlier that day, delivering mail, doing her normal job. She was also on the phone with her sister at the time she was shot and killed -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Before you go, Scott, I mean, you know, we talk so much about the shooter and the motive and what investigators are looking for, but let's not forget the faces. The seven people murdered, the 22 people injured, one of them, a police officer.
And this little girl, this morning, 17-month-old Anderson Davis is being wheeled into an operating room to undergo surgery because she was shot in the face. What do we know about her, her condition and what her family is saying?
MCLEAN: Yes. We know, according to a family friend, Poppy, that she actually underwent surgery yesterday to heal up a hole that was in her bottom lip, and another one in her tongue. They also had to open up her chest in order to get shrapnel out. They couldn't get it all out, though. So as you said, she'll have to go back in.
Some good news, though, there's been an outpouring of support, a GoFundMe page, to help pay for some of those medical expenses, has raised almost $200,000.
HARLOW: She is darling. And her parents never should have to issue the statement that they did, and she should never have to endure this. Thank you, Scott, for all your reporting on this. We appreciate it.
All right, we're also getting brand-new information this morning from the National Hurricane Center, as Hurricane Dorian crawls across the Bahamas, on its way to Florida. We'll have the latest on Hurricane Dorian in just a minute. Stay right there.