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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Hazardous Duty; One Woman's Protest; Schwarzenegger Accusations; Athens Crash Investigation; Near Accident at Norfolk

Aired August 15, 2005 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening, everyone. Disturbing details about the jet that crashed, killing 121. What happened to the oxygen supply? And what does it mean for you the next time you fly?
7:00 p.m. on the East Coast, 4:00 p.m. in the West; 360 starts now.


COOPER (voice-over): Manhunt in Michigan. Police breaking down doors after a jailbreak. Tonight, how did four prisoners escape and where were they hoping to hide?

Mother on a mission. Cindy Sheehan. She wants to talk to the president and get U.S. troops out of Iraq. Tonight, we take you behind the scenes of Sheehan's Crawford campout, and speak live to the woman that's reignited the antiwar movement.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the woman and the tabloid. New allegations a tabloid publisher trying to make a deal with Schwarzenegger paid big bucks for a woman's silence. Tonight, 360 investigates.

And a 14-year-old girl falls to her death after a cheerleading mishap. Tonight, an in-depth look at dangers and risks of cheerleading. What you need to know before your child tries out.

ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.


COOPER: Good evening again. We begin in Greece, and new revelations about the plane crash that killed 121 people. The chief coroner in Athens says that at least six people on the plane were alive when the Helios Airways flight crashed into a mountain.

Now, we do not know if those people were conscious. Initial investigations had suggested that many of the passengers had frozen to death before the plane went down yesterday. The pilots of two fighter jets who intercepted the plane before the crash reported seeing oxygen masks down in the cabin. Investigators are checking whether the plane experienced a loss of oxygen and cabin pressure.

We wanted to find out more about what might have happened on board that plane, starting with what happens when a plane loses cabin pressure. We've all been on aircraft, we've all seen the safety demonstrations, but exactly what happens? Joining me from Oklahoma City is Rogers Shaw, of the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. Rogers, thanks very much for being with us.


COOPER: You're standing right now inside an altitude chamber used to train pilots. Show me what happens when you lose pressure.

SHAW: Well, in here we have alarm system. You are going to get a fogging in this chamber. The quick-on mask that's set up is for the pilots to be able to don that mask with five seconds or less, and that system, once that alarm goes off, the pilot has the ability of getting that mask on in five seconds or less, which sounds like a pretty quick time, but at, say, 34,000 feet, you're looking at a time of useful consciousness of about 30 seconds. And that's an average, not the -- that's going pretty easy.

COOPER: So, wait a minute, a pilot has got 30 seconds, basically, tops to get the mask on. What happens if they don't make it?

SHAW: Well, then they lose consciousness, or they don't have the capability to operate that aircraft. That's why that quick-don mask is so important to have that system ready, with that five-second quick-on system.

COOPER: So how much oxygen is in a pilot's mask, versus the ones that passengers wear?

SHAW: The liquid oxygen most of the pilots have on these airframes could fly up to a couple hours at least. The passengers have what they call a candedless (ph) -- it's a solid state. And once they pull those masks out of the roof, they have about a 10-minute burn cycle of 100 percent oxygen. So they have about 10 minutes of oxygen with those Dixie -- the Dixie masks.

COOPER: I also heard that when one pilot leaves the cockpit, it's mandatory that the other one puts his oxygen mask on. Why is that?

SHAW: Well, that's a backup system. And if you don't have another pilot in there, with that 30,000 or above, you want someone on that mask system, because if they miss getting that mask when that thing has a rapid decompression, then you don't have a backup system to help you or another person in there. So that mask needs to be on one of those pilots, especially in a dual-seat cockpit.

COOPER: And I know the pilots, the F-16 pilots who escorted the flight said they saw oxygen masks had been lowered, indicating a change in the cabin pressure. Why is it so important to maintain that cabin pressure?

SHAW: Well, that cabin pressure for most of the passengers around 8,000 feet. If it gets above 14,000 feet, those passenger masks will drop down in the back of that cabin. And that's why it's so important to pay attention to those flight attendants. If those masks do drop down, you're going through 14,000 feet up, and it's important that you get that Dixie mask on, and then take care of the passengers. And that's why the flight attendants really stress that in their standard operating procedures.

COOPER: Rogers Shaw, interesting information. Thanks

Before crashing, this plane was at 35,000 feet, above -- that's about six miles above the ground higher than the tip of Mt. Everest. So if cabin pressure was lost aboard this flight, the temperature inside the plane could have fallen well below zero degrees. 360 MD Sanjay Gupta joins me now to talk about how a person's body can react to such a drop. Sanjay, what were those passengers experiencing?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, 40 to 50 degrees below zero is how cold it can get in there.

Several things to keep in mind. Normally at sea level, the oxygen you're breathing in is only about 21 percent oxygen. The air that you're breathing in is only 21 percent oxygen. Most people don't realize that. And as you go up in a plane, the pressure -- the cabin is pressurized to keep the oxygen level at about 21 percent. If the cabin pressure drops and you lose oxygenation, a couple of things happen.

One is the obvious one you were just talking to Mr. Shaw about, hypoxia. That's when you just don't have enough oxygen circulating in your blood. It's about a quarter of what you need you're actually getting. What happens is you start to lose your mental faculties, you lose your physical faculties. And you can actually pass out. That can actually happen pretty rapidly.

They also say this may -- Anderson, you may remember back in 1999, this may have been what happened to Payne Stewart as well. He was flying along there. They scrambled some jets, they looked inside, saw people that were incapacitated, probably from a lack of oxygen, maybe not getting those masks on quick enough, or not having enough expendable oxygen.

The second thing can happen you saw on that list there, is decompression sickness. We typically hear of something like the bends occurring when you're scuba diving, but it can also occur if you have a sudden loss in cabin pressure. Some people notice it, just their ears pop, but you can have aches in your joints, in your elbows, but you can also pass out and get quite sick from that as well, Anderson.

COOPER: I hate to think what it was like aboard that flight. There were early reports some of the passengers were frozen solid. Is that possible?

GUPTA: Yeah, it is possible, and it's sort of morbid to think about, as you mentioned. Think of it, you know, you drop about 3.5 degrees for every 1,000 feet up. That's a rough number, but if you're up 35,000 feet, as you mentioned, if it was 70 degrees in Greece that day, you're 50 degrees, 60 below zero at 35,000 feet. So it's quite possible, Anderson. COOPER: All right, Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

We are getting some new information just into 360. A plane over Norfolk, Virginia -- there you see it -- is having trouble with its landing gear. You're watching -- this is a C-2 military plane that's circling Norfolk Naval base. We are getting word that the nose gear has been lowered, but the main gear is not down. The pilots have been circling the runway for two hours in a bid to reduce its fuel load. They're making -- and they've made repeated attempts to drop the landing gear; they have not been able to do that. These pictures coming from our affiliate WAVY. Once again, the pilots aboard this C- 2 military aircraft over Norfolk cannot lower the plane's landing gear. They're at some point going to have to attempt a landing with what they have. That's why they're trying to dump as much of the fuel as possible, burn it off. We'll continue to follow this story and bring it to you as warranted.

Over the weekend, there's been a lot of activity in Crawford, Texas to tell you about. Today, Cindy Sheehan, the mother whose child died serving in Iraq, continued her protest, demanding another audience with President Bush. She's by no means alone out there. Antiwar protester and President Bush's supporters alike have descended on Crawford, along with reporters from around the world. CNN's Dana Bash joins us live with the latest -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. Well, as you said, over the weekend, there were hundreds of people here, both for and against what Cindy Sheehan is trying to do. But today, people seemed to go back to work. The crowds seemed to thin, but Cindy Sheehan is trying to keep the momentum going. She says so herself, and trying to basically come up with events. And one thing that she did today, which even a White House official conceded was quite clever, was ask the president to come pray with her on Friday at noon. Anderson, there's no indication that the president is actually going to do that.

COOPER: Over the past few days, Ms. Sheehan has gone really beyond Iraq, started airing some other political opinions, like U.S. policy in the Middle East. Any more of that today?

BASH: Not today. And you're right, what Cindy Sheehan did was weigh in on the Mideast, certainly a quite controversial issue, the Israeli and Palestinian issue. She used the word "occupation," and said that the U.S. policy is too tilted toward Israel.

Today, Anderson, she said that was a mistake.


CINDY SHEEHAN, LOST SON IN IRAQ: Talking about other things has distracted us from our original mission, and I realize that. But I've been so busy, I haven't had time to reflect. And last night, I had time to reflect, and we all agreed as military families and Gold Star families together, we need to refocus our mission.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: Now, what Sheehan said was that she was up all night thinking about it, thinking about what she calls "the media circus," that she admits she helped create and is essentially benefiting for, when it comes to her cause, but she did say, as you just heard there, that she understands now that she really has to and wants to keep focused on the number one message that she has here, which is to try to tell the president to bring troops home from Iraq, Anderson.

COOPER: Dana Bash, thanks very much.

A little later on 360, I will talk live with Cindy Sheehan. I'll also speak with another mother of a son who died in Iraq. Unlike Sheehan, she supports the president, as well as the war.

We also want to know what you think about this story, about what Cindy Sheehan is doing. Do you think the president owes her a one-on- one meeting -- or I should say another meeting? Or do you think she has gone too far in her protest? E-mail us, We'll try to read some of your e-mails at the end of tonight's program.

Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS joins us with some of the other stories we're following right now. Erica, good evening.

ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Anderson, this is one that Dana just touched on. A pretty emotional and historic day in Gaza and four West Bank settlements. Israeli soldiers are handing out eviction notices to Jewish settlers, telling them they have until Wednesday to voluntarily leave, or be removed by force. And there are understandably plenty of tears and anger here.

You're looking right now at a man who just could not believe that another Jew would make him leave his home, yelling at an Israeli army commander, who then responded with a hug and a kiss.

Pontiac, Michigan now -- manhunt over. Police were on the prowl for four prisoners who escaped from a courthouse after one of them overpowered a security guard. No word on where they were headed, but the escapees were later caught by police. The security guard suffered minor injuries.

In Lawrence, Massachusetts, a decorated U.S. Marine back from Iraq pleads not guilty to attempted murder and other charges. Daniel Cotnoir is accused of firing a gun into a crowd outside of a nightclub. A judge has ordered Cotnoir be evaluated at a psychiatric hospital. Just last month, he was named Marine of the year. He's a mortician by trade. He prepared the bodies of U.S. troops killed in Iraq.

Nationwide, the average price of gasoline hitting now an all-time high, $2.50 a gallon for self-serve regular. That's according to the Lundberg survey, though a record in absolute terms -- because the cost of gasoline is actually shy of a record. If we adjust for inflation here, just to make you feel better, the record would be about $3 a gallon in today's economy, if you flash back to March of 1981, although a lot of people around the country paying more than $3 a gallon now. So there's not much comfort. COOPER: Yeah, not much comfort. Erica Hill, thanks. We'll see you again in about 30 minutes.

Coming up next on 360, Arnold Schwarzenegger and a plot straight out of Hollywood. California governor is at the center of a new allegation. Was a woman paid big bucks to keep quiet about an alleged afar? Not by Schwarzenegger, but by a tabloid magazine who wanted to do business with Schwarzenegger? We'll take a look at the story.

Also tonight, Cindy Sheehan, the mother at the center of the antiwar movement in America. We'll talk with her and another mother with a very different point of view.

And a little later, did you know that one of the most dangerous school activities has become cheerleading? We'll tell you the tragic story of a 14-year-old girl who died after a flip that did not go as planned. Information you need to know before your child tries out for a team.


COOPER: We want to show you this picture right now. What you see there, kind of faintly in the distance, is a C-2 military aircraft Navy plane, that for the last two hours has been circling in Norfolk, Virginia, trying to land. They cannot get the main landing gear down. They've been able to get the nose gear of this plane down, but not the main landing gear. They have been trying to burn off fuel before they try a landing. We understand they may be attempting a landing at this point, but they have been really for the last two hours burning off fuel over Norfolk, trying to lighten the load as much as possible before they attempt a landing. They, as you can see, I mean, you can't really see even the nose gear landing, which is down, but you cannot see, as you can see right there, there are no wheels down there for the main landing gear. It's a C-2 plane, military aircraft, that we understand may be coming in for -- to actually attempt to land here.

This has been a situation that's been covered extensively by our affiliate WAVY, for the last several hours, and we see the plane sort of banking now here, trying to approach -- approach the airport.

You can see one of the props on the right-hand side of the plane has stopped. As you can see, there's one propeller still going on the left-hand side. There is -- it looks like one wheel down. Let's just watch this as this plane -- I'm trying to get a sense of how far it is from the airport at this point. It's a little hard to tell in the shot, because the shot has zoomed in.

The air traffic control is now saying they are on final approach.

You can start to see some land so you get a sense of where they're at. This is obviously a very dangerous time for the crew. Let's watch.

Again, this is a C-2 military aircraft attempting a final landing. They've been circling for some two hours now. They cannot get their main landing gear down. We were alerted to this by our affiliate WAVY who have been following this plane. The control tower has said that they are coming in for the final -- for the landing.

Wow, that's great, great landing. That's an amazing, amazing landing. Two pilots, there were some 25 people on board. The main landing gear could not come down. That pilot could not have done a better job, just a remarkable job of landing that plane without any problems. A C-2 aircraft finally made it home safe in Norfolk, Virginia.

We will try to bring any updates exactly how that problem happened a little bit later on in the program.

Moving on to another story we've been covering for the last several hours. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited a California school district today. Besides talking about cleaner and safer school buses, he was asked to respond to a new allegation about an alleged affair. More now from CNN's Donna Tetreault.


DONNA TETREAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California's governor is once again finding himself the focus of unwanted attention. A book by biographer Laurence Leamer details an alleged deal for Gigi Goyette, a longtime friend of Schwarzenegger, that Leamer says was for her to keep quiet about a relationship with the now governor of California.

Prior to the election, he says Goyette was paid thousands by the tabloid publisher American Media to keep quiet about an alleged affair.

LAURENCE LEAMER, BIOGRAPHER: She definitely told me she was paid. She was given a wire transfer for $20,000. And I have seen the contract. I have a copy of the contract, explicitly says it's $20,000; it explicitly says that she's never to talk about a relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger to anybody else.

TETREAULT: Goyette denies the affair. She says she and Schwarzenegger were nothing but friends and co-workers, but she does admit to the payment.

GIGI GOYETTE, KABC: I didn't really feel I was being bought to be quiet. I just -- basically, they were saying to me, let's not talk about anything until after the election. It's a sensitive time right now.

TETREAULT: Once Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy for the governor's office on the Jay Leno show, he predicted a tough road ahead.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I know they're going to throw everything at me, and, you know, say that I have no experience, and that I'm a womanizer, and I'm a terrible -- a terrible guy, and all of those kinds of things is going to come my way. TETREAULT: In 2001, American Media reported in its "National Enquirer" magazine that Goyette had a seven-year-long affair with Schwarzenegger. Several phone calls to the company have gone unreturned.

The governor had this to say about the allegations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did they cover up an alleged affair?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Not that I know of. You'll have to ask them. I have nothing to do with that.

TETREAULT: Donna Tetreault, for CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Coming up next now on 360, U.S. troops hunting improvised explosive devices in Iraq. We take you on patrol, an inside look at a tense operation that could mean life or death.

Plus, a mother's mission. Her son was killed in Iraq. She's demanding to speak to President Bush. Now, she has a PR team backing her up. We will talk live with Cindy Sheehan.

And a little later, 9/11 revisited. Chilling new audiotapes from ground zero. We'll talk with a former firefighter, who's helping fill in the gaps for some victims' families.


COOPER: Just moments ago, we showed you this, a C-2 Navy plane coming in for a landing at Norfolk Airport. They had not been able to get their landing gear down. There were some tense moments. What you didn't see and what we're seeing right now, this is the crew, 25 passengers aboard this plane, running out of the aircraft, exiting as fast as they can, just in case there were any other developments.

But everyone got out safe and the pilot did just an amazing job of landing this aircraft. They had been circling, trying to burn off the fuel for some two hours as they circled around Norfolk, Virginia. Some pretty tense hours, as we can imagine, aboard that flight, but all on board are OK. All on board are doing fine. As you can see, the emergency vehicles moving in very quickly there as the passengers exit. And again, the pilot did just a remarkable job of bringing that plane in.

A major political crisis may be emerging in Iraq tonight. Today was supposed to be the deadline to vote on a draft constitution, but after hours of delays, the National Assembly decided to extend the constitution deadline by one week. Now the key points of disagreement right now are two -- the role of Islam and federalism in the future of Iraq..

For American troops, of course, today was another day on the front lines, training Iraqi security forces, hunting insurgents, trying to stay alive. CNN reporter Alex Quade is embedded right now with a platoon in Falluja. Tonight in the "World on 360" she travels with marines on the hunt for IEDs. Now those are, of course, booby-trapped bombs that have become the number one killer of Americans in Iraq.


ALEX QUADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It begins with breakfast at Abu Ghraib prison and ends with a ...


QUADE: This is just another day for the marines of Dragon Platoon, a weapons company from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Son of a bitch. Well, welcome to frigging Iraq.

QUADE: Their mission started before dawn. Gunnery Sergeant Jeff Von Dagenheart (ph) and his men hunt IEDs, improvised explosive devices.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody keep your head down.

QUADE: They've hit 22 in two weeks, but only minor injuries so far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No frigging smiling today, all right. Everybody got me? Bunch of weirdos.

QUADE: On patrol, daylight breaks. Gunny Dagenheart is already suspicious. This is how his marines battle the insurgency, searching for hidden explosives, one car, one person at a time.

Next on their beat, Abu Ghraib prison. We go inside the wire, behind blast barriers and under watchtowers, I talk with Dagenheart as his marines go to chow.

(on camera): What is that you're checking for. What is the danger?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.

QUADE: What is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's usually just like they pack the wheel wells full of C-4, TNT, maybe a couple of 155 shells or 125 tank ground (ph) shells.

QUADE: So the actual vehicle becomes the bomb?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a bomb. We've ran across three here in the last week.

QUADE (voice-over): He hopes his platoon's presence keeps bomb builders off-guard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the hood, trunk. Open them up. All right. Salem (ph).

QUADE: Without a translator it's volume and gestures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your hurry? What's your hurry? Freaking slow down. Slow down.

QUADE: It may seem funny, but it's deadly serious. This crater is from an IED, improvised explosive device.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That hit us yesterday. Good training, yes?

QUADE: Which is why the marines also trained Iraqi recruits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lots of booms lately. Boom, boom -- 22 in two weeks -- 22. Language barriers -- it's all good right?

QUADE: They race to where something has been sighted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fasten your seat belts, gents. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Johnson (ph), keep your eyes down, A. Hunt (ph) look to the left. White bag or possible shell. Look hard left. I'll look right. Shell,,, find me a shell.

QUADE: Between here and those cars may be an IED.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Find me a green bag. Keep your head down. Can't (EXPLETIVE DELETED). No hole dug, no nothing. The trigger man is to the right over here, and I see a car. Let's eyeball that, and then have your gunner scan to the right. See if you see a trigger man.

QUADE: They see something between the traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a dude standing right where that supposed IED is. Can you tell if he's got anything on him? What's he holding there, Smith (ph)? Can you see it? I want to know what's in his gut. He's in his pocket right now. Watch him. Watch him.

QUADE: Dagenheart zeros in on him ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See how he's holding his freaking shirt?

QUADE: ... his finger on the trigger. It turns out to be just a shepherd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A guy playing shepherd over here with some sheep, and standing right where the supposed IED is.

QUADE: This typical day is only halfway through.


COOPER: A typical day. That was CNN's Alex Quade. She's embedded with U.S. troops near Falluja. Tomorrow we'll have part two of her report.

(voice-over): Mother on a mission, Cindy Sheehan. She wants to talk to the president and get U.S. troops out of Iraq. Tonight we take you behind the scenes of Sheehan's Crawford campout and speak live to the woman who's reignited the anti-war movement.

And a 14-year-old girl falls to her death after a cheerleading mishap. Tonight an in-depth look at dangers and risks of cheerleading. What you need to know before your child tries out. 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, the war in Iraq continues to be waged in Crawford, Texas. Since August 6th, Cindy Sheehan has been camped near President Bush's ranch. She's waiting to ask him face to face why her son, Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, died in Iraq and she wants U.S. troops to pull out.

Since her vigil began, Sheehan has become a lightning rod to people on both sides of the battle. Some call her a hero, others a pawn of the left. I'll talk live with Cindy Sheehan in just a moment.

But first, a closer look at a mother who's become an anti-war symbol.


COOPER (voice-over): Today, a self-assured activist met the National Press Corp.

CINDY SHEEHAN, SON KILLED IN IRAQ: My name is Cindy Sheehan and you guys all know why I'm here.

COOPER: She's a symbol with savvy, fully aware of the power of her own image, a mother who lost her son to war demanding an audience with the man who sent him there.

SHEEHAN: If he comes tomorrow and meets with me, I'll leave and we won't have a prayer service.

COOPER: To many, Cindy Sheehan has single handedly reignited the anti-war movement, camped out in Crawford feeding a news hungry White House press corps learning to play their game.

SHEEHAN: This one has been asked and answered so many times.

COOPER: In the beginning, it was just Sheehan and a handful of supporters but as her cause caught fire, new comrades emerged.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm here to support Cindy and her cause.

COOPER: Others who had lost loved ones in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son, Sergeant Ryan Campbell was killed on a farm road south of Iraq April 29, 2004. COOPER: And activists from the professional protest crowd. PR firm Fenton Communications, which also represents the anti-war group stepped in to handle the media. Ice cream peacenik Ben Cohen picked up their tab. And now Move On itself is helping coordinate a candlelight vigil Wednesday.

Not surprisingly from Hollywood there's support as well. Martin Sheen, Vigo Mortenson (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is America's loss. These are America's boys and girls. It's our future who's died over there.

COOPER: If some liberal groups are pouncing, conservative groups are holding back. A grieving mother, after all, is perhaps a target best left alone. This weekend there were anti-Sheehan protesters in Crawford as well branding the woman in the spotlight a tool of the left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there are some group that have gotten hold of her and are just directing her like a puppet.


COOPER: Well, joining us from Crawford are Cindy Sheehan and Pat Vogel, a mother who has joined her vigil in Crawford. Pat's son Aaron served a year in Iraq and now works in the anti-war movement back home, appreciate both you being with us tonight. Thanks very much.

SHEEHAN: You're welcome. Thank you.

COOPER: Cindy, it has been a very busy weekend for you and Pat. There was a demonstration in support of President Bush as well as your continued demonstration against the president and the war. What's it like for you just day in and day out there?

SHEEHAN: It's very busy, very exhausting and the best thing about being here is hundreds of people are coming from all over the country to stand in unison with us. It's not just a grieving mother now and it's not just military families and other grieving parents. It's all of America. They want the answers to the questions that I'm asking too.

COOPER: Pat, you arrived in Crawford this afternoon. Why did you decide to come out and support Cindy?

PAT VOGEL, SON SERVED IN IRAQ: Well, I just wanted to send a message to Cindy that I support her and the other gold star families 100 percent. I want to send a message to America that there are a lot of military families who feel exactly the same way as she does.

COOPER: Cindy, I was reading some of the essays that you've been writing about the war over the last couple of months. In one you say the war is blatant genocide and you go on to say, and I quote, "Casey was killed in the global war of terrorism waged on the world and its own citizen by the biggest terrorist outfit in the world, George and his destructive Neo-con cabal." Do you really believe the president of the United States is the biggest terrorist in the world?

SHEEHAN: I believe that he's responsible for the needless and senseless deaths of more people than any other organization right now. There was 3,000 people killed on September 11th, which was a tragic day. Our nation still mourned it. I still mourn for those people and their families. But tens of thousands of innocent people are dead in Iraq, Anderson, and there was no reason for the war. The war was based on lies and we know that now.

COOPER: But when you say that the president, I mean you're essentially saying the president is a terrorist. I mean I think a lot of people would hear that and think what are you talking about?

SHEEHAN: Well, you know, I've heard a lot of -- a lot of definitions of that and it's the definition they kill innocent people, you know, and his policies are responsible for killing innocent people and I say the organization is killing innocent people and it needs to stop.

We know that he said there was weapons of mass destruction and we know he knows that there weren't. There was no link between al Qaeda and Saddam and we know he knows that there wasn't, so we need to stop the killing now and I'm here to confront him.

COOPER: You said that it's blatant genocide. I mean you really think the United States is trying to eliminate an entire group of people, all Iraqis?

SHEEHAN: There's 100 -- there's an estimate 100,000 to 200,000 innocent Iraqis dead because of our occupation, either by bullets and bombs or by disease, malnutrition and he says we're doing it for the Iraqi people. How many do we have to kill before we convince them that what we're doing is right over there?

COOPER: You were also quoted as saying, "My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." How responsible do you believe Israel is for the amount of terrorism in the world?

SHEEHAN: I didn't say that.

COOPER: You didn't say that? OK.

SHEEHAN: I didn't -- I didn't say -- I didn't say that my son died for Israel. I've never said that. I saw somebody wrote that and it wasn't my words. Those aren't even words that I would say.

I do believe that the Palestinian issue is a hot issue that needs to be solved and it needs to be more fair and equitable but I never said my son died for Israel.

COOPER: OK, I'm glad I asked you that because, you know, as you know, there's tons of stuff floating around on the Internet on sites of all political persuasions.

SHEEHAN: I know and that's not -- yes.

COOPER: So, I'm glad we had the opportunity to clear that.

SHEEHAN: Yes, and thank you because those are not my words. Those aren't -- that doesn't even sound like me saying that.

COOPER: OK. I'm very glad we got that...

SHEEHAN: And I have read it. I have read it. I'm glad you did too.

COOPER: OK. I want to put -- I read an interesting website called the Iraqi model today. It's written by I think two Iraqi dentists and they posted a letter to you. I know you've been very busy. You probably haven't seen it in which in the letter they basically oppose, of course, U.S. withdrawal and they say and I just want to read you part of it.

They say, "Ma'am, we asked for your nation's help and we asked you to stand with us in our war and your nation's act was (and still is) an act of ultimate courage and unmatched sense of humanity...You are free to go and leave us alone but what am I going to tell your million sisters in Iraq? Should I ask them to leave Iraq too?

Should I leave too? And what about the eight millions who walked through bombs to practice their freedom and vote? Should they leave this land too? Your son sacrificed his life for a very noble cause? No, he sacrificed himself for the most precious value in this existence; that is freedom," your thoughts?

SHEEHAN: Well, Anderson, we're still -- we're getting away from what -- what the president said when he went to Congress and asked for the authority to invade Iraq. He said because they had weapons of mass destruction and he said because there was a link between Saddam and al Qaeda and those have been proven to be wrong.

He also has said that they attacked us on September 11th because they hate our freedom and democracy but we're going over there and innocent Americans are being killed and innocent Iraqis are being killed to spread our idea of government. If he had told the American people that was their -- that was their goal, we wouldn't have gone for it.

COOPER: But can you make -- can you make now, I mean there are those who might agree with you about, you know, getting into the war but the fact is there are more than 100,000 U.S. troops there now. The Iraqis have had elections. They are trying to move toward a more democratic style of government, whether you believe it or not.

Is there an argument, I mean do you accept the argument that, you know, looking at the past it's now about the U.S. troops are there and the question is what to do with them there now?

SHEEHAN: We need to get our military presence out of Iraq. It wasn't necessary in the first place. Not one person should be dead because of this and not one person should die. People are dying every day.

To show the Iraqi people that we mean business to let them govern their own country and rebuild their own country we need to pull our military presence out of there. You know and I know that they're building bases the size of Sacramento, California in Iraq and they plan on never leaving.

It's not about freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people and we all know that and I didn't raise my son, I didn't give birth to him, I didn't nurse him for two years to die in a desert for other people's hunger for greed and power and that's what it's all about, Anderson, and we shouldn't be allowing the continued killing to go on. I think we should ask Pat how she felt about her son being over there during that time.

COOPER: Well, I mean we'll actually -- actually, I still try to do this program myself. Pat, let me just finally say what is it, what's different about being there than what you thought it was going to be? From what you saw on television to what it is actually like?

VOGEL: Being here at Camp Casey?

COOPER: Where you are now? Yes.

VOGEL: Well, I would say that it's probably what I expected, except that I didn't expect the tremendous energy that's here and the buzz of activity that's everywhere. It's just been a wonderful gathering of people who feel the way that Cindy does and just a very, very positive situation in all respects.

COOPER: Pat, I'm going to have to leave it there. Pat Vogel, I appreciate you joining us and Cindy Sheehan it's good to talk to you again. Thank you very much.

SHEEHAN: Thank you, Anderson, anytime.

VOGEL: Thank you.

COOPER: All right. As you know, we don't like to take sides. We try to cover all the angles on this program. We've asked Tina Lucero to join us. Her son, Marine Lance Corporal Joshua Lucero was killed last year in Iraq. She supports the war and the president. I spoke with her earlier.


COOPER: Tina, what do you think about what Cindy Sheehan is doing?

TINA LUCERO, SON KILLED IN IRAQ: From being a mother, you know, as I am and lost one in Iraq I just think it's, you know, she's handling it wrong and that her anger is toward our president and that is something that's just bothered me.

COOPER: You don't blame the president for the death of your son? LUCERO: No, sir I don't. I feel that my son had a job to do and he did it very well and it was unfortunate that it came to this but it was his decision going to Iraq, you know, joining the military.

COOPER: Do you think the president should meet with Cindy Sheehan?

LUCERO: No, I don't think he should.

COOPER: If you had a chance to say something to Cindy Sheehan, one mother, one grieving mother to another, what would you say to her, what would you ask her?

LUCERO: I'd tell her that I feel for her because I also know how she feels. My son has also been taken but not for anything, not for nothing. He's -- he did his job well and so did her son. Her son is not to be forgotten and her son should be remembered and honored.

COOPER: When you got that terrible news that your son Joshua had been killed, I mean was there -- was there doubt about what he was killed for, about what the mission is?

LUCERO: No. No. I spoke to my son many times on the phone and he never, never, ever, it was never in his words or his voice or attitude that, you know, he was there for nothing. He was there for a reason and since the attack on 9/11 he told us that he needed to do that. He needed to join the military and help protect this country.

COOPER: And when you look at the button you're wearing with Joshua's picture on it, when you see that, when you look at it what do you think when you see that uniform?

LUCERO: Well, when I see this button, I see a hero and I see many more still out there fighting.


COOPER: We'd like to know what you think about what Cindy Sheehan is doing, about what you've seen tonight. You can send us an e-mail Click on the instant feedback link. We'll try to read some of them at the end of the program tonight.

Coming up next though, an emergency landing at a military base, you saw it right here on 360 just a short time ago. We're going to talk with the pilot of the TV helicopter who brought us this amazing video and he played an integral part in bringing this plane back down safely. We'll be right back.


COOPER: I want to update you now on this dramatic emergency landing of a military aircraft, a C-2 Greyhound twin engine turbo prop, couldn't get the landing gear down. This is the landing.

We showed it to you live just a short time ago. They landed at Norfolk, Virginia Naval Base, circling in the air for hours, dumping fuel. Everyone made it out of the plane safe.

With me on the phone is John Massey, the pilot of the WAVY TV helicopter that captured all of those images. John is still up in the air in his chopper, John appreciate you joining us. You were key in all of this. You actually relayed information to the tower. Tell us what happened.

JOHN MASSEY, WAVY CHOPPER PILOT (by telephone): Good afternoon. Right now you're taking a live chopper down here at Norfolk Navy base. This is a C-2 Cod Aircraft and what this is, is this is an aircraft that is used by the Navy to transport personnel and/or equipment back and forth from the aircraft carriers stationed offshore.

Now, what I can tell you this afternoon is this aircraft was coming back toward Norfolk for a routine landing when he saw the problem with his main landing gear on the aircraft. He was unable to get down the two main gear which are deployed right below where the engines are as you're looking at it now but he was able to get the nose gear down.

Now, we've got some videotape of the emergency landing as it came in. We're going to hot roll that from the helicopter. You can see just behind the aircraft he's got his tail hook down and he has shut down that right starboard engine at this point as he comes in toward Norfolk (INAUDIBLE).

What they're going to do is he's brought that nose gear back up at this point. He's got the rear gear up. He's got 25 people onboard that aircraft. They're in crash position. They're braced. They're ready for an impact.

Watch that tail hook. What I want you to pay real close attention to is as he comes in and lands you're going to see that tail hook grasp a cable now. The Navy bases here in Norfolk and Virginia Beach at Oceania have arresting gears at the end of the runways that they can use for such emergency flights.

It's just the same kind of arresting gear that they use onboard aircraft carriers. It's a cable that's stretched across the runway and he'll hook that tail hook onto that cable as it comes in and lands and that will slow the aircraft down immediately, bring it to a much quicker stop than he would have if he would have just had to come in and landed that aircraft on its belly and let it slide to a stop.

But you can see it touch down right there. He grabs that cable and the cable is on that tail hook and you can see he's already shut that starboard engine down (INAUDIBLE) not striking the ground.

You watch here in just a few minutes, you'll see that ramp immediately come down and all 25 soldiers (INADUIBLE) aircraft will exit. We're being told by the Navy right now that only one person had a slight problem with hyperventilation onboard, just extremely shook up from the incident.

All the other crew and passengers exited very quickly, no injuries being reported but I can tell you that this aircraft orbited over Norfolk Navy Base here in Norfolk, Virginia for several hours this afternoon as the crew went through their emergency procedures, went by the book to determine exactly what they were going to have to do in order to get this aircraft on the ground safely.

COOPER: And it was certainly an amazing job by the pilot and, John, a great job on your part capturing all those images, appreciate you walking us through it. Thanks very much, John Massey, who is in the air now pilot and cameraman for WAVY.

Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the day's other top stories, Erica good evening.


COOPER: You know, I kind of knew that though because I watch my favorite chimp, do you remember my favorite (INAUDIBLE)?


COOPER: Charlie, let's take a look at the video. There you go, Charlie the smoking chimp.

HILL: Is he a left or a right-handed smoker?

COOPER: Well, I was hoping the video would indicate but I'm not quite sure. Oh, there you go right handed.

HILL: Oh, that's right, OK, that's right.

COOPER: Right there. See and he's using that disposable, that disposable, what is it, it's not a disposable thumb? What is it a posable thumb.

HILL: A posable thumb is that what they call them?

COOPER: Thank you, yes, thank you very much.

HILL: It is Monday isn't it my friend?

COOPER: I heard that. Thanks, see you again in about 30 minutes maybe.

Ahead on 360, do you think the president owes Cindy Sheehan a one-on-one meeting or do you think that her protest has gone too far over the war in Iraq? E-mail us your thoughts. Log onto, click on the instant feedback link, We'll read some of your e-mails in just a few minutes.

Also tonight, sometimes cheerleading stunts, like this one, can go very wrong. We will tell you about the tragic death of a 14-year- old girl and what you need to know before your child tries out for a team, be right back.


COOPER: As with many people her age this was supposed to be an exciting time for 14-year-old Ashley Burns, the young girl from Medford, Massachusetts. She was just about to enter high school.

She was going to be part of the 22 member cheerleading team. Instead, today was Ashley's funeral. She died last week during cheerleading practice doing a stunt that so many young girls out there are performing.

CNN's Adaora Udoji investigates.


ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ashley Burns was a cheerleading star in the making, a 4'9", 90-pound dynamo.

LINDA MICHAUD, FAMILY FRIEND: She made you smile, you know, and when you talked -- the first time you talked to her you left being her friend, you know. She was just one hell of a girl.

UDOJI: She was also the only child of a single mother who's too devastated to speak publicly. They had so much excitement ahead. At 14, Ashley had been in the sport seven years with Pop Warner cheerleaders.

This fall she was set to join the prestigious Medford High School squad outside Boston. Last week, she was back at practice after having her appendix removed in May.

(on camera): Ashley came here to the East Elite Cheer Gym to get in shape for her new high school team, the one she was so excited about and many of the team she was practicing with had been her friends for years.

(voice-over): That fatal day together they were working on a double down, a sophisticated stunt like this one where she was thrown in the air to flip twice, then land on her back. Ashley was short a half turn and landed on her stomach in the arms of her friends.

CHIEF ALFRED DONOVAN, TEWKSBURY POLICE: They thought she had the wind knocked out of her so she walked into the bathroom. She came out a few minutes later, said that she had thrown up.

UDOJI: Chief Donovan says within an hour Ashley was dead, the autopsy revealing she'd suffered a ruptured spleen. The American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisers says the double down stunt has a long, safe record but cheerleading has risks.

The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury reports half of all serious injuries of high school girls involved with the sport since 1982, two people have died, 19 have been permanently disabled. Today, that's out of 1.6 million high school teens in the sport. Ashley's family says her death was a terrible freak accident.

LISA LEBLANC, ASHLEY'S COUNSIN: We may never know why she was taken from us and there will never be any justification for it. We do know that she will forever be in our hearts and minds.

UDOJI: In the hearts and minds of her cheerleading family whose website is packed with tributes.

JACQUELYN SCHURKO, CHEERLEADER: I just remember her walk and remember how she walked, talked, everything.

AMANDA HUGGETT, CHEERLEADER: I miss her a lot and I didn't even get to say goodbye and it hurts.

UDOJI: Hundreds attended Ashley's funeral saying goodbye to the girl so many called their little angel.

Adaora Udoji, CNN, Boston.


COOPER: Here's a 360 download on cheerleading injuries and regulations. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission cheerleading injuries doubled between 1991 and 2002. Nearly 25,000 cheerleaders got hurt in 2002 alone, remarkable.

Plus, fewer than 20 states have any regulation for school cheerleading and only West Virginia and Michigan recognize it as a competitive sport equivalent to basketball or football.

Let's find out what is coming up at the top of the hour now on "PAULA ZAHN," hey Paula.


Remember that hot book, "The DaVinci Code"? Well, guess what they're turning it into a movie and when Hollywood gets religion does it ever get it right? We're going to take a look at the controversy over "The DaVinci Code," the best-selling novel that is being turned into that movie even though critics say it paints a distorted picture of the Catholic Church at best and could be considered anti-Catholic at worst.

Millions have read the book, 29 million in fact. Will the movie spark a boycott? Join us tonight. We have a guess. We're not sure how he's going to answer that question tonight, so stay tuned.

COOPER: It is still on the bestseller list, Paula thanks.

ZAHN: It is.

COOPER: Coming up next on 360 your feedback, do you think Cindy Sheehan has gone too far in her protest over the war in Iraq or does the president owe her another one-on-one meeting? We're going to share some of your e-mails in a moment.


COOPER: We have time for just a couple of your e-mails from this evening.

Earlier we asked you for your feedback on the showdown in Crawford, Texas what you think about Cindy Sheehan and her protest over the war and the death of her son. Here is some of your feedback from tonight.

Ron in Gardenia, California writes: "If one of the president's daughters died while fighting in Iraq, I wonder how President Bush would feel about this war? When the shoe is placed on the other foot, reality kicks in."

Peter in Scottsdale, Arizona has a very different take: "Clearly," he says, "Ms. Sheehan has become a tool in the radical left efforts to undermine our nation's efforts to bring about freedom, peace and stability in Iraq. While I sympathize with Ms. Sheehan for her personal loss, she's degrading the sacrifice made by her son, along with other coalition military and Iraqi citizens. She needs to pack up and go home now along with all the folks who are misguiding her and stop making a fool of herself."

Two very different points of view, send us your thoughts anytime. You can log on to Then you just click on the instant feedback link. We love hearing from you. We do read all the e-mails even if we can't respond directly to all of them.

Thanks very much for watching 360 tonight. I'm Anderson Cooper.

CNN's primetime coverage continues now with Paula Zahn -- hey, Paula.