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Bridge Collapse Stories; Reporter Killed for Doing His Job

Aired August 04, 2007 - 22:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: You've seen the bridge collapse, but have you seen this man jumping into the water, screaming for a little girl, a little redhead with glasses. He seems convinced she's down there somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are rocker bearings. All right? It allow the bridge to flex up and down and rotate.


SANCHEZ: This guy knows bridges and can tell you why they fall, why they don't, and how many are in jeopardy.


SANCHEZ: Are they keeping up with the work?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We used to call him the James Brown of journalism.


SANCHEZ: A reporter, killed for doing his job? Was he killed because somebody didn't like the stories he told?

Snakes in a tree, a cop with a gun, the snake survives, a child who happened to be nearby is not.

British parliament? No. Taiwan? No. This is the U.S. House of Representatives and, yes, going after each other. We'll tell you why.

Who that calling the war on terror phony, as in baloney? Newt Gingrich? It's next in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez here in the CNN NEWSROOM. We're going to begin with newscast tonight with some breaking news. Got this information really just moments ago. Let me read you the release that we received from police. This is in Goose Creek, South Carolina. It will make you wince to hear the information.

Berkeley County police have pulled over a light-colored van. This is in a routine traffic stop. It is in - for those of you who know the area -- Meyers Road and Highway 176. The van with Florida tags driven by two Middle Eastern men, according to police. And they say inside this vehicle, they have found some explosives. There's a map that we have put together because Goose Creek, see that map right there of Charleston, South Carolina, right there on the coast? Goose Creek would be just a little bit further inland as you're looking at that orange dot right there.

Let's go to reporter Venton Blandin. He's on the phone with us now. He's been working the story. Maybe he can shed some light on this. Venton, what do you know?

VENTON BLANDIN: Rick, good evening. I'm down here in Goose Creek right now. As you said, I've been out here. Right now, we're still in a standstill, but we just heard within the last few minutes that the Federal Bureau of Investigations has made their way out here. We have a bomb squad out here. There's a robot making its way through a car.

Now initially, reports did come in as it was a light-colored van pulled over. I personally have not seen that light-colored van. But we have seen, I believe, a car that's sort of beige, brown. We're about a good block away from where the police have us staged right now. And the trunk on that is open, as well as the passenger side door and two doors on the driver's side. And they say that's the car that they pulled over for a routine traffic stop.

This all started around 6:00 this evening. If you're in Goose Creek, which is just about 20 minutes off 5, the city of Charleston. Right now, the South Carolina law enforcement division, as well as Berkeley County police department, Goose Creek police department, and other agencies are out here. They've been out here since about 6:00. One source told me he got the call at 6:12/ He's out here.

Right now, I can't tell you where the two suspects are. We keep hearing that they are Mediterranean, Middle Eastern. We're not sure. But they are -- they were out here a couple of hours ago. We believe that they are still over there as the police - there are about 15 cars here, Rick. And we're pretty much sitting here with the blue lights going on, waiting for a statement right now from the FBI.

SANCHEZ: You know what's interesting, Venton? I just got back from Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bomb School, where, you know, they taught us an awful lot about the signature of particular bombs. Do you know anything about this particular explosive? Can you tell us perhaps how large it is, what area of the car it might be contained in? That might give us some clues as to whether it has a detonation device.

BLANDIN: Well, Rick, right now, that's an interesting question because I did ask the question, hey, what is this? Is this a bomb? Is this an old grenade or anything? And they said that it's some type of explosive device. That's all they would tell me. So I led in -- could it be fireworks or anything? They said we don't know. That's what the bomb squad is for. But I can tell you that the devices were found in the trunk. And pretty much we're out here looking at the car. We haven't seen anything unusual. A small robot went up to it, but there hasn't been any type of detonation as you would normally hear in that situation like this. I think...

SANCHEZ: But let me stop you for a minute because there's another part of this story that's important. And I think - you know, what we don't want to do in a situation like this, as has happened in the past, is castigate innocent people who just happen to be in an area. Since we don't know that what they have is actually a bomb or detonation device or anything of that sort, but we're reporting that they're people of Mediterranean or pardon me Middle Eastern descent. Can you expand that thought at all for us? Just to be fair.

BLANDIN: Rick, yes, I can just to be fair. That's a good point. Originally, this call came because, you know, as news media, we listen to scanners. We hear things. And we called to confirm when we made the call the editor at the station called. And they said there's two men.

I personally have not heard that, but off the record, some people saying, yes, it wasn't a black guy. It wasn't a white guy. I have one witness that's going to be on the local news here. He said it was an older gentleman with a beard and some other look. So you know, that's what we have.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, that does not necessarily mean it's a Middle Eastern person. That could be someone from India. It could be someone from Pakistan or some other region in the world. So, as we get the information, let's try and vet it as best we can. Let's do this, Venton. I know you're working for your station, as well. Can we get back to you in a little bit as you get more information on this?

BLANDIN: Yes, absolutely. I'm going to get this little package on the air pretty soon. And I'll be good to go right after that. So just stay tuned with us.

SANCHEZ: Great, Venton. You talk to our producers. As soon as you've got something to go, we'll put you back on. And we'll try and parse this out as best we can and see if we can vet some of this information that's coming in.

For those of you just now joining us, let me go over it again. The report is that in Goose Creek, South Carolina, not far as we showed you on that map there from Charleston, police have stopped some folks on I - pardon me on 176, highway 176 and Meyers Road. It's a van with Florida tags. They say "driven by two Middle Eastern men or men of Middle Eastern descent." We don't know exactly what that means. And inside this vehicle, they have found explosives. Again, inside the vehicle, they have found explosives.

Part of that roadway, by the way, Goose Creek and 176, has now been shut down as a result of this find. We've got calls into the Feds, ATF, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI, everyone you might imagine. As soon as we get any notification on this, we're going to turn around and share it with you.

Also, new tonight, police just moments ago before we went on the air released the identities of the eight people believed to be missing in the Minneapolis bridge collapse. This is a story that we've been following for you.

Now we're not going to read you the entire list of the names at this point, although we will throughout this newscast. We're going to give you the highlights. At one point, we were telling you earlier about another story involving a three-year-old. We're told one of the missing is a two-year-old girl, a two-year-old girl.

Now keep in mind, this is the most reliable information police have been able to give out so far about the missing. All they've been saying is five confirmed dead, eight people missing. So this is a new list they just put out moments ago. The list should not be considered definitive. And again, I'm going to share all the names with you that we've just been receiving. And we'll do that in just a couple of minutes. Stay with us.

Tonight, that bizarre mystery to tell you about. It's a little girl that appears to have disappeared just as the Minneapolis bridge collapsed. But now, nobody seems to know anything else about her. The collapse of the I-35W bridge has certainly spawned that story of mystery. And now, we're going to get that one to you in just a little bit.

But first, you can hear the sound of horror as heard in the voice of Kaleigh Swift. This is a 10-year-old that was riding on a school bus that was caught in the disaster. All of the kids got out safely, including Kaleigh. But now listen. I want you to listen to this tape. It's her message that she left for her mom just as the accident was happening.


KALEIGH SWIFT: Mom, momma, momma, momma, momma, momma, momma, the bridge broke when we were crossing it. Everybody is scared and crying. Are you there momma? Momma, are you there?


SANCHEZ: Now you see the bus right there in the foreground, as you look at that picture. You see the other 18 wheeler right to the left of it. It's important to note that tonight, Kaleigh is OK.

Meantime, it's been another long day at the disaster site with recovery efforts in the stop and go mode, due to the weather and the storm currents and the Mississippi as well.

Here's the story now by the numbers. Right now, five people are confirmed dead in this tragedy. And another eight, as we just mentioned, are still missing, but now named for the very first time in the last couple of minutes, named. More than 100, though, were injured.

All right, let me take you back now to this mystery that we've been talking about. It's a mystery involving a little girl about three-years old that we mentioned at the top of the newscast. Now you see that man? Let's see if you can see him right there. He's about to jump in the water. He's the one who's screaming for this little girl. And he jumps in the water, takes off his shirt, and he starts screaming, looking, he says for a little redhead with glasses, according to witnesses who were watching.

Now we - OK, see him right there? There he is now. You see him in the little circle? And he's the one swimming there. We found this video a few hours ago. And we've been asking a lot of questions since we first saw this video. And now the story as we've been able to put together as a CNN exclusive.


STEVE DWORAK, PHOTOGRAPHER: Just the look on his face. It's -- you know, something that I hope no one has to go through and just to see his, you know, losing hope every second that goes by.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): The mystery surrounds that man right there in the corner of your screen. He's standing on the shore of the Mississippi just minutes after the bridge collapsed. Minnesota college student Steve Dworak caught it all on video. He says the man was frantic and that he was going from person to person asking the same question over and over.

DWORAK: He's basically asking people, have they seen a little girl with red hair and glasses?

SANCHEZ: No one had. So look what happened. The man jumps into the river. He swims over to the rubble, where the rescue operation was now in full swing. As soon as he got there, so did some first responders. And they convinced him to get into their boat.

DWORAK: Took him back to the shore. And then he continued to ask other people around there, as people came, if they had seen a little girl with red hair and glasses.

SANCHEZ: It was a chaotic scene, to be sure. And CNN still has not been able to confirm what Steve Dworak says the man told him. Earlier tonight, CNN asked the Hennepin County sheriff about this mystery.

RICH STANEK, SHERIFF, HENNIPIN COUNTY, MINN.: You know, I'm not aware of it and I have not seen the video. I don't have any information about that whatsoever.


SANCHEZ: So what we're left with tonight is really a lot of questions. Did the little girl die? Is she missing? Does she even exist? We simply don't know at this point, but we'll be continuing to ask the questions. And we should mention now as a side note since we had written this story that I just shared with you before we received this new information.

Is it possible that on that list of the missing that we just told you about that two-year-old little girl who has now been named, could that possibly be the three-year-old? Don't know. But we'll try and find out for you.

President Bush got his first look today at the devastation in Minneapolis. He got a close-up view of the massive pile of concrete and steel. And he promises people that he's going to work to try and cut through the usual paperwork to get this built -- to get this bridge rebuilt.

Congress is close to approving a $250 million package to try and rebuild the bridge. And $5 million has been granted to help with traffic and to pay for some of the debris removal.

Even amid the pain and the devastation, there are still those stories of hope. Our Ed Lavandera's in Minneapolis tonight. And he's found a man who learned what it's like to face death and somehow survive. Eddie, take it away, man.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Rick. Well, you know, Karge Olsen was driving down Interstate 35. It's not a route that he normally takes. It was the end of his work day. And it was just a switch up at work. He had to go run on one last-minute errand for work. So it wasn't in a place where he would normally find himself. And it was far from a normal commute home.


LAVANDERA: That's Karge Olsen calling his wife five minutes before crossing the I-35 bridge. Then came another message seven minutes after the collapse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Received August 1st at 6:12 p.m.

LAVANDERA: But it was silent and Nichole Olsen was getting frantic. Then a third message.

NICHOLE OLSEN: I knew from I think the scuffling, you know, I knew he was alive, but I didn't know what condition he was in, if anyone was there helping him.

LAVANDERA: By now, the first images of the bridge collapse were on television.

OLSEN: Within a minute, he popped up on the TV. And he was sitting there. And it was just a glimpse of him. And I -- I screamed he's OK, he's OK, there's my husband.

LAVANDERA: Nichole could see Karge walking in the rubble. But Karge doesn't remember any of it. He fractured the neck, suffered a broken clavicle, and a severe concussion.

KARGE OLSEN, BRIDGE COLLAPSE SURVIVOR: It's an odd situation not remembering exactly what happened. I feel pretty lucky, yes. And... N. OLSEN: Blessed.

K. OLSEN: Blessed, I guess is a good word for it, yes.

N. OLSEN: You know, that was what our miracle prayer that we got that was like we could hang on to that until we knew where he was and could actually go and see him. And we could hang on to a small piece knowing that at least he was alive.

LAVANDERA: It seems incredible to think Karge can even walk. A day after the collapse, his crushed Jeep was on the front page of the newspaper.

K. OLSEN: I'm surprised to see what happened to my car and how I ended up. And then you look at the school bus and how they ended up. And it's just -- I think really, I think where a lot of us are fortunate.

N. OLSEN: Blow daddy a kiss.

K. OLSEN: Can I have a kiss?

LAVANDERA: Karge Olsen survived the fall. And he's still trying to figure out why he was one of the lucky ones.


LAVANDERA: Rick, now Karge Olsen will be moved to a new hospital tomorrow. He'll spend about a week in that new hospital and then begin the process of rehabilitation. He's got some therapy that he'll begin to do so. And then he'll probably be sent home after a week of that. Rick?

SANCHEZ: Ed Lavandera, following the story for us. We thank you, my friend, for bringing us up-to-date.

LAVANDERA: Now coming up, you're going to see this young lady. She's one of two college students, there she is right there, that jumped in the water to try and help save some lives moments after the bridge collapsed Wednesday. Why did she do it? How hard was it to locate people when she was in the water? I'm going to be talking her and another rescuer. It's coming up at the half hour.

Now, this. A prominent journalist is gunned down in broad daylight on the streets of Oakland, California. Tonight, a 19-year- old man is telling police that he pulled the trigger and that he did it because he didn't like the stories that this journalist was writing. That's only the beginning of this bizarre scandal. Noel Cisneros from CNN affiliate KGO is joining us now with more on this story. Is this young man affiliated with any particular group, Noel?

NOEL CISNEROS, KGO: Well, most definitely. This young man was seized in a raid this morning -- pardon me -- on Friday morning at a place called Your Black Muslim Bakery. It's what you see it behind me. This has been a fixture in North Oakland for more 30 years. And it's also been a source of great controversy and some other very significant cases in law enforcement.

SANCHEZ: Well, who are these people? I mean, and what are they doing?

CISNEROS: Well, they were founded more than 30 years ago by a man named Youssef Bey, who has since died. And Youssef Bey, depending on who you talk to, was either a leader in the community or a criminal and a con man.

When he died a couple of years ago, he was looking at 27 counts, very serious charges, including rape and child molestation. And now his son was one of those who was seized in this raid on Friday morning. That was -- where they took seven people out of here and were accusing them of being involved in the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey.

SANCHEZ: And Chauncey Bailey happens to have been doing a story on this group, right?


SANCHEZ: So it turns out that the very people he was investigating as a journalist may be responsible for his death?

CISNEROS: That is what the Oakland police say.

SANCHEZ: You know, that's interesting. And at this point, are they saying that there's anybody else that may have been associated, aside from this 19-year-old? In other words, is there a possibility that he might actually point the finger at anybody else?

CISNEROS: That's also a possibility. There were nine people that they were looking for when they served this search warrant. And they were not looking for Chauncey Bailey's killer. What they were looking for is involvement in two kidnaps in May and two homicides in July that were only four days apart and very close to the Black Muslim Bakery.

What they said is that those two homicides matched the pattern and the weaponry that was used to kill Chauncey Bailey earlier this week.

SANCHEZ: Noel Cisneros, thanks so much for bringing us up to date on this story and keeping tabs on it. We'll try and do the same. Thanks, again.

Coming up, we're going to get into some other angles of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. As a matter of fact, I remember getting into a car myself to show you what it's like to actually suddenly be dropped into water like a canal or a river. And what you need to know to be able to get out safely. It's a revisit.

Also, a structural engineer takes a ride with me to some of the bridges of this area around Atlanta to show me the difference between what works, what doesn't, what can go wrong, what happens to spans. All of it. He'll break it down for us. But first, imagine sitting down for a bite to eat and then this happens. A car slams into a restaurant. How it all happened when the CNN NEWSROOM comes back.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back. This is where we bring in the top video picks of the day as we've been gathering them. It's a countdown. Let's begin with number three. A female reporter, see her there just trying to do her job. She's covering some flooding.

Now look at this guy. Is that rude or what? Maybe it's European, but I don't get it. We'll show it you one more time. She's just doing the job and there he comes along. Bang. But they saw him on video. And as a result, he's going to have to pay a fine of $160.

Here's another story of another female reporter just trying to do a job. Roll the video. She's going to be over here in the white. See her? Watch her get shoved. See that man right there? Give her the shove. She's just trying to cover the story of the scandal involving the mayor of Los Angeles. And she thinks she has an opportunity to go talk to the mayor. So she's hustling out to get to him, when suddenly, this bodyguard hired by the mayor just shoves her aside and pushes her. I don't know if you can tell but an another angle we saw earlier, you could see she's pushed right into that metal. I mean, and that thing hurt and it was loud. She's filed a formal complaint with the mayor's office and the police department, by the way.

Here we go. Video of the day number one. This is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That is a Popeye's restaurant. And a car is about to come crashing through while these people are sitting there, trying to eat their fried chicken. That's the car. By the way, it wasn't the car's fault. Somebody hit the car from behind. And that forced it into the restaurant.

Now watch this guy right here. Look at him. One more time. You can see he's standing -- right -- he's trying to eat, right? When all of a sudden, this thing just comes barreling right through the restaurant. One more time. There he is. Watch the metal on top of him. He just barely gets out of the way in the nick of time.

Other stories that we're going to be following for you on this night. You see this paper clip that I'm holding right here? What does this paper clip have to do with the bridge disaster in Minneapolis? See it? I'm going to show you exactly what it might have to do with it.

Also, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton together. And one of them gets booed. Can you guess which one it might be? I'm going to tell you, but you got to keep watching. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are rocker bearings. All right? Allow the bridge to flex up and down and rotate.


SANCHEZ: This guy knows bridges and can tell you why they fall, why they don't, and how many are in jeopardy.


SANCHEZ: Are they keeping up with the work?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We used to call him the James Brown of journalism.


SANCHEZ: A reporter, killed for doing his job? Was he killed because somebody didn't like the stories he told?

Snakes in a tree. A cop with a gun. The snake survives. A child who happened to be nearby does not.

The British parliament? No. Taiwan? No. This is the U.S. House of representatives. And yes, going after each other. We'll tell you why.

Who that calling the war on terror phony? As in bologna? Newt Gingrich? It's next in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez in the CNN NEWSROOM. More now in one of our top stories -- bridges.

Take a look at this stat we got for you. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, one in three urban bridges is classified as "structurally deficient." That means, it needs fixing, folks. And there's something involved in these bridge collapses. It's called metal fatigue. You want to see what metal fatigue is?

We got this paperclip right here. We got a camera on this? All right, here it is. You got it? Zoomed in? All right, now watch. I'm going to take this clip, right, and I'm going to go like this with it. And I'm going to bend it a couple of times. Ready? Not doing a very good job bending it, am I? But eventually, it's going to go. OK, now I got it. OK, I'm bending it. I'm bending it and I'm feeling heat. And look what happened. See the paper clip? You've done this, right? The paper clip just basically comes apart. That is metal fatigue. And that is exactly what officials are trying to describe in much, much larger circumstances in the case of a bridge that suddenly comes falling down. Here's a report we've prepared on that.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): It's hard to fathom, but experts believe this bridge disaster likely began years ago as nothing more than a crack. One so tiny, you would have need a magnifying glass to see it. Professor Larry Kahn knows bridges. It starts as a tiny, little crack?

LAWRENCE KAHN, PROF., GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: Oh, extremely small, very tough to see.

SANCHEZ: Let's suppose a train was going over right now. Would it be a better time to be looking for those?

KAHN: No, they are so small, that you would hardly see any motion occurring at all. If you see a fatigue crack moving, you run.

SANCHEZ: It's important to note that every single time something goes over this bridge, the bridge has a little bit of movement. Not much. Very little. But now imagine that movement occurring millions and millions of times. That is what causes fatigue. And in 1952, when Eisenhower started the highway system, nobody could have figured that this many cars would be riding on these interstates, right?

KAHN: They didn't figure that, but they also figured in 25 years we know we have potential for fatiguing, we'll come back and replace the bridge.

SANCHEZ: Built to last only 25 years, many of our nation's bridges are now two to three times that old. Are they keeping up with the work?


SANCHEZ: He's right. According to the American Society of Engineers, more than 70,000 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient. Are there short term fixes? Sure.

KAHN: And many times, bridges can last years and years with small fatigue cracks in them. And there's some ways to repair cracks. I don't know if they did or not, but if you just take a crack and drill a hole at the tip of it, you have a hole at the tip of this fatigue crack, that will arrest the crack and it won't go any further.

SANCHEZ: But then there are other cracks. And salt used to de- ice the road, which causes rust. And corrosion can make a small crack even bigger and can in a worst case scenario cause a bridge to come crumbling down.

It's interesting to talk to a professional, somebody who knows, isn't it? You want to see how the bridges in your state measure up? You go to home page and click on the link below and the lead story. That's new information we got just today. By the way, I was looking at it earlier. If you live in Pennsylvania, get ready to read a long list of bridges and possibly suspect bridges. And they do so state by state.

Coming up, the war on terror is a fake. That's what Newt Gingrich says. We're going to tell you what else he had to say next. It's dogbone politics.

Also, the president's approval ratings are certainly low, but even he's not at 3 percent. The issue that's laid Congress that low, dogbone politics is coming up next.

And then later, I find out just what's like to be actually trapped in a car with water suddenly rushing in. If you're ever in that situation, it's what you need to know. Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back. I'm Rick Sanchez. Time now for dogbone politics, a segment with a bit of a bite. You think President Bush had some bad poll numbers, right? Nothing compared to Congress these days. There's a new Zogby/UPI online poll that gives Congress a 3 percent approval rating for its handling of the war. And overwhelming 94 percent of Americans polled say they disapprove. When's the last time you saw such low approval ratings anywhere?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chair prematurely called the voting at 214...



SANCHEZ: We're used to hearing booing and hissing from the British parliament, but not the U.S. House of Representatives. Maybe it is a sign of the times. Several House members erupted in a booing and shouting match when the House GOP leader John Boehner accused Democrat John Murtha of making overly partisan remarks. Cue the dogs, please. Well, that's Senator Hillary Clinton coming up here.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I don't think based on my 35 years of fighting for what I believe in, anybody seriously believes I'm going to be influenced by a lobbyist or a particular interest if -- you know, I've been waiting for this. This gives us a real sense of reality with my being here. But look. The important thing...


SANCHEZ: There you go. She's getting booed just a few hours ago. That was her again and booed last weekend. Yet her numbers are skyrocketing. This is at a political bloggers convention that's taking place in Chicago. Apparently they weren't too happy with the way that she responded to a suggestion that Senator John Edwards had made.

He asked the presidential candidates to pledge not to take campaign money from lobbyists. Clinton hemmed and hawed a bit over that one and then gave her answer. And the audience obviously didn't like the answer that she gave.

A man who led the so-called Republican revolution is now calling the war on terror phony. Newt Gingrich told a group of conservative college students in Georgia that more has to be done to fight lslamic militants. Mr. Gingrich says that it would be more effective to wean the U.S. off of foreign oil. He says some of those profits support the terrorist regimes.

Coming up, remember at the top of the newscast we told you that we're following a breaking story in South Carolina having to do once again with some men that have been found in a van with some explosives. They say the men are of Middle Eastern descent. We're going to bring you the latest on that story. We'll check back on it and hopefully bring you the facts. A lot of breaking news is coming your way as well, including the tragic events in Minneapolis. Making one thing clear, if your car is ever in the water, you only have moments to get out. I'll show you how to do that in case, God forbid, you're ever dealt that card. We'll be back.


SANCHEZ: Are we going to see it here? Or were you just showing Barry Bonds -- oh, OK. Hold on, folks. You're about to see something really important there. There it is. There it is again. I don't have to tell you what this is if you've been following the news. This is Barry Bonds. He has just tied the record of Hank Aaron 755 home runs. Obviously, it comes with an asterisk as all of you know because of the steroids issue. But nonetheless, that's the record. 755. He tied it just a little while ago. Came into us really as much a sports story as a news story, but we thought it was significant to share with you.

Thinking about that catastrophic bridge collapse again. You can't imagine how utterly terrifying it is to be actually trapped in a sinking car if it's never happened to you. I went to try and find out whether there was a way to get out. And after they gave me a lesson, I thought, well, this should be relatively easy, right? Until I was down there. And the waters were murky. And I suddenly realized I couldn't get out. I mean, I really couldn't get out. Here's my report.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): It's a Saturday morning on the banks of one of the thousands of waterways that crisscross the state of Florida. Miami police who now do extensive training on submerged vehicle safety have agreed to demonstrate how to get out alive. It's a daunting lesson that I'm about to receive, but one these police officials are convinced can save lives. SGT. JOSE ACUNA, MIAMI POLICE: If we need to extract Mr. Sanchez, and we'll take him to fire rescue in the event he needs any medical attention.

SANCHEZ (on camera): This is one of those stories that really makes you fight your demons. My father always told me if you're scared, just say you're scared. Guess what, folks? I'm a little scared. So the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to get together with some of these dive masters and understand exactly what I'm supposed to do because once you're down there underwater, it's going to be a little too late.

JULIUS WIGGINS, MIAMI POLICE DIVE MASTER: As soon as the car hits the water, you have the seat belt on. You want to get rid of that seat belt as soon as possible.


(voice-over): To say that Miami police officer Julius Wiggins, who's also a dive master, is passionate about teaching people how to get out of a sinking car would be an understatement. His goal to reach as many people with what he calls the basics.

WIGGINS: Seat belt first.


WIGGINS: And then unlock the car door.


WIGGINS: OK? And then roll down the window.


WIGGINS: And then start climbing out. Then what you're going to do, you're going to work your way out here. Push like this. Once you're sitting here, all you have to do is just push yourself off.

SANCHEZ: If ever there's been an appropriate use of the term dry run, this is it.

WIGGINS: The car's gone in the water. Seat belt first. Lock. Roll the window. Start climbing out and fall back.

SANCHEZ: Got it. And now, the real thing. The car plunges into the canal head first, then bobs back, allowing enough time to put the basic plan into action. With me inside the car, photographer Rich Brooks, who is a certified diver. From his pictures, you can see I'm working fast to take advantage of what is a perfect scenario. The car has leveled out, giving me time to open the window and get out before it sinks.

However, on my second attempt, the car turns slightly, forcing the water in faster, slowing my exit. With the seat belt off, the lock undone, the window rolled down, I take a final breath and climb out.

My third attempt takes a bit longer, but I'm realizing window exits seem most effective. Whether it's a roll down or electric, it doesn't matter, as long as you don't remove the keys from the ignition. Remember, even underwater, your battery will continue to operate the windows.

What happens, though, if the window is stuck or for some reason simply isn't working? This window is being shattered underwater using a tool called a power punch that motorists are urged to buy and keep in their glove box.

Now, the last dive. An attempt to get out through the door. From inside the vehicle, you can see how it looks when I leave the window rolled up. The water is now seeping in from else where and quickly filling the cabin. I try to push on the door but it seems jammed. Outside the car, divers are also trying to unjam the door to let me out, but are unable to do so. Admittedly, it is a chilling moment. I grab for the emergency air supply left in the front seat, rush it to my mouth, and wait nervously...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull up, pull up, pull up.

SANCHEZ: ...for the car to be hoisted out of the water with me still inside, breathing, waiting, and with a much better understanding now of how important it is to know the basics, how to act fast, and how to get out alive.


SANCHEZ: There you have it, a report that we had prepared earlier. We wanted to see if you could show you that one more time. Something else we want to show you now one more time.

Barry Bonds has just tied the record for the most career home runs. He did so, interestingly enough, not in San Francisco, but in San Diego. And of course, he breaks Hank Aaron's record. It's obviously very controversial because of all the -- pardon me. I misspoke. I said broke. It's tied. 755 is the tie.

The next one that he hits, and surely he will hit another one, will be the record breaking home run. By the way, there it is. One more time. There it goes. Nothing but wood, folks right on the sweet spot. Everything having to do with Barry Bonds, the controversy, the record, when we go live to San Diego, next. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. Barry Bonds has just tied the record of Hank Aaron for the most career home runs in Major League Baseball. It is certainly a very important milestone. And Kara Finnstrom is joining us now in San Diego. That's where it took place, right? I know a lot of folks wished he had done it in San Francisco, but apparently it's a cross town rivals, really, who got the benefit of watching the home run and taking lots of pictures, I imagine, Kara.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It was a moment of pure electricity out there. Just a really amazing moment. Everyone on their feet from the moment that bat touched the ball, everyone seemed to know this was the home run that would tie that record set by Hank Aaron back in 1976.

Now we were hearing yesterday, as well, on a mixture of emotions out here. Because on one hand, all these fans really ready to see this record tied. The flashbulbs going off across the stadium every time he gets up to bat. Everyone on the edge of their seats.

But on the other hand, there's been this loud booing, a resonant chorus of boos every time he gets up to bat. People -- actually, one person throwing back a foul ball yesterday. And lots of signs actually out there amongst the fans, lots of asterisks. And this of course, referring to this allegations that he used some performance- enhancing drugs. These are allegations that Bonds has repeatedly denied. He's never testified positive, but he has not been able to get around these allegations. And some of these fans out here feel it's tainted this record.

But tonight, Rick, really lots of excitement out here. This was a sold out stadium. So that means that there were about 45,000 people on hand to witness this moment. Don't know who caught that ball, but we're sure they probably didn't toss it back because that's going to be worth a small fortune.

And one other note, Rick, this stadium is relatively new for the Padres. And when it was built, the organization said that this was Bonds' proof and tonight, Bonds obviously shattered that assertion.

SANCHEZ: A lot of questions, a lot of questions about, you know, the veracity of this record, but I think to a certain extent, it would be unfair to question this one and not question the record sent by McGwire as well, when he broke Roger Maris' record. So there's really a lot for people to chew on.

But I do know this. As I was watching the game the other day in Los Angeles, the other cross town rival, I saw a lot of people booing. And then at the same time when they were done booing him, they took out a camera to make sure they had a picture of him in case he hit the home run. So you know, it's kind of two things going on at once there.

Hey, Kara, thanks so much. We'll continue to follow that story.

Coming up, we're going to talk to some real life heroes. When most people were trying to get away, these two young ladies dive into the chaos in Minneapolis. They're going to tell us how they did it. They may actually be golden gophers. I bet you they are. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Just a quick note about our broadcast. We told you at the beginning of this newscast that they found some explosives in a van in South Carolina. My producers are now telling me we're going to have an update on the story. In fact, these are brand new pictures that are come in and the very first pictures that you've seen from the scene there in Goose Creek, South Carolina. We're going to get to those in a minute and bring you the update that we're getting from our sources there on the ground.

Meanwhile, let's take you back to our other top story involving the situation obviously still going on in Minneapolis. Melissa Wayne and Nicole Kopari, they didn't know what water was like there on the Mississippi the day of that horrible disaster, but they soon found out when they jumped in. They join us now live.

Hey, gals. Thanks so much for being with us. What happened that day? And what made you think, you know, the first thing I got to do is get in that water?

NICOLE KOPARI: Actually, we got a phone call from Missy's mom. And we just took off running from our house. And we ended up getting down by the river. And we actually weren't in the water. We got a ride across the bridge in a boat.

SANCHEZ: Oh, you were in a boat. And so did you actually...


SANCHEZ: ...did you actually help some of the people get out. And if so, how?


SANCHEZ: What did you do?

MELISSA WAYNE, MEDICAL STUDENT: Well, what we did was the firemen already got the victims out and onto the ground onto safety. And so, we just went around and checked their vital signs like listen to their heart, listen to their breathing, and made sure that, you know, the most critical people went to the hospital first.

SANCHEZ: Was it really horrible? I mean, what was it like? You were one of the first persons there on the scene. There must have been a lot of desperation, huh?

WAYNE: You know, at that time, it was just the magnitude of it. You couldn't comprehend it, because you're such a small part of it. You're really just focused on what we were trying to do and help people.

SANCHEZ: Did you know as soon as it was happening or as soon as you got there and saw what it looked like, this is huge? This is going to be a very terrible situation and certainly a big news story?

WAYNE: Well, we kind of had a thought about it going there, but it really didn't hit us until all the victims were out and we were walking across the 10th Avenue bridge on our way back to the Red Cross. SANCHEZ: And after you made this discovery, did you run into any of the people that you were able to get out of the water? And what were they saying? What kind of things were they saying to you?

KOPARI: You know, they were just so scared at the time. Everybody was kind of in a shock. We were just making sure that they were able to stay calm. And since then, we've been able to get a hold of a few of the patients that are still in the hospital and just make sure that they're doing okay.

SANCHEZ: That's great. And are you guys -- you go to the U?

WAYNE: Yes, we do.

SANCHEZ: You're both golden gophers?

KOPARI: Yes, we are. And we're both in our last year of medical school at the U.

SANCHEZ: All right. Rock on. Me, too. I'm a golden gopher myself. Went to University of Minnesota. Nice talking to you, gals. Appreciate it. Job well done.

KOPARI: Thank you very much.

SANCHEZ: All right. We're going to update that story from South Carolina we told you about when we come back in just a little bit. A vehicle again packed with explosives. These are the first pictures coming in from the scene. Two men supposedly of Middle Eastern descent driving in the van. We'll be all over it. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: All right. Let's bring you once again up-to-date on that situation in Goose Creek, South Carolina. We've got some brand new video that's been coming in at the scene there.

You may see at least the remnants of a van in these pictures, as well. It's a van where they say, according to police, and now we understand federal agents are on the scene, as well, that two men of Middle Eastern descent were stopped today. And when police searched their car, they found explosives in the car.

There's the video coming in now, and some of the people we understand that they have been talking to in the area. By the way, Goose Creek is next to Charleston, South Carolina just a little bit inland from the area. The road that's now been closed down by police and federal agents is Highway 176 and Meyers Road. We'll bring you the very latest on this story and others. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: And welcome back. This week CNN's i-report celebrated its very first year and what a year it's been. Thanks to you, we've been able to cover news stories of the nation's biggest stories with compelling pictures sent by you. And we thank you for it.

Tonight, we leave you with some of the images from the week's bridge collapse in Minnesota, some of the first pictures. I'm Rick Sanchez. Thanks for being with us. Good night.