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Southwest Apologies to Employees, Issues Refunds After Widespread Cancellations; U.S. COVID Cases, Hospitalizations and Deaths on Downward Trend; Interview with Joy Hofmeister about Leaving Oklahoma Republican Party; A Woman Killed in Mass Shooting in St. Paul Bar District; The Dangerous Infection of the Big Lie; San Jose Apologies to Chinese Community for Racist Past; "Star Trek" Legend Headed to Space at Age 90. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 10, 2021 - 20:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Great to have you along with us on this Sunday evening.

And new tonight, Southwest Airlines is apologizing to its employees after a weekend of wide spread flight cancellations. In fact, some flight crews don't have hotel rooms and many passengers are stranded and frustrated. The airline cancelled more than 1,000 flights today alone and 800 yesterday.

Look at these lines. This is video from a passenger waiting for hours in Denver. Southwest blames the cancellations on, quote, "disruptive weather, air traffic control issues and limited staffing." But the FAA insists air traffic control hasn't had an issue since Friday.

CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean joins me now on the phone.

So, Pete, what is going on here? You have Southwest pointing the finger at least in part to air traffic control. The FAA says not so fast. Do we know what caused this?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (via phone): It's such a huge ripple effect, Pamela. You know, Southwest says this really all started with issues on Friday that compounded over the weekend. Air traffic control issues and weather issues. But again, that was just on Friday. And the FAA as you point out put out this rare statement saying that there was really no other issues yesterday or today, in fact, the weather was pretty good across much of the country. So no big air traffic control caused delays.

But the real issue here is that Southwest has really paired down its schedule because of the pandemic. It's flying few airplanes trying to pack as many people as people into those airplanes and so now the airline has issued a statement saying that it's making it harder for it to get its operation back to normal. 1100 flights cancelled today. 800 yesterday.

The real question here is when all this will end? As we have seen in the massive meltdowns with airlines in the past that it's not like flipping on a switch, it does take some time for airlines to return to normal. So I just checked on FlightAware which is the main flight tracking Web site that shows the number of these cancellations. No major cancellations yet for Southwest Airlines tomorrow but we will see if that changes overnight.

You know, it's really interesting here that things have been mostly good across the country today when it comes to air travel and yesterday when it comes to air travel but for Southwest. This was a Southwest specific issue, not an issue across all airlines. Not a massive computer issue or an air traffic control or weather issue. This is specific to Southwest -- Pamela.

BROWN: And last hour I spoke with a Southwest passenger whose flight was cancelled. Listen to what she told me.


MICHAELA VINCENT, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES PASSENGER, FLIGHT WAS CANCELLED: And at 7:45 p.m. Friday night, I was dealt a devastating blow that my flight was cancelled and they sent me a link to rebook. There were no other flights available at all on Southwest or any other airline actually. And that's when I just began to cry. I was just devastated to know that less than 12 hours from my flight, I was told I could not go and attend and join my family for such a sad time.

They were very professional in their communication with me, so there is nothing that -- you know, there was no other option.


VINCENT: But again there were no other flights on any other airline, from Atlanta, to Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, nothing.


BROWN: So is there any indication, Pete, of when Southwest will get some of these issues resolved and resume normal operations?

MUNTEAN: We'll see. It will take a little bit here, Pamale. Sometimes what airlines have to do is to simply halt everything to try and get flights, to get planes, to get crews in their proper spot when there's an issue like this where flights get stuck out at different out stations rather than a main hub. These are places where planes aren't supposed to be. It just takes a little time for things to get back to normal, and so sometimes the best thing an airline can do is just to stop these all together.

You know, this is huge. We're talking tens of thousands if not more than 100,000 people impacted here if you consider there's 100 or more people on each airplane, 1100 flights cancelled today. So this say a huge chunk of Southwest's schedule also. More than a quarter of all of its flights were today. So this is nothing to take a stick at. This is a really huge operational meltdown for that airline and they're just trying to get it back to normal. But, you know, it's also important to note here, not only are

customers like that one you just heard from (INAUDIBLE), but also are the crews because they have been in some cases as we've seen from company memos that I've obtained from Southwest, that flight crews were stuck without hotel rooms when they were -- when these issues happened.


So sometimes it's not just passengers but crews. And one more important thing to note is sometimes -- at times an airline will default, they're trying to give you a credit, but typically in a situation like this, and take note, all consumers out there if you're ever in this situation like the person you just heard from, you're entitled to a refund, not just a credit. So it's something to push for if you find yourself in this situation.

BROWN: That's important advice there, Pete Muntean. Thank you.

MUNTEAN: No problem.

BROWN: Tonight, COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all dropping as the Delta variant burns itself out. It looks that way at least. But that doesn't mean it's time to just throw caution or our masks to the wind no matter how much we want to.

Here is how Dr. Anthony Fauci put it today.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: I mean, you want to look forward to holiday seasons and spending time with your family and doing those sorts of things, but just don't throw your hands up and say it's all over.

If you look at the history of the surges and the diminutions in cases over a period of time, they can bounce back. So we don't want to always, you know, be on our edge that it's going to happen because it won't if we do what we should be doing.


BROWN: Dr. Saju Mathew is a primary care physician and public health specialist in Atlanta.

Great to see you, Dr. Mathew. So, look, a little more than half of Americans are fully vaccinated. What are the risks of acting like the pandemic is over right now?

DR. SAJU MATHEW, PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALIST: Yes, Pamela, you know, we've seen this playbook play out so many times so that's why I tweeted earlier, I'm really frustrated. We should not be using the terminologies turning the corner and pulling back on restrictions, and the reason for that is we're coming down from such a very high level. We're averaging 95,000 cases and still about 1500 Americans are dying every day. Let's not forget we're going into the cold season and we know what

happens, people take off their masks and especially in places that are really cold will be hanging around other family members also in tight spaces. So I think we should actually tighten up restrictions. We should talk about masking, mandating masking, definitely in different places where masks have not been mandated.

I also think, Pamela, that we should mandate vaccines for travel. So instead of pulling back, I think we should tighten up restrictions and be careful going into the winter season.

BROWN: That's good advice. I was going to ask you about Allen West. He is a candidate for governor in Texas and he's being treated for COVID- 19 and he had to be hospitalized as a result. He let loose with a string of tweets, perhaps from a hospital bed saying that he is even more dedicated to fighting against vaccine mandates. Again, we should note he was unvaccinated and in one of the tweets, the tweet said that he was being given a steady protocol of Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

What is your reaction to this?

MATHEW: You know, Mr. West really should be using his personal experience of having COVID to actually push vaccines. Just recently I read an article, Pamela, where over 250,000 kids have been orphaned during COVID and guess what? More than half of those kids have been in Latino populations and African-American populations. He received the monoclonal antibody infusion. Well, guess what? In some places it's difficult to get the monoclonal antibody infusion and by the way, that's pharma as well.

The only approved vaccine that we have, fully approved vaccine is Pfizer. It's not these experimental treatments that you get when you go into the hospital. And remember, we're talking about a vaccine that can prevent you from getting COVID. Monoclonal antibodies is used to treat COVID. So very disappointed. I hope and pray that politicians will stay out of the lane of scientists.

BROWN: I got to ask you about kids, Halloween coming up, all that good stuff. A lot of parents are wondering without vaccines, is it safe for kids to trick-or-treat this Halloween?

MATHEW: You know, I think that if most of the activities are outdoors, Pamela, I think it is going to be a safer activity. A lot more adults are vaccinated, few kids older than the age of 11 and 12 have been vaccinated or at least have the opportunity to get vaccinated. If you're outdoors, go out there and have fun, but still make wise decisions. Avoid indoor activities and I think you should be fine.

BROWN: There's this new CBS News poll looking ahead to the holidays and just 25 percent of the people say they plan to be around only vaccinated people. 23 percent say they'll mix it up and 31 percent say they don't know and won't even ask.


Do you think we're going to see another bad COVID winter as a result of this? How much does this concern you?

MATHEW: You know, always concerns me when people aren't being particular and specific in their plans by saying, listen, if I visit family I want to make sure that I'm around people that are vaccinated, especially our elderly. You can imagine the number of grandparents that haven't seen their grandkids because the grandkids have not been vaccinated. So really, when we make travel plans or plans for the holidays, who is vaccinated and who isn't should be on the top of our list. So of course that worries me.

Two good things, though, Pamela, is that a lot of people have gotten COVID so there is some natural immunity and a good number of people are getting vaccinated. So I don't think there will be a huge winter surge all over the U.S. but there can be surges and clusters where vaccination rates are low.

BROWN: I want to ask you about the booster shot. You got your booster shot this week. What do you make of the fact that the rate of boosters is higher than the rate of first shots?

MATHEW: Yes, I'm not surprised at all. The same people who were scared right out of the gate before the vaccine rollout began are the same people that are going to be scared about whether they should get booster shots. I still think that we need to get that first shot in the arms of 80 million or 70 million to 80 million Americans that have not been vaccinated.

Remember, yes, boosting keeps people protected but you are unprotected if you're not vaccinated. So that should still be the push.

BROWN: All right. Do you ever just feel like you sound like a broken record talking about how important it is to get vaccinated? Because we talk about it all of the time and yet, so many millions of Americans who are eligible to get vaccinated still haven't.

MATHEW: Right. Yes.

BROWN: Dr. Saju Mathew, thank you. Great to see you.

MATHEW: Thanks, Pamela.

BROWN: Well, one dead, 14 hurt. A stunning toll after a shooting in one of St. Paul, Minnesota's most popular areas. What we know tonight.

Plus, former president Trump pitches election fraud lies as an applause line for Republicans on the trail.

And later, how William Shatner is bracing to boldly go where no "Star Trek" actor has gone before.


WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR, PORTRAYED CAPTAIN KIRK: I want to press my nose up against the plastic window. What I don't want to see is somebody else out there looking back at me.


BROWN: And heads up, "DIANA" premieres tonight at 9:00 on CNN. The new CNN Original Series introduces viewers to the person behind the princess and reveals a life more complicated and fascinating than the world knew. Here is a peek.


DIANA, PRINCESS OF WHALES: I was always different. I always see inside me that I was going somewhere different.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was going to marry her dashing prince. Like all the stories she'd read.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was iconic. She was box office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to dance with the princess tonight?

JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: If she would like me to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pre-Diana there was zero interest in the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think anybody has grown up in public like Diana has.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diana provided a very public model for defiance and truthfulness.

DIANA: Isn't it normal to feel angry and want to change a situation? I was able to recognize an inner determination to survive.

ANNOUNCER: The new CNN Original Series "DIANA" premieres tonight at 9:00 on CNN.




BROWN: A lifelong Republican in Oklahoma is saying good-bye to the GOP. Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma's top public education official, announced that she is joining the Democratic Party and challenging incumbent Republican governor Kevin Stitt next year. She claims Stitt is, quote, "running Oklahoma into the ground." Here is part of her first campaign ad.


JOY HOFMEISTER (D), OKLAHOMA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I've faced down extremism, partisanship, ineffective leadership, and Governor Stitt. When it came to keeping our children safe, I took on that fight. When it came to supporting our teachers, I led the way. And when it came to fighting for our public schools, especially our rural schools, I was there. (END OF VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Joy Hofmeister joins me now.

Nice to see you. So you say your decision to switch parties came with, quote, "a lot of personal reflection." Why did you decide to do it?

HOFMEISTER: Well, thank you first of all for having me and right now my thoughts are on a lot of Oklahomans encountering severe weather. But like a lot of Oklahomans, many feel unrepresented by Kevin Stitt and he is unfortunately he -- Kevin Stitt has hijacked the Republican Party here in Oklahoma and he is not representing everyday Oklahomans.

BROWN: So you were a lifelong Republican but I want to understand a little bit better why you switched parties. I understand you're running against Governor Stitt but why did you switch from Republican to Democrat?

HOFMEISTER: Well, I'm running as a Democrat for governor because I value public education and our rural health care system and that access to affordable and high-quality health care as well as rural infrastructure and that in our suburban and urban settings, as well. Everyone needs new leadership and that's not Kevin Stitt.

BROWN: So you just said you're running for governor as a Democrat but do you consider yourself a Democrat now or do you still consider yourself a Republican with certain policy issues? Just trying to get a better understanding.

HOFMEISTER: This decision really transcends party affiliation.


Oklahomans are independent thinkers and they are not limited to letters behind a name. Individuals do not fit into tiny little categories. Instead, Oklahomans vote for the person. I haven't changed. I have the same values that I've had before but those values align with regular everyday Oklahomans, Republicans, independents and Democrats who value working together, commonsense solutions and respecting one another.

BROWN: So if you were to win as the Democratic governor, would you support President Biden and his agenda?

HOFMEISTER: You know, as state superintendent, I have worked with three different administrations in the White House and I'll represent Oklahomans regardless who is in the White House and regardless which party. There will be times where we will agree and others, we will disagree at other times, but my focus will be on advocating for the needs of all Oklahomans.

BROWN: But I guess, you know, you're switching now to run as a Democratic governor. We are so many months into this pandemic. Why now?

HOFMEISTER: Well, this has come at the result of seeing a pattern by Kevin Stitt where there is a disregard for experts that have public health wisdom and those experts even in class rooms, those in locally elected positions. All of us should have been working together and instead, Governor Stitt has divided communities to the point of neighbor against neighbor, family against family, and really Oklahomans have had enough of that.

BROWN: All right, Joy Hofmeister, thank you.

HOFMEISTER: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BROWN: A hellish situation. That's how police described the scene after a deadly gunfire broke out in a busy restaurant and bar district in St. Paul, Minnesota. A young woman is dead, 14 other people wounded and three suspects are now under arrest. Earlier tonight I talked with the mayor of St. Paul about how his city is reacting to this latest mass shooting.


MAYOR MELVIN CARTER, ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA: Our community is devastated. Our community is reeling from this. Obviously, it's more than just 15 families. Those families of those 15 victims, it's our entire community. It's our businesses, it's our restaurants, it's our bars, it's those folks who come in and out of town to enjoy our community. But one of the reasons we're reeling is because we're not used to things happening like this in our community. Because it's so rare and so different than what we're used to.

Our goal is to partner with all of those individuals. Our goal is to partner of course with our police department. Our goal is to partner with the community elders that can intervene with young people who are thinking about picking up a gun or thinking about what route they want to take in their life, and hopefully, our goal is to finally be able to work with our legislature to pass the type of sensible gun control reforms that most Minnesotans know that we need.


BROWN: And CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is following this for us -- Adrienne.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pamela, at least three people are in custody and they are in the hospital receiving treatment for their injuries. Once they're discharged from the hospital, St. Paul Police say they will be booked in the Ramsey County Jail. This after 15 people were shot in St. Paul Sunday morning. One person, a woman in her 20s, did not survive.

I spoke with Mr. Peter Parker, that's his stage name. He's the deejay who's at that venue every Saturday. He described the scene like this.

PETER PARKER, DJ IN BAR DURING SHOOTING: I'm kind of spinning on the stage, having fun in my moment, and I hear it. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. Everybody goes down. I'm like, OK, they're still shooting, pop, pop, but the music is playing. So I reached up and turned the music off, and then I was like, OK, let me peek the scene. I look around and I could see people really frantic and they want to get out of there really fast.


BROADDUS: Meanwhile, investigators are still trying to determine a motive. This happened in the heart of downtown St. Paul, a short block away from the Xcel Energy Center which is home to the Minnesota Wild, that's the state's hockey team, as well as other concerts. It's right in the heart of downtown St. Paul and Parker says this was a fun atmosphere. And normally he can tell when the mood is about to shift, but that did not happen Sunday morning. He said they were all surprised and the shooting happened abruptly. Parker said he will not be able to return to that venue to deejay ever again because of what he saw -- Pamela.

BROWN: Yes, understandable. Adrienne Broaddus, thank you.

In Georgia a SWAT team has arrested a man accused of killing a police officer who was gunned down while working his very first shift.


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says suspect Damian Ferguson was captured without incident less than a mile from where the officer was shot. He is accused of shooting 26-year-old officer Dillon Harrison early Saturday morning just outside the Alamo Georgia Police Department. Harrison leaves behind his widow and their 6-month-old child. That is just awful.

And in California, a man is dead after police in Los Angeles County say he drove his truck on to a sidewalk nearly hit several pedestrians. He then struck a tree and crashed into a building and that is when police say bystanders pulled him from his vehicle. When officers got to the scene, they found him dead. They said it all unfolded after the man got into a verbal altercation inside a business around midnight Saturday and was asked to leave. His identity has not been released. The coroner is working to determine the exact cause of death.

Well, give the people what they want. According to the former president Trump, GOP voters want more lies about the election and Republican leaders who know better are just going along with it. I'm setting the record straight. Up next.



BROWN: If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. Well, not long ago that might have been a gentle warning from a parent or a teacher. For Donald Trump and an increasing number of prominent Republicans, it has become their political playbook and this weekend, the big lie got repeated plenty.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: It's the single biggest issue, the issue that gets the most pull, the most respect, the biggest cheers, just talking about the election fraud of 2020 presidential election. Nobody has ever seen anything like it.


BROWN: For the record, he's right. This nation has never seen anything like the big lie. Certainly not by a once sitting president who refuses to admit he is the former president.


TRUMP: Hillary conceded. I never conceded. When you hear these numbers of swing states, there was no reason to concede. They should have conceded. And no presidential candidate has ever lost an election while winning Florida, Ohio and a place called Iowa.


BROWN: For the record, that's not true. Richard Nixon won those states but lost the 1960 election. Maybe that's a little lie but the big lie is now deeply rooted in the Republican Party. Kari Lake, a Republican running against a Republican to become the next governor of Arizona, is well and truly on the Trump train. She sent this delusional tweet to Arizona secretary of state Katie Hobbs after she said it was time to move on and focus on the real issues, she said, "Yo, Katie, we're not getting over it. We're going to decertify, reform our elections and lock up all of the criminals who defrauded the voters of Arizona, and that's going to be the fun part."

By the way, this tweet was sent after the fake Arizona audit confirmed what we already knew that Biden won Arizona. And then here's the second most powerful Republican in the House just this morning.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Specifically making this charge that the election was stolen, do you think that that hurts, undermines American democracy?

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Well, Chris, I've been very clear from the beginning. If you look at a number of states, they didn't follow their state passed laws.

WALLACE: So you think the election was stolen?

SCALISE: What I said is there are states that didn't follow their legislatively set rules. That's what the United States Constitution says.


BROWN: For the record, judges in more than 60 cases looked at the big lie and all of its bogus mutations and found that those cases were without merit. Truth matters and so does the big lie. Just look at the attack on the Capitol. It inspired, again, it's worth reminding our viewers, what inspired this. A couple of hours ago, I spoke to someone who worked in the Trump White House as a top adviser on Russia. She understands democracy. She says the big lie is a poison made all the more dangerous if Donald Trump really does run in 2024.


FIONA HILL, FORMER TOP RUSSIA ADVISER DURING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: If he does win on the back of these lies, these lies that he's repeated over and over again, the big lie that he had the election stolen away from him in 2020, then that means the whole premise of his presidency will be based on a lie. And, you know, that's what I'm saying is that democracy will be done.


BROWN: And we keep hearing again and again from experts that people think it won't happen in the United States but it could. It is possible.

Up next, the impact of an apology more than a century overdue as an American city reckons with its racist past.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a record of the city's role in promoting a real climate of hate around -- against the Chinese immigrants.

CONNIE YOUNG YU, LOCAL HISTORIAN: And also, a record of resistance.




BROWN: Well, it has taken more than 130 years but finally the city of San Jose, California, is apologizing for decades of discrimination and violence against Chinese immigrants. The city also passed a resolution acknowledging that xenophobia was behind an arson fire in 1887 that destroy the city's Chinatown.

CNN's Natasha Chen has more on San Jose's path to making amends.


CHEN (voice-over): This ceremony late last month in San Jose, California, marked a moment more than 130 years in the making.

MAYOR SAM LICCARDO, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: The city of San Jose apologizes to all Chinese immigrants and their descendants who came to San Jose and were victims of systemic and institutional racism.


CHEN: As part of the city's attempts to combat rising anti-Asian hate during the pandemic, this formal apology acknowledges San Jose's role in passing anti-Chinese policy in the late 1800s including a declaration of Chinatown as a public nuisance, issuing orders for its residents to leave leading to an arson in May of 1887 that destroyed the thriving community of 1400 people.

YOUNG YU: We are walking on the site of market street Chinatown.

CHEN: Connie Young Yu's grandfather was a teenager at the time who immigrated from China to San Jose.

YOUNG YU: And there's this feeling already that the Chinatown was -- that they'd have to leave, but I don't think they expected a fire.

CHEN: The "San Francisco Daily Examiner" reported on the fire calling it, quote, "San Jose's Joy." Young Yu says her grandfather was working in the fields that day.

YOUNG YU: He could see smoke. This was really a sense of doom because after the fire then what? Are they going to come after the individuals?

CHEN: She described how her grandfather used to be chased, had rocks thrown at him, echoing some of the anti-Asian attacks seen during the pandemic.

RAUL PERALEZ, SAN JOSE COUNCILMEMBER: We were hearing rhetoric coming down from our federal government, as we know our past precedent, that was really I think encouraging a lot of this hate and these hate crimes that were occurring.

CHEN: Councilmember Raul Peralez says similar leadership in the 1880s set the tone for anti-Chinese attacks then. All with the backdrop of the U.S.-Chinese Exclusion Act passed to prevent Chinese immigrants from becoming citizens.

PERALEZ: I was not aware of really how bad it got and through this process we've been able to expose that.

CHEN: The city even denied permits for rebuilding after the fire, though subsequent Chinatowns eventually emerged.

(On-camera): About 100 years later during the construction of this hotel, the Fairmount, people discovered artifacts that had survived the fire, a painful reminder of the city's past.

GERRYE WONG, FOUNDER, CHINESE HISTORICAL CULTURAL PROJECT IN SAN JOSE: They found out what life was like. They obviously had toothbrushes. They had kitchen utensils. They even had whiskey bottles.

CHEN (voice-over): When these pieces were found the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project formed with Gerrye Wong at the helm.

WONG: Finding pieces like this, it was just like opening a horizon of what was life like for those people.

CHEN: The museum shows a timeline of San Jose's five Chinatowns. After the arson the Chinese rebounded into a new community called Heinlenville. This museum building is a replica of the last standing structure from that final Chinatown. Only this altar is original.

That neighborhood today is full of construction prints. The new development will include a new park named after Heinlenville at a time when anti-Asian hate has surfaced again, that gesture along with the city's resolution and apology mean more to the community than a piece of paper.

(On-camera): This is a record of the city's role in promoting a real climate of hate around -- against the Chinese immigrants.

YOUNG YU: And also a record of resistance.

CHEN (voice-over): A story of rebuilding and repairing.

YOUNG YU: It's a sense of overcoming.

CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, San Jose, California.


BROWN: What a story.

Now to a rescue in Texas that's being hailed as a miracle. A 3-year- old little boy is back with his family tonight after being lost in the woods for four days. Christopher Ramirez apparently wandered away from his home while playing with a neighbor's dog Wednesday afternoon. Rescue crews launched a massive search with a Good Samaritan finding the boy Saturday morning. The local constable who helped organized the search describes Christopher's rescue.


BLAKE JARVIS, GRIMES COUNTY, TEXAS CONSTABLE: It was almost a miracle how he was found. It was a complex organization, investigation that led to his recovery. A Good Samaritan went and searched the back of this property and lo and behold, located Christopher. Almost five miles away from his home where he went missing, the property he was found on was very dense, very wooded, it's very rough terrain to go through.


BROWN: He must have been so scared. As for his condition, he was tired, he was dehydrated but otherwise fine. Glad that that had a happy ending.

Well, up next, looks like space is the place to be these days. William Shatner is prepping for a trip there this week. A Russian film crew just beat Tom Cruise there and you can head there in a balloon for just 50 grand.

Miles O'Brien is here to talk with us about the race to space up next.


[20:49:21] BROWN: T minus three days until the original Captain Kirk goes to space. On Wednesday "Star Trek" legend William Shatner will blast off from Texas aboard Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin rocket. He's heading to space along with three other people for a suborbital trip that'll last about 10 minutes. Shatner is set to become the oldest person to fly into space at 90 years old and he admitted to our Anderson Cooper, he's a bit nervous.


SHATNER: My fear is as you go up that you can't draw a breath. That apparently is not going to happen but that's what they said.



SHATNER: I'm really quite apprehensive as you might have guessed. I'm going to experience the knowledge of space. I'll come back and tell you what it's like.


BROWN: I love Anderson's laugh. Joining me now is CNN aviation correspondent Miles O'Brien. It's just so great. And he said --

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: That's quality television, Pam. Quality television.

BROWN: What's that? Quality television. I love when he told Anderson --

O'BRIEN: That was quality television.

BROWN: -- that he was going to look out the window, he just hoped no one else was looking back at him.


BROWN: We're all going to be watching this, right? The launch less than three months after the company --

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, he was in the "Twilight Zone." You know, he was in the famous "Twilight Zone" where he looked out on the wing and there was a gremlin. I think that's what he was referring to.

BROWN: Oh, is that right? OK.

O'BRIEN: That's a weapons (INAUDIBLE). Yes. I believe so. Yes.

BROWN: I gotcha. I swear I knew that. Yes. OK. So let's talk about this. Because I know that there are a lot of "Star Trek" fans out there, and you don't want to get anything wrong on that, right? What do you make, though, of how routine these trips are coming to space? It seems like every week or every other week there is a new trip to space with someone high profile. O'BRIEN: Yes, it's like the floodgates have opened, Pam. You know,

it's been about 20 years since the XPRIZE, which was that -- I'm sorry, XPRIZE, that award, several million-dollar award to fly a civilian craft to space twice in 10 days or less. Twice in two weeks or less and of course the winner of that was Burt Rutan, Scaled Composites. That design was bought by Richard Branson. That became Virgin Galactic and 20 years later, you actually start to see the flight.

So this has taken some time, couple that with NASA ending its monopoly in lower earth orbit and allowing SpaceX to fly people and cargo to the International Space Station on a private type of contract. And all of this is kind of finally reaching fruition and it's kind of exciting to see. Although some people look at it and say, gosh, it's a bunch of gold-plated bungee jumps by rich people but I see what happens next.

BROWN: Right. Right. That is the criticism. Right? I mean, why do I care about a famous actor going to space? But it is worth noting, he will be the oldest person to travel to space. He will not be the first actor to reach the cosmos. That title was claimed earlier this week by a crew of Russians who traveled to the International Space Station where they are currently filming the first feature film ever shot in space.

Is this another sign to you of how seriously the Russians are taking the future of space travel?

O'BRIEN: Well, it's a different kind of space race, isn't it? It's kind of fun.


O'BRIEN: I think probably my money is that the fact the Tom Cruise movie might be a little better. But you'll never know. Maybe the Russians will come through with a sleeper hit. But I do think what this does is it popularizes space in a way that it hasn't been. And yes, you know, it seems kind of frivolous but these investments, all this money, all this attention is what leads us to better communications, GPS, Google, maps, better forecast and maybe one day a better way to stop an asteroid from hitting the planet and causing a mass extinction event. There is a lot of reasons we should be in space and be in space affordably and this is one step along the way.

BROWN: Yes. Stopping the asteroids seems pretty important. So let's -- to put it lightly. So let's go to some other space news. Space tourism company World View says that it plans to start sending passengers to the edge of space in what appears to be a high-tech hot air balloon. The trip will last for six to eight hours, reaching altitude of 100,000 feet. A ticket costs around $50,000 a seat, which compared to other passenger trips we've been seeing is actually fairly inexpensive again in comparison.

Miles, would you go for a ride in one of these?

O'BRIEN: Absolutely. I would. And that's -- I can't even afford that one but this is getting down closer into my price range. You know, if SpaceX is the, you know, the flat bed, the first-class seat and, you know, Bezos' flight is kind of business class, I guess this is like Spirit Airlines. But hey, I'll take it. Right? It gives you a little taste of space. You see the curvature of the earth, you see the blackness of space itself and you probably spend a little more time up there than you do for these five-minute jumps to zero gravity.

BROWN: All right. You start saving up your money now, Miles. You'll be there.

O'BRIEN: I will.

BROWN: Thanks so much.

O'BRIEN: All right.

BROWN: The late Princess Diana as you have never seen her before. Still ahead, a peek at our new original series premiering in just minutes on CNN.



BROWN: The all-new CNN Original series "DIANA" begins in just a couple of minutes and here's a quick look with CNN's Max Foster.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: When Diana Spencer arrived here at St. Paul's Cathedral in 1981 to marry Prince Charles, it was one of the most watched TV events in history. She immediately became a global icon but the fairytale wasn't to last even just a few days later on honeymoon, Diana revealed that they had a big argument about some cufflinks that Camilla had given Charles. Charles would eventually divorce Diana and marry Camilla. It's a story that's been told so many times but where does the truth begin?


BROWN: Thanks to Max. Our all-new CNN Original Series "DIANA" premieres next right here.

Thank you so much.