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FAA Holds Safety Summit After Series Of Near Collisions; Senate Clears Key Hurdle To Advance Garcetti's Ambassador Nomination; Number Of Alzheimer's Patients Expected To Double By 2050; 7 Virginia Sheriff's Deputies Charged After Man Dies In Custody; NCAA Tournament Tips Off With First Four; QB Aaron Rodgers Says He Intends To Play For NY Jets. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 15, 2023 - 13:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: A series of close calls involving commercial airplanes has federal officials gathering just outside of Washington today. Just three months into the year, there have already been at least seven near collisions. The FAA is holding a safety summit to find the root causes of the problem.

CNN's Gabe Cohen is joining us now.

Gabe, what are they looking at? What are the things that near to change to prevent these close calls?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, that's the million-dollar question. We've already heard a range of ideas, increased funding, more staff, better technology.

But to be clear, today's summit is just the start of a sweeping safety review of the aviation industry in the wake of those seven close calls you mentioned, since the start of the year, the most recent one about a week ago at Reagan National Airport near D.C.

Even acting head of the FAA, Billy Nolen, has said this uptick really defies logic. So he called for this safety summit.

In his opening remarks today, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stressed the U.S. has the safest, most complex aviation system in world, and yet they're seeing more mistakes that usual happening across the system and happening on runways.

Here's what he told our colleague, Pete Muntean, a little while ago.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: It would be one thing if they found a certain piece of technology in the cockpit or a certain control tower where there were a lot of issues.

But instead, we're finding pilots, ground crews and controllers alike seem to be experiencing this uptick. Some have described it as a kind of rust. That needs to turn into a very concrete diagnosis and specific action steps.

We're not going to wait for something worse to happen to act now.


COHEN: So a couple of key takeaways already from this summit. First, the head of the Air Traffick Controllers Union pointed to alarming staffing issues, that they're down 1,200 certified controllers from a decade ago, which means, of course, fewer eyes to prevent these safety risks.

The FAA administrator responded to that, saying they're working to fix it, now on pace to hire 15 controllers this year and 1,800 more next year.

We also heard from the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, who spoke quite critically of inaction by other federal regulators, saying her agency has made seven recommendations in recent years just on runways collisions that, at this point, have not been enacted.

She told the crowd, quote, "How many times are we going to have to issue the same recommendations over and over and over again?" Adding, quote, "All federal agencies here today need to ask, are we doing everything possible to make our skies safer?

And, Brianna, she also said they've already found at least one common cause in all of these incursions, that the so-called black box cockpit recordings were all overwritten, because they only record about two hours of sound, something she wants to see changed to help them with their investigations.

KEILAR: Absolutely necessary. The good news is nothing has happened so far. But we see they diagrams playing out, Gabe, and it's really a wonder. We see how close these calls are and it's certainly unacceptable.

Gabe Cohen, thank you so much for that.

On CNN primetime, go inside of the cockpit for a closer look at America's aviation problems. You will hear from passengers, from flight crew members and aviation experts as they share stories of close calls, turbulence and unruly passengers.

Kate Bolduan hosts a new "CNN PRIMETIME: LIFE RISK," live tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern on CNN.

And just in. Former L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti appearing on track to be confirmed as U.S. ambassador to India. He narrowly overcame a test vote in the Senate just moments ago.

Let's get straight now to CNN's Manu Raju is live on Capitol Hill live for us.

Manu, this vote came down to the wire. Some Democrats did not support this confirmation.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, because of some allegations that Eric Garcetti, as L.A. mayor, did not act upon accusations of sexual harassment of a top aide.

Now Garcetti has forcefully denied those allegations over the course of the past couple of years. But that has been enough to essentially stall this nomination for some time.

In fact, there has not been a confirmed ambassador to India. A vital region of the world has not had a U.S. ambassador to India through Biden's time as president, but he continued to push this through, Joe Biden did.

And Eric Garcetti continued to deny those allegations, meeting one-by- one, Senator after Senator.

And today, with the key vote just moments ago on a 52-42 vote, the Senate voted to break the filibuster in advance of this nomination after a bipartisan majority voted to move ahead. Some Democrats were concerned.


But in talking to Senators today, it was clear there was still some division about the nomination.


SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): There's a lot of review of his files, of witnesses. And the bottom line, not only does he deny but other witnesses deny that, in fact, he had any knowledge.

SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): It's a national security imperative. We have to balance concerns that people might have about the nominee against the real risk of waiting another year until we have an ambassador on the ground.

SEN. MARK KELLY (D-AZ): I have significant concerns over, you know, his nomination to this position.

RAJU: Why is that?

KELLY: The way, you know, certain - the environment that was allowed to exist in his office over an extended period of time.


RAJU: Now Mark Kelly was one of three Democrats who voted against this nomination. The other two, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

There were seven Republicans who voted to advance the nomination, including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Indiana, and some other conservative Senators.

You heard me talking to Todd Young. He's a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, some of those behind this nomination.

So right now, this nomination appears to be confirmed after this critical vote. After lunch, there will be a vote essentially to confirm Garcetti and send him to the post.

So this has been a major battle that has taken place largely behind the scenes. This nomination has been stalled because of that accusation, act on the concerns over sexual harassment. He denied those.

He was able to convince enough Democratic Senators and some Republican Senate to now eventually get the job for this critical position - Brianna?

KEILAR: Manu, thank you for getting all of those Senators on the record. We do appreciate it.

And a new report showing a staggering rise in the number of Americans who are living with Alzheimer's. What is behind the increase? We'll talk about that next.



KEILAR: A new report shows Alzheimer's is a growing problem in this country. According to the Alzheimer's Association, the number of patients is expected to double by 2050.

For more, CNN health reporter, Jacqueline Howard, is with us now.

Jacqueline, what is behind this increase?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Brianna, it simply comes down to we're seeing more people aging in this country, especially from the Baby Boomer generation.

When you look at the numbers, according to the Alzheimer's Association, about 6.7 million Americans 65 and older currently live with Alzheimer's disease. That's projected to be 12.7 million in 2050.

We are expecting this really surprising increase. Again, it comes down to aging.

Another interesting point from this association, too often individuals with memory concerns and their doctors don't talk about those concerns. I'm talking about mild cognitive impairment symptoms, like losing things, or forgetting events or appointments.

These are sometimes the early signs of dementia. But four in 10 Americans say they would not talk to their doctor if they experienced these symptoms.

They wouldn't talk to them right away, possibly because thinking the symptoms aren't that serious, or possibly they might be embarrassed by the symptoms. But this emphasizes having those conversations with your doctor if you

are experiencing the mild cognitive impairment symptoms, like simply losing things or forgetting your words while you speak - Brianna?

KEILAR: That is a very good reminder for a lot of people.

Also, if we're looking at the numbers, you're expecting then you're going to need more caregivers, more support for these patients. Where are we on that?

HOWARD: Absolutely. We'll need more therapy. And as you said, we'll need more caregivers.

When you look at the numbers, this report projects that Alzheimer's and other types of dementia will cost the United States about $345 billion this year. In 2050, that could be $1 trillion.

As a nation, we have to pay attention to the numbers, Brianna, and really prepare for the burden Alzheimer's could have in 2050.

KEILAR: That's why we hang on every new development of every possible therapy.

HOWARD: Absolutely.

KEILAR: Jacqueline Howard, thank you.

Seven sheriff's deputies in Virginia are charged with second-degree murder after a man died in their custody. Prosecutors say the deputies were transporting the man from jail to a mental health facility when he allegedly became combative - that's the word they reported - and had to be restrained.

CNN's Brian Todd is live in Henrico County near Richmond.

Brian, what more have you learned about this case?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, we just finished - (AUDIO PROBLEM) - that day on March 6th. Irvo Otieno, he is 28 years old.

We got some detail from the attorney, Mark Krudys, about what happened on that day. According to his version and according to the family's version that Irvo Otieno was approached by police on Friday, March 3rd, and taken into custody.

There was some kind of a dispute with a neighbor of his, who alleged he might have taken some things from the yard of that neighbor. The police came and took him into custody.

That part of it, according to the attorney for the family, was peaceful and above board.


He was then taken to a hospital for evaluation on Friday, March 3rd. At some point on Friday, March 3rd, according to this attorney, Irvo Otieno was taken to the Henrico County jail.

According to the attorney, he was not treated well in jail. He was made to stay in a cell naked for a period of time. He was pepper sprayed at one point.

And then on Monday, March 6th, according to the attorney, Mark Krudys, Irvo Otieno was transferred from the Henrico County jail to Central State Hospital, which is a mental health facility about 30 minutes away.

According to this attorney, when Irvo Otieno gets to the hospital, he at one point is taken into the hospital, sitting in a chair,

But then at one point, according to the attorney, he is on the ground and being, in the words of the attorney, "smothered" by these seven sheriff's deputies. At a certain point, he passes away.

The exact manner of death, we have pressed the attorney on that. He said from what they know now, from what they are able to tell us, the manner of death was asphyxiation. But far as the exact manner of death, they are not able to tell us at this time.

But as you mentioned, Brianna, these seven sheriff's deputies from Henrico County have been booked for second-degree murder. They all made court appearances this morning. Two of them bonded out.

We have reached out to the attorney for at least one of them. We have not heard back from that attorney. So we don't know at this point what they are pleading.

These are the circumstances around this young man's death. He was 28 years old. The attorney for the family says he was really mistreated in this case, and that the family is very traumatized by all of this - Brianna?

KEILAR: Devastated, no doubt. Much more ahead on this story.

Brian Todd, thank you for bringing that to us.

March Madness is officially underway. Two games already going down to the wire. All of the last-second drama is next.



KEILAR: The clock is ticking to get those March Madness brackets filled out. Are you ready? Because the first-round tips off tomorrow. But we've already saw some madness in the first four games last night.

CNN's sports anchor, Coy Wire, joining us now on this.

Coy, if last night's games were a preview, I mean, this is going to be a pretty wild March.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: That's right, Brianna. Buckle up and get ready for the madness of March where schools across the country will look to earn their fans' bragging rights with high flying heroes, buzzer beaters where you are the favorite or the Cinderella of the ball.

Don't sleep on the teams that win the first four in your brackets. Since they started, the first four teams that grab an 11 or 12 seed on the men's side they have gone on to pull off an upset in the first round every year except for 2019.

Pitt and Mississippi State playing for an 11 seed last night. This game back and forth all night, 21 lead changes. But 10 seconds, Burton takes the go ahead jumper.

And Mississippi State - look, Shaquille Moore has a wide open three for the win, not good, the tip in not good, either. So Pitt Panthers win 60-59 and will advance to play Xavier on Friday.

In the other matchup last night, 16 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi earned their first NCAA tournament win in program history. They beat Southeast Missouri State, 75-71. They have the overall top seed. Alabama next.

After the game, the Head Coach Steve Lutz says, bring them on, baby.


STEVE LUTZ, HEAD BASKETBALL COACH, TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI (voice- over): Our guys are battle tested. They are not scared of the moment. They are - you know, you've got to go play and, you know, you've got to embrace it.

But you know, history tells you that not many one seeds beat 16 seeds. That's why we have the NCAA tournament, to have situations like this where you get a chance to shock the world.


WIRE: Two more games tonight on our sister channel, TruTV. Dickinson taking on Texas Southern at 6:40 Eastern. And then Arizona State, representing the PAC-12, they will take on Nevada just after 9:00.

Women's March Madness, Brianna, also tipping off tonight with their first four starting at 7:00 Eastern. Everyone is chasing South Carolina, the defending champs on the women's side.

KEILAR: All right.

OK. So another sports story that I want to ask you about. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers now saying that he intends to play for the New York Jets next season. What is going on here?

WIRE: Yes, kind of a big deal. He might be wearing a different shade of green. We are talking about four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. He spent all 18 of his seasons in the NFL, there in Green Bay, following in the footsteps of Brett Favre. Now he might follow again. He told the "Pat McAfee Show" that he wants to be traded to the Jets and it would be up to Green Bay to figure out the compensation.

When you have your hero, your leader of your team saying that they don't want to be there anymore, that's a tough situation to be in if you are in the front office in Green Bay.

KEILAR: Certainly is.

Can I ask you, are you ready? Is your bracket ready?

WIRE: You know -

KEILAR: And is it too personal a question to ask you who is winning?

WIRE: On the women's side, it's going to be my alma mater, Stanford. I know you, as a Cal grad, you don't like to hear that, but I have hope.

On the men's side, I'm going with an underdog. Let's go Creighton. Men's brackets on Thursday, women's on Friday. You have some time.

KEILAR: Who is your big upset?


WIRE: My big upset, I'm going Kennesaw State, from right down the road in Atlanta, Georgia. And they are going to shock some people in round one.

KEILAR: OK. Why? But why are they going to shock some people?

WIRE: OK. I'm a little bias. I got to interview their coach. He is an inspiration, a motivation. I wanted to run through a wall for him.

So, yes, I think they're in their tournament for the first time ever. He turned - three years ago, they had one win, they had 26 wins, won their conference this year. Look out for the Owls.

KEILAR: There's something to that, Coy. I once picked my brackets entirely just on narratives of teams. I actually did pretty well and I got an upset in there.

I was actually leading the CNN group for a little while, or close to it, so there's something to that.

Coy, thank you so much.

WIRE: You always crush our brackets and I'm jealous.

KEILAR: I mean, I do for a second and then it doesn't go so well, that's my trend.

Coy, you are the best. Thank you so much.

And that does it for me. But don't go anywhere because there's so much more news ahead.