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American Morning

Mine Chamber Reached; Stock Sell-off; Liquid Ban One Year Later

Aired August 10, 2007 - 06:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. Rescuers reach the spot in the collapsed mine where six men are believed to be trapped, but hear nothing back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, we were not able to gain any communication with the miners underground.


ROBERTS: Still, there are encouraging signs.


BOB MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY CORP.: We just got the air reading. It's very, very good. That means, if they're alive, they're going to stay alive.


ROBERTS: The moment by moment developments in a life or death drama, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And good morning to you. Welcome. Thanks again for joining us. It's Friday, the 10th of August. I'm John Roberts.


We're following breaking news this morning on this AMERICAN MORNING out of Utah and the first possible chance for contact with six trapped miners at the Crandall Canyon Mine. Early this morning, it was around midnight Eastern Time, rescuers were able to drill a 2.5 inch hole right near where they believe the men have been trapped since Monday. Crews were able to drop a microphone down that hole. So far, though, they have not been able to hear any sounds. Engineers were able to take air quality samples and the tests show the air is breathable, with just a little methane and carbon monoxide. The mine's CEO, Bob Murray, updated reporters overnight around 2:30 Eastern Time.


BOB MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY CORP.: Two good things have happened. One, our engineers hit right on target off of this steep mountainside to where we wanted them to go. And, number two, the atmosphere in the mine is perfect to sustain human life, 20.5 percent oxygen, no methane, and a moderate amount of carbon dioxide. That means if they're alive, they're going to stay alive in that atmosphere.


CHETRY: He actually went on to say there was no methane in there. So even better news for the breathability of that air. Right now, crews are drilling a bigger hole to fit a camera, to get a look inside the chamber and to drop food and water to the miners. They expect to have that hole, the bigger hole, opened up tonight or early tomorrow.

ROBERTS: Our John Zarrella is at the command center near the entrance of the mind and he joins us live now.

So, John, good news that they got that drill down into a cavity. They were hoping that it wasn't going to hit a solid seam of coal. So they hit it right on target, it would seam. Threaded the needle on that and yet still holding out for good news to try to find those miners.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. That's exactly right, John.

I think one of the important things to point out is, that the microphone that they dropped in there, it's unclear as to exactly what the range of that microphone is and it's unclear of exactly the extent of that cavity that those miners may well be in. It's very possible that they're in an area far enough from where the microphone was dropped that they just simply did not -- the microphone's not picking up any sounds or perhaps they're conserving their own energy and keeping themselves quiet. So Bob Murray, the owner of the mine, said that it's really the fact that they didn't hear anything is really not an indication of anything one way or another.


MURRAY: The fact that we have not picked up any sound, I believe, should not be interpreted as bad news. I would not make that decision and that conclusion yet.


ZARRELLA: Now this larger drill hole that they are working around the clock to get done should be done, again, within about the next 24 hours or so. When it is, that camera that they're going to get down inside there will give them a full 360 degree look inside of that cavity. And as Bob Murray's been pointing out right along, should give them a much, much better idea of what is going on down there. But even when that camera's down inside there, John, there's still no guarantee that they are going to be able to see the miners or find the miners.

John. ROBERTS: And, John, what's the status of the rescue operation to actually reach the miners? We saw it just a second ago, pictures of that continuous mining machine shipping away at the coal that had fallen down from the roof. How far do they have yet to go to get back into that area where the miners are believed to be?

ZARRELLA: They still have hundreds and hundreds of feet of coal to get to. That's from where the collapse took place. And they say now they're more optimistic that rather than the full seven days that they thought it would take, that it's down now to about four or five days. Of course that's barring any other setbacks, like more seismic activity which, of course, caused a second fall of coal earlier on in the rescue efforts, which hampered their efforts to get back in there and to get that coal out. But barring anymore setbacks, perhaps now within four or five days they'll be able to get that block removed of coal and get to that cavity from that parallel tunnel through the tunnel shaft.


ROBERTS: And apparently things have quieted down with the mountain, as well. So perhaps there won't be any more of those mountain bumps and the rescuers will be able to continue that work.

John Zarrella for us this morning. John, thanks. We'll get back to you.

CHETRY: Dennis O'Dell is with the United Mine Workers of America. He joins us now from Washington this morning.

And, you know, Dennis, we have information, but I think we need a little insight and contest of that you make of what some of the things we're hearing. First of all, let's talk about the microphone coming down and no sounds being heard yet. What do you make of that?

DENNIS O'DELL, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: Well, as was reported by your reporter that's at the site, John, depending on where the microphone came into the mine area itself, they may not be able to pick up any sound. There's a possibility that the area that they mined, there were several pillars removed. And according to the mine plan that they submitted to the operators, there were pillars left intact.

So there could be a great distance between the area where the microphone actually came in and where the miners may be located. So I wouldn't lose hope that because we didn't hear any sound that that means something alarming. It just means that the might be that the miners may be at rest. It's very possible.

We're taught as miners to conserve our energy when rescue teams are coming in to rescue us. So there's a lot of things. There could be a fall, another fall in between where the microphone actually came in and where they're at as well. So there's a lot of variables that come to play with this.

CHETRY: I got you. Let's talk a little bit about the air quality. They say that they were able to take a reading from that pocket. They found it was 20.5 percent oxygen, some carbon monoxide and no methane. What do we make of that?

O'DELL: Well, that's good. I mean we knew going into this it would be different than some of the other mine disasters that we have faced where there have been explosions and fires. This was an entrapment by a fall. We felt all along that the air quality should be good and they just proved that by the readings that they got through the hole. They reinforced us that the air was good. So that's a good sign.

CHETRY: They also said they did not pick up carbon dioxide, the gas that's exhaled from the lungs when people breathe. Does that give any indication, either, about whether the miners are alive or dead?

O'DELL: No. No. I don't think you -- and again, it depends on, you know, where the sensors were actually dropped, whether they could pick that up or not. So that should be no indication of anything one way or the other.

CHETRY: They say it will be perhaps tonight or early tomorrow morning when they get that second hole that's supposed to be bigger, almost nine inches. That's the one where they're going to try and get a camera down there. Will we get a clearer picture when they do that or could we end up in the same situation where perhaps there has been another collapse that's blocking the view of that camera?

O'DELL: Well, unfortunately, the time will be the teller of the truth on that. We've been involved in other rescue attempts where we've used cameras to see what's going on and what the atmosphere behind the fall area, behind sealed areas, in areas where there have been mine fires and we've had first attempts fail because of blockage because there may have been roof support that was in the way of where the camera could actually see. The vision may be obstructed by a pillar.

I mean there's a lot of variables that come into play with that. So the first attempt with this camera may or may not work. They may be able to see something and then again they may not be able to see anything.

CHETRY: Well they say that by now those lights would have surely died out. The lights that they have, even their best efforts to try to conserve them usually last, what, about 12 hours, even if, you know, some will turn theirs off to conserve the battery and just share. But now we're talking Monday to Friday. So if they're in the darkness, will the camera have its own lights, as well?

O'DELL: Yes. At least the one I'm familiar with that they've used in the past, it has a light that you can actually see underground with. Yes.

CHETRY: All right. Hopefully we'll get some more information as that process continues, the drilling of that second hole, and, of course, the tunneling for the actual rescuing continuing as well. They say, if all goes well, we're talking four to five days. Dennis O'Dell, thank you so much for being with us.

O'DELL: Thank you.

CHETRY: Well, while the mining company has not released the miners names, family and friends have come forward talking about their loved ones and confirmed to CNN the identities of at least four. They are 58-year-old Kerry Allred. He's the one on the left of your screen. He's been a miner for 30 years. Friends say he is a musician on the side. He likes to play guitar.

Also, in the middle, 41-year-old Manuel Sanchez. He's a 17-year veteran of coal mines in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. He has three daughters and a son and he also has a brother who's a miner.

And then Carlos Payan. He's a newcomer to the mine. He's in his early 20s. Reportedly planning to return soon to Mexico. Also, not pictured, Brandon Phillips (ph), who was also reportedly new to the job.

Well, we are watching the latest developments from Utah. As the rescue efforts continue, we will have live updates throughout the morning here on AMERICAN MORNING.

ROBERTS: Another important story that we're following, a sell- off around the world this morning after the Dow's second worst day of the year. Japan's Nikkei closed at a five-month low this morning. European stocks are trading lower right now. Australia suffered its biggest daily drop since the 9/11 attacks. It was down 3.7 percent.

All of it related to the U.S. foreclosure crisis. That includes news overnight from Countrywide, the U.S.'s largest mortgage lender. Ali Velshi at the New York Stock Exchange watching all of this.

And, Ali, what does all that portend for the Dow today?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now the futures are looking lower, John. But let's think about what started as a crisis for American homeowners has now spread around the world because we knew the mortgage companies were in trouble. Now we've heard this morning from Countrywide Financial, the country's biggest mortgage lender, and from Washington Mutual, the country's biggest savings and loan. Both of them suggesting that they can't get a handle on how bad this problem actually is and they're going to have to write off more loans.

Now remember, a mortgage is a debt to you, it's an asset to the bank. An asset that gives income every time you pay your interest. So what these banks have done in many cases is sold those assets to other investment banks around the world and they're the ones caught holding the bag. It's the investment banks like Bear Stearns, BNP Paribas, which set this thing off yesterday, saying that we've got liquidity problems. We can't actually let people cash out these investments.

Overnight, the European Central Bank injected more than $100 million into the banking system just to make sure that banks could borrow money from each other and that people don't go to a bank and find out that they don't have money. The Fed has done the same thing. Around the world, central banks are injecting money into the banking system to insure that there is no crisis, that people don't get into a panic mode. We may not be anywhere near needing to be in a panic mode, but it's that serious, John, that central banks around the world are stepping in and saying, what do we have to do to keep everybody calm.

ROBERTS: Got any idea what the Dow futures are doing this morning? Dow, S&P?

VELSHI: Last check they were indicating maybe an opening about 30 points lower in the Dow. But as we have seen in the last month, what the Dow futures say at 6:11 Eastern is going to be very different from what they do at 9:30.

ROBERTS: Yes, all right. Ali Velshi for us watching the markets.

Ali, thanks.


CHETRY: Other headlines this morning. A U.S. military chopper forced to make an emergency landing a short time ago in Iraq. The military says it happened during a raid in Yusifiyah about 10 miles south of Baghdad. Two American soldiers on board were hurt. The military is investigating why the chopper went down.

In Minnesota, the medical examiner says recovery teams may have found as many as three more bodies from the I-35W bridge collapse, bringing the number of people killed to eight. Five more people still listed as missing and presumed dead in the rubble in the Mississippi River.

Six Democratic presidential hopefuls taking part in the first ever debate on gay issues. Last night's debate was sponsored by a gay rights organization and it aired on a gay-oriented cable channel. All of the candidates voiced their support for a federal ban on anti-gay job discrimination and all say they want to repeal the don't ask don't tell policy. But the biggest issue of the evening was same sex marriage versus civil union.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Semantics may be important to some. From my perspective, what I'm interested in is making sure that those legal rights are available to people.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I prefer to think of it as being very positive about civil unions.


CHETRY: Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd, the only major candidates who did not attend last nights forum. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, a new poll just out shows that Rudy Giuliani is leading the pack of GOP contenders. This is a CNN/Opinion Research poll that was just released moments ago. We're the first ones to have it right now. Twenty-nine percent of Republican voters say they would vote for Rudy Giuliani for the Republican nominee. Fred Thompson, moving into second place, with 22 percent. Again, he has not officially declared a candidacy. We have John McCain following him with 16 percent. And in this poll, Mitt Romney, 12 percent.

ROBERTS: And our Candy Crowley will be joining us soon with a little more perspective on that. Right now, though, time to check in with our AMERICAN MORNING correspondents and other stories that we're following new this morning. Flood watches in New York City again today. Rob Marciano here with the extreme weather outlook.

How bad is it going to be compared to what it was earlier this week?


CHETRY: Well, closer than ever to finding out whether the trapped Utah miners are OK. We're watching breaking news out of Utah as the drilling continues at this hour.

Also, flyer frustration. It started a year ago today with more terror fears this summer. Whether we still need a liquid ban in the sky.


ROBERTS: Well, if you're just waking up this morning, you missed some important developments in efforts to get to those trapped miners in Utah. Just before midnight Eastern, rescuers were able to drill a two and a half inch hole into the area where they think that the miners are trapped.

It actually made it into a space. There were some fears that it might end up in solid rock or coal. But they did manage to get it right on target.

A microphone was dropped down into the hole, but no sound was detected. The tests on the air quality, though, came back good. So if the miners did not die in the initial collapse, they certainly could have had enough oxygen down there to be able to survive in the ensuing time.

Amazing video of a monster truck accident for you this morning as part of our "Quick Hits." Amateur video capturing this frightening scene near DeKalb, Illinois. Oh, take a look at this. The truck was performing stunts when the driver lost control, crashed into a crowd of spectators. Nine people were injured. Police say a mother and child are in serious condition today.

CHETRY: Well, now to our terror watch. Sun block and toothpaste still holding up the lines at the airport one year to the day that the TSA banned certain liquids and gels on planes. It happened after London police say they busted a suspected plot to blow up U.S. bound flights using liquid explosives. Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve is in our Washington bureau.

How big a threat are these explosives, Jeanne?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, I remember so distinctly being here one year ago and talking about how aviation had gone to the very highest threat level, red, and how liquids would be banned from all flights. And the question then, and to some degree now, is exactly what the plotters in London really could have accomplished with a few ounces of liquid.

Well, scientists at Sandia (ph) National Laboratory reproduced the liquid explosive mix that plotters had planned to use. They put it in a bottle and detonated it. And this is what happened.

Now just imagine that on an aircraft in flight and imagine, too, that they planned to hit multiple aircraft. The Homeland Security secretary yesterday contemplated exactly what could have happened.


MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: If that attack last year had been successful, you would have seen, at it worse, the loss of life rivaling 9/11. And just an incalculable damage to the international aviation system. And, I mean, that would just be a harsh (INAUDIBLE).


MESERVE: And that, Kiran, is why there are still restrictions on liquids on airplanes.

CHETRY: Certainly puts it in perspective when you grumble about needing to keep everything in that zip lock bag with the three ounces. So going forward, has there been any indication of how long this ban will continue to be in place?

MESERVE: Well, as you indicated, they have relaxed it. Initially it was a total ban. Now you can take on those three ounces as long as they're put in a quart bag. But I talked yesterday with Kip Hawley, the head of the Transportation Security Administration. He said although they are starting to experiment with certain technologies in airports that can detect liquids that are a threat, they're, by no means, really to roll them on a large scale as yet and so he says these restrictions are in place for the foreseeable future. So keep packing them.

CHETRY: OK. We better get used to it. Keep being used to it.

Jeanne Meserve, thanks so much.

Rudy Giuliani fighting back, topping our "Quick Hits" now. The Republican presidential candidate says that he exposed himself to the same health risks as the workers on Ground Zero. Giuliani's facing criticism from the relatives of some of the firefighters killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. They say that he was nowhere near prepared in the aftermath of the attack.

And Fred Thompson going to campaign in Iowa for the first time next week. That's after tomorrow's straw poll for Republican presidential candidates. He still hasn't officially announced that he's running and he may not announce until next month.

A massive storm front blows through parts of Iowa. Tornados, heavy rains take a devastating toll. We're going to show you coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. Here's a look at some of the stories coming up that you can't miss.

We are following the latest details on the rescue efforts at the Utah mine, the Crandall Creek Mine. Crews now drilling a second hole. They were able to drop the microphone down and now they're drilling a larger hole, almost nine inches, to try to get a camera down there. Here's what the CEO, Bob Murray, had to say.


MURRAY: The fact that we have not picked up any sound I believe should not be interpreted as bad news. I would not make that decision and that conclusion yet.


ROBERTS: So they've still got people listening deep down that hole. They left the pipe in. They were thinking about taking the pipe out but they left it in because they were afraid that the hole, only being about that big, the stratle (ph) might shift a little bit because the mountain's still a little unstable and close it back up again.

So they left that pipe in there to leave the microphone down there and continue listening. But I think that everybody sort of doesn't thinks that they're going to know anything until they get that second hole dug, which probably won't be either until later on tonight or maybe even as far as Saturday morning. But we're going to keep watching this story for you.

And another big story to tell you about in our next half hour, Beckham was bending it last night for a little while.

CHETRY: He sure was. Finally, right? He's had a soar ankle. They've kept him sidelined for a lot of the games so far in the season. But he was out there on the field last night with the L.A. Galaxy.

ROBERTS: Yes, look at that score, too. L.A. 0, D.C. 1. How much did it end up? How long did he play? And how much did he get paid for the time he was on the field? All that coming up when AMERICAN MORNING returns.


CHETRY: Wow, look at that outside this morning. Some fog. Some haze. This is a shot of New York City this morning. Some of the sky scrapers up there. You can barely see the tops of them because of the weather.

Looks like we're in for another rainy day here. It's actually raining right now. But will we get too much when it comes to the subway systems being able to withstand it? We'll have to find out a little bit later. Possibly another inch falling in the New York area.

ROBERTS: Rob Marciano suggesting it won't be as bad as it was earlier this week. That was pretty bad.

CHETRY: Well, 2 to 3 inches in a very short time span clogged up the subways.

Welcome back, once again. It's Friday, August 10. I'm Kiran Chetry.

ROBERTS: And good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. Listening for signs of life in a Utah mine, but so far, silence. Drillers say they have reached the cavity where six miners have been trapped for four days now. Still, no contact.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, we were not able to gain any communications from the miners underground. We intend to leave that set in that status with the microphone inserted through the inner part of the drilled steel into the mine, continue to monitor for any type of communication.


ROBERTS: But there is still hope since the mine owner says that tests of air quality down there show that it is very, very good.


BOB MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY: The fact that we have not picked up any sound, I believe, should be interpreted as bad news. I will not make that decision and that conclusion yet. There could be a number of factors as to why sounds in there might be picked up and I wouldn't look at it as good or bad news.


ROBERTS: They're going to keep drilling a larger hole, one in almost nine inches of diameter. That hole, though, will not be completed until late tonight or tomorrow morning.

One federal mine safety official earlier this week says that the miners are trapped so deep, 1,800 feet, that it's pushing the limits of technology. If the miners are alive, they can let people on the service now either through the microphone or grabbing a hammer or pipe like that.

A fellow miner says imagine the darkest place you've ever been and now try surviving there in the worst conditions for a week. That's what six of his colleagues may be dealing with now. Crews had to drill a distance longer than the Empire State Building to reach where the miners are. By this time, they say the lamps that they have would be out and with the thin clothes they have on it will be very, very cold.

CHETRY: Right now, we're going to bring in John Zarrella. He's near Huntington, Utah at the command.

It seems people don't really know what to make of the bits of information that have been coming out, especially as it relates to that microphone and whether or not it means anything, that we haven't been able to hear any sounds of life down there.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Kiran. one of the possibilities that's been discussed is we don't know the range of the microphone and we don't know whether the miners, if they are in that cavity which we are believed to be are close enough that the microphone might have picked up noises from them. At the same time, there's also the effort to get in through the entrance to the mine in that horizontal shaft into the mine where they are pulling out all of the coal so they can get actually to the miners and get them out. That, of course, is where the collapse took place.

It's going to take about another four or five days now unless there are any other setbacks. That was good news today. At that news conference this morning, Bob Murray said that the good news today was that that drill hit right on target.


MURRAY: Two good things have happened. One, our engineers hit right on target off of this steep mountainside to where we wanted them to go. Number two, the atmosphere in the mine is perfect to sustain human life.


ZARRELLA: Now the families have been kept apprised of everything that is going on here and of every turn of events. Before Bob Murray came down and briefed all of us here, he met with the families. Asked what their reaction was, he said they were subdued. Clearly they were hoping, praying that some sound would have emanated that the microphone would have picked up. It did not, but that does not mean they have lost hope. There are other possibilities why they might not have picked up any sound from those miners. The hope is, when they get that camera down there in the next 24 hours, they'll have some better news.

CHETRY: John Zarrella, thank you. ROBERTS: We're going to have more on this developing story as crews get closer to finding out the fate of the trapped Utah miners. We'll have a life update at 7:00 a.m. eastern.

CHETRY: New this morning, doctors are rushing food, water and medicine to millions of people cut off by flooding in India and Bangladesh. We've been telling you about this story all week and the situation is not improving. 2,000 people are dead. It is the worst monsoon to hit south Asia in decades. For now, the rain has stopped but there is major concern about the spread of disease.

Police in Newark, New Jersey, hoping to make new arrests today in the execution-style shootings of three college students. This morning's Newark Star Ledger reports detectives are looking for another adult and two more juveniles. A 15-year-old is in custody and so is 28-year-old Jose Carranza. His print was lifted off a beer bottle at the scene. He was then identified by the loan survivor. He turned himself into New York Newark's mayor yesterday.


CORY BOOKER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY MAYOR: Immediately I turned around and turned to a detective who put the individual through. We walked off and took him to the homicide offices. I had absolutely nothing to say to this individual.


CHETRY: Detectives still aren't saying who killed the three students you see here. It is possible that several different suspects fired the deadly shots.

Coming up in our 8:00 hour, we'll be talking to Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark. He campaigned on a commitment to cut crime. It has not happened so far this year.

ROBERTS: More remains have been pulled from the I-35W Bridge in Minnesota. Recovery teams may have found as many as three more bodies. Five more people are missing and presumed dead in the rubble in the Mississippi River.

Cancer is on the rise. Experts say it's no surprise. Binge drinking, over-eating and too much sun bathing is driving up the cases of cancer. Doctors say people are ignoring warnings and leading increasingly hedonistic lifestyles.

CHETRY: Parts of Cleveland are heating up this morning. Police in Marion, Ohio, say a woman was killed when a falling tree limb hit her SUV. That was the only fatality reported in the line of thunderstorms that moved through the states. They talk about one tornado confirm being touched down in Shelby and that's in north central Ohio.

Right now we're going to check in with Rob Marciano.

Rob, that was a tough line of storms that went through the Cleveland area. Judging from behind you, there's a lot going on today.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: There is. The same system is now moving into the northeast. You know, it's similar last night to what you saw a couple of days ago. We saw that action through Brooklyn and Manhattan. This system has spread out and weakened, but there's still a fair amount of rain with this. The National Weather Service has a flash flood watch out for the New York City metropolitan area, through eastern parts of PA. And that flash flood watch is up until 2: 00 today.

The big story continues to be the heat. These are actual high temperatures measured in the shade and they do not include humidity. Columbia, South Carolina, record high of 106 yesterday, Atlanta, Georgia, 103, Macon, Georgia, 103, 102 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Today, John, a lot of the red on the map. Heat advisories are out for a number of states, especially across the south. Stay cool.

ROBERTS: Rob, thanks very much.

Coming up, a new way to help find missing children. We'll talk to people who are using YouTube to look for lost kids. Stay with us.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most news in the morning here on CNN. We want to update you on the latest developments to reach those trapped miners in Utah. Rescuers have been able to punch through the coal where the miners are collapsed. A microphone was dropped down the tube but no sound was detected. Tests of the air quality showed the air was very good. If the miners survived the initial collapse, they should have been able to survive.

High taxes on cigarettes appear to be working. The more taxes were raised on cigarettes, the bigger the drop in consumption. Congress is considering raising the federal cigarette tax $1 per pack.

Cocaine use has decreased. Of the 4.4 million tests conducted, less than 1 percent came back positive.

CHETRY: Tomorrow marks 100 days since Madeline McCann went missing in Portugal. Now CNN is getting a look at a channel that could help Maddie and missing children just like her.

Joining me now is Ernie Allen. He is the president of the International Center of Missing and Exploited Children, as well as Francisca Okai, who has been searching for her missing son for more than a decade and a half.

Thanks to both of you for being with us this morning.

Ernie, tell us a little bit about how this would work.

ERNIE ALLEN, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN: Thank you, Kiran. Well, we think it's extraordinary. Millions of people are going to YouTube to look at breaking news, at videos. What we're going to do is provide videos of missing children from America and around the world so that people can see the child, can contact the appropriate law enforcement agency with information. We think it's going to save lives and bring children home.

CHETRY: And this is the hope, certainly, of you, Francesca. Your young son was only 15 months old when he believes your estranged husband abducted him. Do you know anything about your son's whereabouts?

FRANCESCA OKAI, MOTHER OF MISSING BOY: Actually, I think he might be in Nigeria now with the father. When he was adopted, we contacted Nigeria embassy. And they told us he was there to get the passport and then a visa for as car and himself to go back to Nigeria. So I'm sure he might be in Nigeria or maybe they came back. I wouldn't know. So between United States and Nigeria.

CHETRY: And Ernie, when it comes to the web, you can access the web anywhere. You can access YouTube anywhere. So how would this web site help someone like Francesca try and locate someone like her son?

ALLEN: Well, the reality is these children can be anywhere and we know that most of these children are recoverable. So these videos are going to reach millions of people around the world with the best possible images, information about children, and we know that one out of every six children featured in our attempts are recovered as a result of that photograph. Somebody knows.

CHETRY: What's the web site, the address?

ALLEN: It is'tyouforgetaboutme. And you can get information by going to

CHETRY: That's the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

One quick question, Ernie. How do you make sure that there aren't phony or hoax videos posted on this site?

ALLEN: Well, that's one of the reasons. We worked with the McCanns and others in putting this site together. Our staff here reviewing every video that is sent in, we'll be verifying and validating them with law enforcement agencies around the world. And the only photos that go come on is for those whom are being actively missing.

CHETRY: Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, also Francesco Okai. Good luck and we hope this helps you, Francesco, in your search for Oscar. Thanks for talking with us.

OKAI: Thank you very much.

ALLEN: Thank you, Kiran. CHETRY: There's another new way you can use your computer to help with the finding missing kids. It's a sort of a screen saver that flips through the profile of missing children. It short of updates the milk carton campaign, available for free at

ROBERTS: Well, silent Big Ben leads our "Quick Hits." London's world-famous landmark will lose its chimes for at least a month to have repairs done. Big Ben will sound off for the last time 8:00 Saturday morning.

A napoleon era firearm turns up in San Antonio, Texas. The FBI recovered the weapon. It was a carbine made for Napoleon Bonaparte's nephew, Napoleon III from a Texas gun collection. It was taken from a museum. The French have been trying to locate it ever since. Boom, there it is.

Coming up, an update on those trapped Utah miners.

Also ahead a sell-off around the world over night and the Dow's worst day of the year. What's ahead for today? Ali Velshi breaks it all down for us, next on "AMERICAN MORNING."


CHETRY: Welcome back to "AMERICAN MORNING." We're following the breaking news out of Utah this morning, the news that they were able to drill down 1,800 feet into the ground, at least get a small microphone into the mine where they believe these six miners are trapped. No sound detected. They were able to check oxygen levels. They say they believe they're good enough to, quote, "stay alive," that is if the men initially survived the cave-in on Monday. They didn't detect any sounds over the microphone, but they say that's not necessarily indicative of the condition of the miners. They say it could be in an area where they're too far away. They don't know exactly how big that cavity is at this point.

Drilling continues on a wider hole which could accommodate a powerful camera they're sending down there to get a view inside the pocket, also to deliver food and water and give a more definitive answer about the miners' fate. We should find out more about that larger hole in a few hours.

In addition to that, there's the slow process of burrowing through the debris to get to the actual area where the miners are and get them out.

We're following all the developments for you here on "AMERICAN MORNING."

ROBERTS: A big plunge on Wall Street yesterday. The Dow down almost 400 points, ratting markets around the world. What's in store for us today?

Ali Velshi down at the New York Stock Exchange, "Minding Your Business." Morning, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN FINANCIAL ANALYST: Morning, John. Looks like another rough open for the Dow. The question here is how bad is this mortgage situation in this all started because of defaults on subprime loans. Subprime are loans taken by people who don't have very good credit or the loan is very high compared to the value of the house.

What happened is when those adjustment rate mortgages readjusted, people ended up paying more for their mortgages. The banks repossessed those homes, tried to sell them, but in a market that was going down. The banks didn't fully recover their money. We've had more than 70 mortgage companies fail since the beginning of this crisis, and the biggest one in the country, countrywide financial has said today that it has 20 percent of subprime mortgages in default, more than 30 days late on the payment. In fact, close to 5 percent of all of its mortgages are in default. That's the problem.

We don't know whether we are at the end of this problem or we are going to see a lot more of it. Right now you can get a mortgage for about 6.25 percent. Those folks who are in adjustable rate mortgages may want to consider doing that now and locking in because people will continue to lose their homes and that is what has got markets spooked, not only because worried because consumers won't shop so much but because the banks will be caught holding the bag.

ROBERTS: Where are the futures pointed today?

VELSHI: The futures are now more than 100 points lower again. We'll be tracking those. They get active in the next hour. I'll tell you how it's going to look.

ROBERTS: We'll see you in a half an hour.

We're back in a moment. Stay with us here on "AMERICAN MORNING."

CHETRY: Coming up on "AMERICAN MORNING," the 9-year-old hero.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: He made this weird noise and fell. Pulled down the window and said help.


CHETRY: A brave boy comes to the rescue of his father and also manages to steer dad's semi-trailer to safety. The amazing story is next on "AMERICAN MORNING."


ROBERTS: Well, David Beckham made his official debut in major league soccer last night despite an injured ankle. Beckham played 2 minutes. Didn't make much happen, though. The crowd applauded when Beckham walked off the field shirtless. CHETRY: Of course. I'm clapping right now.

ROBERTS: You know, I did some calculations on how much money he made last night, per minute. It's extraordinary. They play 30 games in the season. He makes $25 million a year, so that's $833,333 a game. Each game is 90 minutes but he only place nine minutes. So last night he made -- here is the kicker. Last night he made $41,665 a minute.

CHETRY: Not too shabby. How about that?

You're right under that. By the way, he's saying that he doesn't feel in full swing yet. The next game, by the way, is Sunday against New England. They're playing on turf, which he doesn't like.

ROBERTS: I think his wallet is too heavy. It's slowing him down.

CHETRY: He's got an excuse every week. We'll see.

In Virginia this morning, one family is starting the weekend off with an extra $1,500 after seeing Jesus in their garage. The family says this smudge resembles the image of Jesus Christ. Someone on eBay has agreed with the family's divine vision. This person is shelling out $1,525 for that image. Now a contractor is headed to their house to remove that section of concrete from the garage floor.

ROBERTS: You can just about buy anything on eBay.

It's coming up to one minute before the top of the hour. Let's look at some stories that you can't miss in our next half hour. Continuing breaking coverage from Utah.

Joining us live, Dennis O'Dell with the United Mine Workers of America. He's very well versed in situations like this. He'll give us his perspective on the rescue operation.

CHETRY: It's a bad, bad scene in the western part of our nation as three dozen fires continue to burn. There's a look right there. Shawn (ph) Caleb's got exclusive access to the fire line in Idaho. A bad season. We'll talk about what fire analyst say could finally end it. It may be months to come.

The next hour of "AMERICAN MORNING" starts right now.

ROBERTS: Breaking news, rescuers listen in but hear nothing back as a microphone reaches the spot where six miners may be trapped.


MURRAY: The fact that we have not picked up any sound should not be interpreted as bad news.


This morning, the hopeful signs.


MURRAY: We just got the air reading. It's very, very good. That means if they're alive, they're going to stay alive.


ROBERTS: And the rescuer's next moves.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first attempt with this camera may or may not work.


ROBERTS: The breaking developments as they happen on this "AMERICAN MORNING."

Good morning to you. Welcome back. Thanks very much for joining us. It's Friday, August 10. I'm John Roberts.

CHETRY: And I'm Kiran Chetry. We have breaking news out of Utah.