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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Republicans Release Scathing Ad Attacking Democrats' Iraq War Position; Investigating the Crash of Flight 1248; Deadly Deer
Aired December 9, 2005 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Anderson's on his way to Baghdad. I'm John King.
Death off the runway -- a 737 plows into a Chicago street, crushing cars and killing a young boy. Is the first major snowstorm of the season to blame?
ANNOUNCER: Record cold, huge snows, freezing rain -- a fierce winter storm enters day two, snarling traffic, killing at least 11, and making a very rough landing for Flight 1248.
MIKE ABATE, SOUTHWEST PASSENGER: The "Oh, my God" moment was the big, huge bump. And then you look out the window and you realize you're in the middle of a city street.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, 360 investigates what went horribly wrong at Midway Airport.
Waving the white flag -- Republicans release a scathing ad aimed squarely at Democrats calling for troop withdrawal from Iraq, but do other Democrats secretly agree with the message?
And think all deer are like Bambi? Think again. Hundreds of deaths a year are caused by deer, and not all are traffic accidents. Tonight, animal expert Jack Hanna on why hostile buck attacks are on the rise.
ANNOUNCER: From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360, live from the CNN studios in New York.
KING: The first big snowstorm of the season, was it a factor in that accident that killed a 6-year-old boy in Chicago? We will have the latest, but, first, a look at some of the headlines at this moment.
It's now Saturday in Iraq, the deadline set by the kidnappers of four Christian peace activists. The fate of the men, three North Americans and a Briton, is unknown tonight. Their captors had threatened to kill them unless U.S. and Iraqi officials released all prisoners in Iraq. Earlier today, in Baghdad, Sunni Arab clerics pleaded for the hostages' lives. A newly declassified document released today says that American diplomats warned Saudi officials more than three years before the 9/11 attacks that Osama bin Laden might target civilian aircraft. The document, a cable sent to Washington, was not mentioned in the report of the 9/11 Commission.
New pictures of Rigoberto Alpizar taken just hours before he was killed by U.S. air marshals in Miami. The surveillance videotape shows Alpizar, who reportedly suffered from bipolar disorder, in the Quito, Ecuador, airport before he boarded his flight to Florida. Police and airline officials say the air marshals shot Alpizar after he made a bomb threat -- that incident now under review.
And a reprieve that will get hurricane evacuees in Texas through the holiday season -- the federal government has extended payments for their hotel housing until January 7. The deadline had been next Thursday. Other states with large numbers of evacuees are also eligible to request a similar extension.
Now, winter doesn't officially begin until December 21. But don't tell that to millions of Americans who, tonight, are digging out from a blanket of white. If you escaped the storm, consider yourself lucky. Many areas were hard-hit, including Chicago, of course, where, last night, a jetliner skidded off a snowy runway and plowed into a street, killing a 6-year-old boy.
The weather may have been a factor. But investigators haven't ruled out other possibilities. We will have the latest on the crash in just a moment.
But, first, CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano has more on the blizzard.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): The storm that socked the Midwest late yesterday raced through the Northeast this morning, shutting down schools, leaving air travel in turmoil, and dumping more than a foot of snow in some places.
Perhaps this is the most memorable picture of this fast-moving storm as it swept through Chicago, Midway Airport, where a Southwest Airlines 737 skidded off the runway, through a fence, and on to a road, hitting two cars. A 6-year-old boy was killed in one of the cars. Thirteen others were injured.
The storm was blamed for at least 12 deaths in Kansas, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. Then, it pushed its way eastward with a vengeance, merging with a second storm, and picking up moisture from the Atlantic Ocean.
(on camera): That's because of what's called a split jet stream, two storms riding two different jet streams to the same spot. As they move together, the southern storm steals energy and intensifies.
Earlier in the day here in Boston, it was actually raining. We had winds off the relatively warm weather of Boston Harbor, but now the winds have switched, turned much colder, and it's all snow. About an hour ago, we had snow so hard, it was like a blizzard outside with actually claps of thunder, thunder snow, incredibly rare. It gives you an idea of the intensity of the storm.
Now the roads have some -- some wetness, some ice, and some snow. Good thing for Bostonians, it won't last much longer. It's a good thing for everybody. This storm is intensifying as it pulls out to sea.
(voice-over): That intensity helped turn the storm into a serious snow maker, adding inches to the accumulations, nine inches in Maryland, up to 14 inches in parts of Pennsylvania, 10 inches in parts of New York state, and up to 16 inches in Massachusetts. All the snow made for tough going on the ground and in the air.
But the best thing you can say about a strong, fast-moving system like this one is that it's already moving out to sea.
MARCIANO: And that is good news tonight here in Long Wharf -- Long Wharf in downtown Boston, where, you know, they only got about five inches of snow. But, like I mentioned, it was a wild day weather wise, from rain to snow, with winds gusting over -- over 35 miles an hour, even claps of thunder.
Down on the cape, they had winds gusting to 60 miles an hour, damaging winds there, as this flow over Buzzards Bay just exploded as it moved out to sea -- cold air moving in tonight. So, it's pretty much icy and glazy here. Should be above freezing tomorrow.
But, John, looking towards next week, another batch of even more cold air should be sliding down from Canada and infiltrating much of the eastern third of the country. So, even though winter doesn't officially start, according to the calendar, December 21, it looks like it started right on time, December 1, with winter weather here across much of the eastern two-thirds of the country.
That's latest from here, John -- back over to you.
KING: All right. Rob Marciano, live for us tonight in Boston, my hometown.
Rob, you have a good weekend, still a chance for a good meal there in Boston.
Now, Joshua Woods riding with his family in a car in Chicago last night, the 6-year-old boy on his way to visit his grandparents. He was singing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." But, suddenly, there was the roar of a jet engine and then the screams. What went wrong with Flight 1248?
CNN's Brian Todd has the latest on this developing story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Southwest Airlines jet is still sitting in the middle of Central Avenue. Traffic won't run through here again until the plane is moved some time this weekend, after investigators have finished combing through the wreckage.
The plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder are already being analyzed by the National Transportation Safety Board.
ELLEN ENGLEMAN CONNERS, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: There was 32 seconds from touchdown until the aircraft hit the fence. Air traffic control reported runway braking to be fair on most of the runway and poor at the end.
TODD: Passengers say, the accident happened so quickly, they were barely aware of what was going on.
MIKE ABATE, SOUTHWEST PASSENGER: The "Oh, my God" moment was the big, huge bump. You know, at this point, you just don't know where you're at. But it was a quick, "Oh, my God." You know, it was one of those things. And then we stopped within probably three to five seconds after that. And then you look out the window and you realize you're in the middle of a city street.
TODD: Only two of the 103 people on the jet were injured, and only slightly. But the jet smashed into two cars. Joshua Woods and his family were in this one on their way to visit relatives. The 6- year-old boy was killed. His two younger brothers and both parents were among those injured on the ground.
The CEO of Southwest Airlines came to Chicago to express the company's condolences.
GARY KELLY, CEO, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: There are absolutely no words to adequately convey our grief and our sorrow over this tragedy. As a company, our main priority is for the safety and well being of our customers and our employees. And we will work earnestly to help those in need.
TODD: Southwest Airlines officials say the Boeing 737 was relatively new and the pilot had more than a decade of experience. NTSB officials say it could take a year to complete their investigation.
TODD: Asked why the investigation might take that long, one NTSB official said they're looking at what she called the universe of conditions surrounding this accident, everything from toxicology tests of the crew, to interviews with air traffic control, to the myriad of mechanical things that could have gone wrong on the flight -- John.
KING: Brian Todd, great work today on a tough story in Chicago. Brian, thank you very much.
A retired 737 pilot last night compared flying into Midway to landing on an aircraft carrier, a very popular aircraft carrier. In people and flights, Midway is one of the fastest growing airports in the country. In terms of real estate, though, and the cushion between airport and neighborhood, Midway is stuck, perhaps dangerously stuck, in the 1940s.
Earlier tonight, with the help of SITUATION ROOM technology, CNN's Tom Foreman walked us through it.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the real issues here is airport age, because certain airports were built a long time ago, when most of the airplanes were driven by propellers.
Take a look at Midway on the south end of Lake Michigan here in Chicago, completely surrounded by neighborhoods. And this runway is not very long, 6,522 feet. That's short by modern airport standards.
And look at what happened here. This plane came in. And, normally, they would hit right around here and pull to a stop somewhere up in here. But, in this case, it went right on out into the intersection.
This is not the only airport in the country with this sort of problem, or potential problem. If you go here to Washington Reagan National Airport, a very popular airport here, also a very old one, look at this runway. It's also not terribly long, 4,911 feet. There's a difference, though. It dumps off into water at the other end. La Guardia Airport also raises certain questions.
If you go take a look at that, it comes down to a short runway that also runs off into the water that way. But, if you come back the other way, then you have the potential for running into the Grand Central Parkway, which is a major terminal in -- or a major throughway in and out of the New York City.
This is one of the fundamental issues, John. These older airports haves the shorter runways because they were built in a time when you didn't need great, big long ones.
KING: Well, Tom, on first reflex, you simply say, well, simply extend the runways -- but easier said than done.
FOREMAN: Yes, a lot easier said than done.
The fact is, to extend a runway in any of these major metropolitan areas, where you're surrounded by houses, you are going to go into a huge struggle over airways, over the -- the ground rights, because, to extend the runway, you are going to extend flight patterns. You are going to do all sorts of things that people are going to fight against.
That's why what's considered the better option is to build a new airport, but that's also incredibly difficult. You have got to get all sorts of land. You have got to go through all sorts of machinations. And what the result is, as we saw at Denver International Airport, is you end up with a brand new huge airport with runways three times as long as one of those at Reagan's Airport, but it's much further from the city. And many travelers don't care for that very much.
KING: Well, in fact, Tom, to the point you're making, they have tried over time to move many flights from La Guardia out to JFK, from Reagan National out to Dulles or BWI, and people are always complaining they want more flights, because the consumers wants convenience.
FOREMAN: Yes, absolutely.
And -- and, you know the difference. If you're hopping on here at Reagan National or you're hopping on at La Guardia, it's just a much quicker process. And many, many business travelers who are going in and out of these busy hubs want that. They're willing to take a little bit of extra risk.
And, in truth, most of the time, the vast amount of time, planes go in and out of even these short runways in these older airports perfectly safely.
KING: However you think the war in Iraq is going, this much, unfortunately, is unarguable. The insurgents are building better bombs than they used to. And that is a big problem for American troops -- a CNN exclusive look at the enemy's new and deadly weapon.
And the white flag of surrender is being waved on the GOP's Web site, not by the GOP, but, Republicans say, by the Democrats -- taunt and counter-taunt in the week in politics -- 360 next.
KING: Almost everything else about the war in Iraq is, can be and is, argued back and forth, one way or the other, except this one bit of bad news, which is just plain unarguable fact. Those who are attacking American troops over there are getting better at it. Their weapons grow more sophisticated with every passing day, especially, unfortunately, the small killing machines called IEDs, improvised explosive devices.
CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has this exclusive report.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When this vehicle was blown apart by an improvised explosive device, an IED, debris flew in every direction. IEDs remain the number-one killer of U.S. troops in Iraq.
But look at this picture provided to CNN by the Army. It's one of the first images shown publicly of the damage caused by a new type of IED, a so-called explosively formed projectile that can penetrate U.S. armored vehicles. The energy of an EFP blast is focused in one direction, right at the vehicle, leaving the armor full of blast holes. In this case, four soldiers were badly wounded.
Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who trained soldiers headed for Iraq, is one of the few talking about this type of danger.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL RUSSEL HONORE, COMMANDER, FIRST U.S. ARMY: When the energy is concentrated in a small area, it projects out that metal. And that metal cause -- can be effective against almost any armor, including the M-1 tank.
STARR: In this photo from May, two explosively formed projectiles hit the door, penetrating the armor. The driver was killed instantly.
Another photo shows an attack against a contractor's armored vehicle by two of the new types of bombs. Army documents accompanying the photos call the weapons an extremely serious threat. The technology has been available for decades. Much of the information exists on the Internet. But it is new to Iraq.
Here is how they are made. One end of a steel pipe is sealed with a plate. Then, the detonation turns the plate into a lethal dart that travels at a rate of more than a mile per second. It can penetrate four inches of armor from a distance of more than 300 feet, according to the Army.
U.S. and British intelligence believes Iran and Hezbollah has now provided expertise to the insurgents to make the weapons. These new bombs have even been packaged inside foam and painted gray to match concrete. And they are set off using infrared devices, much like you might find on an automatic garage door.
(on camera): Perhaps most frightening, the Army says these new bombs can be set in place by insurgents in less than two minutes.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
KING: You know the lesson of the old schoolyard rhyme about sticks and stones and broken bones? If you're being taunted, just ignore it, because, after all, names can never hurt you, unless you grow up to be a politician, that is, in which case names certainly can hurt you. And standard operating procedure, when being taunted, is to taunt back.
CNN's Candy Crowley reports on the week that was in politics.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid has got to be thinking, TGIF. Monday, party chairman Howard Dean suggested the Iraq war unwinnable. Tuesday, Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman told his party to stop attacking President Bush. Wednesday brought better, if still anemic poll numbers for the president, and now this, a fire-breathing Internet ad from Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE COMMUNICATIONS AD)
HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: The idea that we're going to win this war is an idea that, unfortunately, is just plain wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: White flags wave, Democrats speak, and Republicans send a silent message: Our soldiers are watching, and our enemies are, too. Retreat in defeat is not an option.
KEN MEHLMAN, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: It's letting the American people hear what the leaders of the Democrat Party have said in their own words. It's letting the American people hear that the chairman of the Democrat Party says we're likely to lose a war, that the nominee from 2004 said American troops are terrorizing Iraqi children and families.
CROWLEY: It is aimed at the 15 million or so Republican activists who get the party e-mail. It is aimed at people like us, the media, who give it broader play. It is aimed at exploiting a week's worth of stories about Democrats divided by the war.
It is pretty tough. And Harry Reid doesn't seem like a brass- knuckle player. He is a soft-spoken Mormon from Nevada, with a manner suggesting he is saddened by the ways of the world. It works.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: And I'm really disappointed. This is not a political campaign. The president should be the commander in chief, not the campaigner in chief. This is not the time for Karl Rove.
CROWLEY: Still, even Democrats say the ad caps a week in which Republicans seem to have gotten their game back, while Reid spent the week inside the tug of war, warning Lieberman privately that he is isolating himself, dancing around the party chairman's the-war-is- unwinnable mess.
(on camera): Do you agree with Howard Dean?
REID: This -- the -- these ads are, I think, beyond the pale.
CROWLEY (voice-over): In fact, many Democratic lawmakers, including Reid, say they do not agree with Dean. Most think he complicates things with inartful statements that end up in Republican ads. Many wish Dean would shut up. Reid is too polite to say that, but he did mention a chat with Chairman Dean. REID: He understands, his job is to do what he can to energize Democrats on the grassroots level around the country, to raise money for the DNC, and leave the policy-making to the Democrats in the House and the Senate.
CROWLEY: CNN asked for Howard Dean to comment on the ad. His office said no. The chairman is in Florida tonight.
HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Democrats are united. We're united in our belief that we can and we must win the war on terror.
CROWLEY: He is apparently energizing the grassroots.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
KING: Sophia Choi from Headline News joins us now with some of the other stories we are following tonight.
SOPHIA CHOI, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, John.
Well, in Thailand, a 5-year-old boy has died from avian flu. Thai health officials told CNN, the boy had been playing with his uncle's fighting chickens next door. Fourteen people have been killed in Thailand by the H5N1 virus. Experts fear that the virus could become a pandemic if it develops the ability to spread person to person.
Well, tempers ran high in the South Korean parliament today. Take a look at this. A vote about the overhaul of private schools became so heated that it descended into a brawl. The bill was finally passed, but the party that opposed it boycotted the vote.
Alaska could lose its northern lights, the aurora borealis, in the next 50 years. Scientists say the Earth's north magnetic pole is drifting away from North America and towards Siberia, although just why the magnetic poles migrate remains a mystery.
And, in Miami, the long arm of the law is attached to the even longer body of Shaquille O'Neal. The seven-foot one-inch inch basketball star is now a reserve police officer with the Miami Beach Police Department. The job comes with a uniform, a badge, a gun and the power to make arrests -- Shaq's ambition, to become a police chief some day.
And, John, I wouldn't put it past him. But, then, wouldn't he be a police chief with a rap sheet? Because, remember, he was a rap artist.
KING: That's pretty good.
(LAUGHTER) KING: I was going to ask you, you're pulled over -- you're pulled over by Shaquille O'Neal for speeding in Miami. What do you do to make it a warning, not a ticket? What do you say?
CHOI: I don't know. What do I say?
KING: I'm not sure. You better have his stats ready. You better study Shaq's stats.
KING: Sophia, we will see you a bit later.
KING: It's a fight over rules at the pharmacy, a battle, with a governor and a giant drugstore chain on one side, and a handful of pharmacists on the other. It's all about core beliefs and contraceptives. We will have that story.
Plus, anybody who says crime doesn't pay has never had to hire the folks who clean up after the crime.
For these guys, death is a growth industry. That's coming up on 360.
KING: Imagine walking into your pharmacy with a prescription from your doctor, a perfectly legal prescription, and the pharmacist refuses to fill it.
In Illinois, some pharmacies have blocked women from getting the morning-after pill on moral and religious grounds. And, because of state law, those pharmacists have lost their jobs. But a new national survey finds a majority of American pharmacists, 69 percent, say the decision should be theirs. Some of the people at the center of this controversy have decided to fight back.
CNN's Jonathan Freed has the story.
JOHN MENGES, PHARMACIST: We got to get something to eat.
JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Menges usually isn't around first thing in the morning to get 4-year-old Noah (ph) up and ready for the day.
MENGES: Want to pick cereal?
FREED: That's because, at this hour, Menges, who is a pharmacist, is usually wrapping up the overnight shift at this Walgreens in Collinsville, Illinois. (on camera): So, how long did you work here?
MENGES: A little more than three years.
FREED (voice-over): These days, though, he only feels like going as far as the parking lot.
MENGES: I don't sleep well at night -- a lot of hurt from Walgreens.
FREED: Menges is now on unpaid leave from his job because he refused to sign this agreement with the company saying he would dispense this pill, called Plan B, the so-called morning-after pill. It's an emergency contraceptive that works by delaying ovulation, preventing fertilization, and may inhibit the implantation of a fertilized egg.
Menges believes Plan B terminates a pregnancy, rather than prevents it.
MENGES: This medication, to me, is the earliest form of an abortion.
FREED: He says that runs afoul of his Christian beliefs. And those beliefs are bumping up against an Illinois rule requiring pharmacists to dispense the pill.
MENGES: And my beliefs are different than, obviously, the governor's. But my beliefs are important, and I have to stand up for what I believe in.
FREED: Illinois' governor imposed the rule earlier this year, when some pharmacists in the state began turning away patient with Plan B prescriptions. Rod Blagojevich says it's a matter of guaranteeing the rule of law and equal access to health care for men and women.
GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), ILLINOIS: If you're a pharmacy or pharmacist and you own your own store, you don't have to stock birth control. No one requires you to do that. But if you work in a place that stocks birth control, then your responsibility is to fill the prescription that the doctor sends, and not hassle women, not delay them, and not lecture them.
FREED: Menges is one of a handful of Walgreens pharmacists who stood their moral ground.
RICHARD QUAYLE, PHARMACIST: We -- we get painted as religious zealots. And, in reality, we are not preaching to anyone. All we are merely asking is that, if you decide that you want to go through with this situation, that you not involve me in it.
FREED: In a statement issued to CNN, Walgreens says, "If we allow our pharmacists in Illinois to refuse to dispense these medications, we are placing our pharmacy license at risk, along with the license of the pharmacist in charge at that location." Walgreens has offered jobs to the dissenting pharmacists just across the state line in Missouri, where they don't have a rule like Illinois'. Menges and his colleagues turned that down, instead, on Wednesday, filing a charge of religious discrimination against Walgreens with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which could take months to respond.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I miss you guys.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're cutting out the newspaper clippings and keeping track.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're still supporting you, baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay.
FREED: Menges says it is tough to be separated from the former coworkers and believes the cause is worth putting his paycheck on hold. Jonathan Freed, CNN, Collinsville, Illinois.
KING: It's a danger you probably never imagined. Deer, ordinary deer, attacking unsuspected people in their own yards. At least one attack was fatal. This, you have to see to believe.
Plus, at a Houston high school, a brawl between local students and Katrina evacuees all caught on tape. And it's not the only fight in town. When's behind the tension? Up next on 360.
KING: There's a reason for the expression, deer in the headlights. When we think of man and deer colliding, there's usually a car in the picture and a highway at dusk but that's not the only deadly scenario. Forget everything you thought you knew about Bambi. And those innocent doe eyes? Forget that, too. The bottom line, though in this age of suburban sprawl we may often forget it, deer are wild animals. Wild enough to attack humans and this fall has been especially dangerous. Here's CNN's Rick Sanchez.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From a distance, they look gentle if not timid. But increasingly and across the country and this might surprise you, there are reports of deer attacking people.
ARNIE BLUM, ATTACKED BY DEER: It started over here.
SANCHEZ: Listen to what happened to Arnie and Janine Blum (ph) in Northern California late one evening. You were trying to open this door?
BLUM: Yeah. Trying to get in.
SANCHEZ (on camera): You were trying to get right into here?
SANCHEZ: And the deer's standing about where I am right now.
BLUM: Yeah. Something like that. Right there. That's when things went to pieces.
SANCHEZ: What happened?
BLUM: I don't know. Next thing I knew I was on the ground.
SANCHEZ: What were you guys thinking? Had you ever come across ...
JANINE BLUM, HUSBAND ATTACKED: We thought, this can't be happening?
BLUM: I was on the ground. This can't happen to me.
J. BLUM: Traumatic, very traumatic.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): The full grown buck had charged Arnie and when his wife tried to help, the animal turned on her. He gored her arm. To escape, she tried to hide in her pickup truck.
(on camera): Arnie and Janine are not the only ones. In fact, there's been a rash of attacks in their State of California this fall. People trampled, kicked or worst of all, gored by one of these. Can you imagine the damage that something like this could do?
(voice-over): Game warden Rusty Boccaleoni responded to Arnie and Janine's call for help. When he arrived on the scene, the animal charged him and he shot it.
RUSTY BOCCALEONI, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME: I have never seen anything this extreme in -- with my own eyes.
SANCHEZ: In another California incident, this time near San Diego, a 73-year-old man picking tomatoes in this garden was suddenly charged then gored by a full grown buck. He was hospitalized, received more than 200 stitches. He died two weeks later.
(on camera): This is crazy. I mean, most people would never think that a deer would be dangerous.
BOCCALEONI: Deer are dangerous. They are.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): In Illinois, last summer, Bob Caraway (ph) came upon this incredible scene.
BOB CARAWAY, ATTACKED BY DEER: There was a lady laying down. And a deer on the back stomping her. I don't know how many times a deer stomped her. Just so fast you couldn't hardly see its front paws stomping her.
SANCHEZ: Caraway tried to scare off the deer with a stick but then it turned on him.
CARAWAY: My knees were a-shaking. And so, I had to go up a tree.
SANCHEZ: And near Columbus, Ohio listen to this story from a cab driver.
ARNIE BLUM, ATTACKED BY DEER: I was just driving down did road and this old lady started to flag me down saying, you know her husband was inside and somebody on top of him.
SANCHEZ: In fact, it wasn't somebody but something. A huge buck was on top of her 84-year-old husband. For no reason, it had suddenly came crashing through this window. Police arrived and shot the buck. But listen to the 911 call that brought them there.
911 CALLER: And the one guy is bleeding really bad.
OPERATOR: Can he get out of the house.
911 CALLER: Yes - but the bucks the buck's got him pinned.
SANCHEZ: Turns out the victim is renowned sculptor Alfred Tibor, a Holocaust survivor who says he barely survived this.
ALFRED TIBOR, SCULPTOR ATTACKED BY DEER: He was coming right here. And if he would touch me here -- just a second. And I will be dead.
SANCHEZ: Of course, the deaths caused when deer and cars collide are no surprise. In fact, those accidents cause more deaths than any other animals. It happens all the time. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, on average, there are about a million and a half deer-car crashes each year that kill about 200 Americans. And those numbers just like the incidents when deer actually attack people will continue to go up. Why? To get the answer, we traveled to Helena, Montana. To talk to game warden Dave Loewen.
So these deer are right smack in the middle of a city?
DAVE LOEWEN, MONTANA FISH, WILDLIFE & PARKS: They are, they are.
SANCHEZ: And they're thriving.
LOEWEN: The more we encroach on their habitat, the more the population goes up.
SANCHEZ (on camera): In the past, hunters would be able to come here and thin the herd.
SANCHEZ: But now they can't do that? LOEWEN: Exactly.
SANCHEZ: So as a result, you have more deer?
SANCHEZ (voice-over): And more deer means more close encounters, especially in mating season, when the bucks are more territorial if not downright aggressive. In effect, those close encounters occur because in part in some of these areas, deer lost much of the natural fear of people.
(on camera): We are going to try to get up as close as we possibly can to see just how close we can get before we spook 'em. We're probably ten feet away from them. And they're listening to me. And they seem to be comfortable enough to stay there. Wild life officials say that's a problem.
(voice-over): A problem because the more comfortable they become with people, the greater the risk. And it's harder and harder to avoid the risk because there are now an estimated 27 million deer living in the U.S. At the turn of the century, there was only 500,000. It adds up to a collision course moving from roads to inside cities. Rick Sanchez, CNN, Helena, Montana.
KING: Not all deer attack people, of course. So what makes some more dangerous than others? Can you predict which ones turn nasty? We'll talk animal expert Jack Hanna about that.
Plus, cock fighting, a notoriously deadly sport for birds. But could it also be deadly for humans? Could it be spreading the bird flu? That's coming up on 360.
KING: Back now to where we left off before the break. Attacks on humans by deer of all things. There's been a wave of attacks this fall, at least one fatal. All of the attacks happened during the mating season when deer are in a rut as they call it. Jack Hanna is director emeritus at the Columbus Zoo and an animal expert familiar to many of us. He has his own horror story as I learned when I spoke with him a bit earlier tonight.
KING: And Jack, I understand you have a personal story about a deer attack. Tell us what happened.
JACK HANNA, DIRECTOR EMERITUS, COLUMBUS ZOO: Actually, that was a moose that killed a friend. Another guy with the Department of Wildlife in Ohio was going out to inspect a dentist's property there because he had deer on his property and of course he had the proper licenses. And what happened was the deer was in rut in the fall and the deer came after him. He was just out in the yard there basically and the deer came around the corner and gored him in the stomach and he backed into a pond and had to get in the pond to get away from the deer attacked him more and of course, the water was full of bacteria and one week later he passed away. He had two children.
What happens, John, is the fact that that's why all the departments of wildlife in the country discourage people from pet deer. Some people may do it in the country all the time and may know what they're doing. That's fine. But me, working with animals for 30 years, those animals, especially the bucks, when they go into rut and have the antlers, remember, these aren't horns like a cow. They don't head their horns. Antlers, like the elks shed, the moose and the deer and these antlers are very, very sharp. They come as you know in three, four, five six points, eight points, whatever, and they're just like little -- they're weapons and that's how they spar with each other when the season comes to pass on the genes to obviously the females.
KING: Not by nature predatory animals. Is it just the mating season or are there other factors?
HANNA: No, basically the mating season but you must remember also that it's not just the antlers. The deer, the deer have -- their legs very, very fine. Almost like a pencil. And I think one of the victims from what I understand was stomped to death. And I've seen this -- I was there two days later in Alaska when a moose - it's almost like a machine gun. It happens so fast like this that you cannot believe how fast the animal moves his front legs and that's how -- what happens to people that if a deer gets them down. Somebody said can a doe do it? A doe more than likely would never do that. But again, if it's a wild doe and you corner her and she has a little one, then you are going to have problems. But it's mainly in the fall. When they're in rut. They call it velvet, too. When you see the velvet, also, coming off the antlers like a skin off the antlers and when they're in velvet, you will see the bleeding on those antlers and that's also another time to stay away from them.
KING: Now, are deer losing the fear of humans? I mean, we have tape in a case where a deer simply walks into a convenience store. Are they because of growth in the suburbs, are they losing the fear simply?
HANNA: They are very, very numerous right in the neighborhoods and back yards and some people feed them. And that's the wrong thing to do. If you are going to feed a deer, it is going to come back to your place every single day looking for that food. When he goes into rut and the children are outside, then it can be very dangerous.
KING: Still a relatively rare event, why are we hearing so much now about these attacks?
HANNA: We're hearing a lot about it now because no one believes a deer kills a person and I think it's happened two or three times here in the last month or so. The numerous dear that are going into our neighborhoods. And it all boils down to loss of habitat. The more homes we have, the more land we take, where do these deer go? I have seen deer in places, John, that I still can't believe. I mean, it's amazing. It's where they show up right now and in neighborhoods. Right next to major highways.
KING: Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, thank you for joining us tonight and to the viewers in Washington, DC, because you are bringing cheer to some of the wounded troops at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
HANNA: Thank you, John.
KING: Thank you, Jack, take care.
KING: And moving on tonight, there truly is a specialty for everything. Up next, the people that clean up literally at the scene of some pretty ugly crimes.
Later, keeping airliners where they belong, on airport property and why even with new technology and tougher regulation, lives are still at risk. A break first. From New York, this is ...
KING: Lots of cleaning companies make house calls. But you don't want these guys showing up at your door. These cleaners make a living from the dead. Their specialty, crime scenes. Gruesome but never dull. CNN's Randi Kaye has more but first, we must warn you, some of the images you are about to see are quite graphic.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the dead of night, Neal Smither arrives at a California hotel. Then quietly slips inside this hotel room. Unsure what he'll find inside. But he knows it won't be good. Neal is a crime scene cleaner.
NEAL SMITHER, OWNER, CRIME SCENE CLEANERS: This is pretty typical.
KAYE: Typical and gruesome. This hotel room bathroom streaked with blood. The bathtub full of bloody water. Someone died here just hours earlier. And it's Neal's job to clean it up. Quickly and quietly to preserve the hotel's reputation.
(on camera): So now having surveyed the scene here ...
SMITHER: It's not bad. This is a fairly typical, you know, knife suicide. Razor blade situation. Generally there is more in the main room and around the door because they freak out and go, what have I done and try to call for help. And in this case it doesn't look like that happened.
KAYE (voice-over): Neal got the idea to start Crime Scene Cleaners from the movie "Pulp Fiction."
SMITHER: I watched "Pulp Fiction" and they killed the guy in the car and brought the Wolf in and cleaned it. HARVEY KEITEL, ACTOR: You're Jimmy, right? This is your house?
QUENTIN TARANTINO, ACTOR AND DIRECTOR: Sure is.
KEITEL: I'm Mr. Wolf. I solve problems.
SMITHER: Did some research and here we are.
KAYE: Ten years later, Crime Scene Cleaners has offices in 18 cities and grosses more than $7 million a year. In the San Francisco area alone, Neal's company cleans up as many as 350 trauma scenes a month. Suicides, murders, natural deaths, drug overdoses, you name it. The work has hardened Neal.
SMITHER: You know? You have to be able to deal with it somehow, I guess. With me, I couldn't care less. You want to blow your brains out? It's fine with me. Just make sure you have my number.
KAYE: Neal gets to work. First suiting up and then cleaning up.
SMITHER: So I'm going to bag the stuff in the way initially. Probably going to hit the plunger on the tub.
KAYE: While he cleans, Neal recounts past jobs like a best of sports wrap.
Tell us some of the worst things you have encountered.
SMITHER: Well, it -- it kind of doesn't work that way. You know? It is kind of you have a like a world series of 10 in your head. Probably for me, was a guy that broke into his wife's house while she was away on business in Japan. And proceeded to kill himself in her bed. By time I got there, the bed was the Shroud of Turin and it was walking across the floor and it was black with flies. It was like stepping on Wheaties. That was radical. That was a good one.
KAYE: Memories like that have taken their toll. Neil is getting burnt out. But not so much from the dead. As from the living.
SMITHER: What bothers me most in my dealing with day-to-day stuff, the deaths that are involved the next of kin. Without a doubt. They disgust me in most cases. We get there, we're cleaning grandma's puddle and cousins and extended family who are there fighting over the belongings.
KAYE: In the motel room, the person died alone. No family, just the remains of a tragedy. In the tub, Neal finds the razor blade the victim used to cut the wrists.
SMITHER: That's our honey.
KAYE: For the average job, Neal Charges $100 to $1,000. Making him a very well paid janitor.
(on camera): Which may explain why more companies like Crime Scene Cleaners are starting up. The American Bio-Recovery Association, a non-profit organization that certifies clean scene cleaning technicians says there are about 500 crime scene cleaning companies in the United States. Almost a decade ago, there were less than 12.
(voice-over): Ron Gospodarski was a paramedic in New York City for 23 years before starting the Bio-Recovery Corporation. So bothered by what was left behind at crime scenes after bodies removed, syringes, flesh, fingerprint dust, he decided to do something about it.
RON GOSPODARSKI, OWNER, BIO-RECOVERY CORPORATION: This is the hardest part.
KAYE: We tagged along with Ron to this Queens apartment where a man had collapsed. He'd been here for days before police found him. Ron was called in to clean up after the man was taken to the hospital.
GOSPODARSKI: The smell is pretty -- pretty grotesque, honestly. Because it's a lot of - it's mixture of trash, dirty trash and padded down and mixed with human feces and urine and food stuffs and things of that nature. And you can tell just by the bugs and stuff crawling around and it's pretty nasty. They've been -- the bugs and stuff have been eating pretty well.
KAYE: Ron and his team clean for eight hours. By the time it's all over, they fill this giant dumpster with trash. For this cleanup, Ron will charge $7,000. It's good money.
GOSPODARKSI: But the worst it is, the better off we like it. The better we are because we can charge more and more people don't want to do it. So there are not a lot of people out there that do this.
KAYE: But for Ron, it's about more than just cash. For is survivors, Ron is a shoulder to cry on.
GOSPODARSKI: You're the saviors. You're the guys coming in. You're going in where nobody else wants to and it's pretty amazing.
KAYE: Back in California, Neal has the hotel bathroom sparkling in about an hour. Thanks to a special enzyme cleaner that eats away the blood.
(on camera): I can check into the hotel room tomorrow, you cleaned the bathroom. I have no idea what's gone on in here.
SMITHER: That's the whole idea. The client doesn't want you to know. Yet they need it done safely. Liability dictates they must get it done safely. So it's ideal. We come. Get it done quickly, quietly. Safely.
KAYE: And nobody ever knows.
SMITHER: No one ever knows.
KAYE (voice-over): And if he does it right, what we don't know won't hurt us. Randi Kaye, CNN, San Francisco.
KING: We want now to thank our international viewers for watching. Coming up next on 360, nasty weather in the Northeast leaves most of shivering under a foot of know this evening causing more than one fatal accident. We'll have the latest.
Come Monday, the war in Iraq will have been going on for 1,000 days and 48 hours later, the people of Iraq go to the polls. A look at the country's present and its future.
And yet another Katrina aftershock. Many in New Orleans lost their houses but not the dead and they assume to buy them and now those mortgage payments are coming due. That's all ahead on 360.
KING: Good evening again, I'm John King. Anderson's en route to Iraq. The latest on the plane crash in Chicago, a crash that claimed a little boy's life.
ANNOUNCER: A blast of winter dumps up to a food of snow. Airports and roads in turmoil, even an SUV through someone's bedroom. Could it get any worse? How much more snow to come?
Rolling out the not so welcome mat. Clashes between the kids who fled Katrina and the new classmates who were supposed to welcome them.
And the bird flu hot zone where watching birds fight is a national sport. Putting people and blood and germs not just side-to- side but literally mouth-to-beak. Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigates.
From across the U.S. and around the world this is ANDERSON COOPER 360 live from the CNN studios in New York.
KING: Here's a look at what's happening at this moment. The National Transportation Safety Board is saying this evening it could take a year to determine what caused the incident last night at Chicago's Midway Airport in which a jetliner skidded off the runway on landing, broke through a fence and came to rest on a car. A six-year- old boy in the car was killed.
Newly declassified documents are providing a shocking revelation tonight. It seems that more than three years before the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, State Department officials warned Saudi Arabia Osama bin Laden might hijack a civilian aircraft. A cable released by the National Security Archive said the United States was quote, "Taking bin Laden's threat very seriously."
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