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Six Miners Trapped Underground; Follow-Up on Bridge Collapse

Aired August 6, 2007 - 22:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. John Roberts in for Anderson Cooper tonight.
We're going to get them. That's what the CEO of a Utah coal mining company says about the six men trapped underground.

Their location is known, but their condition is not, and a short time ago we learned that the first push to reach them has apparently failed.

Also tonight, understanding what might have sent a bridge crashing into the Mississippi, and learning what people on the bridge experienced in the seconds before it fell.

And later on, an island paradise. A young man murdered, his mother now fighting to hold the police accountable and get justice for her son.

We begin tonight with a disaster that registered on the Richter scale, but is now being measured in hours, in minutes, in heartbeats.

Six men trapped in a coal mine deep in the mountains of central Utah. You can you see on this map just how remote this location is, about 100 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, literally at the end of an access road in Crandall Canyon.

This mine at the end of that road is now the epicenter of a search that began early this morning when part of the earth suddenly gave ground.

CNN's Gary Tuchman is on the scene. He's on Route 31 just at the edge of that access road.

Gary, what's it looking like from where you are?


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scientists say it may have had the force of an earthquake measuring 4.0, although it may take days to determine if the cave-in or an earthquake triggered the seismic activity.

Mine officials say they know exactly where the six miners are and have rescue teams on the way. BOB MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY: We are trying to gain access to these men four different ways, and one of these will get to them first. It's just a matter of which one and, of course, we'll all be here until we get them out.

TUCHMAN: So far rescuers haven't been able to contact the miners. They don't know if they are alive. But if they are, Crandall Canyon Mine executives say the miners have enough air and water to last several days.

MURRAY: It could take as much as 48 hours. But if there is an open area in there, there's water in there far beyond that, and so 48 hours won't mean much.

TUCHMAN: At the time of the accident, the men were practicing what's known at retreat mining. With this method miners divide an area into a grid-like pattern, then by working backwards they remove coal pillars supporting each section before it caves in.

Retreat mining is common in the U.S. Experts say it is also dangerous.

Near the scene families of the miners gather. Utah's governor is hopeful they will be found alive.

GOVERNOR JON HUNTSMAN, UTAH: Our thoughts and prayers, of course, are with these six individuals and their families. Everything that can be done is being done and, of course, that will continue, and our thoughts and prayers obviously will be ongoing until this is wrapped up.


TUCHMAN (on camera): Hundreds of rescuers are on the scene right behind me literally breaking through tons of rock to try to get to these six men.

The good news is there was no explosion. That's very encouraging because that's what's killed so many miners in the past. What's not so encouraging is that it's been almost 17 hours now and there's no contact whatsoever with these six miners.

Now that's not necessarily something unexpected because there is so much debris and so much concrete and so much rock between the rescuers and the men, but that's also some bad news because so much did fall, they are very concerned that there's a possibility that these six miners were crushed.

Now, the mine operator has used this quote, he says, quote, "We'll use every means known to mankind to rescue these men." At this point, though, we don't know if all those means will be enough.

John, back to you.

ROBERTS: Gary Tuchman for us outside of the Crandall Canyon Mine. Gary, thanks.

Gary mentioned the four possible routes to where the miners are believed to be, the most promising of which was an existing tunnel that would have put rescuers within a few dozen feet of the men.

Just a short time ago, though, we got word from Mine CEO Bob Murray of a setback.


MURRAY: And I'm disappointed to report that our efforts have not been fruitful in this approach to get to the men.

What we did is we sent two rescue teams and about 20 of our employees in the mine and they broke out what we call a seal here and they went in on apparatus and they were trying to get down through here so it would only be 55 feet to drive from this entry over to where the men were.

And that was our best approach because we could get to the men and know whether they are alive or not within a matter of less than 24 hours.

However, our crews are now on their way back out of the mine as they ran into impassable conditions right here. They ran into impassable conditions here and here and actually were driven out of here.


ROBERTS: With that as the latest and not so encouraging word, we turn to Dennis O'Dell. He is the safety and health director with the United Mine Workers of America.

Dennis, you've got representatives on the ground there in Huntington. They are in close contact with folks in the mine. What are they telling you? What's the latest from there?

DENNIS O'DELL, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: The latest we heard is just the update that you gave the viewers. They attempted to go in through the sealed area, but they found out that it was impassable so they had to bring the mine rescue teams back out.

They are continuing to try to enter into the area where the rock fall actually occurred to remove that debris, and that's what they are working on now.

ROBERTS: Right. Turning -- turning -- being turned back, is that just an indication that they were unable to get through or that that is an area that they will not be able to get through, even if they bring in heavy equipment?

O'DELL: Well, that's what we're trying to find out.

Any time you enter into a sealed area like they tried, chances are you may not be able to get through that. That's an area of the mine that's been abandoned, and they sealed it off so you never know what kind of conditions you're going to have back behind those walls once you seal and abandon it.

The area -- the roof area could have fell in. There could be water. There could just be so many -- there could be bad mine atmosphere as far as the air goes. So there could have been a lot of conditions that stopped them from going that way.

ROBERTS: So what's the next move?

O'DELL: Well, the next move is to continue to drill from the surface with the drills that they have and also to continue to move the rock and debris from the front part where the fall actually occurred. It looks like that's the only two means that they will have now as far as being able to reach the men.

ROBERTS: Drilling down from the top, we understand they are about 1,500 feet deep. How long will that take?

O'DELL: Oh, it's hard to speculate how long that will take. It depends on what conditions they hit while they drill so we really don't know how long it will take for them to drill to do that.

But you have to try to have a backup plan in the event that they can't get through in the front end where the fall actually occurred. It's necessary to drill from the back end to try to get in that way so it's just a backup plan, another means to try to reach them.

You could see they had four chances, the one going through the sealed area has already failed us so we have to move forward with the others.

ROBERTS: As long as they were not caught in the collapse, what's the likelihood that these six could still be alive, particularly when you look at safety precautions that have been put in place in the wake of the Sago mining disaster last year?

O'DELL: Well, I think this is a little different situation than what we had at Sago. Fortunately for this, the men that are trapped, we don't have the bad mine atmosphere that killed the miners at Sago because we did have an explosion and a fire.

Hopefully that's not the case with these guys. If they were able to not be in the direct area -- direct line of the fall, they should be OK as far as having water, breathable air, chances. Their chances of survival are a whole lot better than what the men at Sago had.

ROBERTS: Now we understand that this mine was engaging in a process called retreat mining which has a history of being disproportionately deadly. How dangerous is retreat mining where after they have cleared out using this room and pillar method, most of the coal, they go back in there and they clear out the pillars and they let the top of the mine collapse down?

O'DELL: It's very dangerous. I can tell you when I was a young miner myself, I was a retreat miner and we did some of that have where I worked. And I was a -- I set posts. I helped roof boulders (ph) and so the conditions are always bad because if you can imagine in your mind, you've already mined a seam up. You've left large pillar blocks of coal, and now you're going to come and you're going to reduce those pillars to smaller areas so you have less roof support. You actually have rather than the large blocks of coal to support the top to protect the miners, you're reducing that area, and then you'll have posts set and so you're relying on those posts set to protect the men. And I can tell you it's a very dangerous system of mining.

ROBERTS: I mean, it's just basically a controlled collapse, isn't it?

O'DELL: That's what it is, because that's what's going to happen. Once you cut those pillars down and you continue to move out, the top will fall in behind you. That's my understanding.

ROBERTS: Dennis O'Dell, from the Mine Workers, thanks for joining us. And Dennis, we'll get back to you later on in the hour if there's any new developments that require some urgent commentary on your part. Thanks very much.

A bit more now on what makes this such a challenging and potentially time-consuming rescue operation.

With that, here's CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, let's take a look at the topography here and what these rescuers are up against.

This is Utah. Salt Lake City is up here. Grand Junction, Colorado, over here. So it's in this area. The nearest town is Huntington. Only about 2,000 people here, a very rural area. About 5,000, 6,000 feet up where the mine is and you can see the hills around here. These are not as big as some western mountains like you might ski on in Utah or in Colorado, but they are still quite large, and that makes a big difference, because when they are trying to reach these miners down inside of a mountain, they can go in by drilling through the side of a mountain, by coming directly in through the top or finding an existing shaft that connects to the area where they might be.

That's what they are hoping to do, simply because if you drill in through the side or through the top, depending on where you're going through, you may have to cut through hundreds of feet of rock, many more depending on the undulation of the ground in that area. So they would like to find the quickest way.

They think if they can go through an existing tunnel, that might most quickly get them to where they believe these folks are -- John.


ROBERTS: CNN's Tom Foreman. And given the terrain and word that the simplest and quickest approach to the miners apparently is not viable, it may be a long wait for the next piece of news, good or bad.

But is it -- it is worth a reminder that long waits sometimes do end well.

With us now on the phone is Blaine Mayhugh. He and his buddies survived 77 hours inside the Quecreek Mine in western Pennsylvania.

Also on the line, his wife, Leslie, whose father was trapped alongside Blaine.

Blaine, first let me ask you, where are your thoughts running when you think about this collapse there at the Crandall Canyon Mine out in Utah?

BLAINE MAYHUGH, SURVIVED QUECREEK MINE ACCIDENT (on the phone): My hearts and prayers go out to the families. I know if the guys are alive still down there, I know what they're going through and my wife knows what their family is going through. It's just terrible. I hoped no one would have to go through this again, but in the mining industry things like this is going to happen.

ROBERTS: Blaine, what -- what is it -- what's it like to be in that position? You were underground for 77 hours. I just can't imagine what it's like.

B. MAYHUGH: It was terrible. I knew I was alive, but my wife and family, they -- within the first seven hours they heard us tap and then after that the water took over our oxygen hole and they didn't know if we was alive or not because we had no other contact to the people up above.

ROBERTS: You know, we're seeing pictures of you and your fellow miners being brought up in that manlift through the hole that was tunneled down to reach you. What was the moment like when you heard the rescuers coming toward you and then they broke through?

B. MAYHUGH: The first time, when we first got our oxygen within the first seven hours, that's one of the first things that saved our lives. We was running of oxygen. We was getting bad air from the other mine. And then we had no other contact up until -- well, it was probably three days later when they finally drilled the hole to come down and get us.

Two of the guys was actually making their runs in the mine there to see if anything broke through or whatever and they came back and said that you guys ready to go home, that they finally drilled down through it.

ROBERTS: Must be just an incredible feeling.

Hey, Blaine, let me get you to pass the phone to Leslie, if I could, because I've got a couple of questions that I want to ask her, seeing as how both her husband and her father were both there trapped in the mine.

Leslie, you there with me?


ROBERTS: Leslie, tell us, you know, from your perspective what are the families of these six miners going through right now?

L. MAYHUGH: They're going through a lot of ups and downs. Right now they haven't heard any signs yet if they are alive so they are just really looking for some good news.

ROBERTS: What kept you going through the ordeal with both your husband and your father trapped down there?

L. MAYHUGH: We had a lot of family and friends there, and a lot of prayers went out, and we just kept praying to God for a good outcome and lucky for us we had it.

ROBERTS: Of course, you had word early on though that they were OK because they got an oxygen line into them fairly early on, and then the time that it took from there was getting the drill and getting that man lift down to them so at least you had some idea that they were still alive.

Obviously, that was something that helped you out a lot.

L. MAYHUGH: Yes, that was one of the ups. We had heard like about six hours later that some tapping was on the pipes and we never officially heard how many, but then that was the last time we heard them tap and it went three days later.

ROBERTS: Hey, Leslie, let me get you to pass the phone back to Blaine one more time. We got one more question I want to ask him, if you could.


ROBERTS: Hey, Blaine, what -- you know, after surviving what you and your other fellow eight miners went through, what would you say to the families of the six who are trapped there at the Crandall Canyon Mine?

B. MAYHUGH: Oh, I don't know what to say. It's terrible. I just -- their life is going to change from this day on regardless of what the outcome is. My life has changed. Yes, I got out and everything was great. The rescuers did a good job, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about what happened to myself and my family.

ROBERTS: Well, hopefully this is going to be the same outcome that you and your other eight fellow miners had there at Quecreek.

Blaine and Leslie Mayhugh, thanks very much for being with us, sharing your story with us. Appreciate it. B. MAYHUGH: Thanks for having us.

ROBERTS: All right.

Coal mining has taken a deadly toll in the United States. Here's the raw data for you.

Last year 47 miners were killed. The victims included the 12 minors lost in the Sago Mine tragedy.

In 2005, 22 miners died.

But the deadliest year was way back in 1907 when more than 3,242 miners were killed in several mine explosions and accidents. ROBERTS: Straight ahead tonight, aftershocks from another kind of seismic event -- the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.


ROBERTS (voice-over): No one saw it coming, but they felt it coming. Workers on the bridge and what happened in the seconds before it vanished under their feet.

Plus raw politics. Mitt gets miffed about Mormonism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See, I don't mind it being about that.



ROBERTS: Stay tuned. Stay tuned.



ROBERTS: Minneapolis today. Nearly all of the I-35W bridge still approximately where it fell last Wednesday.

Helicopters spent the day making slow passes over it, photographing the wreckage in precise detail.

In these cases, the debris field is often useful in figuring out what fell first, where and why.

Eight people are still missing. Five are known dead.

There were memorial services over the weekend and more to come as well as a long investigation ahead.

More on that side of the story now from CNN's Ed Lavandera.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's like an autopsy, investigators examining every portion of the I-35W bridge, looking for what triggered its collapse. But a conclusive answer could take a year and a half.

MARK ROSENKER, NTSB CHAIRMAN: During our time on scene we have taken a look at a lot of -- a lot of debris. And unfortunately, we have not come up with an answer. We're not going to come up with an answer overnight.

LAVANDERA: Crews are about to start hauling away large chunks of debris. The NTSB says it will reassemble portions of the bridge in a field down river, a technique often used in plane crash investigations.

DICK STEHLY, CIVIL ENGINEER: The troubling part here is you don't know why it collapsed, and the systems that are supposed to protect us didn't work.

LAVANDERA: Civil Engineer Dick Stehly has spent recent days pouring over the bridge's inspection records.

There are reports some construction workers felt the bridge wobble and federal investigators say the south edge of the bridge shifted 80 feet to the east when it fell.

Stehly says unbalanced weight on a bridge that was already showing signs of cracking and wearing down could help explain the collapse.

STEHLY: The investigators are probably worried about how the loads would be distributed in this truss that spans the river.

You know, this bridge wasn't fully loaded. Its eight lanes -- four of them were closed because they were doing construction. So they were only using four for traffic. How the other four were being repaired...

LAVANDERA: Teams of Navy and FBI divers joined the search for missing victims. They brought a small unmanned submarine to navigate the wreckage.

SHERIFF RICH STANEK, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA: We believe that a good possibility that there are additional vehicles under the tons and tons and tons of debris and rebar that's now spanning across the river.

LAVANDERA: Divers can't reach these spots until heavy machinery moves the massive pieces of interstate.

Until then, families of the missing can only sit and wait.


ROBERTS: Ed Lavandera joins us live now just off of the edge of the bridge.

Ed, can you tell us a little bit more about what was on the bridge at the time of the collapse, how heavy the equipment on the bridge was? LAVANDERA (on camera): Well, if you remember, they were resurfacing the surface of the bridge. So there were dump trucks, cement trucks up there as well. And remember, only four of the eight lanes were being used. And as that civil engineer you heard from in the piece talk about, that might, in his opinion, have some influence as to how the weight was distributed on the bridge, and he feels that that is part of what investigators will be looking at.

If that weight was abnormally put on one side of the bridge where it was already weak, as those reports have said over the last few years, he says that could have been one of the contributing factors to this collapse.

ROBERTS: Anything more, Ed, about this wobbling that the bridge workers were feeling in the days preceding the collapse?

LAVANDERA: Well, those reports are out there and the NTSB will only say that they have heard those reports and that they are looking into it, and they won't comment any further.

ROBERTS: I guess they are going to keep everything, everything in the realm of possibility.

Ed Lavandera for us tonight in Minneapolis.

Ed, thanks very much.

Other news now. In Newark, New Jersey, outrage over a triple murder. Dozens filled the streets calling for a rally for peace. And in the middle of it, tensions flare. People demanding to know why this happened.

Police say the three victims were all shot execution style on the grounds of a school. None of them had criminal records. Just three friends all headed to the same college in the fall. A fourth victim survived.

The question now, will she help police track down the killers? We're on the case, tomorrow on 360.

Just ahead, tonight on 360, an apparent slap in the face for Republican Presidential Candidate Rudy Giuliani. Wait until you hear the candidate that his daughter might be supporting. We've got that for you in "Raw Politics."

And how did nearly 200,000 weapons given to Iraqi security forces go missing? We're "Keeping them Honest."


ROBERTS: Senator Hillary Clinton appears to be widening her lead in the Democratic presidential race. The latest "USA TODAY" Gallup poll puts support for Clinton at 48 percent. That is up eight percentage points from three weeks ago.

Senator Barack Obama's support has fallen two points to 26 percent now.

And John Edwards is well back at 12 percent.

With poll numbers like that, Clinton's opponents are not pulling any punches and neither are Republicans, for that matter.

This is "Raw Politics," and here is CNN's Tom Foreman.


FOREMAN: Well, the Republicans are just roaring into August, after playing possum for a couple of weeks. They have got some good news about the war and they are smacking the Democrats up side the head with it.

(voice-over): The troop surge is producing positive headlines so Republican presidential contenders are now slamming Democratic challengers as defeatist, weak on international terror. And for good measure here's President Bush with a grateful Afghan president.

PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: I'm here today once again to thank you and the American people for all that you have done for Afghanistan.

FOREMAN: A red face for Rudy. His 17-year-old daughter's facebook page suggests she likes Barack Obama for pres. -- at least it reportedly did until it was changed this morning. His honor, playing it classy.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have great respect for her, and I'm really proud of her, and I don't comment on children because I want to give them the maximum degree of privacy.

FOREMAN: Mitt Romney gets drilled on radio about being Mormon and the issue of abortion. He drills back. Oh, snap!

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not running as a Mormon, and I don't think -- and I get a little tired of coming on a show like yours and having it all about Mormon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See, I don't mind it being about that.

ROMNEY: Yes. I do. I do.

FOREMAN: Tag team attack. Barack Obama and John Edwards say they won't take Washington lobbyist money, but Hillary Clinton does -- $400,000 so far. At a forum they put her on the ropes and she came up swinging.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think based on my 35 years of fighting for what I believe in anybody seriously believes I'm going to be influenced by a lobbyist or a particular interest group.

FOREMAN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). French President Nicolas Sarkozy vacationing in New Hampshire spots American photographers near his boat, chases them down, yelling in French. The photogs say they had no idea what he wanted.

(on camera): We're Americans. We hardly speak French in France. We certainly don't do it in New Hampshire.

That's just raw politics -- John.

ROBERTS: Thanks, Tom.

Tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," inside the extreme sport of air racing. Pilots zip around slalom style at speeds of up to 250 miles an hour, absolutely no room for error.

We'll talk to the American top gun who is soaring above the international competition. That's at 6:00 a.m., Eastern, tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" with Kiran Chetry and me, the most news in the morning right here on CNN.

Right now, though, Erica Hill, with a 360 bulletin.

Hey, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, two college students from the Middle East have been charged with possessing explosive materials in South Carolina. Investigators though today backing away from earlier statements that a bomb was found in their car. The men were stopped for speeding over the weekend. An FBI lab is testing the materials, which the suspects claim were fireworks. An FBI spokesman says there is no clear link to terrorism.

A United Nations employee has been charged with using fraudulent documents to help non-U.S. citizens enter the country illegally for more than two years. He's a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, and a citizen of the Russian Federation. Two others are also charged in the alleged conspiracy. Some of the fake papers were prepared on U.N. letterhead.

And here is a remarkable survival story for you. An 8-year-old Israeli boy found alive after floating alone for six hours in the Dead Sea. His family had apparently left him there by accident during a family trip. They didn't realize that he wasn't with them. The child was found about two miles from shore during a massive search. He was found dehydrated and frightened, but otherwise healthy. The mineral- laden waters helped to keep him afloat until he was rescued -- John.

ROBERTS: The highest salinity of the Dead Sea allows people to float quite easily, but I mean, any kid who spends an entire night out there in the water, I mean, that's an incredible situation.

HILL: Can you imagine? I'd be a wreck.

ROBERTS: Dad is obviously in a lot of trouble, as well.

HILL: Well, but we're told no charges will be pressed, so it will be interesting.

ROBERTS: In a lot of trouble with Mom, that's for sure.

HILL: Well, that is an understatement.

Speaking of being in trouble. Tonight's "What Were They Thinking" kind of has to do with that theme.

You may recognize this Japanese character, Hello Kitty. Of course, wildly popular around the globe for years now, but this we think may be a first.

The Bangkok Police Department turning the icon of cute into a badge of shame. Under a new policy. Thai police officers who break rules such as littering or arriving late are going to have to wear hot pink arm bands decorated with Hello Kitty.

The idea is to humiliate them into better behavior. As one senior officer put it, the arm band isn't something macho police officers want covering their biceps.

But there is one saving grace here, John, for the bad cops. They don't have to wear them in public, only in the division office around their fellow officers.

ROBERTS: The only thing worse than that that I could think of would be to make them dress in a Barney suit. What do you think?

HILL: You never know. That may be next. Let's hope not, for their sake.

ROBERTS: Erica, thanks. We'll see you soon.

HILL: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: Coming up, what were they thinking when they gave all of those American weapons to Iraqis? A new government report says one in three is now unaccounted for and could be used against the Americans. Details ahead, along with this story.


ROBERTS (voice-over): You said you want Congress to stop spending your tax dollars on their pet projects, but have they?

STEPHEN ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: Members are addicted to this junk.

ROBERTS: And what about you? Meet the politicians who love pork because they say you demand it. We're "Keeping Them Honest" ahead on 360.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Tonight, with the U.S. death toll in Iraq standing at 3,674, a new government report is raising a chilling question: are U.S. troops battling an enemy equipped by American taxpayers?

As shocking as that may sound, the report found that nearly 200,000 weapons the U.S. gave to the Iraqis, AK-47s and pistols, are now missing. The Pentagon has no idea where they went and no way to track them either, not a single serial number. How could that happen?

CNN's Joe Johns, "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Training and equipping the security forces of a fledgling democracy is no joke, and if you don't keep track of who's getting the guns, the consequences can be deadly.

The Pentagon is waking up to that reality today. They can't find at least 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols issued to Iraqis, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

JOSEPH CHRISTOFF, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE: The first 18 months of the program to train and equip Iraqi security forces, there was little accountability over the equipment.

JOHNS: The weapons the U.S. handed over to the Iraqi forces are virtually untraceable: no serial numbers, no accountability. Nobody knows where they are, and one frightening possibility looms large.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to imagine that some of these weapons have wound up in the hands of the enemy.

JOHNS: That's security expert John Pike (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things that you worry about is these weapons that American taxpayers paid for winding up shooting at American soldiers. The Defense Department really doesn't have a good excuse here.

JOHNS: So why didn't the Defense Department keep track of the weapons? Well, according to the report, in the rush to train and equip the Iraqi forces, the Pentagon just didn't have the manpower to do the paperwork.

"Keeping Them Honest", we asked the author of the report whether this is something you hear often when things fall through the cracks in Iraq.

CHRISTOFF: Oftentimes, it's been expediency in trying to do things quickly, because you wanted to make a difference. But not fully thinking through the consequences, the long-term consequences of some of these decisions.

JOHNS: The Pentagon doesn't dispute the findings of the GAO report. Officials say they're reviewing accountability procedures. In the meantime, the U.S. has spent at least $2.8 billion arming the Iraqi forces, and the administration is asking for $2 billion more.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


ROBERTS: That's the Pentagon. Now to Congress and a story that we've been following for months.

Before leaving town for their summer break, the House and the Senate passed new rules on earmarks, those spending requests for pet projects that lawmakers just love to slip into bills. "Keeping Them Honest", here's why the new rules may not make much difference.

CNN's Drew Griffin explains.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over the last few months, our search to reveal the secrets of secret earmarks and to find out how billions of your tax dollars are spent took us to Alaska, where we found $500,000 being used to renovate a ski lift; down to Florida, where we found $96,000 to upgrade this luxury hotel; and to rural Wisconsin, where we found how Congress spent $2 million to extend the runway at the Rice Lake airport.

Why? Well, because a couple of corporate jet owners were inconvenienced by a runway not long enough for their private jets.

All of this paid for by congressional earmarks with the details buried in big appropriation bills.

Well, it was all supposed to change this year. The Democrats pledging transparency and, if not an end, at least a cut in some of the more ridiculous spending. And while there have been some trims here and there, congressional watchdog groups say members of Congress have acted much the same this year as in years past: "What do I get for my district?"

ELLIS: Members are addicted to this junk. They're addicted to earmarks. They can't quite understand that they should be reducing this number. They feel like they have to get these earmarks in order to get re-elected, and so they just can't stop. They can't help themselves.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Members of Congress, or at least some of them, are not on the same page as our own CNN viewers, who have overwhelmingly told us Congress needs to cut pork, not spend more of it, especially on those questionable projects we've been pointing out.

(voice-over) Like what? We went to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to find out what the National Drug Intelligence Center was all about. Congressman Jack Murtha, year after year, has kept this 200 federal jobs program alive in his district. This year he's getting another $39 million. In 2005, the Office of Management and Budget asked the NDIC be shut down because it has proven ineffective in achieving its assigned mission.

Murtha is, according to his office, proud of the earmark, but not proud enough to explain it to CNN. He's again refused our request for an interview. So did the people who actually work at NDIC when we went to visit in May.

(on camera) Do you guys work at NDIC? Sir?

Do you work at NDIC?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speak to upper management.

GRIFFIN: I tried that.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Jack Murtha has been a big earmark requester, but this year, with his Democratic Party in control, he is the hands down earmark champion: $163 million will go to Murtha's pet projects, the "New York Times" calculated.

But Murtha is not alone. Critics say the reason earmark reforms didn't get very far is because some members of Congress like earmarks, and the increased scrutiny has only meant increased competition among politicians to get what they can.

Nancy Boyda of Kansas had 72 earmark requests on her list this year, including money for a museum about prisons. She told the "New York Times", quote, "Democracy is a contact sport, and I'm not going to be shy about asking for money for my community. My guess is that next year I'm going to be putting in more earmarks."

To Republican Senator Jim DeMint, therein lies the problem.

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We know there's a problem. Many campaigned on fixing the culture of corruption here, but this bill is effectively window dressing. It puts the senators in charge of determining whether or not we're doing the right thing. It's the fox guarding the henhouse phenomenon.

GRIFFIN: The foxes are now on summer break, and according to the National Taxpayers Union that's the only time taxpayers get a break. Last year the NTU estimated Congress approved spending of $150 million for every hour it was in session.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


ROBERTS: Pretty stunning.

Still ahead, it was supposed to be a trip to paradise, but it ended in murder. It's a mystery that has the victim's family angry. They say that police have botched the investigation. We'll get to the bottom of it. "Keeping Them Honest" when 360 continues.


ROBERTS: To many Americans, Saint John is the crown jewel of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the perfect Caribbean getaway. But to parents of one young man from Pennsylvania, it is hell on earth. They want to know who murdered their son. Tonight their search for justice may finally be over.

CNN's Randi Kaye is near Saint John on the island of St. Thomas. Tonight she's "Keeping Them Honest."


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jamie Cockayne had a passion for sailing. He landed a job at a yacht club in the Caribbean, so in May, the 21-year-old from Pennsylvania came to the island of St. John to wait for working papers and helped his mom, who came with him, find a retirement home.

JEANIE COCKAYNE, VICTIM'S MOTHER: I can remember so many times getting in the car with Jamie, and I'd look over at him and I'd say, "Well, another one of Jamie and Jeanie's excellent adventures."

KAYE: But this adventure would turn out to be anything but excellent. The morning of June 20, a homicide investigator arrived at Jeanie Cockayne's door.

J. COCKAYNE: And I just said to him, "Is my son dead?"

And he said yes.

KAYE: Jamie had been out drinking here the night before. According to this police affidavit obtained by CNN, he and two other men started arguing. They followed Jamie up the street. Minutes later, he was dead.

(on camera) How brutal was this attack on your son?

J. COCKAYNE: They beat him in the head with a 2 by 4. They stabbed him in the back. They stabbed him twice in the neck, twice in the chest and once in the femoral artery.

KAYE: Most of what the Cockaynes have learned about Jamie's death is from their own private investigator, hired, they say, because police stonewalled them.

BILL COCKAYNE, VICTIM'S FATHER: There just hasn't been any substance other than the fact that we're getting close.

KAYE: Bill and Jeanie Cockayne say authorities won't give them details about evidence or suspects, suggesting it would compromise the investigation. Even now, more than six weeks after the murder, they say police won't even tell them what the security camera at the crime scene captured. From day one, the family says, police have botched investigation. They claim the murder scene was hosed down before forensic investigators arrived and that police threw out Jamie's baseball hat simply because they'd run out of evidence bags.

COMM. JAMES MCCALL, VIRGIN ISLANDS POLICE DEPARTMENT: This investigation has not been botched.

KAYE (on camera): Was that crime scene hosed down?

MCCALL: As a course of duty, whenever a scene has been completed, of course, the scene is washed away or the blood or whatever is there.

KAYE: So the evidence wasn't washed away?

MCCALL: No, we collected the evidence.

KAYE (voice-over): What's most frustrating: Jamie's parents say police have been sitting on the names of the suspects and the license plate of the getaway car since just hours after the murder.

The suspects are named in the police affidavit, and the police commissioner confirms they were interviewed. So why weren't police making any arrests?

J. COCKAYNE: If you have an eyewitness who says, "I saw those two guys run up the street with a 2 by 4," and five minutes later somebody is lying on the ground dead, it's not rocket science. And I've asked them, please explain to me what's taking you so long.

KAYE: "Keeping Them Honest", we pressed U.S. Virgin Island's police commissioner James McCall.

(on camera) Why the wait in making the arrest?

MCCALL: We can have probable cause, but it doesn't necessarily mean that we have -- that we've met our burden of proof because this also has to go to a jury. And once it gets to that jury, it has to be without a shadow of a doubt.

So from day one we've been striving towards that prosecution.

KAYE: On Friday Bill and Jeanie Cockayne returned to the island. They went back to the crime scene.

J. COCKAYNE: Right here is the police station, maybe 15 feet from the bars.

KAYE: And for the very first time, more than six weeks after their son was killed, met with authorities. Just five hours after that meeting police arrested this man, Kamal Thomas.


ROBERTS: Randi -- she's live on St. Thomas now. If police waited this long to make an arrest and there could be others, have these guys just been out on the street the entire time?

KAYE: Absolutely, John, and that's a real concern, certainly for the parents of Jamie. We spoke with them quite a bit about that, that from the very first night, police had the names of these suspects. We don't know how many men there were.

But they have been for at least six weeks now, more than six weeks now, actually, roaming the streets of St. John. And who knows what they might be up to.

So this is one of the very reasons why the parents are pushing for a federal prosecutor. They have lost all confidence in local authorities. They want federal prosecutors to pick up this case. They say that, even if all of these men are arrested, they have no confidence that this case will be successfully prosecuted, John, on the local level.

ROBERTS: So if they don't get that federal prosecutor, what avenue of recourse do they have?

KAYE: Not much at this point. They're certainly hoping that they do, and I think right now they're just more concerned and very focused on making sure that all of the men involved in their son's murder are indeed picked up.

ROBERTS: Now what about the Cockaynes themselves? How long can they stay down there on St. Thomas and traveling to St. John, as you did with them, to push this case? I mean, at some point they've got to come home.

KAYE: They've been here on and off now about three times. At one point they stayed here for two weeks. They were trying to get meetings with the authorities. Now they've had that meeting. They do plan to go home, I believe, Thursday of this week.

But they say that they will keep coming down until they get justice for their son.

ROBERTS: Randi Kaye for us on the island of St. Thomas tonight. Randi, thanks very much.

And still to come tonight, what's it like to go flying at more than 200 miles an hour in a car? It's "The Shot", and it's a doozy.

Also coming up at the top of the hour, the latest on the missing miners.


ROBERTS (voice-over): Six miners trapped underground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can be in a chamber in there that's a thousand feet long, or they could be dead.

COOPER: The latest on efforts to find them, to reach them and get them home safe. Also, we didn't see it coming, but they felt it coming. Workers on the I-35W bridge and what happened in the seconds before it vanished under their feet. 360 next.


ROBERTS: High speed means high danger. It's our "Shot of the Day". It's coming up. A race car goes airborne. Find out how it all ended.

First, though, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us again with a "360 News and Business Bulletin".

Hi, Erica.

HILL: John, we begin in Britain where animal health inspectors have discovered another cattle suspected of having foot and mouth disease. The highly contagious virus could be carried by the wind. It was first confirmed in a farm in Surrey, which is southwest of London. That came on Friday.

Now investigators fear that it may have spread inside a six-mile protection zone which was set up. And the European Union Commission has now banned the import of all live animals, fresh meat and milk products from most of Great Britain.

In Oakland, California, an update on the murder of this man, Chauncey Bailey. He's the newspaper editor who was shot to death last week. Police say a 19-year-old handyman from a Black Muslim group has confessed to the killing. Bailey was investigating that group's finances.

On Wall Street, stocks soaring in the biggest jump in nearly five years, the Dow climbing 286 points to close at 13,468, the NASDAQ up 36 and finishing at 2,547. The S&P added 34.

And at the nation's airports, flight delays at the highest level in 13 years, at least 13 years, that is. The Department of Transportation says so far this year nearly a quarter of the flights on the 20 largest carriers arrived late. And just last month nearly a third of domestic flights on U.S. airlines were late, John.

I know you do a lot of flying. That is not what you want to hear, my friend.

ROBERTS: I'll tell you, anybody who's been flying in the last month or two doesn't need to be told about all the flight delays.

HILL: No. That's for sure.

ROBERTS: Every day it's something else.

Hey, Erica, speaking of flying, check out our "Shot of the Day". Not at the airport but in the Indy car racing event. Look at what happened to this driver yesterday at the Michigan International Speedway. HILL: Isn't that wild? Actually, you know, I talked to him earlier tonight, John. We had him on our show. And he said what was really wild was halfway through he realized that he was 36 feet in the air. He opened his eyes and said that's when it kind of hit him that this wasn't a great place to be.

ROBERTS: That's just incredible. You lose that down force, that ground effect on those cars, and they literally just turn into wings. He goes airborne, traveling at about 215 miles an hour at the time. Car turned sideways, flipped over, was hit by another couple of cars, flips and lands upside down.

You can take a look at that hit again there, upside down again. That's the way he came out of it.

HILL: Amazing.

ROBERTS: And finally came to a halt. He was OK, though, and as you said, you talked to him earlier.

HILL: Yes, not a scratch. He had a little bump on his nose.

ROBERTS: It's just unbelievable. He even called his wife, actress Ashley Judd, to let her know that he was OK.

Another driver, though, did get tire marks from Franchitti's car on his helmet, so you can imagine how close they all came to disaster there.

HILL: Can you imagine? Just wild. Thankfully, everyone ended up all right.

ROBERTS: Erica, thanks. Good to see you. We'll see you again tomorrow.

And a reminder. We want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some amazing video, tell us about it at We'll put some of your best clips on the air.

Still ahead, the desperate search for six miners trapped underground. We'll show you what rescuers are up against. Plus, the latest on the bridge collapse in Minneapolis and the questions that remain unanswered when 360 continues.