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American Remains Hostage of Somali Pirates; President Obama's Optimistic Economic Outlook; Answering Questions about Natasha Richardson's Death; White House Puppy Reportedly Selected; Obamas Search for D.C. Church

Aired April 10, 2009 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, dramatic proof that not only is an American captain alive; he's alive and kicking. The question is, for how long?

Hostage Richard Phillips making a bid to escape his pirate captors. You see him there. With a Navy drone watching, he tried to swim away from a lifeboat, tried, but failed. So, tonight, he's back in a lifeboat, apparently tied up, hundreds of miles off Somalia. Captain Phillips is now under a death sentence, his captors threatening to kill him.

Two U.S. warships nearby, a third on the way, plenty of firepower. But now the situation is about to get even more difficult, more pirates, pirates like these, upping the ante in two other already hijacked boats. More pirates are heading to help the pirates in the lifeboat and they're bringing with them dozens more hostages as human shields.

Now, all of this happening as French forces raid a hijacked yacht, killing two pirates. The yacht, you see it right there. Killing two pirates, rescuing for captives, but at a price. A fifth hostage was killed.

Dawn right now is nearing off the coast of Somalia. And the next few hours could be the most dangerous yet.

Randi Kaye brings us up to speed.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It all happened in seconds. Captain Richard Phillips jumps overboard just after midnight. In the darkness, he tries to swim to safety, to the USS Bainbridge, an American warship a few hundred yards away.

But before the Navy could even make a move, the pirate fired shots from their AK-47 rifles, then jumped in the water and grabbed him.

CAPT. JAMES STAPLES, FRIEND OF CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: That just shows you Richie's -- his character. He's not going to give up. He's going to be thinking all the time of what he can do to get out of this situation safely. He's not going to lay down.

KAYE: Captain Phillips is unharmed. He was later seen moving inside the lifeboat after his escape attempt.

Yet, now, with the captain back in enemy hands, an almost unbelievable chain of events is unfolding 300 miles out at sea, a potential showdown. Another Navy warship, the USS Halyburton, with helicopters and missiles, is now on the scene. And the USS Boxer with a medical facility on board could be there within 24 hours.

(on camera): But the pirates aren't backing down. Now steaming toward the lifeboat, at least four ships previously hijacked by the pirates, including this German vessel that was seized off the coast of Somalia on April 4. It has a crew of 24.

The pirates aren't taking any chances, launching smaller skiffs they typically use for hijackings.

(voice-over): The U.S. military says audio intercepts indicate the pirates on those ships are communicating with each other and trying to track down the lifeboat where the captain is a hostage.

CHRIS VOSS, FORMER FBI HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: You could refer to it as bold. You could also refer to it as possibly ill-advised. A lot more of them are exposing them to a -- themselves to a risk that they wouldn't otherwise are exposed to. If I was a pirate, I wouldn't get in the middle of this. I would want to stay in business safely.

KAYE: And the pirates say they have bringing with them at least 50 hostages, human shields to stop the Navy from firing if they try to maneuver the American captain off the lifeboat on to one of the pirate ships and then to Somalia.

VOSS: I don't think the Navy's going to let the pirates take this American out of there and take him back to shore once they have got him isolated. I think that this is a really risky move on a pirates' behalf, and it could end up with a lot of pirates in jail and a lot more hostages free.

KAYE: That's just what Captain Phillips' wife is hoping for. In a written statement, she says her husband is a strong man, strong enough to survive a showdown brewing in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, that showdown is playing out on open, but hardly empty ocean. Take a look at this.

It's a map of hijacked ships and their approximate locations, 16 vessels there. Those little red dots are all different vessels, 16 vessels in private -- pirate hands, some taken as far back as last November.

Now, not on the map is that French yacht raided today that we told you about and a Norwegian tanker. Its Polish crew, they were set free tonight. As for the lifeboat and Captain Phillips, let's dig deeper.

Terrorism and national analyst Ken Robinson, who has been working his sources of the tactical and operational level, joins us now with what he is learning.

Ken, what is so hard about dealing with four gunmen, Somali gunmen, in a lifeboat and one hostage?

KEN ROBINSON, FORMER MILITARY INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Well, the main thing is, you can't get at them.

If you notice, that container, the lifeboat ship, it's a self- contained device. That ship has been designed to withstand high seas. The doors lock from the inside. It's not like you can achieve strategic surprise to land on top of that and try to break it open. It's a real risk to the life of the hostage to try to conduct an attack of any type on that.

COOPER: So, other pirates are now trying to get to the area of this lifeboat, bringing with them other ships, at least 50 other hostages in at least one of those ships. Will the U.S. Navy let those other pirate boats get near this thing?

ROBINSON: Well, you know, they're really at endgame.

There's been $80 million of ransom paid in the last year. Sixty boats have been taken. And by bringing these boats in on the part of a strategy, it's really smart on the part of the pirates, because what they're doing is, they're forcing the hands of the United States Navy to aggressively try to stop them.

This is the real -- this is a real showdown, and there's no real way, short of sinking those vessels, to prevent them from all closing, unless captains maneuver between themselves and each individual vessel. So, you're really seeing high-stakes poker here that we haven't seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

COOPER: So, I guess the theory is that the pirates who are in the lifeboat want to get Captain Phillips to the mainland in Somalia, where they would be more difficult to rescue, where they would have a stronghold.

In terms of preventing them from that happening, is that possible, tactically? Reuters is also reporting they want $2 million ransom for the captain. We haven't been able, though, to independently confirm that.

ROBINSON: Well, I was told that, originally, early on, they had asked for a ransom. Later, they changed their demands to simply trying to have safe haven.

They fear the Navy. And that's why they have taken this aggressive move. What they want to do is get to shore, because no time have we shown any stomach in actually putting our boots back into Somalia since the days of Black Hawk Down in October of '93. They know that. And this area that they have, this safe haven, is lawless. It's not governed space. So, it's their smart move. The problem is, is the boat -- the vessel that they're in is going to have a hard time negotiating those shoals that are very close to the shore.

The only way they're going to be able to get to that shore is in a bigger boat. And the only way to do that is to link up with someone else. So, that's the high-stakes chess of it all.

COOPER: But, you know, I imagine what's going on inside that lifeboat, this is the third night we have been reporting on it. Conditions, there's no toilet in there. These are four Somali gunmen. They're not particularly well-fed, well-armed, well-trained to begin with. They're probably young guys.

You know, we have both worked in Somalia. We know what these gunmen are like, a lot of them chewing khat. They kind of get tweaked out by the end of the day.

How hard an operation -- I mean, how big a fight do you think they will put up?

ROBINSON: It's really hard to tell, Anderson.

But what is -- what is known is, it's extremely difficult to surgically achieve surprise and get on board that small vessel. So, negotiations is what's going to be the most important thing. They have never harmed a hostage yet.

And, so, past performance predicting potential future behavior, people are going show patience. But if there is an opportunity, you can imagine that the government will take it, because they can't sit out there and have us count the clock every day and number of days before this man is rescued. I think it's going to end in negotiations or end in a lot of blood.

COOPER: Well, we're going to have more with Ken coming up.

Ken, stay with us.

A lot to cover here and online. You can join the live chat happening now at Also, check out Erica Hill's live Webcasts during the break.

Up next, fighting the pirates, how the French did it. We just talked about that at the beginning of the program. They raided one ship that was being held. How the Navy SEALs might be able to do it, and how Captain Phillips nearly made his escape -- the details on that.

We will also take you aboard a lifeboat just like the one that the captain is on. We will show you inside what it's like. Imagine what it's like with four pirates there at gunpoint, a price for his freedom and a death threat hanging over him.

And, later, we have been flooded with your questions about our investigation into actress Natasha Richardson's death -- more on the lack of a helicopter on the Quebec ski resort and what that might mean for anything skiing there now. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here with answers.

And the Obamas' dog, the news millions have been waiting for, especially two little girls named Sasha and Malia. We now know the breed. What do you think, Labradoodle, golden retriever, or Portuguese water dog? We will tell you which.

And there are some reports about exactly what day the dog is coming. We will tell what we have heard when we come back.


COOPER: Well, he tried to swim for it. The pirates opened fire. Captain Richard now back on a pirate-held lifeboat, tied up, floating on ocean they're now sharing with U.S. Navy warships and soon, possibly, another shipload of hostages brought in by pirates as leverage.

You can see why Captain Phillips made his break for freedom.

Jason Carroll now takes us to the kind of lifeboat that the captain is on and that he tried to get away from.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's about 30 feet long. You can see it's covered on the top. There's a sliding door here on the front to keep the water out.

Once you step down inside, you can get a sense of just how tight their quarters are. You can see very low ceiling here. You can see there are seat belts that line the inside of the lifeboat vessel, so passengers can sit down and strap themselves in.

This over here is the back section of the lifeboat vessel, and even though it's covered, there is a seat back here that is elevated where someone could sit and steer the boat from this particular vantage point.

Also, up above, there are several little windows here, where you can see out and see exactly what's happening above you. Want to give you another vantage point from the other side of the lifeboat vessel, as I crawl through here.

There's another sliding door here on my left, more seat belts here for passengers to strap themselves into. Now moving my way to the front of the lifeboat vessel, there is a hatch above me. You can push out, look out and see above you. You can escape from this hatch, as well, if need be.


COOPER: Man, imagine being trapped in that for three days with armed gunmen. Jason Carroll out on Cape Cod in a lifeboat just like the one that Captain Phillips is on floating somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

More now on the raid on that French yacht that we told you about at the top of the program. Take a look at these still photos from the French Defense Ministry. That's the picture of the yacht with the pirates when they were in still in control there, pretty small yacht there.

They held it nearly a week, but, as the sloop drifted closer to the Somali coast and that possibility grew of the hostages ending up at a pirate stronghold onshore, French forced took deadly action.

Erica Hill is here with the latest on the operation and the price in human lives -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was a daring raid today, Anderson, in broad daylight, the French freeing that yacht. It's the Tanit. It was taken hostage last Saturday in the Gulf of Aden.

This entire raid took just three minutes. When it was over, one hostage was dead, two pirates also killed, three more taken prisoner.

Now, it's unclear at this hour how the one hostage, Florent Lemacon, died and when, but what we do know tonight is that this little boy here you're about to see has lost his father. Three-year- old Colin -- that is his dad there. Three-year-old Colin was with his parents.

They were on their way to Zanzibar when their boat was hijacked. Two days later, a maritime patrol actually located the Tanit. On Wednesday, a French military ship arrived in the area.

And that's when the negotiation started with the pirates. But it didn't go very well. A sharpshooter actually took out the yacht's mast yesterday, hoping to keep the pirates from taking that ship and the hostages to shore.


HERVE MORIN, FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): We proposed all possible solutions to the pirates in order to retrieve our fellow citizens, including an exchange of the mother and the child for an officer, which was refused.

At the same time, the recordings show that the pirates were taking a progressively tougher stance. They were talking more intensively about executing the hostages and destroying the boat with explosives. And they really wanted to get to the coast.


HILL: And with that situation deteriorating, as you could see, the decision was made today to launch this operation.

So, here's what happened, special forces units attacking the boat from different directions, as sharpshooters were about 300 feet away. They saw three pirates on deck. We're told they fired. They fired back. Two of the pirates were killed instantly. Another jumped overboard. It took just 30 seconds for eight commandos to board the yacht.

That is where they found Florent Lemacon, who was dead, as we said, Anderson, but, again, still unclear whether he may have been killed by a sharpshooter or killed by the pirates.

COOPER: You know, I know people who have private boats who have thought about making this passage. And when they have thought about it, you know, they talked about adding security on to their vessels and stuff.

This is a little a tiny boat. What was it doing making this run?

HILL: A tiny boat with a 3-year-old on it, on top of it.

COOPER: Right.

HILL: The family had actually left last summer. They were going around the world to try to -- to show their son. They wanted to get away from the material trappings of life and show him that they could be happier by meeting other people.

So, they actually had plenty of warnings as they were heading out. In fact, in a blog post, the last blog post, which is from March 20, it sort of goes through. Starting on March 14, they leave. The 15th or the 16th, they're saying, look, we left under cover of night. We turned off all of lights, because knew we were in pirate-infested waters.

They were contacted twice by the French, saying, what are you doing here? You should change your route. You should be very careful.

But they kept going, saying, you know, everything was fine, and that it was actually nice to hear from home to hear those voices.

COOPER: Oy. So, France now has these pirates. What are they going to do with them?

HILL: Well, from the latest that I have been able to find, they're not sure.

They have them in custody. There are other pirates who are also in custody. They're trying to figure out how they can be charged.


COOPER: Well, I mean, because that's the thing. Everyone's saying, well, these hostages are going to serve time in jail in Kenya. But who knows what the situation with that is.

HILL: And that's the big issue for a number of countries, it could turn out.

COOPER: Right. And, certainly, going to back to Somali, I mean, that's -- that's -- there's no law, there's no order there.


HILL: No. Not much going to happen there, unfortunately.

COOPER: All right. Erica, thanks.

Just ahead tonight: how the French operation sheds light on the options available to American special forces. Ken Robinson is back with that.

And, later, why President Obama sees glimmers of hope on the economy. We will tell you what he is looking at, so you can decide for yourself.

Elsewhere, charges tonight in the hit-and-run killing of a promising young Major League pitcher, murder charges against the drunk driver. We will bring you the latest on that.

Also, you're looking at how a high-speed chase ended. We're going to show you how it played out, including what happens when the driver led cops the wrong way down a freeway.


COOPER: Well, the picture is chilling. The people on this French yacht, after all, are not merchant marines. They're family and friends on a trip round the world.

Tonight, the ship owner and two pirates are dead. The rest are safe.

Erica Hill just laid out the details of the French raid that freed them.

And now some context from David Mattingly, including why the French play tough with pirates, not just this time, and what it says about the Captain Phillips standoff still going on.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the French military took these pictures of the well-armed Somali pirates, they saw men desperate enough to execute five hostages, one of them a child.

Fearing the pirates would take the hostages ashore, French officials say they had no choice but to attack.

HERVE MORIN, FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): They were talking more intensively about executing the hostages and destroying the boat with explosives. And they really wanted to get to the coast.

MATTINGLY: Experts say similar rules of when to use force are on the table for the U.S. contemplating the rescue of a captured American captain. There's always a risk such armed responses could escalate violence at sea, but the French are willing to take it.

TIM CROCKETT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AKE SECURITY: Yes, very much so. They -- again, there's an international stance in dealing with pirates or/and terrorists, and it's very much not to negotiate, and, when threats to their citizens are made, they tend to go in.

MATTINGLY (on camera): This was not the first time the French resorted to extreme measures with pirates. Last year, in a similar hijacking, a vessel called the Ponant, they mobilized 60 troops and airdropped commandos into shark-infested waters. The goal was to negotiate the safe release of the hostages and capture the pirates alive, and it worked, thanks in part to a reported $2 million ransom paid by an insurance company.

GENERAL JEAN-LOUIS GEORGELIN, FRENCH MILITARY CHIEF OF STAFF: We have when we know what -- anywhere in the world, that a French ship is hijacked and (INAUDIBLE) us to prepare. From the generic plan, we had a specific plan specially aimed at this Ponant affair.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But French officials say this time was different, because the pirates wouldn't make a deal. Experts say this latest rescue is still being evaluated, but it could have been a page straight from an international playbook.

TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: The tactical officers from around the world actually train together. I know extensive training is done at the FBI Academy in Quantico Virginia and at academies throughout the world.

MATTINGLY: So, while the pirates' standoff continues with the captured American captain, could the French solution to piracy come into play again? Experts say, it is an option, and not the only one, at least not yet.

David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: All right, let's dig deeper, back now with terrorism and national security analyst Ken Robinson.

Ken, you said before, basically, negotiations is sort of going to be key here. How do you negotiate, though? I mean, what -- short of paying money, which doesn't seem like the U.S. Navy is going to be doing, unless, I mean, do you think they would?

ROBINSON: Well, up until now, all the negotiations have been done through insurance companies dealing directly with the Somali pirates in the safe haven area, Puntland, which is north of Somalia and Mogadishu.

And they communicate over international satellite communications. They're talking to those pirates on board of that vessel right now the same way. What -- I have been told all they want right now is, they want to get to the shore, because they fear the same thing happening to them, and then they want to negotiate for some form of ransom or some form of deal once they feel that they're safe.

That's probably going to be unacceptable to the United States Navy.

COOPER: What do you think of how the French operation went down?

ROBINSON: I -- I think it's remarkable that more hostages were not killed.

It's very hard for those things to be surgical, because you only have a matter of seconds to be able to overwhelm, with firepower, the -- the adversary. It's really remarkable that more weren't killed.

COOPER: And, now, what happens? I mean, once this thing is resolved, however it gets resolved, and whether it's a day or a couple days, what happens now? I mean, ships are still going to be going through here. There are still going to be pirates. Are we just going to go through this every so often, every time an American is kidnapped? Is there going to be some sort of more regular military presence that is going to have to be involved here?

ROBINSON: I think -- I think the last couple days is a watershed event, because it's the first time in 200 years that an American- flagged ship has been taken.

The last time we had this problem in this heavy way was the Barbary pirates. And Thomas Jefferson sent the Navy halfway around the world to solve the problem. Now President Obama has got a real policy issue, because they have been hesitant to wade back into Somalia.

In order to deal with this problem, you can't deal with it on the high seas, because you're simply reacting to an event. They have to go after the safe haven. They have to go after that place from which they plan, train, equip, and finance themselves. And, also, this is very lucrative. This is the most successful business in a failed state. Eighty million dollars in one year is not anything to snip at.

COOPER: Well, I think, for anyone who served in Somalia, though they served honorably, and for those of us who worked there, the thought of going back into Somalia with troops on the ground, it just -- it's -- it's a scary prospect, a lot of bad memories with that.

Ken, appreciate you being with us. Thanks.

Quite a week, but, off the coast of Somalia, piracy is nothing new. It is big business. Tomorrow, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, a CNN special investigation, "Somali Pirates: Can They Be Stopped?" All need to know, as only CNN's global correspondents can deliver. That's tomorrow night, 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

So, the pirate drama has taken the economy out of the headlines for a bit, but the crisis, of course, persists. Today, President Obama surprised some by sounding almost cheerful about the economy -- why he says he sees glimmers of hope. You can decide for yourself. Also ahead, a 360 follow-up -- Dr. Sanjay Gupta's investigation into the death of actress Natasha Richardson, it's getting a big response on our blog -- coming up, more on the lack of helicopters that might have saved her life and what else could have been done differently.

And murder charges filed in the hit-and-run death of an L.A. -- of a Los Angeles pitcher -- or -- excuse me -- L.A. Angels pitcher, Nick Adenhart, just a tragic, tragic death -- the latest when 360 continues.


COOPER: So, President Obama's now been on the job for 11 weeks. There's been little to celebrate and plenty to worry about, but, today, a notable change in tone from the president as he talked about the economy.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're starting to see progress. And if we stick with it, if we don't flinch in the face of some difficulties, then I feel absolutely convinced that we are going to get this economy back on track.


COOPER: All right. Certainly, there were qualifiers. It fell short of trading high-fives with his economic advisers. But, still, compared to what we have been hearing from the president, it's a relatively hopeful message.

The question tonight, how much of that is spin?

Candy Crowley has the "Raw Politics."


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's spring in Washington, and for a man who spent the winter issuing dire warnings and grim predictions, the president is downright chipper.

OBAMA: What you're starting to see is glimmers of hope across the economy.

CROWLEY: It's not the audacity of hope, but it's the most upbeat the president has been about the economy. Even his faintly, dour White House economic adviser is on board, in his own way.

LAWRENCE SUMMERS, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: So, I think the sense of a ball falling off a table, which is what the economy has felt like since the middle of last -- since the middle of last fall, I think that is going to -- I think we can be reasonably confident that that's going to end within the next few months.

CROWLEY: Michael Santoli, senior editor of "Barron's," the Dow Jones business and financial weekly, says the economy is declining at a slower pace, and puts the cautious into cautious optimism.

MICHAEL SANTOLI, SENIOR EDITOR, "BARRON'S": And this is what happens kind of as an economy bumps along the bottom. Certain things look better. Other things don't. Maybe you have kind of a false thaw.

CROWLEY: The glimmer cited by the president, a surge in home loan refinancing, putting money in people's wallets, and maybe helping to stabilize the housing market.

A 20 percent increase in the loan program at the Small Business Administration, it could help small businesses stay open or new ones to create jobs.

Not to mention Wall Street has been on a tear.

Other figures are not so glimmery. Record unemployment is still rising, though looking at the glass half full, it did not rise as much last week as the week before.

And at the core of the meltdown, there's housing.

MICHAEL SANTOLI, "BARRON'S" MAGAZINE: House prices keep going down at a relatively quick pace. That's been the underpinning for many of the problems we've been seeing. Obviously, it makes the bank's balance sheets worse. It kind of prevents the banks from really healing themselves very quickly and maybe requires more aid down the road.

CROWLEY: It's a rhetorical challenge for the president. He has to show his plans are working, especially if he has to go back to Congress for more money, but over-promising puts him in political peril. Fortunately, President Obama is rhetorically blessed and by nature, more careful than chipper.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, we have always been very cautious about prognosticating and that kind of a change just for the season. The economy is still under severe stress.

CROWLEY: It can't get too far out there. Glimmers can fade.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: It sure can.

Just ahead Natasha Richardson's death struck a nerve last night with many of you. Our blogs flooded with questions and comments. Tonight, Dr. Gupta is back with more on what went wrong and what could be fixed to make sure this kind of accident doesn't happen to other skiers on the mountain. Also ahead, the wildfires, Oklahoma and Texas, fueled by severe wind. They have been a deadly -- the picture is just unbelievable. We're going to show you how bad the damage is and how many lives were lost.

Plus, some good news. Sasha and Malia Obama will have a puppy to call their own. It's just a matter of days. Coming up, the details on the lucky dog. Can you guess which breed it's going to be? There are some options right there. It's one of those breeds. It came down to a couple contenders. We'll tell you which one.


COOPER: The last 24 hours we've had a big response to our 360 investigation into the death of Natasha Richardson. Three-sixty M.D. Sanjay Gupta went to Quebec to the ski resort where the actress suffered a fatal head injury and uncovered a weak spot in the safety net that any skier in Quebec might need at any moment there on the slopes.

A lot of you had questions about Sanjay's report. He joins me now with more -- Sanjay.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, as you know, one thing that was sort of critical for this was getting a hold of those 911 tapes, trying to piece together, literally minute-by-minute, what happened from the time that Natasha fell to the time she was taken to the hospitals and trying to simply do the math.

I think people know now what type of head injury this was. This was something known as an epidural hematoma. Very quickly, Anderson, we have images to sort of show you what happens with an epidural hematoma. You have blood that sometimes collects on top of the brain. You can see it here. It starts to -- starts to grow inside.

And eventually, if you start to turn that brain so you can see it from the side, you're going to see this pressure that's pushing on the entire brain. That was the problem.

The key here, Anderson, is speed. You've got to get the patient to the hospital as quickly as possible. Simply doing the math, Anderson, our conclusion was, from this particular -- this particular ski resort, getting to a trauma hospital was somewhere around two hours or so, depending on how fast you were driving, traffic conditions. No helicopters. And most certainly this needs to be addressed within about 90 minutes.

The problem, Anderson, what we started to find out, was the math just simply wasn't adding up to try and save her.

COOPER: There was a hospital nearby. What's the difference between a trauma center and a hospital?

GUPTA: Yes, she was taken to a hospital that was 38 minutes away first. This is a sort of standard hospital. Unlike a trauma center, it doesn't have subspecialty surgeons standing by 24/7: neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, EMT surgeons, trauma surgeons of all sorts. So they weren't equipped to be able to take care of her.

Trauma centers also have an operating room standing by, blood available of all different types, operating room equipment, CT scanners, MRI scanners. They're equipped to be able to take care of patients as soon as they hit the door, getting them into an operating table as soon as possible.

COOPER: And why aren't helmets required at ski areas?

GUPTA: You know, Anderson, it's a great question. And I imagine you see an outpouring of concern or interest in this after some sort of tragic event. You saw it after Sonny Bono here in the states. It's happening in Quebec. We've been talking to doctors in that area after what happened to Natasha Richardson.

It is strongly suggested by Mont Tremblant. We went to their Web site. It is available for rent. Kids are required to wear it, but not yet adults.

COOPER: Sanjay, last night we reported that we'd asked the Canadian government for comments on the lack of provincial medevac services, these helicopters. I should be clear, we repeatedly reached out to the Quebec officials responsible for health policy, and they have not responded.

But this afternoon Quebec's minister of international relations sent a statement expressing sympathy to Natasha Richardson's family but also suggesting that Richardson had some responsibility for her own death, saying this, quote, "While it can be argued that helicopter medical service may have helped save her life, in the case of an epidural hematoma, most doctors, both Canadian and American, agree that a patient's decision to seek or refuse immediate treatment is crucial to the outcome."

So what can a doctor do if a patient refuses care? I mean, is a patient really capable of making that kind of choice when they don't maybe even know all the details?

GUPTA: This is a gray area of medicine. And someone who you suspect may not be competent to make the decision, and where you have some time, you can get someone who's equipped to be able to make the decision about competency. A psychiatrist, for example, may say they're not acting appropriately.

In this sort of situation, it's tough. It sounds like she was up, walking and talking, responding appropriately to questions. It's a gray area, because she did hit her head. So was she fully equipped to be able to make a decision? It's very hard to say.

But bottom line, unless you can say someone is incompetent, you can't force them to get care, Anderson. That's true in Canada and the United States.

Let me just say one more thing about the helmets, as well, Anderson. You know, as a neurosurgeon, I think they're obviously a good idea. She was not wearing a helmet in this situation. It probably would have made a difference for her.

COOPER: Do you know why they don't have helicopters? I mean, it's just a cost thing?

GUPTA: You know, it was really interesting. When the story first broke, there were a lot of people talking about it publicly. Both public health officials, doctors who were saying this is a cost/benefit sort of thing.

When we went up there -- and we decided to go up there on our own with 911 transcripts in hand and start asking question -- people really were clamped down on this issue. It does seem to be more of a cost/benefit issue than anything else.

We have shown, you know, through the report yesterday, as you know, that they can make a difference. They probably would have made a difference in a situation like this.

But, you know, the $6,000 an hour is just the cost of operating the helicopter. There's lots of other costs associated. It's a thorny, thorny issue, as we found out when we went up there.

COOPER: Yes. You still have thousands of skiers using this area. I'm sure there's other places in Quebec, as well. So maybe they're revisit that.

Sanjay, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

GUPTA: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: New details tonight in the tragic hit-and-run death of baseball pitcher Nick Adenhart. A man who's been charged with drunk driving and three counts of murder. We're going to give you the latest.

And the dramatic ending to a high-speed chase in California today. We'll tell you how it all started.

And the Obamas heading to Easter services this Sunday, but picking a church is almost as difficult as picking a first dog. We've got updates on both searches.


COOPER: Well, a presidential mystery possibly solved tonight. Reports of the long-awaited first puppy has been chosen and could arrive at the White House within days. Erica Hill has more details ahead. But first, she has a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: We'll make you wait a little bit. Some serious stuff to get to first.

Anderson, five U.S. soldiers are dead as a suicide bomber struck an Iraqi police complex in Mosul. It is the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in more than a year. The man police say was driving drunk when he struck and killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others is now facing murder charges. The 22-year-old pitcher had pitched his fourth Big League game only hours before that crash.

Rescuers from L'Aquila -- L'Aquila, Italy, say they have encountered a sign of life in the rubble of Monday's devastating earthquake. More search teams and equipment have been brought to hopefully get that person out. At least 287 people were killed in the quake and the victims mourned today in a mass state funeral. More than 200 caskets laid out and draped with flowers.

Here in the U.S., wildfires fueled by hurricane-force winds are making for a deadly mix in the southwest, where at least three people are dead. Fifty others injured in Oklahoma and Texas. More than 150 buildings have been destroyed.

In Arkansas, seven people killed when a tornado swept through the small town of Mena. National Guard troops are going house-to-house now, searching for victims.

And in Southern California, a woman leads police on a high-speed chase, at one point, as you can see here, turning doughnuts, onto an off ramp on the wrong side of the freeway. Yes, wise move.

It all began near Long Beach after authorities responded to a domestic dispute. And it ended on a cop trying to stop her. There you see it, finally cornering her, yanking her out of the car. The driver is in custody and could face reckless driving charges.

I still will never understand why people try to run.

COOPER: It's so ironic. Yes.

HILL: It is.

COOPER: Is that a Scion? What is that car?

HILL: I think it is a Scion. Look at you.

COOPER: It depends on what type of car you...

HILL: Mr. "Auto Weekly." How about that? Anderson Cooper, a new spot.

COOPER: Yes. All right. Time for our "Beat 360" winners, our daily challenge to viewers...

HILL: Fire it up!

COOPER: I don't know why I knew that. To come up -- you know what it is. So anyway, let's show the picture.

Tonight's picture, the nation's first beekeeper in action after a swarm of honeybees got a little too close to the White House. Having a little problems with wildlife over there. Possums, raccoons. HILL: Raccoons.

COOPER: Now bees.

HILL: Attacking Ed Henry.

COOPER: I thought the bees were gone. Apparently, they're not.

HILL: No, no, now. The bees are there.

COOPER: The bees are back, and they're at the White House.

HILL: But they're supposed to be there. They're part of the new garden.

COOPER: All right. Our staff winner tonight is Candy Crowley. Her caption: "Incognito, a CIA operative discovers he misunderstood the nature of his debugging mission at the White House."

That was good.

HILL: I like it.

COOPER: I like that one, Candy Crowley.

Our viewer winner is Bob in Warren, New Jersey. His caption: "After his last gaffe, Vice President Biden has been assigned some new duties."

Very good, Bob.

HILL: Very clever.

COOPER: That's very good. Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.

So the Obamas will celebrate Easter this Sunday, of course. A lot of churches are praying to be the president's pick, where they're going to attend. We'll take you inside the Obamas' options. The White House is vetting this thing very carefully.

Also, Sasha and Malia will soon have a new furry friend. When will the presidential pup arrive? Where is it now, and exactly what kind of dog is this? Erica has details.

And imagine watching as burglars enter your home, watching this on your computer from work. One woman's paranoia did pay off. Our "Shot of the Day."


COOPER: So the waiting is almost over for Sasha and Malia. The entertainment Web site, TMZ, is reporting the Obamas will be welcoming a puppy to the White House next week.

Erica Hill joins us again with the details -- Erica. HILL: I mean, finally. Because this is really -- my nerves are just on edge. But the good news for everyone: grab a pen, your iPhone, your BlackBerry, whatever it is you use to keep your most important information handy. Mark this date down. If that Web site, TMZ, is to be believed, the first pooch will arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday.

COOPER: Tuesday?

HILL: Tuesday it is.

COOPER: Tuesday?

HILL: And, yes. It will be a Portuguese Water Dog.

COOPER: Those are Portuguese Water Dogs?

HILL: Indeed, they are. Fancy, huh?

COOPER: That looks like a person dressed up like a fancy -- going to some fancy thing in the fall.

HILL: You know, I think it's an actual dog. Not a person dressed as dog, as far as I know. But we'll be watching on Tuesday.

COOPER: Can we see those pictures again. Didn't that look like sort of, like, very fancy pooch?

HILL: Well, it is a White House dog.

COOPER: Like, au courant. Like...

HILL: Look at you and your fancy words.

COOPER: I'll tell you why I said "au courant." Because someone on my high school yearbook page, they had that next to their name. It said "au courant." And it was a picture -- I don't know.

HILL: And where are they now? I ask you. I ask you.

COOPER: It's always stuck in my mind. Not in my high school.

HILL: Right, right. So I need to get to some more important details here, even though I know you want to...


HILL: ... truck back to pull out the yearbook.


HILL: But that's for another night. We're talking dogs, my friend.

COOPER: OK, OK. HILL: OK. So we knew he was going to be a Portuguese Water Dog. Right? The first lady talked about that in "People" a little over a month ago. And that is the issue there, one of the many in which she's baring her arms.

She said in the article, too, they'd get it in April. Yesterday, though, at the White House garden planting...


HILL: ... she was asked about it. So sneaky. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mrs. Obama, are you excited about the dog?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When are you going to get it?

M. OBAMA: Soon.


M. OBAMA: Soon.


HILL: I think the translation is, "Would you people stop asking me about the dog?"

Anyway, the dog, fancy blood line. Maybe that's why it looks so fancy.


HILL: Blood line including none other than the Kennedys' pooches. Senator Ted Kennedy's brood -- that's right. He has three dogs who have been bred at this same Texas kennel. The Kennedy family is actually going to present the Obamas with the 6-month-old puppy.

COOPER: So it -- wait, it's from a breeder, then?

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: And you were upset about this?

HILL: I was a little bit upset, because I believe very strongly in rescuing dogs.

COOPER: They said they were going to look...

HILL: Here's how they're getting around the Erica Hill ire, I suppose. Be careful. It was apparently bred at the kennel, sold to somebody who returned the dog. They had to give back to the kennel. Now re-homing Charlie, the 6-month-old puppy. The Obamas say they're going rename it.

Re-homing sounds like a terrible thing. I know it's a wonderful thing to do, but it sounds like a scary deprogramming.


HILL: Yes, re-education.

COOPER: Congresswoman Michelle Bachman will have something to say about that.

HILL: There's probably a good chance.

COOPER: So, should we move on?

HILL: We can move on. You know, by the way, the Kennedy dog has a book deal.

COOPER: You know, all of these dogs get book deals. Remember Socks the cat? Didn't Socks the cat write a book?

HILL: Yes. Milly had a book, too. Milly's book, Barbara Bush. This will be coming out in May, so.

COOPER: It's only a matter of time before...

HILL: The Obama puppy will be next.

COOPER: And it will be a best seller.

All right. First family is hosting a pizza party tonight for 140 of their closest friends. But even that is raising eyebrows. The Obamas ordered a traditional Chicago deep dish pie, not from the Windy City, though, but from a parlor in St. Louis. Do they call them parlors? Or do they just call them restaurants? I don't know.

Apparently, Obama like what he tasted on a Missouri campaign stop.

So while the puppy quest is over, there's another high-profile presidential search yet to be resolved. The Obamas, of course, will be attending services this Easter Sunday. They've yet to set on a permanent church inside the beltway.

Randi Kaye's "Uncovering America" segment for us tonight, visiting the most likely houses of worship.


DR. DERRICK HARKINS, PASTOR, NINETEENTH ST. BAPTIST CHURCH: You ought to pray. You ought to keep praying.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Reverend Derrick Harkins in the pulpit at Washington, D.C.'s, 19th Street Baptist Church, where he's been every Sunday for the last 11 years. But these days it's different. The White House is watching and reporting back to the president, all part of a quiet, calculated effort to find the right church for the first family.

A source inside the administration close to this process tells me White House staff are vetting D.C. churches: interviewing pastors, studying sermons. The source says this has nothing to do with Mr. Obama's former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright...


KAYE: ... whose controversial remarks threatened to bring down his campaign.

(on camera) Do you know if you've been vetted?

HARKINS: You can use the term "vetting," I suppose. It's probably helpful to have some people who could at least bring to them some awareness of those churches and their histories, their ministries.

KAYE (voice-over): Reverend Harkins met with the administration's head of faith-based initiatives about his church, which is under consideration. The Obamas came here just 48 hours before the inauguration.

(on camera) It was a full house the day the Obama family attended services here. About 1,300 people showed up for church. Mr. Obama sat right here, then his wife, Michelle, and the girls, and the church deacon right up front.

(voice-over) White House staff prefer a family-oriented church that serves the needy, one where the Obamas won't be a distraction. The church has to be able to handle tight security, maybe even metal detectors.

(on camera) The White House wants a church that's close by. The first Baptist Church is only about six blocks or so from the White House. President Harry Truman used to walk over. Another president, Jimmy Carter, was a member here. In fact, he taught Sunday school.

(voice-over) Church deacon Shirley McBath has fond memories of the Carters and all the excitement they brought.

MS. SHIRLEY MCBATH, DEACON, FIRST STREET BAPTIST CHURCH: Policemen and their rifles, prancing around on top of the buildings, making sure that the church was secure. And then when he entered the door, sometimes you were met by some of the dogs that had just sniffed out the church.

KAYE: While the White House is busy vetting, some churches have begun lobbying. First Baptist is touting its basketball court. It sent this letter inviting the president to visit.

The pastor at Calvary Baptist Church used her blog to invite the first lady, and a bishop for Founder United Methodist Church sent this welcome letter. (on camera) In all 14 presidents worshipped at this church, including President Clinton, who chose the Foundry. But what may really pull President Obama in may be the fact that President Lincoln, who he's especially fond of, helped raise money for this church.

(voice-over) Ultimately, the Obamas will decide, but the White House has been flooded with hundreds of church invitations.

Back at 19th Street Baptist...

(on camera) Have you or are you actively lobbying the first family to join here, as others have?

HARKINS: Absolutely not. I made the point of saying from the pulpit that we were not going to write any letters. We were not going to make any phone calls, and we were not going to strategize for the first family, that we were going to trust God's providential hand.


KAYE: If it's God's design that the Obamas should worship here, Reverend Derrick Harkins says that will be a blessing.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Coming up next, burglars caught on camera inside a woman's home. Her own sting operation paying off. There were some tense moments. Our "Shot of the Day." We'll show you the video that she saw.

And at the top of the hour, the showdown at sea. More pirates on the move tonight, human shields heading to a lifeboat, carrying American Captain Richard Phillips. It's getting more complicated. Our breaking news ahead.


COOPER: All right, Erica, time for "The Shot." A possible first in the brief history of the Web cam. A woman sitting in her office in Boynton Beach, Florida, watching her home being burglarized via her computer and then her frantic 911 call. Listen.


JEANNE: I'm sitting here watching them. Oh, God. God. I can't believe this. This is unbelievable. This is unbelievable.


JEANNE: He's running out the back door. He's running out the back door. He's going up.

Two people in the house. Oh, here comes another one. And big one, another one in a big jacket. He's in the back, in the back. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says another subject...

JEANNE: OK. Another one. Now they're running into the back. OK. They are looking out the back window. They're looking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two subjects now.

JEANNE: OK. Here's the -- he's running -- the other one is trying to figure out which way to go. The cat's freaked out. The dogs are hiding. Oh, my God! This is crazy. They've got things in their hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's OK. Ma'am, officers are surrounding your house. They're not going get away with anything.

JEANNE: Thank God they got there.


COOPER: Unbelievable. Cops rounded up the would-be thieves as they charged out of the house. Cops got there, it seems like, very quick.

HILL: Very quick.

COOPER: Short time later, officers picked up two accomplices.

HILL: I like that the cat was freaked out. The poor dogs.

COOPER: I know. The dogs are hiding.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: That's what those Labradoodles will do.

HILL: Jack (ph) is just so happy with you.

COOPER: We'll have the very latest on this situation, Captain Richard Phillips still on the lifeboat being held. Still, life on the line. We'll be right back.