tonight on "nightline," flying blind? it was the air france jet that went down killing everyone on board. today, the stunning official report said pilots could have saved that plane but didn't know how. a fairy tale broad. she rose to fame in the princess diaries. she was a playboy prince charming. it was true love but then he landed in jail for fraud. today an hathaway's ex tells his side of the story. in the line of fire, our reporters caught in the center of a fire fight as the u.s. back afghan army fights off the taliban with our troops preparing to withdraw, how ready is this army to stand alone?
this is "nightline," july 5, 2012. >> good evening. i'm terry moran. it was the plain that simply vanished. air france flight 447 bound from brazil to paris crashed in the at lanic ocean killing the 228 people on board. today, after a three-year investigation t official reports frightening conclusion the pilots could have saved that plane but did not know how tow. the report reaches a conclusion very similar to our investigation that we aired last month thon broadcast. now and elizabeth vargas takes us back to that night in june, 2009. >> reporter: it is three and ap half hours into the flight, almost 11:00 p.m. and the airplane is still cruising at 37,000 feet when captain mark, a
veteran pilot makes a fateful decision. >> it was air bus 8330 is heading into a thunderstorm off the coast of brazil, he gets up tow take a scheduled rest break. >> where on an a 330 does the captain go? >> only a few feet away. you can get back in ten seconds. >> reporter: is it only a few minutes later that a piece of equipment that reads the air speed suddenly fails. this means the automatic pilot system shuts off. it is now 11:10 p.m. now control of the aircraft and the lives of the 228 people on board is in the hands of the least experienced of the three-man crew, cedrik. bill of the flight safety and two test pilots joined us in a simulator to recreate what happened in the final crucial moments. >> the auto pilot disconnects. >> let's see how that looks.
there's a warning. the aircraft is now in my control. i have to fly it manually. >> reporter: all of a sudden the computers are not in charge. cedrik just 32 years old is. >> reporter: at this point captain makes his first mistake. she should have kept the plane flying. she shouldn't have changed anything. but instead, what did he do, he pulled the nose of the plane up? >> raising the nose of the plane is precisely the wrong thing to do. it can cause the airplane to start falling out of the sky. is the it the most baffling and disastrous minute of the flight. soon the plane stall warning goes off. but no one seems to pay any attention. >> it sounded total of 54 seconds which is a long time. >> as the stall gets worse, the plane becomes harder to fly. on the black box records the
captain says i don't have control of the airplane at all. by know the other co-pilot is calling for the captain. where is he he asked at one point. again, is he coming? >> they keep saying what's happening? what's happening? where is the captain. they call for the captain six times. >> yeah. >> reporter: we don't know but it took the captain more than a minute to return to the cockpit. what's happening is captain asks? i don't know what's happening one of the co-pilots answers. >> reporter: what does that tell you about what's going on in that cockpit? >> it seems that the pilots did not understand the situation and they were not aware that it had stalled. >> reporter: within seconds the plane has entered such a deep stall it is plum etting alt 120 miles an hour in the dark belly first with the nose slightly up. and in the confusion, co-pilot thinks his instruments are wrong. he asks, am i going down?
but now the plane is pitching and shuttering as it stalls. i got the chance to experience what that felt like in the air bus simulator. in the cockpit, confusion has turned to chaos. both co-pilots are now trying to fly the plane in opposite direction. at what altitude was this jumbo jet beyond saving. >> this aircraft got into a position where no one had ever designed it to be. somewhere in the area of 10 to 15,000 feet they were running out of options. >> reporter: it is too late but it is not until the final seconds that the pie t los realize the plane is doomed. >> reporter: the very last words we hear are from the pilot who says, but what's happening? >> exactly. just a complete confusion. >> in this case the pilots are too woshried and the computers and what the displays are
showing and whan the computer readouts are showing and it ended up costing tragic lives of many people and it didn't need to happen because it was a good airplane that the crew inadvertently flew into the water. >> stunning human error. thanks to elizabeth for that. just ahead, let's shift gears. he lived the high life with anne hathaway on his arms. now he stels us to going to jail. . before i started taking abilify, i was taking an antidepressant alone. tstels us to going to jail. estels us to going to jail. lstels us to going to jail. lstels us to going to jail. us to going to jail. me down. i'd been feeling stuck for a long time. so i talked to my doctor and she added abilify to my antidepressant. she said it could help with my depression, and that some people had symptom improvement as early as 1 to 2 weeks. i'm glad i talked to her. i wish i'd done it sooner. now i feel more in control of my depression.
[ female announcer ] abilify is not for everyone. call your doctor if your depression worsens or you have unusual changes in behavior, or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults. elderly dementia patients taking abilify have an increased risk of death or stroke. call your doctor if you have high fever, stiff muscles, and confusion to address a possible life-threatening condition. or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements, as these could become permanent. high blood sugar has been reported with abilify and medicines like it and in extreme cases can lead to coma or death. other risks include increased cholesterol, weight gain, decreases in white blood cells, which can be serious, dizziness on standing, seizures, trouble swallowing, and impaired judgment or motor skills. depression was always hanging over me. then my doctor added abilify to my antidepressant. now i feel better. [ female announcer ] if you're still struggling with depression talk to your doctor to see if the option of adding abilify is right for you. and be sure to ask about the free trial offer.
jump suits. he was released from prison skbrus weeks ago and he sat down with our reporter to tell his story. >> reporter: hollywood red carpet, vacations, breakfast on the yacht. it was a glamorous life, fitting for a starlet who shot to fame playing a princess. >> just because i'm royal doesn't mean i'm any different. i'm really the same person. >> for four and a half years, an hathaway's prince choiming was rafael, an italian businessman she met when she was just 21. she once told, the two worshipped each other. >> four and a half years, was it love? >> absolutely it was. >> but the fairy tale ended abrouptly when rafael was arrested in 2008 for defrauding investigators out of millions. >> but you wanted to make it big? >> i did absolutely. i thought that it was the american dream. >> overnight after rale went from the jet set to a jail cell,
convicted of using his investors money to pay for his lavish lifestyle. after four years in a pennsylvania prison, he's been deported back to italy where he's eager to move on. >> i'm not trying to -- i want to go on and live my life. >> do you think you've learned your lesson. >> absolutely i did. >> based on his personal charm, rafael managed to dupe celebrities, politicians and the vatican into trusting him. his yacht played host to then presidential candidate john mccain. and once he had into the highest level of society os, he used it to gain access to huge sums of money, much of which he spend on himself and his superstar girlfriend. >> how did it feel to spend other people's money? >> i had good intentions for the running of the business. i was not getting up in the morning and thinking, how can i spend other people's money. it was not that the point of dr. >> but the fife-star hotels t
jets, the yachts? you didn't think about that, not once? >> no. i was not thinking about that. >> reporter: he moved to new york from soern italy toic ma his fortune. his plan to connect real estate investors with the catholic church, which had lots of unwanted properties. it was looking to unload. the problem, according to the government s that rafael lied to his investors. telling them he had a formal role at the vatican and his company would have the right of first refusal on any church properties. did you tell investigators that you had close ties to vatican. >> i told investors that i had rex with the vatican. >> reporter: was that true? >> i was like a credit company that wanted to go to the different diocese and make an officer to buy rels from them was. >> reporter: whether it was the accent or photos like this,
investigators bought into it. billion snare and close friend of former president bill clinton. he went into business with rafael, investing 105 million dollars in the group to buy properties from the church. the partnership provided rafael with a big bank account and a new social circle. soon he was spending $97,000 on a private plane to take him and hathaway to the dominican republic, where they spent knew year's eve with clinton. >> let's give him a big hand. >> he went to president clinton's global initiative conference and pledged to spend $1 million vaccinating children. >> while she was living the life tile of a billionaire businessman, he was paying the bills with other people's money. $7,000 a month for a penthouse apartment, $16,000 on a few nights at this hotel in rome.
he used investors money for dog walking, the lab he shares with hathaway. >> how much do you think she knew with what was going on with you and your business? >> i don't think she knew anything. because we didn't have a business conversation. >> reporter: never discussed work at all? >> actually when we met, it was a sincere relation of two young people falling in love with each other? >> did you want to marry her? >> we talked about that several times. >> the romance came crashing down as his financials crumbled. you could hear the sat sadness in her voice as she talked about the breakup on the view? >> my personality is very girlish, bubbly, silly, the whole thing. not today i'm kind of somber today. >> but she was able to joke about it. >> i broke up with my italian boyfriend and two weeks later he was so to prison for fraud.
>> yeah. wow! we've all been there. am i right, ladies? >> while she was in jail, hathaway found a new love, adam sholman. >> how does that make you feel to see pictures with her fiance? >> i am very happy because i want the best for this person. >> while his american dream landed him in prison, he said he'll be back in business soon. >> you have two choices, one choice is to give up and be broke. or stay strong and overcome it. i choose the second one. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm in rome. >> a man who has paid his debt moving on. thanks for that. next up, abc news team embedded with american soldiers in afghanistan gets taugts in a taliban fire fight and we'll bring you the exclusive extraordinary footage. by what's getting done. the twenty billion dollars bp committed
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. there are about 88,000 troops in afghanistan fighting in up with of our country's longest and most frustrating wars. by 2014 president obama has pledged the reduce the number to zero. the u.s.-trained afghan army will have to stand alone against the taliban. our producer, embedded with american troops as they led an afghanistan army unit as they take the lead in a taliban firefight and here is what they saw. 4 >> reporter: the mission to sweep through and reclaim a remote vil rajs in afghanistan. the goal, remove taliban insurgents heavily entrenched there. this team the u.s. soldiers embedded with aren't the ones
taking the lead. their job now to train and guard the afghan armies. the more success tfl afghans are the sooner our troops can come home. >> we started from u.s. base called kalagush and entered the mountain valley just after sunrise. the first warning a sign of the threat. >> that flag was a taliban flag in the village. >> walking through the valley, it clear this is an afghan-led mission. it's their strategy and their fight. but the taliban had other plans and brought the fighting to us. >> we believe we may have walked into a bit of an ambush. we're caught in the cross fire. we can hear the gunshots are coming from up there on that ridge. what you hear, that's the afghan army. they are leading this fight and they are the ones returning the fire. >> with mortars and heavy machine gunfire surrounding us,
american soldiers quickly surveyed the threat. >> i just saw someone run back. >> they let the afghans decide the next moves. re-enforce that position we can send an assault element. >> for american soldiers, they're used to getting the job done. it's a complete shift. standing back as casualties mount, watching afghans decide for themselves. in the end, the afghan commander decides his troops won't go any further, asking the americans to call in air support. >> you have to do the best you can. you have to help them as they fight through it. >> reporter: we've come here to this area so treacherous, there's only one u.s. base in the entire province. >> we're 1000 feet above the ground right now. you get a sense of the challenges when you look outside, there are literally
thousands of places where militants can be hiding waiting to strike. >> we wanted to see how ready the afghans are to take on the taliban on their own. something they'd have to learn because eventually the americans won't be here as well. looking at this afghan army base right next to an american one. >> right now we have several afghan soldiers from the company living inside lockers that have been put together with tarps on top. that's where they're living. >> it's a testament to their character that they're able to stay in conditions like this and fight the enmy on a routine basis. >> look at how they're living. probably meanens they can't fight very well. >> he says the harsher you live the harder you fight. but the problems run deeper than just where they live. >> this trail we're on, the air is just light enough that it's making it difficult to breathe. some of the answers to those questions that we've been asking aren't here but way up there in that tiny observation post.
>> inside a u.s. army captain is teaching afghan soldiers how to call in for help. >> no one questions the afghan's will to fight. they've been doing it for decades. but some of these soldiers can't read let alone understand math. so the americans have brought pictures. despite a few hurdles like the afghan commander taking a nap mid way through the exercise. >> i would say they're ready, but i think they won't really know if they're ready until it's a real scenario. >> what will the afghans do once the u.s. withdraws. on the way out, two new taliban tlags, a reminder that while the mission is winding down, the taliban are far from gone. for "nightline," muhammad lila many afghanistan. >> thanks for the brave reporting there for muhammad lila. thank you for watching abc news.