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tv   Caught on Camera  MSNBC  December 11, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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that's all for now. i'm ann curry. from all of us at nbc news, thank you for joining us. terrifying accidents. >> oh, that is horrible. good lord. >> up in the thin air. and on the high seas. when danger calls, they are the ones to answer. >> we had him out in seconds. >> seeing this incredible act of instinctive heroism was just amazing. >> amazing acts of courage. >> i asked the man upstairs to help me. >> it was the obvious thing to do. it where us it was the human thing to do. >> lives hanging in the balance. >> i thought he was just knocked unconscious. i tried. >> in times of crisis, they rely on each other.
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>> i trust these guys with my life. if it took one of them guys going down also, i knew they would do that. we would do that for each other. it's a brotherhood. >> "caught on camera: extreme rescues." welcome to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. you're in a life-or-death situation and you can't help yourself. often survival depends not just on luck, but also on the heroic acts of another person. they might be trained rescue professionals or simply bystanders tapping into courage they never knew they had. watch what happens when a helicopter crashes into a remote pineapple field, pinning the pilot. a helicopter out of control. one man is frantically trying to save another man's life.
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it will take near superhuman strength, but warren ameral refuses to let his friend steve die, not here and not now. >> you know, you see your friend there. if you're not going to do nothing, you're going the lose your friend. so i asked the man upstairs to help me. >> warren, affectionately known by his friends as tiny, because of his size, need the help especially for what he is about to attempt. steve is in a ditch, unconscious, underwater, and his legs are pinned down by the weight of the chopper. it seems impossible, but tiny will somehow have to get the 2,000 pound helicopter off his body. victoria keith is there, too, filming the action. and she can't believe what she's witnessing. >> he's not moving at all. we couldn't tell whether he was alive or dead. >> tiny is moving fast, barking commands. but how will he get the ton of metal off the pilot?
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it will take more than instincts or heroism to save his friend's life. >> i know that when people are under stress, you can summon up some kind of strength that might not be available to you ordinarily. and i think that's what was going on with tiny. >> but tiny is also fueled by something else, a strong bond with the pilot, standing by an experience most people couldn't or wouldn't understand unless they were there. >> myself and steve cox were wounded in vietnam. >> tiny says he considers anyone he served with a brother. steve was a chopper pilot and tiny the captain of a small heavily armed riverboat. >> they did a lot of cover for us. we were taking heavy weapons fire. we were under attack. they used to fly over, give us cover. >> the two served at the same time but didn't know each other then. and now all these years later one of tiny's own is in trouble.
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>> that was the main thought in my mind. this is a vet, he's home with me. this is not a way for him to die. this is my buddy. we went through all we did to come home in this way? no. >> the two vietnam veterans, now employees of the hawaiian electric company, show up in this remote pineapple field earlier that day to move equipment and materials into the area. victoria keith is there, too, filming an instructional video for the company. >> i began filming some of the trips that steve was taking. he was a really great pilot. he was really familiar with the helicopter. steve was also a pilot in the "magnum" series. everyone in hawaii recognized the magnum helicopter. >> maybe you could find a place to set us down. >> it was brown and had an orange stripe on it. >> steve makes three trips with his famous helicopter. victoria films from below and everything seems routine until the fourth trip when steve reports mechanical trouble to tiny on the radio.
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>> tiny began saying things like oh, come on, steve, you did it in nam, you know, you can get this bird down. >> steve momentarily regains control of the chopper. >> so he says he's going to land it. as he's coming down, he still had eratic movement. then he had the bird under control. i said, oh, he's got it, everything is fine. he's got it. bring it down. >> when it was about two feet from the earth, it just turned over on its side and came right for us with the rotors sideways. i thought it might explode. >> fuel is leaking from the crashed craft, and it could blow at any second. but that's not what's on tiny's mind. >> in vietnam we see a lot of choppers crash on the river. you react quickly. if you don't, you lose a buddy. >> so tiny gets to the smoldering helicopter fast. >> when i got to the ditch,
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steve was under water. couldn't see anything. so i didn't know if he was alive or if he was dead. >> get on the radio, call dispatch. >> firing orders, tiny instructs another worker to get steve's head above water. that's when tiny sees his biggest problem. >> his leg is stuck. >> at that time is when i found out his foot was pinned. >> tiny told his assistant, i'm going to lift this helicopter. i want you to reach under there and grab his foot. >> he said, warren, it's bent. there's no way. i don't think steve's going to make it. i said, only thing we can do is lift this thing and get his leg free. >> tiny then reached down, lifted up the rotors, and did kind of a sumo wrestler, aah sound. lifted the helicopter with his bare hands. tiny said, you got his foot? and henry said, yeah. he said, two feet?
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he had both feet cleared and then he set the helicopter back down. it was like incredible! >> but steve is not out of danger yet. he's breathing but still unconscious when tiny and the other workers lift him onto the bank. >> get some blankets. >> and at that point, he lifted his hand up, and we knew he was alive. so that was a great relief. >> tiny sees steve's arm is badly injured, so he takes his shirt off and packs the arm in ice. >> you're all right. >> i think -- it's that kind of training that comes with the battlefield experience. you have certain knowledge of what has to be done in an emergency and you just do it. >> but now tiny can hand it off to the paramedics who arrive by air. >> let's get you on a backboard,
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okay? >> steve is brought to the nearest hospital with only a broken arm to show for the accident. victoria thinks he has tiny to thank for that. >> he didn't seem to think for a moment that he couldn't do that. it was just, okay, his foot is trapped, i'm going to have to lift this helicopter. seeing this incredible act of just instinctive heroism was quite amazing. >> in the weeks and months that follow, tiny is hailed a hero. but tiny doesn't see it that way at all. he says it's natural, not heroic, to help in that situation. but he's especially glad he was able to help his friend. >> it made me feel good that i helped one of my veterans. it's emotional when you think of one of your buddies. i'm home. a lot of guys didn't come home. that's the emotional part for me
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is my friends who didn't make it home. i never want to see a friend die like that again. >> tiny's friends watched the video of him pulling that helicopter up, and they tell him they wish he would have pulled up something else as well. >> they joke to me about my pants because my pants were so low, they said the moon was showing over hawaii. a normal day at a trapeze school turns upside down. >> oh, my god. >> we saw a body floating down the river. >> can they get to the victim in time? >> and -- >> an incredible force literally ripped me from the mountain. >> nine climbers tumble into a crevasse at mt. hood. >> this is kind of tricky flying when you're that close to the edge of a mountain. >> and when rescuers try to save them, disaster strikes. >> oh, my goodness. oh, that is horrible! >> when "caught on camera: extreme rescues" continues. just one phillips' colon health probiotic cap a day
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september 22nd, 2005. class is in full swing at trapeze school new york. beginners are learning to fly and catch from instructors, including jonas speer. >> it was -- i think it was our first class of the day. >> sweep, legs not so high and back. >> we spend two hours with them working on the ground and in the air on flying trapeze tricks. >> one of the students takes his turn on the bar. a classmate films him with his digital camera. >> we were flying on the trapeze, i was up on the board getting ready to do my flight, and emergency personnel came in. >> a police officer showed up at
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the gate, and he said, hey, does anybody have some rope or anything? we kind of got down and said, well, yeah, we're a trapeze school. what do you need? >> a man has just fallen into the hudson river, which sits next to the trapeze school. without blinking, jonah and co-instructor paul cannon grabbed rope and other rescue equipment and take off toward the river. >> when we get there, we saw a body floating down the river about 25 or 30 feet out. >> somehow a man, later identified as james cue, has fallen into the river and now appears unconscious and needs saving. a small crowd is building, but nobody seems to be doing anything. with no time to waste, paul jumps in. jonah ties a rope to the edge of the rail and jumps off the eight-foot ledge after him. >> i was scared of jumping in the water. i didn't know what was under there, i didn't know if i was going to impale myself on something. >> i was like, oh, my god, what
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are they doing? are they crazy? i didn't know what was going to happen. >> by the time jonah and paul get into the water, the victim is nowhere to be found. both trained lifeguards, jonah and paul frantically searched the murky water, knowing they did have much time. >> we both had our heads above water and looking around and we couldn't see him. we knew he was under. we looked at each other and just went under and we both swam straight down to see if we could run into something. >> but the man is nowhere in sight. they dive down again, and this time paul doesn't come up alone. jonah rushes to help. >> when we got to the surface, paul had his arm around james and was holding his head above the water. james was completely limp, ashen gray. i didn't know if he was a corpse, really, at that point. >> james isn't breathing, and
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joe nay knows he needs to get him out of water fast fast, but hoisting him to solid ground becomes an impossible task. >> it was a fool's errand. he was too heavy and the rope was too thin. and regardless of the strength of the guys up on shore, it wasn't working. >> just then, jonah realizes that some of those bystanders are students from his class and they're wearing something that could help. >> do you want a belt? i have one on. >> all our students are standing there with safety belts. so we had one of them throw a safety belt down. paul held him up and treaded water like a champion, and i ducked under and tied the safety belt around him real quickly. >> with the belt securely in place, rescuers give it everything they have pulling james up. >> oh, my god. this guy is dead. >> when they get him to the surface, it appears their courageous efforts were in vain. >> he looked like he was dead. >> but one of the students in the class knows cpr. after about a minute of breathing and chest compressions, james finally began to show some signs of life.
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>> he began foaming at the mouth and nose we knew he was breathing on his own again, and almost to the point we could see he was breathing on his own again. and that was amazing, amazing to watch him literally come back to life. >> the paramedics arrive about ten minutes later to take him to the hospital. he checks him out and and he's okay and makes a full recovery. neal believes his teachers were extremely courageous to risk their lives to save another. >> they just went with it and did what they had to do. they did not stop to think about it at all. they really did an amazing job and they are heroes, in my book. coming up -- >> there was a loud squealing sound, and the next instant the wildest bungee jump you've ever been on. >> four bridge inspectors teetering high above a river. >> just dangling there. wasn't sure what they were doing. if they would figure out how to get us. were we hopeless?
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and fishermen caught in the perfect storm. >> they're pitting themselves against mother nature. mother nature wins sometimes. a massive wave washes the captain and the crewmen into the frigid water. >> there were about three others that came through just boom, boom, boom. we're sitting there like, what are we going to do now? >> when "caught on camera: extreme rescue" continues. their new blackberry from at&t? it's 4g, so you can do more faster. so, kathryn, post more youtube videos of your baby acting adorable. baby. on it. matt, ignore me and keep updating your fantasy team. huh? jeff, play a game. turbo-boosting now, sir. dennis, check in everywhere you go on foursquare. that's mayor dennis... of the water cooler. you're the best. liz, rock out to pandora. oh, no i'm an only child. and nick, you shouldn't even be here, you can do everything from the golf course. good? good. [ male announcer ] on at&t, blackberry® torch moves at the speed of 4g. ♪ oh, there's a prize, all right. [ male announcer ] inside every box of cheerios are those great-tasting little o's made from carefully selected oats that can help lower cholesterol. is it a superhero? kinda.
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yes, i have an emergency at the green point bridge construction site. >> what's wrong? a crane arm snaps, leaving three people dangling underneath the danes point bridge nearly 150 feet above the st. john's river in jacksonville, florida. when fire division chief randy napoli arrives 15 minutes later, he knows he has his work cut out for him. >> i could see that basket dangling, and i thought we could lose the arm and the three individuals on it. if the boom hit the water from over 100 feet, it would not have been a good situation. >> kim brooks is one of the people clinging to life in that basket. she's a department of transportation intern.
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earlier that morning she arrived, excited to inspect her first big bridge. >> the bridge had been recently constructed, so we were checking for stress cracks. when we had to go underneath the bridge and over the water, some anxiety. >> but kim is out with a group of veterans. a senior bridge inspector and two contractors who helped build the bridge. none of them anticipate any danger. suddenly the engine on t mechanical arm gives out. >> there was a loud squealing sound and the next second, the wildest bungee jump you've ever been on. >> instantly one of the contractors is thrown into the river, and the other three are now teetering between life and death. >> i was afraid, but there's a natural instinct to survive. >> but there isn't much kim can do. she's lying helpless, along with colleague sam martin in the unstable bucket, trying their best not to move.
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kim is very concerned about sam. he has a medical condition, and she fears the trauma of the accident may affect his heart. >> sam looked extremely red with the pressure, you know. that was my concern, making sure he remained calm. >> but kim knows if they have it bad, contractor bruce boyles has it worse. he's hanging below them from his safety harness, which is still connecting him to the bucket. one wrong move could send them all crashing into the water below. >> we were just encouraging him to hang on, hang in there, help was on the way. >> kim doesn't know it from her position in the bucket, but the contractor who fell into the river has survived and is pulled to safety below. now rescuers on the bridge are trying to devise a plan to save the rest of them. >> captain randy fulford was one of the individuals that i knew had recent high-angle rescue training that i knew would make the rescue more safe, both for the individuals we were rescuing, but also for our own rescuers. >> firefighters record the action with their own video cameras.
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they're hoping to catch this rare high-angle rescue on camera to be used in training video one day. minutes pass. they're prepping captain fulford. but down in the bucket, kim is starting to wonder if they'll ever be saved. >> just dangling there, i wasn't sure what they were doing. were they figuring out how to get us? were we hopeless? >> but now he's on his way to captain kim and the others. >> i couldn't feel him necessarily moving when he was coming down. but clearly you can feel -- we felt his weight when he stood on top of the boom. >> remarkably, despite the added weight, the bucket holds steady. finally, after just under an hour of uncertainty, captain fulford is a welcome sight to an exhausted kim brooks. >> okay. >> it was comforting enough to know that we were okay. >> okay, but she's not on her way to safety just yet. after assessing the condition of the bucket, fulford decides bruce needs to come up first.
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>> we knew that individual was under more stress than the other two. >> hold it! >> all right. hold on. >> it's a quick ride up, only two minutes. but bruce boyles can't get his feet on steady ground fast enough. >> glad to be back. >> next, it's kim's turn. and she's pulled to safety in a matter of minutes too. >> the adrenaline rush just knowing that you were being rescued. anything that was remotely a concern quickly went out the window. >> last, but not least, finally sam martin, like kim and bruce before him, is out of the bucket and on safe ground. it's a long hour and a half, but amazingly everyone has now been rescued. division chief napoli credits all of the police and fire crews on the bridge that day with saving the inspectors' lives.
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>> it was a difficult, technical rescue with a high possibility of loss of life. >> he believes things would have been much worse if the whole crane arm had fallen into the water. >> i think they would have either sunk with the piece of equipment or the trauma they sustained when it hit the water would have not been good for them. >> while some of the inspectors did suffer minor injuries, the emotional impact of the accident has had a lasting effect on kim. she left her internship at the department of transportation shortly after the crane arm collapse and now works for the u.s. army corps of engineers restoring the everglades. >> i can clearly say that the kim that went down that particular day in the boom was not the same person that was hoisted up. now i'm a better person making better choices, and i value people more than i did beforehand. an accident high atop mt.
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hood. >> i saw his wedding ring, and that really made me upset, knowing that he had someone that had no idea that he might not make it off that mountain. >> but choppers are on the way. >> this is a kind of tricky flying when you're that close to the edge of the mountain. >> at a higher altitude the air is thinner, so the helicopter has to work harder to maintain a hover. and -- >> i was saying to myself, got to hit the building because if the ladder came all the way down he was going to die. >> when "caught on camera: extreme rescues" continues. so i was the guy who was never going to have the heart attack.
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i thought i was invincible. i'm on an aspirin regimen now because i never want to feel that helplessness again. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. talk to your doctor, and take care of what you have to take care of. how about the beat of a healthy heart? campbell's healthy request soup is delicious, and earned this heart, for being heart healthy. ♪
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i'm melissa rehberger. here's what's happening. control of another u.s. military base in iraq is being handed over today. this one's about 20 miles outside of baghdad. it comes as the u.s. prepares to withdraw its forces entirely by the end of the year. gop presidential candidate newt gingrich has a strong lead in the polls today.
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the nbc/marist poll shows him ahead of mitt romney by 15 points in florida and 20 points in south carolina. that's the news for this hour. now back to "caught on camera." welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. professional rescuers try to train for every scenario. but by its nature, a rescue usually involves some element of danger. so what happens when things go horribly wrong and things are turned upside down and it's the rescuers who need rescuing? a deadly accident. nine mountain climbers tumble one after another into a crevasse at mt. hood in oregon. a helicopter swoops down for a daring rescue into thin air, 11,000 feet up. >> it is amazing that we have the kind of folks that will go up on a mountain like this and put their lives on the line.
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>> but the situation quickly goes from bad to worse. >> oh, that's horrible. good lord. oh, fellows. my goodness. you're watching this live, folks. if you know a prayer, say it. >> and now it's the rescuers who need help. just moments before the rescue chopper came crashing to the ground, its arrival was the most welcome sight to selena maestas. one of the climbers waiting on the ice, hoping for a miracle. this is her first trip to mt. hood. and just before the climb that morning, she has an uneasy feeling, admitting to her boyfriend, jeremiah, she's nervous. >> jeremiah and i promised each other that no one would die on this trip. >> it was a joke, of course. but then selena and jeremiah, both paramedics, attempting the summit with experienced climbers, six of them, paramedics or firemen. so they set out about 4:00 a.m.
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on a perfect spring morning. and by can a.m., their group is nearing the summit. >> it was great. i had a great rhythm going. i was excited. it was gorgeous up there. i was thinking at the summit, i couldn't imagine what i was going to be able to see from up there. >> just before the push to the top selena and the others are standing on a spiny ridge just above this menacing crevasse known as the bertram. >> when i got up there and looked down, i was surprised at how big it was. >> just as selena and her group approaches the imposing the crevasse, her group and others are enjoying a view. >> it was crystal clear, just perfect. perfect. >> meanwhile, in selena and jeremiah's group, the seven climbers decide to follow an old climbing tradition. the group leaders split family members and loved ones into two different rope climbs, separating jeremiah and selena and father and son, cleve and coal joiner. >> his whole reason behind that
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was in case there was an accident, that the families wouldn't be together, so there would be a better chance of survival or less injury. >> just before jeremiah goes on ahead, selena pulls him aside again with that nagging feeling. >> i whispered it because i didn't want anyone to know this since i was the only girl. i said, i am really scared right now. he said, we'll be okay. >> it's just before 9:00 a.m. selena and jeremiah's groups are en route to the top while a preacher and harry sledder are in a group heading down. >> we were at a stop, on the ridge, and i saw a red flash. >> the red flash? harry's friend bill ward in a red jacket hurtling down the mountain. >> an incredible force literally ripped me from the mountain. i remember watching my ice ax just rip through the ice. >> it's all happening so fast. harry and his friend bill and several others are in one tangled mess heading right for selena. >> i put my head down because
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all the ice was coming down on us and just prayed that we didn't get hit. but i was fully expecting an impact. >> then the bodies just started sliding into the crevasse. you could hear them thump. >> selena is somehow spared from the fall, but her boyfriend, jeremiah, is not as lucky. cleve's son cole, too, gone with several others. >> there was just dead silence. and i remember just sitting there looking and a thousand things went through my mind. the very first one was, they're all dead. >> 911, what's the location of your emergency? >> this is on mt. hood on the south side, about 800 feet from the peak. we have seven people down, possibly four injured. they fell into the crevasse. >> the news is more grim that cleave thinks. nine people, not seven, have fallen in. and if it only were just injuries. harry sledder, now deep in the
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crevasse, rolls on to his side and finds fellow climber john biggs lying next to him. >> i thought he was just unconscious. knox knocked unconscious. he was -- sorry. i tried. >> two more who had fallen, three in all, suffered the same awful fate. three climbers dead. >> i had this wonderful trip where half an hour ago we were all smiling, go to the other extreme. >> cleve joiner doesn't know it, standing 30 feet above, but his son, cole, has survived. >> i didn't even get the wind knocked out of me when i landed. so i just got up and did whatever i could. >> the call his dad, cleve joiner, makes to 911 sets in
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motion a massive rescue operation. six national guard and air force helicopters are on their way, but they're hours away. of the six people still alive in the crevasse, three are badly hurt and need medical attention. and then all of a sudden, the sound of chopper blades through the thin mountain air. >> when you hear a helicopter, you hang so much hope that your friend is going to get off the mountain and get to a trauma center and be okay. >> but when they realize what the sound is, it's crushing news. >> breaking news today on mt. hood. >> rescuers are going after a group of climbers who have fallen into a crevasse. >> turns out the first choppers to get there are news helicopters responding to the breaking story. >> i was expecting something else, and here's a media helicopter flying up. >> the news helicopters are no
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help to the injured. they're not equipped for rescue. and by now, the survivors in the crevasse managed to get the most critically injured climber, a man named chris kern, up to the surface. selena, a trained paramedic, tends to him. >> he would be in and out of consciousness. his hands were freezing. i had an extra pair of gloves. so i took off his wet gloves to put the dry ones on and i saw his wedding ring. that really made me upset knowing that he had someone that had no idea what was going on, that he might not make it off that mountain. >> then finally, at 12:50 p.m., four hours after the accident, the first national guard blackhawk arrived. it's dangerous flying in the thin air atop the mountain, but the chopper holds steady, lifting two of the most critically injured patients, chris kern and thomas hillman
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off the mountain. >> the prettiest sight i ever saw was seeing chris going up in the litter and being flown off. weight of the world off my shoulders. >> now jeremiah moffett is the only injured patient left on the slope. but that national guard blackhawk needs to refuel. >> also flying over the summit over the top of the summit is another military helicopter. >> waiting in the wings an air force pave hawk, a little heavier than the black hawk the national guard used, but the pilots believe they have enough power to pofrm a rescue, even at that altitude. >> this is tricky flying when you're that close to the edge of the mountain. >> as the chopper approaches, all seems well. the pilot eases in perfectly, lowering a parajumper with a litter on to the slope. next as the pave hawk huddles close to the icy surface, the jumper hooks jeremiah's litter to the helicopter's heavy metal cable. now every second is crucial. and then, suddenly, a change in the wind.
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>> there we are, talking about things going on. hang on, fellows. oh, my goodness. oh, that is horrible. good lord. oh, fellows. oh, my goodness. you're watching this live, folks. >> i absolutely couldn't believe what i was seeing. >> more than six tons of metal flip over seven and a half times, rotors going in every direction. debris and the crewmen flying everywhere. jeremiah, who thought he was safe seconds earlier, nowhere to be found. >> i thought he was still attached to that bird. that scared me to death. >> and then something truly amazing. >> i looked immediately to where jeremiah had been on the mountain and he was still there. >> jeremiah moffett is saved. >> when the helicopter started to lose control, the flight engineer who has been hanging
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out and hanging onto the cable was able to get across the cab and hit a button which shirred the cable and essentially blew it off so i was no longer attached to the helicopter. the six crew members in the helicopter came to help jeremiah, but now they're the ones who need help. look at the replay of the videotape. they're ejected, and the hulking helicopter rolls over some of them twice on the way down. but the mountain has another miracle in store on this day amazingly, only two of the six crew members suffer broken bones. the most seriously hurt, the flight engineer who had cut the cable, saving jeremiah's life and risking his own. eventually another helicopter picks jeremiah up, and all three of the men choppered off the mountain are treated for their injuries. all three know they're the lucky ones. >> there's a day that doesn't go by that i don't think about bill or rick or john.
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i do think about them and how all of our lives have changed. >> selena maestas says she learned a few things the day of that horrible accident, and she, too, is forever changed. >> i definitely listen to my instincts, the little voice that made me scared before it all started. i'm going to make sure i listen next time to it. >> a year later selena went back to mt. hood with jeremiah, and this time made it to the top, and then after that, took an easier walk down the aisle with now husband jeremiah. coming up, firefighters battling a blaze. >> we didn't know if mark was being burned to death. we didn't know if he was incapacitated or unconscious. the captain of a ship thrown into icy waters. and now he needs to be fished out. >> even if we had gotten the basket right to him, did he have enough strength left over? >> when "caught on camera: extreme rescues" continues. when you have tough pain, do you want fast relief?yer.
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fire department emergency. >> there's a structure fire fully engulfed. >> a fire rages through an abandoned apartment building in kansas city, missouri. >> we've got the top floor of a three-story parent building heavily involved. >> temperatures inside the building soar to more than 1,000 degrees, and the structure isn't stable, so the firefighters mount an aerial attack, spraying water from 100-foot ladders hovering over the flames. >> put a man on watch. >> flames threaten a neighboring building, so firefighter mark ashley is told to get up on another ladder to prevent any more destruction. >> looking good up here right now.
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>> looks like laser beams. >> ashley hooks himself in and tells personnel below to turn on his water. firefighter robert bates is standing directly behind the truck. >> mark was on the very tip of the ladder, and i remember hearing the sound of metal and a twisting. it made a very eerie sound. >> bates looks on in horror as mark's ladder buckles. >> it kind of just turned over and started to descent toward the building. >> sector chief tommy walker is in shock, fearing the worst. >> i honestly think i'll be going to mark's funeral. i honestly think our flags will be at half mast. i honestly think i'll be informing his widow that mark was killed at an incident. >> mark is strapped to the ladder. he can't get free fast enough, so he does the only thing he can. he braces for impact. >> i was just saying to myself, god, let it hit the building. because i knew if the ladder came all the way down, he's going to die. >> it hit the edge of the roof,
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it bounced, and it stayed. >> the roof of the burning building does save him from an almost certain death, but the relief is short-lived. >> dispatchering this is 102. send another ambulance to this location. >> now all that stands between mark and the concrete 35 feet below is a broken ladder and the crumbling wood of a burning balcony. >> for a split second i was like, what are we going to do? what are we going to do? at that time i started running toward the building. >> mark ashley is clouded in smoke, teetering just six feet away from flames. now a man who spent nearly a decade rescuing others waits for his own rescue. >> three truck, come on back down and get that guy out of there. >> truck three, shut off your water and bring it down. >> chief walker orders another truck on the scene to help, but the radio malfunctions and the orders never reach truck three. >> this is 102. give me emergency tone.
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>> time is running out. >> we didn't know if mark was being burned to death. we didn't know if he was incapacitated or unconscious, if he was injured. we had a matter of seconds. >> robert bates and other firefighters quickly raise a rescue ladder and climb to the top. firefighter rick carpo reaches the weakened roof first. now, he, too, is in danger. >> as i was going across, i was noticing that every place i touched the roof, my elbows, my knees, it was breaking down. i tried to spread out as much as possible to disperse my weight. i couldn't see him because of the smoke, but i was able to hear him and got him to reach out and hold his hand. >> but neither firefighter is in the clear yet. the same roof that buckled under the weight of one man must now support two. >> all i saw was rick, the end of his boot. so i grabbed his boot, and i asked h imif he had mark. he said, yeah, i got him. we got to get off the roof now. we got to get off the roof. the roof is going to go. so i just kind of pulled his
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foot towards the ladder, and i went down. >> the three men, each one clinging to the next, make their way back to the rescue ladder and finally to safety. >> thank god i'm alive because i was scared to death. i was thinking about my children. i thought i was going to fall to the ground. i was just so happy to hit that building. i could hear the guys telling me to be calm, be calm, we're coming for you. i didn't want to move until i had the other fireman's hand. he said, come on, big boy, we're going to get you down. as i grasped his hand, i felt safer. i knew that he wouldn't have let go of me no matter what. >> if anything, the ordeal has strengthened their commitment to firefighting and to each other. >> i trust these guys with my life every day. i knew they were going do whatever it took to get me. if it took another one going down also, i knew they would do that. because we do that for each other. it's a brotherhood. coming up, a boat stuck in the ice in the bering sea.
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>> when we heard them say survival suits on, that keyed us to say this is not a salvage anymore, boys, we better be ready for a rescue. >> when "caught on camera: extreme rescue" continues. just one phillips' colon health probiotic cap a day helps defends agas" continues.c, gas and bloating. with three strains of good bacteria to help balance your colon. you had me at "probiotic." [ female announcer ] phillips' colon health. oh, there's a prize, all right. [ male announcer ] inside every box of cheerios
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commercial fishing is one of america's most dangerous jobs. >> we've got boats that go down, we've got fishermen that fall overboard. >> and the most dangerous type of fishing is crab fishing. the reason? the best season for crabs is during the worst weather. >> they're pitting themselves against mother nature. mother nature wins sometimes. >> lieutenant commander laura gooth is a helicopter rescue pilot for the coast guard stationed in alaska. she sees a lot of action in one of the most brutal places on earth -- the bering sea. on this day, the alaskan monarch, a 96-foot schooner, is filled with 100,000 pounds of
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snow crab, and it's stuck in the ice just off the coast of st. paul island, smack in the middle of the bering sea. when the boat's rudder snaps off, the four men on board are in trouble. >> i got a phone call that said, hey, we've got a fishing vessel that's trapped in the ice in st. paul, and we need you to go up there. >> gooth and her crew will have to fly 600 miles to get to the ship, which will take them six hours. meanwhile, the coast guard cutter rushes toward st. paul island, muscles in as close as it can, and tries firing tow lines across the ice to the alaskan monarch, but it doesn't work. lieutenant commander's gooth's chopper is half an hour from the island when she begins hearing radio transmissions from the two ships. >> we hear the captain from the monarch telling them we're coming close to the rocks, we're putting our survival suits on. when we heard them say,
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"survival suits on," that keys us to say, this is not a salvage anymore, boys, we'd better be ready for a rescue. >> by the time laura gooth maneuvers her chopper over the bow of the monarch, four crewmen are ready to leave the ship. while the crew's being rescued, captain morris hanson and his engineer decide to stay aboard and wait it out. the captain is reluctant to leave his ship. >> he said that he wanted to try one more time. he wanted to try one more time to try to salvage the vessel. >> yeah, we've just grounded. we just grounded. >> just after we moved off, they went on the rocks. >> the wind and relentless surf have pushed the monarch too far. so the coast guard radios back down. they want to take hanson and his engineer off the ship. gooth sets her coast guard helicopter at the bow again. and wearing survival suits, the captain and the engineer will need to cross the boat from the wheelhouse to the bow. >> from our point of view they got about halfway across. we saw the captain slip, go down
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on his knees, and this huge mound of ice just crushed -- came across the beck and swept them overborder. >> oh, no! >> the two men are flung into 28-degree water. the tide pulls them dangerously close to the monarch. it looks like they'll be crushed by their own ship. now they're at the mercy of mother nature. >> waves come in sets, so not only were they hammered by that one wave that washed them over, there were about three others that came through, just boom, boom, boom, right on top of them, crushing them. we're sitting up here going, what are we going to do now? >> the wind is howling at 30 to 40 knots, but pilot gooth moves fast. she maneuvers her chopper tight between the monarch and the coast guard ship. with a steady hand she holds her position, and the crew drops their rescue basket down to the engineer. >> i have never seen anybody get in a basket that fast. he wanted out of there real bad. >> now it's the skipper's turn,
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if they can get him. >> at this point, you can just barely see the captain. we're getting the basket down to him. and this is where the flight man told me he's got the basket but he's got a chunk of ice on top of him. >> hanson has been in the water more than two minutes now, and even with a survival suit on, with the weight of the ice on his chest, laura gooth knows hypothermia has to be setting in. >> even if we had gotten the basket right to him, did he have enough strength left over? >> fortunately the answer is yes. >> i can remember coming up to the doorway and my arms felt just like lead and i tried to lift them and they just hurt, ached. and the thing that went through my mind was, god, i finally get rescued, and now i'm going to die of a heart attack. >> but captain hanson isn't having a heart attack. he is, as laura gooth expects, hypothermic. he also has a cracked rib and bruises cover his body from the pounding he's taken from the ice and the rocks. but he's thankful to be alive.
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>> it's wonderful to know that there's people like that out there when you're -- when they're needed. it gives you a good feeling. >> i was just doing my job. i know that sounds trite. but the fact is that's what we do. we take a great deal of pride not only in us as pilots but also our crew being able to pull off the impossible. >> soon after that amazing rescue laura gooth got a letter from the alaska monarch's engineer. he told her when he went in the water, he thought he would probably die. but when he saw those rotor blades turning overhead, he knew right away if he did his job, staying alive, she would do hers too. and that is what keeps laura gooth on the job. if you have a video you'd like to send to us, you can log onto our web site, i'm contessa brewer. that's all for this edition of "caught on camera."


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