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tv   Caught on Camera  MSNBC  May 11, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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sizzling 2,000 degree lava decimates a village. >> lava is the winner when it comes to man versus lava. a lightning bolt makes a direct hit. >> oh, my god. wild time lapse footage of a mammoth dust storm. >> the storm spanned from one side of the horizon to the other. >> baseball-size hailstones. >> it's in my room. >> massive wildfires. >> it looked apocalyptic to me. >> mother earth at her worst 69 >> i totally thought i was going to die. >> and the cameras are rolling.
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"caught on camera: man versus nature." welcome to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. the power of the natural world surrounds us and although it can be awe inspiring it could be deadly. disaster could strike without warning and leave behind other devastation. when battle lines are drawn between man and nature, frequently, nature has the upper hand. it's like a time lapse movie scene. >> this looked like something apocalyptic. some kind of end of the world moment. >> although you could see it coming from miles away -- >> look at the size of this thing. oh, yeah. >> you can't escape it.
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hot, dry weather is the stuff of legend in the sprawling metropolis of phoenix, arizona. here in the valley of the sun, summer temperatures can exceed 100 degrees for weeks on end. being surrounded by desert only makes things hotter. on july 5th, 2011, the combination results in a spectacular phenomenon that fills the sky. >> the storm spanned from one side of the horizon to the other. >> this time lapse must be seen to be believed. the storm is called a haboob. >> a haboob is an arabic term and it means the wind. we generally just use the word dust storm. >> the wind from a dying summer thunderstorm kicks up enough dust to produce a dense, massive wall, advancing towards the city. while some take cover, veteran storm chaser and video
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for james blane sees this storm as a perfect photo op. >> get your camera, i don't care what you're doing. get out to the nearest hill you can. as soon as i got to the nearest intersection, i saw it coming. >> this one is special. >> it was extensive in both how big it was, it stretched for more than 90 miles. how tall it was, it was more than a mile high, according to some reports, but it was an incredibly dense storm, it was like a wall of dust, actually enveloping you. >> blaine is seven miles away on an overlap and the time lapse takes up almost his whole entire field of vision. >> i got my tripod and i took a step back to see the scale of this thing. >> look at the size of this thing. oh o yeah. >> blaine watches in awe as the gargantuan with storm swallows up south phoenix.
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>> watch how fast it's coming. watch it engulf that light right here. should be here in, oh, probably less than four minutes. that's my guess. over here we got people playing softball, they don't even know what's about to hit them. >> warnings have gone out on tv and radio, but many phoenix residents remain unaware of the approaching bahema. >> you could literally see airplanes trying to get out of the storm's path. >> the colossal cloud moves with surprising speed and within 2 1/2 minutes the end of the storm reaches blaine's location in tempe. >> here it comes. it rolled in way quicker than i thought it was going to. >> day turns to night in an instant. >> when it rolled in, it immediately went pitch black.
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you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. this is incredible. that's the park we were just looking at. >> it kind of hits just like this huge wall of wind and you're also getting sand blasted that same time. dust and sand swirling around you and getting in your teeth and getting in your eyes. you could hardly hold your eyes open. >> well, i think we got the shot and we'll have to shoot another day. my next thing was trying to get to safety. get to lower ground. >> but the task proves impossible. blaine can't find his car. can't even see. >> it really becomes black as night. you get a sense that it's kind of the end of the world because it's this rusty, brown color that envelops you. >> blaine finally makes out the
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faint red lights of cars paralyzed when the massive haboob extinguished the street lights. this sudden darkness is the most perilous aspect of the storm, one that can can result in deadly accidents on the road. >> the primary danger that these people are going to experience is the rapid loss of this visibility, par particularly if you u're in any kind of a vehicle, like car, a plane, what have you. you run the risk of crashing that vehicle because you simply cannot see what is in front of you. >> and this large, dense haboob stares no square inch of ground in its path. this time lapse by photographer michael binski shows a different angle. from this spot near the heart of the city, you can see the storm roll right over the phoenix skyline, including a busy i-10 in the foreground. but just before the haboob
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reaches the highway, he makes a mad dash for safety. >> when the dust storm hit, i had jumped in my car and it was instantaneous blackout. i'd never been in a dust storm that turned the lights off that fast before. >> incredibly, the historic haboob on july 5th rolls through the city without a single death reported. he credits phoenix residents for observing proper haboob protocol. >> it might have been due to the warning that the national weather service was able to get r put out about this, but one of the really nice things about this particular storm was there were very few injuries associated with it. people were able to do the things they were supposed to do. pull off to the side of the road, turn their lights off and take their feet off the brake. >> the city doesn't escape completely unscathed. the dense storm leaves thousands without electricity after blowing down multiple power poles. >> power just went out. >> for millions of others, the storm is a nuisance, but nothing more. >> i was getting all kind of
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comments from other parts of the world that hadn't seen storms like this. people wondering how many people died, wondering if i died. i made sure to comment back that me and my gear were okay and that it was a cool experience. >> phoenix is no stranger to these storms. another haboob two months later leave the bride and groom in the dust. >> congratulations. you may kiss the bride. >> and makes their day to remember beyond unforgettable. but no storm that follows can compare to the july 5th event, the haboob of the decade. >> look at the size of this thing. oh, yeah. coming up, baseball-size hailstones. leave one family with no where to run. >> it's in my room. when "caught on camera: man versus nature" continues.
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>> oh, crap! you may have seen hail storms. >> look how big that is. i've never seen hail that big. >> but you've probably never seen anything like this. >> oh, my god! it's in my room! >> armageddon. armageddon. >> spring in oklahoma often brings crazy weather. but on may 16th, 2010, no one could anticipate what is about to rain down. photographer aaron snow is at home with his family as the morning breaks. >> the day started out bright and sunny. wind got heavier and heavier and so we started filming from the front door. when oklahomans see hail in late spring, they prepare for what may follow, severe lightning or
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even a tornado. but from the moment aaron and his wife, jen, spot the size of the first few hailstones, they realize this time the hail itself may do the greatest damage. >> my whole family is at the front door watching the wind and everything pick up. >> that is going to do damage. those are bigger -- >> oh, no. >> and then we noticed like these huge pieces of ice just coming out of the sky. >> they're almost baseballs. >> within second, the handful of falling ice chunks becomes a downpour. >> oh, my gosh! >> aaron's 3-year-old son can hardly keep his eyes off the unusual phenomenon. >> get back from the window. >> get back. oh, my goodness gracious. >> as the hailstones fall, aaron has a disturbing thought. >> initially we were just looking at the yard being beat up, landscaping was ruined within a few seconds. >> oh, my gosh. >> and then i started realizing, oh, i didn't put my car in the
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garage. >> yeah, our cars are ruined. >> the deluge is so intense and the hailstone so large, aaron can't risk running the 20 feet to his cars. >> basically i didn't want to go outside and risk dying. >> the house is shaking. i mean, that's a real possibility to get hit in the head with a baseball-size piece of hail and die immediately. there was nothing we could do but watch our cars get beat up. >> that's all hail, that's not snow. >> aaron is helpless as the waves of projectiles fly downward and he's not the only one. the storm is now full force and oklahoma city is getting pounded with thousands of large hailstones. >> armageddon. >> just five miles away, mak maddux is taking shelter from the falling destruction at his girlfriend shannon story's apartment. >> look at this.
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this is not cool, shannon. we were filming out the front door and the hail was coming out this way just pounding the siding and the gutters and just ripping everything off. look at the siding. look at the siding over there. shannon. >> it is extremely loud. when ice that large comes from the sky. it sound like you're getting pummeled. so, that was the scariest portion of it all. anything that it hits, it hits with force. things are breaking very easily. >> just anarchy out the front door. everything was just getting shattered, bashed in, windows were flying, siding was flying off the wall. >> looks like a freakin war zone. i've never seen anything like this. >> mak and shannon are awe struck by the brute force of the precipitation and they wait out the storm in shannon's apartment.
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but for others in oklahoma city, even home is a danger zone. high school senior bonnie tibbs has just raced home to beat the impending downpour when she grabs her camera and begins to film. >> oh, my god. we have had tons of hailstorms, but nothing this large. and then it started to get even louder. >> oh, my god. the sound started to change. it's hitting the windows. okay, get away from the windows. and then, all of a sudden, i heard the sound of glass breaking. oh, my god! that's when i started to really freak out. oh, my god! windows are breaking. >> what? >> windows! get in the closet. >> it started breaking our skylights, which we have six of, that cover our entire house.
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oh, my god! i'm filming it. >> stay back. >> oh, my god. okay, get out, get out! >> rain started coming in, glass flying and breaking and limbs hitting and coming through our house. >> it's in my room. it was quite unusual and very scary. the kitchen windows. our kitchen window is broken out. after almost ten brutal minutes of pounding -- >> our front window broke. >> i know. >> the storm ends. residents of oklahoma walk outside to assess the staggering damage. >> there's still huge pieces of hail out here. >> i was expecting lots of dents in the cars. here's a baseball. what i didn't expect was windows totally blown out.
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>> all the windows are ruined. oh, my gosh. imagine baseballs just pounding your car for five minutes solid. this is all hail. it was coming down so hard that all of sam's toys like this have holes in it where the hail hit. >> we're talking about $65,000 worth of damage to the cars and the house itself. >> this is the aftermath. shannon's apartment complex is destroyed. complete armageddon. >> you can't believe the damage would come from anything less than a tornado. it was just unbelievable. >> oklahoma city residents begin the long process of repairing their roofs, cars and property. estimates of damage from the storm total almost $500 million.
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it may be a long time before oklahoma sees another storm like this. but then, again, it could happen any day. this is, after all, spring in oklahoma. >> armageddon! it's armageddon! coming up, with wildfires on either side of him, one man makes a shocking decision. >> i mean, if i was going to die, i was going to die. [ female announcer ] who are we? we are the thinkers. the job jugglers. the up all-nighters. and the ones who turn ideas into action. we've made our passions our life's work. we strive for the moments where we can say, "i did it!" ♪ we are entrepreneurs who started it all... with a signature. legalzoom has helped start over 1 million businesses, turning dreamers into business owners. and we're here to help start yours.
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a massive wildfire billows of dark smoke looming on the horizon and hundreds of residents are directly in the path of the deadly flames. >> leave your house! evacuation. you will get burned over! >> if i was going to die, i was going to die. that's the way i look at life. >> september 4th, 2011. a town of about 8,000, just 30 miles southeast of austin.
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bastrop resident works from home on the east side of the city. he lives less than a mile from the forest that borders the town. on a windy, late summer day, this quiet neighborhood is about to become a death trap. >> texas is now officially suffering its second worst drought ever. >> yeah, it had been months before it's rained. the worst drought we've ever seen. >> on top of the lack of rain, the heat. dallas at or above 100 degrees for the 39th day in a row. >> thousands of acres of dry trees and grass have created a recipe for disaster. all it takes is a strong gust of wind to turn this residential neighborhood into a tinder box. >> the winds are about 35 miles per hour. the wind was blowing so hard that it snapped a power pole and that started the fire. >> the flames immediately begin to devour the parched trees. as richard drives, he spots the smoke in the distance. >> there is a huge fire burning out here.
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if i see something intense or extreme like that, i'll pull out my phone and i'll start shooting film. >> bastrop county, it is going crazy. >> despite the risk, richard continues to film while he drives. a dangerous combination considering the circumstances. he can't keep his eyes off the hypnotic smoke billows towering over the texas trees. but he has yet to realize the danger he is about to face. as soon as he gets home the fire department comes calling. >> the firemen were really serious, it was no joke. they were yelling over the loud speaker. >> leave your house! evacuation! you will get burned over! you will get trapped! leave now! >> i considered leaving, but if
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i left and one little ember was able to make it here, that the house would have probably burned down. >> even though most of his neighbors leave, richard is determined to protect his home. he furiously waters his yard and monitors the approaching smoke. it puts him at increasing danger. >> i started worrying once the fire came down mcallister and everything was getting smoked out here and the firefighters were backing up from the fire. it looked apocalyptic to me. >> not long before things go from bad to worse. >> another one burning over there. but it's on the other side of the highway still. we're right in the middle of it. >> minutes turn into hours and the second fire starts to send smoke down wind towards richard's house. as the sun sets, richard realizes he's surrounded. >> i was in my front driveway. i was pretty scared at that
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point because there is fire all around you. and there's not a whole lot you can really do about it, but just hope that it doesn't get you. >> rather than sit and wait for the fire to reach him, richard takes off in his truck, driving towards the smoke. >> it looks like i'm rolling through a war zone. >> i wanted to make sure that if there was something that i could put out, i was going to put it out. >> richard takes a proactive approach. partly because of his good samaritan spirit and partly out of self-preservation. >> i am going to take this golf cart trail right here. i don't normally get to do this. >> i went up on the hill, went behind the homes and pulled my fire extinguisher out of my truck and got my shovel and started doing whatever i could do to put it out. >> the flames are spreading quickly over piles of dry pine needles on the ground and soon finds this fire is a more formidable opponent than
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expected. >> stop recording now and put all this stuff out. all right, i got that much of it out. there's still some other stuff burning right there. i ran out of extinguisher. all right, i came back with my shovel and put a little fire break right here. at least this house isn't going to burn. >> for the moment, richard haas saved a stranger's house and he hopes he helped save his own in the process. but as he races back to his street, he realizes time is running out. smoke is surrounding his home. >> it was getting harder and harder to see and, if you can't see what's coming at you, you might want to get out of the way. >> despite his desperate efforts, richard realizes he will have to leave his house behind and hope for the best. >> as time went on, i was getting more and more concerned.
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the wind was still going pretty crazy and i was worried that it would change direction. if the wind changed direction, then we were screwed. >> richard finally admits defeats and grabs his dogs and races away from the scene. >> it's not a good feeling knowing that the next time you come back to your house it's not going to be there. night falls, a caravan of the last few holdouts from the neighborhood joins richard on his escape route. >> it does, it looks like a freakin war zone out here. >> we did find a way out. we dodged trees and went through ditches and got past and got out. >> but it will be weeks before he's able to return to his neighborhood. >> for two weeks, there was a continued breakout of fires. we could not get back in. >> all the while, richard is in the dark, not knowing whether
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his home is still standing. >> we just didn't know and we couldn't get anybody to tell us. >> finally, richard gets the call he's been waiting for. >> two weeks later someone was able to check the neighborhood. they told us that our house was still there. >> the fire has died down just across the road from richard's home. >> the fire was about 150 yards from where i'm standing right here. if you look straight over there, you could still see where it's kind of burnt and it just went right on past us. >> but others aren't so lucky. in a sad twist, the friend that delivered the good news to richard, brian gurtz lost his home, just two miles away from richard. just like hundreds of other bags -- bastrop residents, brian returns to find nothing but a foundation and charred memories. >> this is just one of 1,600 homes that burned. this story repeats itself 1,599 other times. fire could take everything you got, just like that.
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>> the historic blaze claims the lives of two bastrop county residents and consumes 24,000 acres. richard counts his blessings. because he stayed behind and filmed, his footage can be used by the texas forest service to better understand the path the fire took. he has a word of warning for those who find themselves in the path of a wildfire. >> my advice to others that get in a situation like i was in, if you can get out, get out when you can. >> hope i get to see you guys again or hope you guys get to see me, again. coming up, a storm chaser catches up to the storm, but gets a little too close to the action. >> oh, my god! when it comes to good nutrition...i'm no expert.
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the governor of missouri is get clairing a state of emergency has one round of severe weather moves out and another moves in. and all of the victims of the deadly balloon accident p in virginia are now accounted for. the bod of a third passenger was found this thorn. now back to "caught on camera." welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. many victims of natural disasters are caught off guard, overwhelmed in their homes or simply going about their daily routines. others go out of their way looking for trouble. and find it. storm chasers love the adrenaline rush that comes while hot on the trail of extreme weather. >> we're in a tornado watch that has been issued until 8:00 this evening.
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>> this cloud here is starting to drop down a little bit. >> but what happens when the storm turns around and chases them. >> oh! oh, my god! the car was just struck by lightning! oh, my god. >> may 7th, 2000. under bright skies, storm chaser john person begins to record his experience. >> welcome to nebraska. just inside the nebraska border. we're not sure if we're at ground zero or not. >> typically during a storm chase, the skies will be really sunny and clear and safe, but all of a sudden in the afternoon the clouds will just start boiling up out of no where and then the action quickly begins from there. >> okay, as you can see, things are starting to fire up. we've got some good convection here.
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>> john makes the risky choice to chase alone today. he does, however, make sure to stay connected. >> over here is the am radio. some of the antennas there. >> after three hours on the road, he sees the development he's been waiting for. >> behind me is a fully formed cell and i'm on the eastern side of it now, which means that i want to get around it. >> coming in behind the storm is the safest part of the storm because you're not threatened by the storm coming at you, but at the same time, you're in the part of the storm where any tornadoes will typically form. >> to his dismay, he sees he's in exactly the wrong place. >> unfortunately, it looks like we're headed more into the center of the cell than i'd like to. >> i realized i had to drive through the thunderstorms in order to get to the back side of them. >> we're in a tornado watch that has been issued until 8:00 this evening. >> this cloud here starting to drop down a little bit. >> despite the risk, john continues to record, a dangerous
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distraction in an already tense situation. >> again, very dangerous. this is borderline stupid. >> just all kinds of things you have to be ready for. heavy rain, strong winds. >> very strong winds. gusts easily up to 50, 60 miles per hour. >> potentially damaging hail and, of course, tornadoes. some of which may be wrapped in rain that you can't even see. >> but as he nears the back edge of the powerful storm, he makes the mistake of thinking the worst is behind him. >> i relaxed somewhat as i got to where i wanted to be and realized i was probably okay. >> wrong. >> very well-defined rain shaft over here. we'll get a better shot of that pretty soon, since we're in the clear. >> john is about to get a shot, but not the kind he expected.
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>> oh, my god! the car was just struck by lightning! oh, my god! >> it was like somebody had smashed concrete blocks on the back of my truck. it was this loud shattering sound out of nowhere with no warning whatsoever. it shot like orange and purple sparks out over the front of the windshield. it instantly filled the interior of the truck with smoke. i swore my head off. >> the car was just struck by lightning! >> i was terrified because i realized what had just happened. oh, my god! i thought i was going to be electrocuted or suffocating in smoke. i totally thought i was going to die. i absolutely panicked.
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>> even for a battle-scarred veteran storm chaser taking a direct hit like this is a bone chilling moment. >> i started honking on the horn because there was an rv in front of me. i thought i would try to get their attention, but they just sped on ahead and i actually don't blame them at all because they might have thought that they were next. >> alone, john pulls out his cell phone. >> i need to stop. i need to call 911 right away. as john calls for help, his footage is cut off for several minutes. >> the thing about the 911 call is that they didn't know exactly where i was and neither did i. so, it took them about 15 minutes to get there. >> now that the storm has passed and help has arrived, john begins to film, again. >> i'm here with the nebraska sheriff and the truck was just struck by lightning.
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imagine that. when the officer showed up, it is like neither of us could believe what just happened. here's a flat tire. you can see where the lightning went in, right there in the corner. and it also got the back tire. this one. again, you can see where the lightning actually went, connected on through. the lightning current was so strong that even though the tires were made of rubber, there was enough steel in the tires to channel the electricity and cause them to instantly go flat. >> the lightning takes quite a toll on his equipment. >> what happened was it hit the antenna for am radio and it used to be right here. big antenna going up about that high. you can see some scorch marks on the back of the truck here. >> john is lucky to escape with his life, with unbelievable footage. and a lesson he'll never forget.
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>> when other people see the video, they're just as amazed as i am, but they're also relieved because they realize you really are safe in your vehicle during a thunderstorm. >> oh, my god! the car was just struck by lightning! coming up, life in this hawaiian town is a dream come true, until it becomes a nightmare. >> there's really nothing you can do to stop a lava flow. really... so our business can be on at&t's network for $175 dollars a month? yup. all five of you for $175. our clients need a lot of attention. there's unlimited talk and text. we're working deals all day. you get 10 gigabytes of data to share. what about expansion potential? add a line anytime for 15 bucks a month. low dues... great terms... let's close. new at&t mobile share value plans. our best value plans ever for business.
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>> lava goes wherever it wants to go. it's very unpredictable. >> and for ten weeks in 1990, veteran videographer nick is at the edge of the disaster capturing the flow on camera. here in hilo on the big island of hawaii, nick has made a living documenting spectacular lava flows. they never cease to amaze him. but this one story stands out among the rest. that's when a village is decimated by lava. >> this was a beautiful, beautiful area back when. it's just been turned into a parking lot. there's very little left down here. >> the story begins in 1983. kalapana is a lush, fishing village on the eastern coast of the big island. but the town's proximity to a very active volcano means
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residents live watchfully and remindful of the threat of destruction. in january, 1983, kilauea erupts, blasting lava high into the air. nick and his crew begin to film the explosive events. >> the high fountain back in the '80s once a month, every three weeks it would high fountain 800 to 1,500 feet in the air. it was absolutely amazing. >> this high fountaining is a spectacle, but looks could be deceiving. it's not explosive like mount st. helens. thus the hawaiian volcano is les likely to dump ash on surrounding towns. 20 miles away, it's not in imminent danger, that is until
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something changes. >> late 1986. it stopped high fountaining and started to form lava flows and lava tubes which is the transportation system that allows the lava to go long distances. >> because of this new tube formation in 1986, is lava flowing from it has a greater reach putting nearby towns on high aletter. many residents of kalapana have a theological explanation for all of this. some hawaiians attribute the predictable volcanic activity to to the goddess pele. >> the fire goddess in hawaiian mythology it is the manifestation pele. when she's active, it's obvious why the hawaiians gave that. because it looks like it's alive.
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>> kilauea continues to pump out salaf have and for three years, residentses live with on again/off again lava flows that once reach into their community, causing isolated destruction. but then in june of 1989, the lava creeps to within a mile and a half of the village and by the time the flow stops, the wahala visitor center is burnt to the ground. no one is killed but the fire at the visitor center serves as an ominous warning. one year later, the lava returns. this time pushing farther than before. in april of 1990, the nightmare scenario begins to unfold. >> when the lava first came into kalapana it was pretty ominous, it was pretty obvious that something serious was going on. >> the molten rock can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees and eats everything in its path. but, fortunately, the slow-moving lava flow could take
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weeks to reach deep into the city. this provides time for the residents to prepare or evacuate. the long wait to find out where it goes takes an emotional toll. >> it was agonizing. the people were saying, is it going to stop? is it going to take my house? some people would move their houses, some people would pack up their belongings and leave. some people just left everything there and walked away. it was pretty crazy. >> the river of fire is unstoppable with the volcano producing half a million cubic yards of lava every day. >> there's really nothing you can do to stop the lava flow. i have seen people spray it with their garden hose and it will freeze the outside, but it will go some place else. lava is the winner when it comes to man versus lava. >> the lava takes out house after house.
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maureen gap is one of dozens of residents who can only watch as lava moves in on her home. >> it's right there. and i just, i still think i'm going to wake up tomorrow in my bedroom and everything is going to be here. and i don't know what's going to happen when i wake up and it's not. it's going to be hard. >> once the lava reaches her home, it ignites an intense fire. when all is said and done, miraculously, no lives are lost. but the town is almost completely covered. some hawaiians like walter yamaguchi who lost his business to the lava believes this is the work of pele. >> she tried to give me long vacation. why cry? why not just smile and start over again. >> the hawaiian philosophy of the whole thing, if pale wants the house, let her take it.
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if she wants to come back and reclaim the land, let her have it. it's herself in the first blase and if she wants it, she'll take it. >> creates a vast sea of rolling rock right on top of the land. more than two decades after lava destroyed 100 homes, new residents have come to build on top of the rock, even though they know that kilauea's fury may return at any moment. >> what amazes me is the fact that after it came down, burned a few houses and it was present in the area, people would still build houses. right now there are 30 or so houses that are built on the flow that took it. they're sprouting up. >> the 1990 disaster in this village is just one chapter in the continuing saga of man's turbulent relationship with nature in the aloha state. a phenomenon nick plans to
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be around to document for years to come. coming up, a tsunami-like wave of red mud leaves a small town in ruins. >> it moved faster than you could run. ♪
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across the united states, bp supports more than a quarter million jobs. when we set up operation in one part of the country, people in other parts go to work. that's not a coincidence. it's one more part of our commitment to america.
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a massive wave of toxic red mud surges into a small town. >> there was practically no warning for the people. >> it is a two-fold disaster. while multiple residents drown, many more suffer exposure to the deadly material. >> any person coming in contact with red mud is liable to suffer from toxic burns. >> the full extent of the
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disaster remains unknown. >> the first time that a major spill has happened with this material. >> and this environmental catastrophe is all caught on camera. october 4th, 2010. at an aluminum plant in hungary, a breach in the wall of a containment dam releases 35 million cubic feet of toxic, red sludge. >> when the red mud was released, it released a flood that moved into the valley extreme rapidly. >> residue, traditionally known as red mud is a by-product of the aluminum creation process. to dispose of this red mud, it is normally dried and then covered with soil and grass. but, today, it pours down on hundreds of unsuspecting citizens. the unstoppable rush of waste hits one town particularly hard. >> a tsunami-like wave moved on the valley and rose to a height of approximately two meters, in the village nearest to the spill site.
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people have said that it moved faster than you could run. >> the crimson river pushes cars out of the way and sends residents running for their lives. >> my 82-year-old father pushed my mother up to the window. we took him to the hospital because it burnt his legs. >> an incident overseas tonight has a lot of people wondering, could this kind of thing happen here sn >> the devastating footage is broadcast worldwide. among those watching is dr. ian burke, a professor of environmental geochemistry and an expert in toxic spills. >> i saw it on the news like everybody else and was struck by the magnitude of it and these pictures. >> though only a fraction of the waste built up at the res voyeur is released, the resulting spill is colossal, surging into multiple towns and giving the region a haunting blood red stain. >> it seems very similar to the deep horizon spill.
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the amount of material released is roughly equivalent in both spills. >> after rushing through the town, the wave of destruction subsides. the damage is immense. >> people in their homes, mostly in the village of kolontar lost their lives and about 150 other people were caught up in the red mud and needed hospital attention due to the red mud. >> the land could be irreparably harmed. as recovery efforts drag on in the months follows, dr. burke travels to hungary and witnesses the aftermath firsthand. >> we went back primarily to recover samples from the affected parts of the environment to look at what happens to red mud that is being left in the soil and what possible hazards are involved with that. >> in all, ten people lose their lives in the disaster.
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dozens of homes are ruined and 15 square miles of land are affected. all of this devastation leaves more questions than answers. >> because it's the first spill of this type of material, no one has really studied how this material behaves in a natural environment. >> in time, more will be understood. meanwhile, the investigation into the cause of the breach is under way. as residents rebuild, they look back in sadness on the day the red flood marred their picturesque town forever. >> sadly, just as nature can strike in an instant and create terrible destruction, man can also wreak havoc on nature and leave behind catastrophic damage. it's a delicate balance. i'm contessa brewer. that's all for this edition of "caught on camera."
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a fire breathing performance stuns the crowd. >> everybody just kind of stopped breathing for a minute. a snowmobiler comes crashing off a cliff. >> it was like losing my brother right in front of my eyes. and a race car driver is engulfed in flames. >> my first thought was we got to get him out. >> mix a little bit of thrill -- [ screams ] -- with a dash of danger and some very bad decisions -- >> we're leaving and she's driving. i'm drunk. >> -- you may find yourself in a situation you'd never want to be in.

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