tv Caught on Camera MSNBC April 18, 2015 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
i'm contessa brewer. poor kid. geez. >> he can't go up. >> i'm trying. >> and they can't get down. >> in that moment i just knew, oh, my god. there's a fire. >> people trapped in extremely tight spaces. and the most unusual places. >> i was like, how in the world did this person get in here? >> when escape seems unlikely -- >> i couldn't figure out what was on top of my head because i couldn't get it off of me. i was trapped. >> and the hope for rescue is remote. >> we have no idea if we'll even come close to getting her. >> with cameras rolling, tales
of heroism. >> we weren't stopping. no matter how much he screamed, he was coming out. >> tragedy. >> i don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. i just think it is important for people to realize how precious their time here is. >> and triumph. >> this is rescue transport. i'm pretty ecstatic. >> it's a miracle, actually. it's a miracle. "caught on camera -- trapped!." welcome to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. an estimated 40 million people suffer from phobias and one of the most common is claustrophobia. fear of enclosed spaces. in this hour we'll bring you the stories of people trapped in some of the scariest most confined spaces possible. an airtight safe, a sinking car and an elevator.
the fear of death in these situations is all too real so it is up to the rescuers putting their own lives on the line to help those in danger get out alive. it's 9:30 a.m. in phuket, thailand. a fire rages in the kitchen on the first floor of the royal jomtien hotel and quickly spreads. but 16 floors above, american rochelle stimey knows nothing about the blazing inferno below. no alarm, no phone call, no notice at all. her husband is in china away on business, and she's in her hotel room with her 7-year-old daughter sona, when something catches sona's eye outside their window. >> i noticed some smoke. then i noticed it was coming from straight down below the
window. and then i heard people screaming. >> rochelle panicked, rushes to the door, only to discover the hallway is filled with smoke. >> my daughter yelled, we're going to die. there were no emergency lights in the hallway, so it was pitch black, and i wasn't confident that in smoky conditions with my daughter and myself upset that i could make it. >> so rochelle makes a tough decision. staying in the room is their best hope. >> i said, you know what, sona, the fire department is here. let's wait. they'll put out the fire and we'll walk down the stairs. >> turns out, it's the right choice. for many at the hotel, there would be no way out. the hotel has no sprinklers, no smoke detectors and no working fire alarms.
and worse yet, the emergency exits are locked to prevent guests from sneaking out without paying. this fire is the worst hotel fire in thailand's history. in all, 91 died. 80 are injured. but now about 30 minutes after the fire breaks out, rochelle and sona are still stuck in their hotel room fighting smoke and darkness and trying to let someone, anyone know they're up there in need of rescue. >> by that time, the phone was dead and the lights were out. we were trapped, and we were confined. >> then in the midst of the chaos, rochelle finds a cell phone her husband has left behind, but being a foreigner in a foreign city, she can't speak thai and has no idea who to call. >> somebody has to know we're here. >> rochelle was worried. this trip was supposed to be the start of a great adventure. rochelle, her husband and daughter would live in thailand for a year while her husband
managed a construction project staying in a hotel temporarily, they had just been looking for homes to rent the day before. and just then, it hits her. >> i just ran out of the office, and i jumped on my motorcycle. >> clayton wade was the real estate agent who had been showing them houses and he's the only person in the country she knows that speaks english. now, he keeps her on the cell phone as he races to the hotel. >> when we drove up, you could see smoke and flames starting to move up the elevator shaft. it was obviously very, very bad. >> he asked us to wave something out the window so he could show the fire chief where we were. >> news cameras at the scene capture clayton on his cell phone as he keeps rochelle on the line. >> i ran directly to where the police and firemen were and started talking to them and pointing up to where she was. >> an hour passes. as they hang out the open
window, clayton is trying to keep rochelle calm, feeding her vital rescue information. >> he said, that bucket is coming right up to your room, right up to your room. i thought to myself, that fire truck is not coming up this high. >> and she's right. the ladders aren't tall enough to reach the top floors. >> we couldn't breathe. smoke inside, smoke outside. and i thought to myself, i know how people feel when they're drowning. you just can't get any air. >> rochelle wonders out loud if she and her daughter will make it out alive. >> in that moment, i just knew that, oh, my god, i made the wrong choice. we're going to die. >> clayton tells her helicopters are on their way. rochelle and sona have been fighting for their lives for nearly three hours, and rescuers are, in fact, trying to land helicopters directly above them. but what could safe them might also kill them.
chopper blades are throwing the thick, black smoke right at rochelle and sona. >> i thought, damn, we might not make it. we might not make it. so close. at that moment i raged and screamed with rage. >> desperate to stop the smoke from choking them, she slams the window shut. >> at the moment that window shut, my heart sank. there was no question in my mind that that was the end. the window was not going to open again. >> but to clayton's surprise and relief, moments later rochelle does open the window again, and through the smoke, a lifeline suddenly appears. >> out of nowhere it seemed the rope dropped in front of our window. >> but the rope is just out of her reach. she searches for anything to help and grabs the closest thing. sona's teddy bear. >> that teddy bear extended my
reach, and we used the teddy bear's arms like a boat hook to pull the line in. >> the line seems anything but secure, but with no other options, rochelle nervously slips sona's legs into the harness and makes her daughter promise to hold on tight and then let's go. >> the moment i let her go i was scared that she would slip through the ring and i would see her go down 16 stories. >> but sona keeps her promise. she holds on as tight as she can as rescuers on the roof pull on the line with everything they have. a few minutes later the rope reappear, and now it's rochelle's turn. >> by that time everybody was really anxious because the smoke was very, very thick. there really wasn't much time left at all. >> barefoot, rochelle carefully climbs out the window.
>> i couldn't get the loop up high enough on my leg and i thought if i let go now i'm going to be dangling by my ankles upside down. >> with the harness wrapped loosely around her legs, rochelle takes a leap of faith. her head bangs against the ledge on the way up, but she holds on for her life, eyes closed, never looking down. four hours after the fire erupted, rochelle and sona are finally safe. >> i recall a huge sense of relief. i just thought, well, i have been brave long enough, and i collapsed. coming up -- caught between a rock -- >> a frightening situation up here in los angeles. >> -- and a hard place. rescuers race to save a boy before it's too late. >> i'm trying. >> if the chest is not allowed to expand, obviously you suffocate. >> and -- >> we've, hit with a major earthquake.
los angeles is rocked. >> my initial thought was a bomb had hit the fire station. >> people trapped everywhere. >> we have one man that is under a parking structure, a crush injury. when caught on camera when caught on camera trapped continues., the engineering advances. but the passion to drive a mercedes-benz is something that is common... to every generation of enthusiast. the 2015 dream machines, from mercedes-benz. today's icons. tomorrow's legends. visit the dream machine event today for up to $3,500 towards purchase. that just tastes better. fresher. more flavorful. delicious. only one egg with better nutrition... like more vitamins d, e, and omega 3s. and 25% less saturated fat. only one egg good enough for my family.
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a frightening situation up here in los angeles. >> 11-year-old paul hartness is trapped, sandwiched between two huge boulders in a crack just a few inches wide. >> oh, poor kid. jesus. >> rescuer tom jones quickly understands the thing the boy needs to do most to survive, keep breathing, is the very thing putting him in even more danger. >> he was like farther and farther down into that crevice with every breath he took. obviously, if the chest cannot expand, you suffocate. >> he's so close rescuers can talk to him, even touch him, but they can't get him out. they know if they don't act
fast, they'll watch this child die before their very own eyes. >> i'm trying but it hurts. >> the first thing we did was build rigging below him just to make sure he didn't slip down any farther. >> next, tom smith with the l.a. sheriff's department is able to slip a rope around paul from above, and he starts pulling. >> i was pulling on him so hard that i couldn't believe it. it should have lifted someone twice his size.
>> is it doing anything? >> no. >> paul is wedged in so tight rescuers worry if they pull too hard, they'll yank an arm right out of its socket. >> that's it. that's it. keep it up. keep it up. keep it up. >> okay. okay. >> you want to take a break? >> paul needs the rest. the temperature is 110 degrees and it is even hotter on the rocks. he's becoming dangerously dehydrated. >> you have to start scooting down the crack. >> he was quickly becoming exhausted from trying to help us, and that was a concern, also, that soon he wouldn't be able to help us. >> just an hour earlier, paul and a friend had been climbing on these rocks, a favorite neighborhood hangout in the high desert 70 miles north of los angeles when suddenly paul loses his footing and falls 18 feet below the surface. and by now, an hour into the ordeal, firefighter tom jones knows his team won't be able to pull paul to safety from above. so they decide it's time to call in the big guns, l.a.'s urban search and rescue team. one of the most elite rescue units in the country. as they wait for the help to arrive, paul's big brother, tommy, tries in that brotherly way to keep paul calm. >> i told him, hang in there. he looks over at me. i'm going to go get some water. don't go anywhere. you know.
>> finally, the rescue team arrives from l.a. and captain roy, who thought he'd seen it all, can't believe what he's looking at. >> it was amazing. i was a little bit stunned for a second and then my mind started gearing up. >> yeah, keep it tight. i don't want him slipping down. >> by now it's been almost two hours. paul is understandably exhausted. captain roy knows that no matter what plan he comes up with, he'll need maximum effort from everybody involved including 11-year-old paul. >> at the time, he was getting real sleepy, so i talked to him and asked, do you play baseball? he said, oh yeah. he perked up. i said, you know how you are out there and it is hot and you are tired and your coach wants to give you a little more physical effort and things to push yourself? and that actually kind of perked him up a little bit more. >> captain roy runs through his options. none of their usual rescue techniques, pulley system, drilling, powerful air bags to separate rock, seem like they'd work in this situation. and just then, it hits him. >> i thought of wesson oil, give some lubrication. >> wesson oil, not exactly a
technique you learn in rescue school, but he's trained to solve problem fast. so he dispatches people including paul's brother tommy, to come back with the popular vegetable oil. >> so we said, okay, we'll be right back. >> they returned within minutes passing the lubricant into the waiting hands of captain roy. >> i started just pouring it onto him where i could splash him a little bit and let it run down the rock onto his pants and soaked the front and back of him. >> another firefighter douses paul from above just to make sure he's good and slick. >> and i said, okay, let's go. they pull and he started yelling a little bit. i said, don't stop, guys. we weren't stopping no matter how much he screamed. he was coming out. >> after five minutes of pulling as hard as they can and a grueling 2 hours and 56 minutes into the ordeal, out slides paul hartness. >> there he is. there he is. there he is right there on top
of the rock. >> when he started moving, he came out of his pants is basically what it had done. his pants stayed attached to the granite rock, that's how pinned he was. >> you going to go climbing again? >> no! firefighters told me that if i would have went down two more inches, my chest would have caved in and i would have died. i would have suffocated. >> paul is in great spirits, but he can't help but think back to the first few minutes when he wasn't sure if he was going to make it. >> my first thought was i'll never see my mom or my friends, stuff like that. you know, i would never see them again. >> but somehow the 11-year-old boy managed to compose himself. captain roy credits paul for staying so calm, and paul thanks captain roy, his brother and all the rescuers involved for saving his life. >> no words i can explain my thanks. i mean, they were terrific. they did a great job.
coming up -- a flash flood, and a car is sinking fast. >> i just remember looking at this woman screaming on the other side of the window thinking that's got to be the worst thing you can ever go through. >> this man didn't have elevator phobia, but now he's stuck, alone, high above the ground in a new york high-rise. no one knows he's in there, but it is all caught on a security camera. when "caught on camera trapped" continues. selling the mitchmob? man, we had a lot of good times in this baby. what's your dad want for it? ..like a hundred and fifty grand, two hundred if they want that tape deck. you're not going to tell your dad about the time my hamster had babies in the backseat, are you?! that's just normal wear and tear, dude. (vo) subaru has the highest resale value of any brand... ...according to kelley blue book ...and mitch. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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a woman is trapped in her car, and it's sinking fast. >> i could see the lady inside, and she was terrified because she was going to die. >> moments earlier, rocky kosla was on his way to dinner with his family late for their 7:00 reservation and slowed even more by bad weather. >> it was just driving rain, and there was flooding on the highway. >> as rocky comes down the exit
ramp, he looks to his right and sees a flooded underpass. >> it was like a lake. i was thinking, well, now we are going to be a little later. >> as rocky prepares to turn away from the flood, another car catches his eye. >> as i stop, this car comes in front of me, and she goes into the water. and it wasn't a small amount of water. >> another driver, howard absets, also sees the car trying to plow through the flooded road. >> for a split second i think, this cannot be happening. it's unreal. >> the woman in the car loses control, and the suv starts to drift. >> both rocky and howard know if they don't act, there's no one else around, and she could be in real trouble. luckily, rocky is a doctor trained in trauma life support so he doesn't hesitate to help. >> the front starts to go under pretty rapidly. i decided i'm going to go out there. >> the water was freezing cold.
it was unbearable, actually. rocky and i were actually holding hands because we don't know what the water is like, and about that time we get about halfway out and the water is getting deeper. the vehicle really starts to sink quicker, and at that point there we start swimming. >> the water is at least 10 feet deep in spots and by the time rocky and howard reach the car it's almost completely submerged. >> i just remember looking at this woman screaming on the other side of the window thinking, that's got to be the worst thing you can ever go through. i nearly drowned when i was a kid. and so i thought, no, whatever we have to do, we're going to do because there's no way that's going to happen. >> rocky sees the woman trapped in the sinking car is wracked with fear and knows he needs to act fast. >> i got on the left rear bumper and started pounding on the window on that side. i was giving it all i had, and i
just could not get it to break. >> by now a few other rescuers have made their way out to the car. as rocky continues to beat the window, howard makes his way to the front of the car. >> i'm kind of leaning on the hood and the windshield, the water had completely submerged the car at that point there. we couldn't see. the water was murky. >> instinctively, howard shoves his right arm to where he thinks the driver window should be and much to his surprise the window is down. >> she grabbed my arm and at that point there i thought, well, we can get her out now. >> and i reached down, too, i got the right leg because she had somehow freed herself from the car and as we pulled she popped out. it was like a cork out of a champagne bottle, just bang. >> rocky and howard are spent and overjoyed that the victim is out, but they're still treading in the frigid water, and nobody is out of danger yet. in fact, it's about to get even more dangerous. as it turns out, the victim
doesn't know how to swim. >> never approach a drowning victim from the front. and where am i but right in front of this lady. >> by now, several of the rescuers have steadied themselves standing on top of the fully sub merged car right next to where rocky and the victim are thrashing. >> i'm reaching out to her trying to get her back to the top of the vehicle. after a couple of seconds, we were able to get her back on top of the car. >> now, shivering from the cold water, they are not on solid grouped he yet. but finally everybody is safely on the roof of the car. >> there are two guys up there yelling and one guy says to me, hey, that's my sister and thanks for saving her life. >> the woman's brother gives rocky some unexpected news. saving her that day is really the icing on the cake. >> one of the coolest things is it turns out that was her birthday. >> what a birthday gift. a second chance at life. when the fire department
arrives, they are all pulled to dry, solid ground. and then a bit later when the car is towed out, a mysterious finding. all four of the car windows are up. how the driver's side window opened just enough to let her out and then closed again? no one knows. >> well, somebody was watching over her, i really think. the water probably shorted out the system of the windows. >> no matter how the windows managed to open, rocky and howard are both glad they were driving by just at that moment. >> the fact is, here was somebody that was in distress that couldn't help themselves. we just reacted. >> a lot of people have said it was a heroic thing to do. i don't want to say that, i don't want to use that word. i thought, i'm a swimmer and i'm trained in life support, so in a way i thought who better to do this than me. >> when all is said and done,
rocky's thoughts turn back to what brought him to this spot in the first place. >> as i came out of the water, i was cold, shaky, and i remember thinking, boy, we're really going to be late for dinner now. and my wife said, are you nuts? coming up -- an earthquake shakes a major city. a parking deck collapses. a man is trapped. >> we're listening to this guy just screaming and hollering. it was like a wounded animal. >> resources spread thin. can firefighters afford to stay to help one man? >> a concrete beam right across his legs. >> tough decisions ahead. and a boy stuck in the oddest place. rescuers race to free him before the air runs out. driver-assist systems. it recognizes pedestrians and alerts you. warns you about incoming cross-traffic.
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a florida mailman who landed a gyrocopter is heading home. he is charged with two tfelonie. his next court date is next month. a bus carrying 50 students from the university of coun connecticut county caught fire. it was taken students to boston harbor for a senior trip. nobody was injured. back to "caught on camera." so far we've shown you stories of brave rescues of individuals trapped in frightening situations, but what happens when a natural disaster strikes a major american city devastating whole neighborhoods? it will take heroic efforts by rescuers to save as many trapped victims as they can. a mall parking deck collapses. >> we have one man that is under a parking structure, a crush injury. >> and a mile away at the very
same moment an apartment complex caves in. >> i remember breaking down and crying. i wasn't ready to die. >> people trapped everywhere. >> we've been hit with a major earthquake. >> it's 4:31 a.m., january 17th, 1994. centered in the northridge section of los angeles, california, 20 miles north of downtown, it all happened so fast, in seven terrifying seconds, nature unleashes its fury. >> the first thing i heard was a loud explosion. everything started shaking violently. >> most of the residents at the northridge meadows apartments, including steve langdon are at home when the quake rattles them out of their beds. >> the only thing i could think about is getting under something or getting to the doorway. i took a couple steps and there was a dresser that was against the wall that hit me in the chest and knocked me back down.
>> firefighter mike henry on the overnight at the firehouse is jolted out of his sleep. >> it was such a ferocious sound. my initial thought was we had a bomb that hit the fire station. >> he and his crew head out immediately to assess the damage. and when they get to the northridge meadows apartments, everything looks fine to him. >> the people that were out in the street said the building had collapsed. and we shined a light on the building, and it looked like it was fine. >> henry doesn't know it yet, but the building is anything but fine. steve langdon whose apartment is on the first floor is laying face down on his mattress still struggling to get to his feet. >> i couldn't figure out what was on top of my head because i couldn't get it off me. i was trapped. >> when firefighter mike henry and his team discover just what's pinning steve langdon and others trapped on the first floor of the apartment complex, it will trigger a massive rescue effort. but at the moment, all seems quiet at the meadows, at least
to the rescuers. so henry and his crew continue on looking for victims. meanwhile, only a mile away, another team of rescuers is trying to reach salvador pena. >> a big beam, a concrete beam came right across his legs. he's still down there, he's conscious, he's talking but his legs are completely crushed. i can hear him moaning right now. >> pena is on the first floor of a mall parking deck operating his sweeping truck when the quake strikes. and now the entire concrete structure is on top of him. >> we have no idea if we'll even come close to getting to him. >> firefighter ray lavalle struggles through the metal and busted concrete to make contact with the victim. >> he's holding his own. his legs are cracked mid-femur there. definitely a lot of pain. >> the whole time he's, get me out of here. i just conversed with him the best i could to try to give him
some hope. >> but others aren't as hopeful. the victim is pinned very deep under the pile of rubble, and it will take a huge effort to get just one man out using resources rescuers could use on more people in other places. lavalle and his team get together to decide what to do. >> as we're huddling, we're listening to this guy just screaming and hollering. it is just -- it is nothing i ever felt before. it is like, almost like a wounded animal. i mean, you are going, we are not supposed to leave people like that. the captain there just said, we are going to get this guy out. >> so lavalle's team of 14 men begin the task of unearthing the buried maintenance worker. across town, firefighter mike henry has made his way back to the meadows apartment complex and, again, residents insist to him the building has collapsed. >> everything looked fine, and we told them the same thing. >> but then right as henry is about to drive away for the second time with his fire truck,
a man in the distance clawing at the base of the building catches his eye. >> i stopped the rig, got out, went over and asked him, what are you doing? he said, there's somebody trapped under the building. i kind of thought this guy might be a little nuts. >> even though henry can clearly see the building is standing, he decides to step back and compare it with another section of the l-shaped structure. >> i saw the first floor balcony or the second-floor balconies line up and the third floor balconies line up. and i went to the roof line. and all of a sudden the roof jumps up eight feet. then it dawned on me the building has collapsed and a whole floor is pancaked. that kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. >> henry starts to do the math in his head. 50 apartments on the first floor and in a worst-case scenario he thinks there could be 100 people trapped. his mind races knowing he's about to become part of a
tremendous rescue effort. and at the parking deck, their attempt to save one man is moving along slowly. firefighter ray lavalle continues to talk to the victim and is able to get him an oxygen mask, but now nearly four hours into the ordeal, salvador pena is losing hope. >> it's more time, it was more like come down and pray with me, come down and cry with me. we were never able to give him anything for his pain, so that was always there. that was bad. >> but rescuers are making progress. and by now the operation at the apartment complex is in full swing. mike henry has been cutting through the second floor to access what was the first floor. >> it's an eerie feeling to know that i might be right on top of this person and i don't want to hit him. so be very careful about how deep i set the saw down into the material. >> henry's been hacking away for two hours and is physically and emotionally spent. he had just been searching for a little boy, and when he finds
him, it isn't good news. after reporting the boy's death to his mother, henry needs a moment to pull himself together. but that brief break is interrupted by an excited fire department volunteer. >> he came running over. we were the closest once. he said, hey, there's somebody talking to us. >> steve langdon has finally managed to attract some attention with the help of his roommate, jerry, who has a hearing impairment and is also trapped in his bedroom right next to steve's. >> my head was against the mattress, so my voice was really muffled. jerry had a hard time hearing me because he didn't have his hearing aid on, so i became jerry's ears and he became my voice. >> firefighter henry grabs his gear and, along with his crew, begins tearing away at the building.
>> get back! >> they reach steve's roommate first. >> oh, the sky looks beautiful. >> steve is now counting the long minutes until they come back for him. >> he's right by that window. >> i think there was more aftershocks, and i could still hear the building settling. >> now the rescuers slice deeper into the building trying to free steve. and not the moment too soon. >> i had five fractured ribs and i had a collapsed lung and i had almost a quart of blood in my lungs. later they told me i was probably within 20 to 30 minutes of drowning in my own blood. >> almost six hours after he was trapped under the rubble, steve is carried out of the building. >> i just remember seeing all these people. i mean, not anybody i knew. there were just people, cameras, i remember people taking pictures, people yelling.
>> not long after steve's rescue, there's another reason to celebrate. this time at the mall. >> this is rescue 104. we need transport to the trauma center. >> after eight grueling hours of breaking up and removing debris from around the trapped man, they are able to lift salvador pena out of the hole in the ground. >> i'm pretty ecstatic. i mean, considering. look at this place and you just know that it's a miracle, actually. it's a miracle. >> but there is some grim news. 57 people died from the northridge earthquake. 16 of them at the meadows apartment complex. it caused more than $20 billion in damage, making it the costliest earthquake in u.s. history. steve langdon says those hours of being trapped alone, not knowing if he'd make it out alive, changed him forever. >> this kind of event made me realize that today is the only day i have.
i don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. i don't know what's going to happen next week. i just think it's important for people to realize how precious their time here is. coming up -- a devastating car accident, but the victim is nowhere in sight. >> do you think they may be trapped? >> yes, sir. >> and where she's trapped will leave rescuers scratching their heads. >> i was like, how in the world did this person get in here? >> a massive effort to keep her alive. had "caught on camera trapped" continues. audible safety beeping audible safety beeping
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and 25% less saturated fat. only one egg good enough for my family. because why have ordinary when you can have the best. eggland's best. the only egg that gives you so much more: better taste. better nutrition. better eggs. but first, we have a very special guest. come on out, flo! [house band playing] you have anything to say to flo? nah, i'll just let the results do the talking. [crowd booing] well, he can do that. we show our progressive direct rate and the rates of our competitors even if progressive isn't the lowest. it looks like progressive is not the lowest! ohhhh! when we return, we'll find out whether doug is the father. wait, what? a violent car crash in the predawn hours in houston, texas.
a call goes out to 911. >> houston, what's your emergency? >> it's 6:00 a.m. >> a car has just run off the road. the lights is on. i can't see a person, but they're in that car. >> so you think they may be trapped? >> yes, sir. >> someone is trapped, but not in the car. rescuers make a stunning discovery near the wreckage. they can only see an arm and a leg. it's a woman pinned underneath a ton of concrete. captain logan ridinger can't begin to imagine how the victim could have gotten here, beneath a concrete cone, but only a few minutes after 6:00 a.m., he's about to get his second shock of the day. >> i saw this concrete cone, and i kind of asked one of the guys if they all called for the medical examiner because i thought that's what we had a fatality. he said, no, she's alive. >> it's unbelievable that anyone
could actually be alive under this heavy concrete structure, but now rescuers have some serious thinking to do. >> that was a tough decision to make how we were going to lift this heavy object up without causing any harm to the victim. i mean, it was really shaved right close to her head. we could have actually killed her in the process of doing the rescue. >> before they get started, firefighter mike cockerel climbs inside the concrete cone to make sure whatever plan they come up with won't cause the victim more harm. >> i remember the first thing that i thought when i got in there was like, how in the world did this person get in here? >> her name, she tells cockrell, is wendy. with a few details she provides, rescuers start to piece together the puzzle. >> we believe she was ejected out of the car, and she came straight out of the top.
>> out of the top and directly under a concrete pipe used to build sewers and left on the side of the road overnight. it's with almost impeccable timing that the impact of the crash tips up the concrete pipe and wendy slides underneath. the pipe flops back down on top of her pinning her arms and legs in ground soft enough from overnight rain to cushion the impact. it's hard to believe, but she's alive and needs help desperately. >> it looked bad. everything led to serious injuries, everything you can see. >> wendy is wracked with pain. she has bad gashes on her face and head, and cockrell has another concern. >> she was real cold. both of her hands and her feet were blue from, i'm assuming, lack of circulation and the cold weather. >> now it's time to begin the delicate process of raising the heavy concrete cone off her
body, but one mistake and wendy could be hurt more seriously or even die. >> we decided to use air bags and lift the object up. >> the air bags are inflatable pads routinely used by rescuers to lift heavy objects, very heavy objects like trucks or trains. >> the high pressure air bags can lift up to 17 to 20 ton. >> they begin by digging out space under the edge of the concrete cone to make room for the air bag. then slowly air is pumped in. >> inch it up just one inch at a time. we've got make sure we've got it right. you drop a ton of concrete on somebody, you're going to kill them. >> wendy has now been under there for almost 50 minutes. but now the cone is rising. and for the first time, wendy
begins to believe she's going to live. >> all of a sudden, i could see out of my left eye people's feet and a whole bunch of mud. it blew my mind. >> the details are fuzzy, but wendy starts to piece together just how she came to rest under a ton of concrete. >> that morning i was just going natural, you know, the same old route. >> but this morning is a bit different. it's 5:45 a.m. and wendy is on her way to a shopping mall where she works as a security guard. >> it was real rainy and slippery. there were no lights. i couldn't hardly see anything. >> wendy is driving cautiously, 10 to 15 miles below the speed limit, and she knows there are a couple curves in the road just ahead. >> i hit the brakes to slow down and about that time i went flying. >> when wendy hits the brakes,
instead of slowing down, her car skids out of control. when she comes to, she has no idea where she is. >> i couldn't see anything, i couldn't hear nothing. i thought i was already dead and nobody heard me. >> even worse, when wendy tries to move, she can't. she's trapped and terrified. >> well, at first, i started screaming help, help! oh, my god. nobody can hear me. help! help! then i got quiet and thought, nobody's going to hear me. >> fortunately, someone does see the accident and calls 911. with her life hanging in the balance, wendy is trapped under the weight of the concrete for an hour. and finally, just before 7:00 a.m., she's freed. something even her rescuers weren't sure they'd see.
>> i told her that she should have been on her way to play the lotto because that was her day. >> she's alive but hurt. wendy breaks both her arms, has a broken ankle, a broken leg and several broken ribs. the captain who has seen a lot in his 20 years on the job still finds wendy's accident hard to believe. >> it all had to happen within a split second. it's almost like somebody stabled this thing and picked it up and set it up. she's probably the luckiest person in the world. coming up -- two of the tightest, most frightening places anyone could be trapped. a boy playing with friends is anything but safe. and a man takes the longest smoke break of his life, stuck in an elevator. dramatic footage caught on a security camera. when caught on camera trapped
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rescuers in istanbul, turkey, feverishly work to crack this safe. if they don't, the 8-year-old boy stuck inside will run out of air and die. earlier in the day, the boy and some friends were playing outside a store that sells safes when on a dare he got inside this safe sitting on the curb. his friends shut the door, but then they couldn't reopen it, and the shop owner is away on vacation. now he's been trapped for hours and rescuers turn to the jaws of life to get him the air his body is craving. they need to work carefully. the space is small, and the rescuers risk endangering the young boy. finally, they manage to pry the door enough to get air into the tiny box. they can see the boy covering his ears. he's afraid but still alive. after hours of uncertainty, the boy is pulled to safety as the
crowd cheers. he's checked out by medical personnel and given a clean bill of health. traveling halfway around the world from istanbul to new york city, to a man stuck in a bigger box. as fears go, this is a pretty big one for so many people. nicholas white is trapped alone in an elevator. no watch, no cell phone, no water and no idea that he'll be stuck there not just for hours but for days. nicholas is a production manager for "business week" magazine working a late shift in midtown manhattan on friday night. it's just before 11:00 p.m. when he decides to head down from his 43rd office for a smoke break. on his way back up, somewhere between the 1st and 43rd floors, nicholas feels a jolt. then suddenly the car stops. as he buzzes the alarm, he expects someone to answer, but it rings and rings and rings.
all caught on a security camera, but unbelievably, nobody is watching the footage and no one answers his call for help. so he pries open the door and sees he's between floors. next, nicholas tries screaming, but it's late at night and nobody's there to hear him. time passes, he doesn't know how much, an hour, two hours, he doesn't know if it's day or night. but he knows it's probably the weekend now. all the co-workers that might have wondered where he is have surely gone home until monday. hour ten, a security camera shows a maintenance crew servicing other elevators but not car number 30. hour 13 passes. hour 15. to go to the bathroom he pries open the doors and goes down the shaft. he says he even hopes someone will notice the liquid coming down, but, of course, no one does. hour 30, thirsty, delirious, nicholas gets mad and then he gives up.
he lies down, he thinks, maybe to die. hours 35 and 36 pass, and then on sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., a voice on the intercom asks, is someone in there? 41 hours into his ordeal nicholas white is rescued. nicholas white never returned to his job after the incident. he did file a $25 million lawsuit against the building management company and the elevator maintenance company. after a four-year battle the parties settled for an undisclosed amount. it took him a while to get past it, but nicholas now rides elevators again. if you have a video you would like to send to us, log on to caughtoncamera.msnbc.com. i'm contessa brewer. that's this edition of "caught on camera."
a man knocked unconscious while witnesses walk by. >> if i'm laying on the ground, desperately trying to make it to the hospital. detained by an unsympathetic cop. >> you ran a red light. >> my mother is dying! right now. >> and i turned around, he has a gun pointed at me. >> what will she do? >> people faced with tough decisions. >> that's a woman. i had to decide what i'm going to do now. >> moral dilemmas with