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tv   Caught on Camera  MSNBC  July 18, 2015 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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"caught on camera: high voltage." hello. i'm contessa brewer. welcome to "caught on camera." it can happen in a flash. and with devastating impact. electrical shock. when we control it, electricity powers our lives. but when it's unleashed, high voltage can be terrifying. february 3rd, 1996. a desperate man attempts a perilous high-wire act, straight into 16,000 volts of electricity. >> don't do that! >> i thought he blew up in a million pieces because there was such a shock and a sound, it was boom! that i was, whoa! >> east los angeles, a vibrant hub of the city. for l.a. county firefighter eric huck, one call from dispatch would be unlike any other. [ sirens ]
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>> don't do that! >> everybody was shocked. myself and many guys who had many years on the job, this was something you'd never seen before. >> eric and his team arrive on the scene to find a suicidal young man perched atop a power pole 30 feet up. the rescuers immediately recognize the danger. >> we are dealing with high tension wires. we are talking about death within seconds. >> it's not just the suicidal young man whose life is at risk. a crowd has begun to form beneath him, and if the man pulls a live wire down with him, he could electrocute a bystander below. the fire department's first priority, cut the power. >> so the power company showed up and they shut the wires from one pole to the pole that this individual was on. >> with the electricity shut down on that one pole, they have reduced the risk of electrocution.
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now their concern is whether the man will jump. >> we start anticipating spinal injuries, broken bones, major trauma. >> this is their chance to talk the man down. >> he was just looking up to the sky, seemed to be talking to the sky, maybe somebody he sees up there. >> but as the authorities move in, the situation takes a dramatic turn. the man doesn't jump. instead, he begins to move out of reach. now everything changes. a sudden shift that takes eric and his team by surprise. >> this pole right here, with the last light, he was up on that light post over there. >> the firefighters fear anything could happen. >> when they got over here, that's when the situation started to intensify because we had crowd control and we had to start pushing everybody out of way. >> the man is moving down the line toward the pole that's high
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voltage, and the crowd is exposed to serious risk. >> now we have charged lines. and we are worried about charged lines dropping down on the crowd. >> all eyes are on the man as his behavior grows increasingly reckless. >> he did like a high-wire balance. he was back and forth. he was swinging. people were kind of calling to him. >> stop. >> stop, stop, please. >> get down! >> and they were yelling out prayers and trying to bless him and trying to remove satan from him. >> jesus says we can do greater things. in jesus name, i bind you, satan. >> finally, it happens. he makes contact. and for an instant, he completes a high-voltage circuit with his body and disappears into a fiery flash of orange and white. >> it lit up the sky. you're going to actually feel --
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you can feel the shock and the pressure of it go right through your chest. when he got zapped, something i still to this day can still feel it and hear it. so, it's definitely something i'll never forget. >> the onlookers are stunned. >> for us, a natural reaction would be for everyone to run over and help him. we had to take a second look, make sure the scene was safe. >> the rescue crew gets the all clear and the biggest shock of the day. the young man survives. >> it's a miracle. how can he be alive? you know, that's a high fall right there that should pretty much traumatize him, crack his skull. but his major injuries were his burns. if anything can come out of this, it is respect wires. respect electricity. respect high voltage. coming up, lightning strikes. >> holy [ bleep ]!
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>> and two men get the shock of their lives. >> that was some pretty scary stuff. >> he wasn't breathing. i couldn't find his pulse. >> when caught on camera high voltage continues. it's quite alright... ok, you know what? we want to make a deal with you. we're twins, so could you give us two for the price of one? come on, give us a deal. look at how old i am. do you come here often? he works here, terry! you work here, right? yes... ok let's get to the point. we're going to take the deal. get a $1000 volkswagen reward card on select 2015 jetta models or lease a 2015 jetta s for $139 a month after $1000 volkswagen bonus. rheumatoid arthritis like me... and you're talking to a rheumatologist about a biologic, this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira helping me reach for more. doctors have been prescribing humira for more than 10 years. humira works for many adults.
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a single lightning strike can pack up to a billion volts. that's enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb lit up for a century. the empire state building is new york city's lightning rod. it gets struck roughly 100 times a year. volcanic lightning, a spectacular phenomenon. air particles can be
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electrically charged by an eruption and their plume transformed. april 2011. a plane reported to be an emirates airlines a-380 is about to land at london's heathrow airport when it's struck by lightning. the 500 passengers on board are fine. emirates had knowledge of the incident but said all of its aircraft are designed and certified to be able to with stand a lightning strike. this is true of all modern airplanes. the planes' aluminum bodies act to conduct the current and shield the passengers from shock. on land, another glimpse of the power of nature. >> holy [ bleep ]! >> it's july 26th, 2006, when a man working on his motorcycle is stopped in his tracks. >> i can't believe that i'm still alive. it's absolutely terrifying to go through that experience.
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to feel mother nature's fury upon you like that. i got lucky. >> james bady is an avid dirt biker, who, along with his brother, is busy filming an adventure movie. >> all right. we've got 210 miles of dirt today. >> no rest for the weary, right? >> not if we're going to cross all of the mississippi. >> i'm a filmmaker who is working on a documentary called "road less traveled." it follows myself and my brother as we ride motorcycles off-road across america. >> matthew is a cinematographer. >> we were in a small town in colorado. and so, on one of the few days we weren't riding, there were quite a lot of thunderstorms, but we didn't give it too much mind. >> despite the weather, james is intent on fixing his bike, and matthew is there to film him. >> this sucks. this sucks. i had to clean out the carburetor because it was just leaking gas nonstop.
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i pushed my bike underneath the awning of this hotel. i thought, i'll be safe here. no problem at all. i'm covered. >> james is wrong. >> holy [ bleep ]! >> there was just this huge bang and a flash. >> it's like a sonic experience bursting through you. >> the next second all hell broke loose. >> damn it! holy [ bleep ]! >> so, i feel just -- i still feel really shaky. i'm not trying to be overdramatic or anything, but my spine feels lit up. i'm trying to understand what happened. not only the bolt had just gone off near us but why my body feels kind of tingly. >> the lightning seems to erupt straight out of the motorcycle, but the bolt doesn't actually
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hit the bike, not directly, at least. >> the lightning bolt hit those two vents right up there, according to one of the guys who saw it. >> james believes the charge must have traveled down the vent, across the parking lot, through the water pooling on the ground, straight into his kickstand. >> oh, damn it! >> i didn't realize that my bike's kickstand was standing in a puddle. >> the same water that was pooling around the chimney, it seems to have conducted the lightning into his bike. >> oh, damn it! >> i'm just glad i wasn't hit by the bolt itself. that was -- that was some pretty scary stuff. >> james feels like himself again after only a few minutes, but the experience leaves him shaken. >> it has been a long time since i've been scared that bad. >> every time i hear a thundercloud, even one in the distance, i can remember the
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feeling of being in that moment. >> few people know what it feels like to come in conduct with lightning. but another person who can relate is sam hall. >> to get hit by lightning, the feeling is -- it's pretty much undescribable because it happened so fast. you just feel the rush. you feel the current travel through your body. i was worried that i would be might have been paralyzed. >> barker, new york. for sam and his girlfriend, kim fen, october 3rd, 2008, began as an ordinary day. they were unfazed by the darkening skies above. >> we get a lot of rain around here, so you really don't think much about the skies. >> we had some errands to do, so we jumped into the truck and we came back to get gas. this is the gas station we got it here. >> this is the station we were at. >> pump number three. >> pump number three it is. >> i left a little bit of me
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behind there at the pump. >> at the local k&k food mart, the store's surveillance camera captured what happens. that's sam dressed in hunting camouflage. >> paid for my gas, had a little conversation with the patrons inside. >> among them, emil lajoie. it is just by luck that he's safe inside when an explosion rocks the gas station. >> well, i was in the store, i went to the counter to change my pump number, and that's when it all happened. >> kim is in the couple's pickup fiddling with the radio when suddenly, a terrifying noise. >> i heard this huge sound, the truck shook, and i hit the floorboards. it felt like a bomb, to be honest with you. or that the gas pump blew up. >> sam shows us where he stood when it all went down. >> next thing i know, all i seen
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was this orange "v" framed out by the brightest white. i felt the charge going through my arm. as it went through my elbow, that's basically the last thing i remember. >> it was thunderous. it was thunderous. >> i heard the thunder. i heard it, it was loud. >> when it hit -- when it hit sam, it was just like world war iii. it was the loudest thing i've ever heard. >> in fact, the lightning never actually hit sam directly. >> the lightning bolt had struck the pavement just feet from me, traveled through the pavement, because it had just recently rained. >> luckily, the gas pump he's holding is grounded, directing the current from his body. but the force of the bolt drops sam right on the spot, unable to move. >> he wasn't breathing. i couldn't find his pulse. i started pounding on his chest. i started pounding him on his chest, i started shaking him and slapping him up. and i got really upset and i told him if he was faking i was going to kill him.
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the things that were going through my head, you promised me you were going stay with me until we were old, you know. he kept his promise to me. yeah, he did. >> an emergency medical team revives sam on site and he's rushed to the hospital. but as shaken up as he is, he has only one visible injury. >> i had actually blisters on my elbow where the current actually blew out my elbow. so i went home, every muscle in my body was sore for a couple of days. >> still, things have changed since that bolt from the blue. sam had always wanted to sing in a rock band. now he has decided life is too short to put it off any longer. ♪ >> it made me realize that you only have so much time on this
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earth, you only have so much time to do the things that you need to do to enjoy your life, because you only have one life, and i had to put everything into it. ♪ the bolt from the sky coming up, a bear is blasted off a high power electric pole. >> all of a sudden we had a bear like exploding in midair. >> and good thing a cat has nine lives. when caught on camera, high voltage, continues.
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august 1989. a frightened bear climbs to the top of an electrical pole, three stories up and dangerously close to high-voltage power lines. >> i am thinking, gosh, this is amazing. he hasn't gotten shocked already. >> minutes later, she's blasted
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with 7,200 volts. >> and we literally had an explosion. it was really, really horrible. >> over the years, drought has driven many bears down from the mountains into the city of albuquerque, new mexico. one such bear became legend. at that time, janet blair was a network news reporter. >> we kept getting calls in the newsroom. there's a bear loose in our neighborhood. so, we loaded in our news units, and we headed up there. >> nbc news cameraman, kerry mootz. >> bear loose in the heights, you know? that's a great way to start your day off. >> the bear is on a desperate search, presumably to find her missing cub. little did she know the cub was safe and sound, officials had caught him wandering through town the day before.
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>> and i said, now that they have baby bear, the big question is, where's mama bear? >> the answer, fast approaching a busy intersection. >> so, we get over to tramway and montgomery, and the bear heads for a power pole. and so, immediately, i'm thinking to myself, can bear climb a power pole? >> when a bear feels cornered, instinct tells it where to go. straight up. now, getting her down safely is up to game and fish officials like mark burkehouser. >> it is just looking for a place to get away and get some place where it feels safe. for a bear, that's high, as high as it can get up from the ground where not much can get to it. >> this is not a normal volt. this is a large high-wire high voltage pole. and there's, i think, three sets of wires that were up there. and the bear's up like by the top. albuquerque police department is there. game and fish is there. everybody's, you know, trying it figure out, you know, what we're going to do.
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>> officials want to try to tranquilize the bear, but they'll have to be careful. >> you can't hit the bear and you miss. that dart's going to come down somewhere, and with crowds around, there's always that public concern. >> the decision is made to fire the tranquilizer. the shot a direct hit. within seconds, the 105-pound bear feels the effects. >> she's going. you can just see she's getting woozy. >> it is starting to droop a little bit. and it is hanging on to the pole as best it can. >> it's just, he's starting to lose function. his leg starts dangling down. >> and she loses one claw, and then she loses the other claw. >> the bear has avoided getting shocked until now. >> the electricity arced across and the bear immediately just boom, flies off the pole. it was like ten times louder than the gun firing, in my mind.
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and that electrical sound, that crackle of electrical, you know. >> all of a sudden, we had a bear, like, exploding in midair. >> and the smoke and the flash, i mean, it was intense. >> and then the smell, the smell of barbecued bear. >> everybody all around is getting emotional. janet blair lets loose. "you killed the bear!" you know, she's going to run over and ring someone's neck. >> i was very upset, and i stamped my foot, and i said a bad word. [ bleep ] very loudly. i am a journalist and i'm supposed to be dispassionate, but that doesn't mean i don't have really strong feelings about every story that i do. and in this case, i had very strong feelings for that bear. i thought, she was a goner. you know, if she didn't die from that fall, she must have died from the electrocution. >> but the story turns out very differently. >> when we went up to the bear and the bear was still
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breathing, it still had a heartbeat, it was, like, amazing. we were just amazed. >> she survived it, and she survived the burns on her paws and everything. >> lucky for the bear, fur that's dry doesn't conduct electricity well. and lucky as well, her body is equipped for a high fall. she needs urgent care, but her condition isn't critical. >> she seems stable. she is breathing regularly. her heart rate is regular. and i can't really find any injuries on her other than a little burn on the inside of her right rear leg. >> i can't tell you then, the elation i felt when we got the call, hey, this bear's alive. >> it was amazing that she had survived all of that. it was a miracle. >> the mama bear, who came to be affectionately known as sparky, spends five months at the rio grande zoo under the care of a team of veterinarians.
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she gains 75 pounds. and after reuniting with her cub, she's returned to the wild. >> people did get attached to this bear. it became albuquerque's bear. mama bear coming and looking for her cub, this traumatic incident occurs, yet they are reunited and able to be turned loose. i think it is a story of hope, you know. >> many wildlife officials rely on airbags to cushion the fall of bears they have to sedate, a development they owe, in some part, to sparky the bear. december 6th, 2010. in tucson, arizona, another animal is stuck high on an electrical pole. this time, a cat who's been up there for three days. >> i just thought the cat might either slip and fall off or get into the power lines and get shocked and die. >> but kim, the cat, surprises everyone. >> on a monday, cameraman andrew
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brown heads out to cover the story. all day, phone lines had been buzzing in the newsroom. >> people were so upset about this cat being on this pole and them not being able to get it down that i didn't know what to expect, but i knew it was going to be kind of crazy. >> when andrew arrives on the scene, a crowd has formed. looking 30 feet up at one very confused cat. >> people heard about it. i came out this morning, and i've been here ever since. >> you know, it's like, let's watch. >> the cat's been up there since saturday, 4:00 p.m. with no food, no water, and as you can see, everybody's standing around. so, see how it turns out. live entertainment. >> also on the scene are kim's owners, amber fernandez, who's deaf, and her mother, lisa. >> we've had her for two years, and now she is stuck up there. i don't know what to do. >> if you touch one of the wires, it's high voltage.
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it doesn't take much to kill a cat. with amber and her as close as they are, it would be very painful. >> given the risks to their employees, the power company is reluctant to intervene. but by the third day, the crowd is demanding action. >> i was going to get my spike shoes and climb up the pole but they said they would arrest anybody that attempts it. >> the police informed us that someone considered climbing our energized equipment to try and remove the cat. so, when that happened, we decided that the best course of action would be to try and bring the cat down. >> tucson electric shuts down the power, leaving more than 2,000 people without electricity. still, there's residual charge left in those lines, enough to make the operation dangerous for kim the cat and her rescuers as well. >> it got really, really tense. everybody was just nervous and there was a lot of tension in the air.
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>> it was scary because the cat started getting scared. she was scared of the two men. >> for kim the cat, it is a big decision. should she stay or should she go? >> i didn't know what was going to happen. i kept thinking that it was going to get shocked. >> one of the onlookers on site provides the play-by-play. >> oh, jesus, joseph, mary, please. oh, god, oh, god, oh, my god, oh, my god. can you let the boys take you? let the boys take you. oh, no. >> suddenly, she jumps. >> oh, my god! ahhhhh! >> it looked like, kind of like slow motion. >> it was shock and awe. it was like a moment of sheer terror. you can hear it. everybody just gasped. >> a cat's physical make-up helps it to brace for these kinds of falls. >> it was almost like she was flying like a flying squirrel does. because she was all four, you know, arms and legs out and she was kind of gliding down.
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and then when she hit, i was praying inside my head, god, please make my cat safe. i thought for sure, you know, she's dead. >> but kim survives. >> she did. no broken bones. no internal bleeding. like nothing ever happened to her. >> in fact, she's raring to go. >> i couldn't believe it. i really don't believe it. hit the ground and started running. >> went straight home. that's all she wanted to do was go home. >> i felt so happy inside, like it was like going to heaven. >> after her adventure, kim still looks for trouble. >> she isn't a good girl. a little bit fat now. coming up -- >> oh, geez. >> a hot air balloon on a collision course. >> it's a disaster happening in front of your eyes.
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i'm richie louie with the hour's top story. another death from the shooting in tennessee. randall smith died early this morning. he was a reservist serving on active duty at the chattanooga center when a gunman opened fire killing him and four marines. there is a makeshift memorial outside of the recruiting center since the attacks. now back to caught on camera. welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. imagine being in a hot air balloon, drifting through a cloudless day. what could be more sublime? and what could be more frightening when the wind carries that balloon straight into high-voltage wires? that's just what one spectator caught on camera. october 1984.
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a hot air balloon draws perilously close to electric power lines. >> oh, god! >> it's a disaster. it's a disaster happening in front of your eyes. and then they think, well, the people in there are, who knows what, burnt or dead or anything. >> art minizoli and his wife, dee, are having a memorable vacation. they're visiting the albuquerque balloon fiesta. >> there is about 400 hot air balloons. >> it's really something to see. >> every color in the rainbow is there and there is all the different shapes. >> art has brought with him what was then a new toy. >> this is what i used to videotape it. you know, it's a new fad, and i thought, you know, that's a nice way to record. >> art's video of day three captures the spectacle that
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greeted them right outside their motel room. >> look at all those balloons. they were so pretty in the sky. it's hard to believe when you see 400 or 500 of them ascending and floating all over. >> they were landing around the freeway here and there, which looked a little perilous, because a little miscalculation, you could get hit by a car, too. >> this one was coming down, we were watching, and all of a sudden, we could hear the tanks when they turn on the propane, you hear, whoosh, whoosh. >> the balloon has abruptly changed course from landing to rising. its pilot and his passenger may have noticed there's a fence in his way. >> so, he gave it a shot of hot air, and it started to rise. well, being in the basket with the balloons sticking out over the side, he couldn't see the power lines. >> the balloon rises straight into the high-voltage power lines. >> all of a sudden, there's this flash.
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i mean, flash, and it took all of our breaths way. >> you know, the balloon could burn, it could catch on fire. the tanks could explode and kill people. >> but circuit breakers automatically cut the power from the line temporarily. >> so, i'm thinking, my god, what are they going to do? you know, it's -- i can't see how they're going to get down from there without something happening. >> the balloon is suspended in a deadly tangle of high-tension wires. then suddenly, the power surges on again. >> oh, jesus. >> oh, god! >> oh, jesus. >> there was a bigger flash, and i truly thought that whoever was in the gondola must be burned or dead, because it was a
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tremendous flash. >> oh, jesus. >> oh, god! >> another big arc, an enormous arc, and it burned through the cables that hold the basket and the balloon, and that's when they separated. >> the balloon itself is cast off to sputter through the air. as for the gondola, it is hard to imagine anyone on board it could survive. >> oh, jesus. >> they've endured a series of potentially lethal, high-voltage shocks and a 30-foot drop. >> and it's like slow motion. that basket, you can just see it going down. and it hits the ground. you think, oh boy, if they live through that, they're going to be in really bad shape. >> but incredibly, both balloonists are alive. the pilot sustains a broken shoulder, fractured pelvis and ribs, and the passenger just bruises and a broken wrist. >> i was absolutely amazed that
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they both weren't more seriously hurt or dead. but it happened so fast, and you are just thankful that this tragedy wasn't worse. coming up, police deliver a wedding present of 50,000 volts. >> let it go! let it go! >> how to start off a marriage having a groom get tased in a restaurant on his wedding day? (glasses clinking) ♪ (ground shaking) well there goes the country club. the 2015 dodge durango. now with available beats audio.
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show more of you. new york state is reinventing by leading the way on tax cuts. we cut the rates on personal income taxes. we enacted the lowest corporate tax rate since 1968. we eliminated the income tax on manufacturers altogether. with startup-ny, qualified businesses that start, expand or relocate to new york state pay no taxes for 10 years. all to grow our economy and create jobs. see how new york can give your business the opportunity to grow at a high-speed chase -- [ sirens ] -- ends in a high-voltage tase.
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december 3rd, 2007. tallahassee, florida, police officer, donald poppy, is on patrol. dash cam rolling when a car pulls ahead. the driver hits 65 in a 35-mile-per-hour zone, and he also hits a fence. the speeder, antonio givens, tries to bolt. poppy responds, taser drawn. >> stop, now! on the ground, now! >> givens drops his gun and grabs for it. poppy fires at givens with a tase of up to 50,000 volts. but givens isn't done. poppy goes for his firearm. as givens rises, his weapon in hand. >> drop it! >> poppy fires twice and givens goes down. incredibly, he's only wounded.
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givens is convicted of attempted aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and sentenced to 11 months, 29 days. >> get out! on the ground! [ sirens ] >> more and more, police are relying on tasers. >> it's an excellent tool. it keeps us from having to fight somebody hands on. >> detective jared mathern should know. he along with two other officers are with the homer, louisiana, police force. they were uninvited guests who brought tasers to a wedding that went very, very wrong. instead of a toast, the groom got a tase, and the bridal party got a shower of mace. >> what is going through my mind, is oh, my god, i'm just got married, it's supposed to be the happiest day in my life, and i'm getting tased and the best man's his way to jail, too, so i don't see how it could get any worse. >> jeffrey has been on the force for 15 years.
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>> homa is a small town. nice to live here. it's quiet. >> homa is usually quiet. but not on july 23rd, 2005. riding along with police is a cameraman. >> what the [ bleep ]? some wedding. >> shooting for a local tv show called "the beat," produced by martin foles. >> sometimes you come back with no video and sometimes you come back and it is pretty good stuff. this time it was real good stuff. >> but how did this couple's happily ever after turn so quickly to disaster? it begins when someone calls 911 but hangs up. >> get down! >> they thought the groom was having a seizure. just the way they were behaving, you could tell that they had had way too much alcohol. >> police and paramedics arrive at the scene. they determine the groom is not having a seizure, but he is highly intoxicated. >> back up! back up! >> stuff went crazy real quick.
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>> officers are trying to get the crowd to back up so they can help the groom, but when the groom sees police, he starts slugging away. >> trying to persuade him to take a ride to the hospital to get checked out, and for some reason, he just didn't want to have it. >> while police are trying to control the aggressive groom, his brand new brother-in-law leaps into the fray. >> i pulled him to the ground, not knowing that the stretcher was right there. >> officer jackson tries to help his fellow officer by tasing the brother-in-law. >> i hear officer jackson behind me yelling, "taser, taser!" >> but officer jackson can't tase when another cop is in the line of fire. >> if one prong would go into me and the other prong would go into the suspect, the electricity would go through both of us. >> the groom blocks the taser. >> he hit it out of my hand and it went into the crowd. luckily, nobody got hit. >> suddenly, the groom passes out.
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>> who shot the stun gun! >> the brother-in-law mistakenly believes the groom was been tased and goes after the cops. then he's marched down the aisle. >> he jumped up off of the ground and attempted to charge at one of the officers that was standing directly behind me. i had to grab him. >> it's total chaos and then the groom is back on his feet. but not for long. >> you can see him get up again. so it's like, "night of the living dead." he's back up, in the crowd. >> i tried to talk to him, tried to calm him down. he swung a punch at me and i deployed a taser a second time. [ screaming ] >> and here comes the bride. >> his new wife came up screaming. it sounds like a gunshot so she thought i shot him. >> police continue to fend off the bridal party. >> when they just started coming out of the woodwork over here from the house is when the officer started using the pepper
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spray. >> back up! >> it's clear, this is not going to end well. >> i don't know where the third guy came from. running out, screaming and hollering and cursing at us. >> it is the groom's brother. >> so, at that point -- >> back up, k-9, back up. >> k-9 arrives and they back up. >> get that guy on the ground. >> who? >> right there, him. >> on the ground now! >> they take him into custody. and that was a wrap. >> can i pull my pants up? >> nope. >> for the wedding album, moments to treasure. three arrests, three mugshots, the groom, warren besueau, and his brother, christopher, are charged with disturbing the peace by intoxication and charging a police officer. others are charged with the same plus battery of a police officer and threatening a public official. the groom pleads guilty and pays a fine. his brother pleads no contest and also pays a fine.
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the groom's brother-in-law pleads guilty and spends 15 days in jail. >> that's not a good party plan. not a way to start off a marriage, having a groom get tased and arrested on his wedding day. >> back up! back up! >> if he made it to his honeymoon, it was a quiet one. coming up, a pair of brothers straunded on a tower carrying 230 volts. >> i just wanted them down. i wanted them down right then. >> when "caught on camera: high voltage" continues.
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>> february 11, 1997. two brothers are trapped on a high voltage electric tower 12 stories up. >> it was way too exciting for this mother.
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i just wanted them down. i wanted them down right then. i was terrified. >> for sandra mcneil, that day would be the longest of her life. >> i was just going on adrenaline. it was kind of makes your heart sick to see your boys up there. >> what unlikely turn of events would draw two boys to this terrible brink? the answer has everything to do with the special bond they share. 10-year-old john has autism. his brother james, 17, is devoted to his little brother. >> he was his brother's keeper. because he loves his brother, because he had been put in a position to watch out for his brother his whole life. >> part of caring for john means keeping him out of trouble. >> he has no fear of danger.
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his sense of adventure and lack of sense of danger. it's like having a 2-year-old. >> one of his favorite fixations? >> he's always liked to climb. right over the backyard fence, there was 120-foot power tower. there was a green belt behind the house with a series of electrical towers and john had started to climb them. >> so far, john has only managed to get at the scaffolds and ground level because his family coaxed him down but that day with both parents away at work he ventures higher. >> john had recently discovered the spikes on the side of the tower, about 20 feet up, so he was able to maneuver the tower and climb up to those spikes. >> brother james is afraid of heights but he feels he has no choice. >> james followed john because he didn't expect him to go all the way. he was climbing and then john just kept climbing further and he was yelling at him to get
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down, to stop. >> 911 emergency. >> this is an autistic child that climbed up a power pole in front of me house. >> word quickly gets out. >> way above there now. >> he's just about to the top where the wires are. hurry. >> okay. >> in no time john is 120 feet up along with his older brother james. >> he went straight up. i was trying to be calm. looking at things. but it was a sight i could do without. i was afraid up there. >> when we got to the top he got his glasses off he couldn't see how far down it was. >> their father byron hears the news on a traffic report and races home. sandra gets alerted at work by police. >> as i was driving from work home and could see the boys on the tower and the helicopters circling like birds above them,
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i was terrified then and i knew that john liked helicopters and he'd get excited and flap his arms and the first thing i asked is, can you ask the helicopters to back off a little? >> he'd be excited now then by the helicopters, the crowd, all the attention he was getting. no, he was not afraid. >> the lines carry 230,000 volts, enough juice to power a small town. the authorities cut the electricity but they warn there may still be 20,000 volts of residual power. captain terry self of the mesa fire department harnesses himself to the tower and leads the rescue. >> get higher and higher and before you get to the top, some point you say, how did i get myself into this? >> the plan -- terry and firefighter jeff mitchell will harness the boys and rappel down the tower with them. with night falling and
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temperatures dropping, it's becoming a risky operation. >> james had john's hand clamped down on to the little 3-inch angle iron girder there. he had a death grip on it. when he picked up his hand, his brother's hand was blue. >> it's been two tense hours since the crisis began when another option makes a dramatic entrance. a special utility truck called a condor equipped with a 150-foot boom. by coincidence, it had been undergoing repairs just a few miles away. >> they only had one in the state i believe at the time and the mechanic in charge of it saw this on the news and he went back to work to reassemble it. when the condor entered the green belt, there was a roar. we were excited. >> the boys are ushered to safety. >> oh, i was so relieved. just wanted to thank heavens
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that they were safe and i wanted to hold them. >> and james is treated as a hero. >> i still don't see what i did was that unusual. may be a trial sometimes but i have a really wonderful brother and i love him. >> some day i hope you can tell me why you climbed all the way to the top. >> years later, john has now grown to adulthood. a scrapbook of clippings helps preserve memories of his brother's devotion. >> i think the world needs still heroes. they need to see that people will do things and not worry about their own safety, that they will put someone else's needs ahead of their own. and this was a sweet story of brotherly love. >> john's brother james has since gone on to serve in the military, stationed in afghanistan. that's all for this edition of "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer.
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thanks for watching. here we go. i'm going to take you on a ride. >> stunts too insane to believe. >> it's just crazy. that must be fake. >> do not try this at home. >> i would like maybe to crash this car. >> animals acting like humans. >> not once does the bear hit himself in the face. that's really impressive. >> it's impossible not to join in. >> and pranks that push the limit. >> yeah! [ screaming ] >> it took my breath away. >> we were both really scared. >> i'm like, oh, this is bad. >> millions of clicks, butt


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