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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  March 24, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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kids, though right? >> that's true. can't put a price on that. >> right. >> thanks for joining us here at 5:00. lester holt is next with "nightly news." >> see you back at 6:00. on this tuesday night, air disaster. no survivors as a plane with 150 on board slams into a mountainside. no distress call from the pilot. what happened in the cockpit? and what we've learned about some of the passengers. cancer scare. angelina jolie goes public about a very personal dision. two years after her double mastectomy, now surgery to remove her ovaries. and test results that have so many people asking questions. tonight we have some answers. caught on camera. our first look at the accident outside the white house involving high-level secret service agents. and sitting pretty. the cast of "pretty woman" together 25 years later. how a post-it note changed the course of movie history. "nightly news" begins now.
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>> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news." reporting tonight, lester holt. good evening. it's that point in the flight when even nervous fliers tend to relax. germanwings flight 9525 from barcelona to dusseldorf had just reached cruise level, 38,000 feet as it sailed high over the french alps. whatever happened next was sudden, and the plane was in an apparently controlled descent from which it never recovered. bits of debris are littered across the remote mountainside where the plane crashed. there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage, said one official. anguished relatives of the 150 people onboard were told there are not expected to be any survivors. we have a team in place covering this horrible tragedy starting with bill neely in southern france. bill? >> reporter: good evening, lester. this is a crash that has experts baffled. a plane flying apparently normally in
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good weather that suddenly plummets more than 30,000 feet in ten minutes. unimaginable for those onboard. i'm at rescue headquarters today, high up in these mountains. the search began for clues and for the dead. on a rugged french mountainside in thousands of scattered pieces, the remains of a crashed plane. here and there, rescuers. but there was no one left alive to rescue. the airbus with 150 people onboard had simply disintegrated on impact. searchers, though, did find the cockpit voice recorder. this was the doomed aircraft operated by the low-cost airline germanwings. flight 9525 took off from barcelona at 10:00 this morning, climbing normally to a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet at 10:27. but minutes later, it began an unexplained descent over the alps. for eight minutes the pilots sent no
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distress signal. flight radar 24 says it lost contact with the plane which had dropped more than 30,000 feet at 10:40. "i heard the noise of the impact," this man says. then we saw smoke and thought the flight must have crashed. at dusseldorf where the plane was due to land, distressing scenes as waiting relatives were told the news. onboard were 144 passengers, 2 pilots, and 4 flight crew. among them at least 67 passengers from germany and 45 from spain. there were two babies, and 16 teens from the same school in germany hood who had been on an exchange holiday. also, two famous opera singers, who had been performing in barcelona. helicopters and hundreds of searchers have moved close to the crash site. their priority, recovering bodies and the second flight recorder. neither weather nor terrorism is being
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blamed. but for now, nothing explains why the plane fell so far so fast, with such terrible consequences. bill neely, nbc news, france. >> this is tom costello. the disaster now strewn over the french alps may have started at or near 38,000 feet. the plane only spent one to three minutes at that altitude before beginning what appears to be a programmed descent, 4,000 feet per minute. unusually steep but not extreme. what puzzles veteran crash investigators is why the crew never radioed a mayday. >> they didn't provide a distress call, they didn't indicate in any kind of way, shape or form a problem with the aircraft. that's very unusual given the fact they were at 38,000 feet. they would have been in complete communication with air traffic control. >> reporter: among the scenarios investigators will have to consider, was there an emergency that forced the crew to program a rapid descent, a fire or
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smoke or sudden loss of cabin pressure? but if that was the problem, the pilot should have leveled the plane out at 10,000 feet where there's plenty of oxygen. instead, it kept descending. so were the pilots and passengers somehow incapacitated perhaps from lack of oxygen? captain john cox once flew the a320. >> something obviously occurred that said as soon as they got to 38,000, within just a few minutes, they needed to come down. and what exactly that is, i don't know. >> reporter: the airbus a320 is one of the most heavily used planes. more than 6,000 flying. a computerized plane with a very good safety record. but there have been some recent high-profile accidents. in december an airasia a-320 crashed into the java sea killing 162 on board. the cause is still under investigation. in 2009, the miracle on the hudson in new york caused by a bird strike. everyone survived thanks to expert piloting. this particular airbus a320 was just 24 years
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old, had just gone through a maintenance check yesterday. they have to look at what the cockpit voice recorder says and the flight data recorder. those two black boxes may be the tale to what happened during this flight. >> tom costello, thank you. we're learning more tonight about who was onboard the plane, including that large group of german high school students on their way home from barcelona. nbc's katy tur visited the school outside dusseldorf and tells us more. >> reporter: as candles line the joseph koenig school steps, silence fell over the small german town. an entire high school spanish class feared dead. 2 teachers and 16 students coming back from a week-long exchange in barcelona. this girl's cousin was one of them. >> she looked forward to meet the others again, but on the other side she was also, i think, really happy to go home. >> reporter: she showed me the last selfie the 16-year-old texted her just a few days ago.
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news of the crash is overwhelming just about everybody here, including the mayor. who called it the worst thing anyone could imagine. tonight hundreds of candles burned in memory. >> it hurts so much. >> reporter: while these teenagers hug each other for support. >> how is the school feeling right now? >> empty. >> reporter: and try to come to grips with such a huge loss. >> nobody could believe it really. it's true, but you don't want to understand it. >> reporter: parents were expecting them to land here at dusseldorf airport. instead the parents were ushered into a private room where they just kept getting worse and worse news. lester, these are 15 and 16-year-olds, and they're just some of the first victims that we're learning about of those 150 onboard. >> all right. katy tur tonight. katy, thank you.
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back in this country, a very personal announcement from one of the biggest stars in the world, facing a family history of cancer and a gene that puts her at higher risk. two years ago angelina jolie underwent a double mastectomy. today she revealed a new scare led her to take preventive measures once again. anne thompson has her story. >> reporter: who you are and what you do is no protection from cancer as angelina jolie made clear in today's "new york times." two weeks ago, the 39-year-old oscar winner's blood tests showed what could be an early sign of ovarian cancer. her husband, actor brad pitt, flew back from france immediately. the beautiful thing about such moments in life, she wrote, is that there is so much clarity. you know what you live for and what matters. it is polarizing and it is peaceful. in 2013, jolie had a preventive double mastectomy, after testing positive for a mutation of brca, the
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breast cancer gene. cancer took her grandmother, aunt and mother. after the test, jolie went to see her mother's surgeon. she teared up when she saw me. you look just like her. i broke down. but we smiled at each other and agreed we were there to deal with any problems, so let's get on with it. an ultrasound and scan showed no full-blown cancer but there was still a chance it was in an early stage. with her family and genetic history, jolie chose to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. jolie's story two years ago dramatically increased the demand for genetic testing. today doctors are seeing another angelina effect. >> my first e-mail was 6:30 this morning. >> reporter: a world renowned breast cancer surgeon larry norton says high-risk women should consider this surgery as soon as they are done having children. what does it do to your cancer risk? >> a dramatic reduction. not just dying of the cancer, that is affected. and that's a big deal. >> reporter: it
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certainly is for members of chicago's bright pink. >> there's other options, but it really depends on your story. >> reporter: a support group for young women at risk for breast and ovarian cancer. >> it reminded us that our ovarian health and knowing the symptoms of ovarian cancer and speaking it is so, so important. >> reporter: jolie says she's confident in her decision, knowing her six children will never have to say my mom died of ovarian cancer. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. >> we know a lot of people are going to have questions about this test and a lot more. with some answers we have cancer surgeon at memorial sloan-kettering cancer center here in new york. who should be tested for these mutations, and what's the quality of life post-surgery? >> lester, women and their families that are considered to be at elevated risk for ovarian cancer should be tested. that includes women with the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, women who have family history of breast and ovarian cancer are really the high-risk population that should
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consider meeting with a geneticist or talking with their clinician about testing for brca mutation. in terms of the procedure itself, it's a relatively short procedure with a short recovery time. but a lot of conversation surrounds this procedure related to childbearing and also early surgical menopause. i think what angelina jolie did today is really tremendous because it empowers women. she has stature and beauty and grace and is able to say, i'm going to get information about my health and make an informed decision that's right for me. >> i think a lot of other people are getting information as a result. dr. gardner, great to have you here. >> thank you so much, lester. president obama today announced the slowdown of withdrawal of u.s. troops from afghanistan. appearing at the white house with afghanistan's new president, president obama said just under 10,000 troops will remain there through the end of 2015. about double the number as originally planned, to help the afghan army. the white house said it still intends to complete the
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withdrawal tore drawdown by the end of next year. israel is denying tonight a report alleging that the country spied on nuclear talks involving the u.s. and iran, an accusation that may only further chill the frosty relationship between the obama white house and the israeli government. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell has that for us. >> reporter: did israel spy on the iran nuclear talks and leak selected details to the republicans to sink the deal? >> i don't comment on intelligence matters in a big room full of reporters. >> reporter: the speaker said he was baffled. >> i was a bit shocked because there's no information revealed to me whatsoever. >> reporter: shocked. shocked that there's gambling at rick's cafe. the dirty little secret no one talks about until "the wall street journal's" report today. friends spy on friends. >> if john kerry is speaking to his iranian counterpart, they could very well be listening in on that call. in fact, the officials that i spoke to basically explained it
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exactly that way. >> reporter: israel strongly denies it but officials say the white house knows it happened because the u.s. does it, too. caught the israelis red-handed. >> i think the real heart of the "wall street journal" story, though, that was disturbing, the allegation was that israel had gained inside information and then turned around and leaked it selectively to members of congress. >> reporter: the last time the u.s. caught israel spying on america, ronald reagan was president. navy analyst jonathan pollard was a spy. the u.s. stopped sharing secrets until israel apologized. president obama promised to keep sharing military intelligence with israel but secrets from the iran talks, don't count on it. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. still ahead, an nbc news exclusive. for the first time we hear from a woman who dated robert durst shortly before he's accused of murdering his friend. why she alerted police years ago, the letter she turned over to investigators. and later, movie magic. the cast of "pretty
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woman" all together after 25 years as julia roberts reveals something we didn't know all these years later.
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vermont police said today they are, quote, very interested in a possible link between real estate heir robert durst and another cold case. the 1971 disappearance of a young woman last seen near a store durst owned in vermont. now a woman who once dated durst has come forward to nbc with
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details about the time they spent together. our stephanie gosk has her story. >> reporter: while robert durst sits in a louisiana jail, a woman who once dated him has a story to tell. linda walker zevallos said she met robert durst in 2007 on a flight from new york to dallas. for the next six months she said they spoke often. he was the one who called her. meals at fancy restaurants in dallas, a dinner with her 13-year-old son. after one date, he sent a handwritten letter. >> "last night was fun and special and i will not forget it." >> reporter: but soon after, zevallos ended it. >> i started sensing something was wrong. and that was it. >> reporter: she remembers durst getting calls from susan berman, and says he sent money and told her he was going to visit. in december 2000, berman was murdered in los angeles. zevallos, who had never known durst's actual history would later learn he'd been charged with berman's murder, suspected but
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not charged in his wife's disappearance and acquitted of killing his neighbor. his neighbor, all crimes durst denied. >> i've never met or known anyone that has been accused of the things he has done, the things he's done. it was absolutely shocking to me. >> reporter: zevallos phoned the los angeles police, giving them the letter and told the lead investigator her story. many now know durst's story. she actually knows the man himself. stephanie gosk, nbc news, dallas. >> much more of her story, a "today" exclusive tomorrow morning. we're back in a moment with a first look at a tape of what some in the secret service never wanted you to see.
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tonight we are finally seeing with our own eyes an incident that at least some in the secret service were trying to keep secret. our first look at videotape from the night that two agents drove through the scene of an active bomb scare investigation at the white house after an
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alleged night of drinking. nbc's kristen welker has more. >> reporter: this washington, d.c., police video was taken from a camera just outside the white house grounds. it shows a government car with two secret service agents inside, bumping a plastic barricade in front of a security checkpoint. the driver backs up a few feet and then drives forward out of view. at the time, agents on duty were investigating a bomb threat at that very site. moments captured in the video that was partially edited for today's hearings. lawmakers questioned secret service director joseph clancy yet again and released part of an e-mail which describes the incident in some detail. the e-mail is circulated anonymously soon afterwards, and says the aegts were both extremely intoxicated, that some officers at the scene were going to arrest both of them, but the watch commander said not to. clancy, who said he didn't learn about the incident until five days later, faced withering questions from lawmakers who wanted to know if there are more tapes.
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>> you've shown us less than one minute of video. >> yes. yes, sir. >> reporter: now again, lester the tape today came from the d.c. police. the secret service has given lawmakers videos from two of their cameras, but when asked what happened to other security video, clancy explained that footage would have been taped over after 72 hours. lester? >> kristen, thanks. hard to believe no one was hurt after a school bus slammed through a house in philadelphia this morning. take a look. all nine students onboard and the driver were able to safely exit the bus through the rear door. the family inside narrowly missed the impact saying it felt like an explosion that knocked them to the ground. authorities are working to determine if the bus driver suffered a medical emergency before the crash. when we come back, what's your favorite moment from this movie, as "pretty woman" turns 25. the cast back together for the first time. "nbc nightly news" is brought to you by pacific life. for insurance,
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finally tonight, hard to believe it's been a quarter century since a millionaire corporate raider
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stopped to ask for directions on hollywood boulevard and met a working girl who charmed audiences in the beloved romantic comedy "pretty woman." 25 years later the cast reunited to reminisce with matt lauer, and our man in hollywood joe fryer has the report. >> fasten your seat belt. >> reporter: the thing about cinderella stories, even a modern-day one like "pretty woman," is they're hard to forget, even 25 years later. how often do people ask you about it? >> every week probably somebody says something about it. >> reporter: the cast and director joined matt lauer to reminisce about the now-infamous story about a wealthy businessman who falls for a prostitute. ♪ extra time and your ♪ >> reporter: the struggles -- >> slippery little suckers. >> reporter: the snub. >> how much is this, marie? >> it's very expensive. >> reporter: the revenge. >> you work on commission, right? >> yes. >> big mistake. big. huge. >> reporter: memorable moments now ingrained
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in our movie lexicon. >> you're late. >> you're stunning. >> you're forgiven. >> reporter: although not everyone remembers them. you say -- >> you were late. >> and you say? >> i don't remember the scene at all. >> you say -- >> what do you want me to say? i don't remember! >> you're stunning, you say. >> and i say you're forgiven. >> reporter: it's the role that catapulted julia roberts to super stardom. when they started filming, she was just 21, a little-known actress who had to convince richard gere to join the cast. >> she's across the desk, and she takes a piece of paper and she's writing something on it, a post-it. you remember more than i do. she turns it around and pushes it to me and said, please say yes. >> i remember that. >> it was so sweet. i just said yes. >> reporter: 25 years later, their fairy tale lives on.
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joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles. that will do it for us on this tuesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching, and good night. we believe he's a very dangerous individual. >> right now at 6:00 on the run and very dangerous. authorities from santa cruz to sacramento hurptnting from an inmate who escaped from a san francisco jail. >> happening now, growing concern and some tough questions about how an inmate managed to escape from the jail and hot just any inmate, this man connected to an international drug cartel. he was being held on federal
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charges. tonight, the man who helped putting behind bars is telling us more about the crime he's accused of and where this man might be headed. nbc bay air why's robert honda is in watsonville, what's connection there? >> reporter: we are in the area where the fugitive considered home, at least his home area home for himself and his crime ring. the streets of santa cruz county are familiar to 26 year old alexander santiago. he has not been seen since he escaped last night. the man on the run is dangerous. >> i would assume that he's a desperate individual right now. he's facing a significant federal prosecution at the time so, you know i assume he's going to be a desperate individual to get away. >> reporter: the sheriff's department says it is still actively searching with the help of state

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