tv Caught on Camera MSNBC May 6, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
recording it all. that's it for this edition of "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer amazing crashes. >> there's an enormous bang. and then i felt the car go by me. >> wild, high speed chases. a calamity in the sky becomes a nightmare on the ground. >> get back, get back, grandpa. >> people were yelling and screaming. just hysterical. >> a sudden impact catapults a motorcyclist into midair. a thrill seeker pushes the limit and pays the price. >> i looked down at him. his eyes were rolled back in his head. i was hoping he'd be alive. >> helicopters in distress. extreme crash landings. >> really had no control.
the best i could do was brace myself. >> distracted drivers with no control. disaster strikes with three lives hanging in the balance. >> i heard people screaming. i really didn't think there would be any survivors. "caught on camera: collision!" welcome to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. in this hour you'll see the most incredible video of collisions and meet survivors who were lucky to walk away alive. you might envision a racetrack or highway. but in our first story the scene of the accident is about the last place you would expect. imagine you're sitting outside your home enjoying a quiet family barbecue when a military plane swoops in and explodes in your backyard. it's a sunday picnic one family will never forget.
air shows, exciting displays of the best in flight, held all around the world. a showcase of the rare and classic. an exhibit of thrilling tricks and intricate maneuvers. but at 10,000 feet, even the smallest mishap can result in disaster. september 1997, mark mcdonald and his family are visiting relatives in essex, maryland. nearby, hundreds gather on a warm, sunny day to watch the chesapeake air show. >> i was aware of the air show, and they did have quite a few planes that came in and made some very low fly-bys as they were making their landings. i could hear windows on the house rattling. >> after the mcdonalds enjoy a
backyard barbecue, some of the family members decide to get a closer look. >> everyone left to watch the air show from a fishing pier. and i sat at a picnic table and just drank a beer and was eating some steamed crabs. >> left to right, the stealth-117, ladies and gentlemen. >> as a special treat, the f-117 stealth bomber is scheduled to fly over the air show en route to andrews air force base. to the amazement of the crowd, the military aircraft whizzes past them. on the second pass, the announcer encourages the crowd to cheer on the pilot. >> want to hear some noise. >> two successful and spectacular fly-by, but on the third attempt disaster strikes. without warning the plane begins to break apart. first, the bomber loses a wing, then the aircraft suffers complete engine failure. it's soon clear to spectators, this is not part of the show. >> stay where you are.
this is okay. stay where you are. >> friends and family i was with were out on the fishing pier, and they saw it as it was happening. i heard quite a few people yelling and screaming. >> the stealth is plummeting to the ground. the pilot attempts to crash land in a nearby lake hoping to spare lives on the ground. with only seconds to impact, the pilot pulls the ejection handle and is catapulted into the air. >> i just had heard a lot of commotion, and i kind of like looked up and the plane was like right over top of me at that point. >> mcdonald grabs his video camera and starts recording.
as he leaps to his feet, the plane crashes down. >> it was just amazing to see a plane 100 feet away from you on fire not knowing what is going to happen. >> the stealth slams down on a home. fortunately, no one's inside. the owners are away on vacation. >> they just bought the house i believe two weeks earlier. so they were in for quite a shock when they came home. >> local residents dodge the falling debris, explosions all around them. >> there were some very highly flammable items around the site. someone next door was a commercial crabber, and they had all different types of propane tanks which exploded. there was a car in the driveway and that caught fire and that exploded. people were yelling and screaming. they were just hysterical. >> mcdonald notices something else just above him. >> out of the corner of my eye, i just happen to see something bright orange, you know, 50 feet to 100 feet above me. and i turn my camcorder towards it. >> amazingly, it's the pilot. he had ejected seconds before
the plane burst into flames. >> all of a sudden, you know, i just couldn't believe how hard he hit the ground. right then and there, i knew that this guy would have stayed with the plane a long time because he didn't land soft at all. >> neighbors rush to the pilot's aid. local resident diane stump, seen here just behind the pilot, helps him remove his helmet and oxygen mask. the plane still burning, is only steps away. >> get back, get back, grandpa! >> my wife's grandfather started running toward the pilot. and i told him to get back. i later found out he was trying to get over to the fire hydrant. >> emergency vehicles and the national guard arrive on the scene. firefighters use a flame retardant foam to try to extinguish the fire. in a matter of minutes, a small, quiet maryland neighborhood becomes the scene of an intense federal investigation. >> whatever you do, don't go over there, please. >> we weren't allowed to leave the area for maybe four or five hours. they had the scene all closed off, roped off.
>> yet in all that chaos, no lives are lost. the air force commends the pilot for his efforts to direct the plane away from the crowds. local neighbor diane stump and two others receive baltimore county fire department's highest award for their bravery and immediate assistance to the pilot. mark mcdonald looks back on the incredible turn of events that led to the crash landing. he will never forget the day a quiet family picnic came so close to tragedy. >> i was just pretty much amazed at how lucky i was because i was sitting so close. it's not every day that you have a stealth land in your backyard. and you know, hopefully it will never happen again. >> but at air shows, elaborate tricks at tremendous speeds are daring and often dangerous. the best of the best, jet fighter pilots in tight formation, a spectacle of precision and incredible skill. but a matter of only a few inches can make the difference between life and death. gloucester, in the united kingdom, 1993, two russian fighter pilots are executing a
complicated and difficult maneuver at a royal international air show. the russian swifts approach each other at a combined speed of almost 600 miles per hour. as spectators stand below, the planes collide in midair sending each aircraft plummeting to the ground. one of the pilots ejects immediately, deploying his parachute as he nears the ground, the other pilot attempts to steer his burning plane away from the crowd. moments later, the second pilot can be seen parachuting to safety. both planes crash down in flames. one of the pilots suffered minor spinal injuries, but both pilots are able to walk away from the crash. remarkably, none of the
estimated quarter million spectators are hurt. coming up -- a motorcyclist barrels into a parked car. >> i was hoping he'd be alive. >> a paraglider in distress plunges into the jungle. >> it was flying down faster and faster and started turning faster and faster. >> a police officer narrowly escapes death on the open road. >> the suspect vehicle was across the center line now aiming right for my car. rds of any small business credit card! pizza!!!!! [ garth ] olaf's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! put it on my spark card! [ high-pitched ] nice doin' business with you! [ garth ] why settle for less? great businesses deserve the most rewards! awesome!!! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? constipated? phillips' caplets use magnesium, an ingredient that works more naturally with your colon than stimulant laxatives, for effective relief of constipation without cramps.
thanks. good morning, students. today we're gonna continue... thanks. every communications but centurylink is committed to being a different kind of communications company. ♪ we link people and fortune 500 companies nationwide and around the world. and we will continue to free you to do more and focus on what matters. oooh, what's her secret? [ male announcer ] dawn hand renewal with olay beauty. improves the look and feel of hands in just five uses. [ sponge ] soft, smooth... fabulous! [ male announcer ] dawn does more... [ sponge ] so it's not a chore. pull on those gardening gloves. and let's see how colorful an afternoon can be. with certified advice to help us expand our palette...
a paraglider spirals out of control above the rugged mountains of mexico. >> i really had no control. the best i could do is brace myself for what i might hit. >> a computer program manager from redmond, washington, joe parr is a relative newcomer to paragliding. in january 2005, he has every reason to believe his flight will be a pleasant experience. >> paragliding is the most beautiful thing anybody can do.
it is relaxing. a good paragliding flight will take you high, near the clouds, and can go for hours and for many miles. woo-hoo. unlike sky diving, there's no big thrill of you falling. you just lift gently off. >> it was a trip of a lifetime, ten days of soaring through the temperate skies of vaya de bravo, mexico. >> i had flown a couple times every day. great flights. flew high and far. mexico is a great place because there's great flying weather. >> parr and his fellow paragliders are all wearing helmets with cameras attached. >> has sharp edges but not as bad as it was yesterday. there was nothing abnormal. the weather was good. i'm at 9,000. >> but suddenly parr's flying skills are put to the test by a massive thermal blast. >> you can think of it as a wall of air going up. and the result of that is that
the front end of the glider pitches up and the glider stalls. just like an airplane would stall if you pointed it straight up in the air. >> unable to pull his glider out of the stall, parr finds himself spiraling towards the dense forest below. >> it was flying down faster and faster and started turning faster and faster. >> with no other options, parr reaches for his reserve parachute. >> coming down on the reserve was a very helpless place to be. just a single line up to a small round parachute. i really had no control. the best i could do is brace myself for what i might hit. >> parr braces for impact. >> my thought was breaking an arm or something, but my body completely missed the tree. my glider was stuck in a tree and i was 50 feet up. >> suspended high in a tree in a remote area, parr's lucky to be
alive. but his problems are far from over. >> the first thing i did was call my friends and tell them i was okay. okay. i'm hanging in a tree about 50 feet up. >> all right, let's just talk. we're coming. >> i was settling in for a long stay in the tree. >> but as parr would soon find out, his comfortable stay wouldn't last long. >> we're trying to find out exactly where you are. >> i was trying to get my gps out of my pocket. while i was doing that, the friends were asking where i was. i was giving some general directions. some orientation. i'm directly behind the launch. >> suddenly, while on the radio, a tree branch breaks and parr crashes to the ground. >> whoa! i was scared for the first time falling out of that tree thinking this is going to hurt a lot. >> amazingly, he's not hurt.
>> i hit on a very steep hill, so it was a glancing blow on the padding on the bottom of my harness. well, i'm on the ground now. i was completely unhurt in this fall. no scratches or bruises. >> when parr lands, he quickly discovers he's not alone on the remote hillside. >> no spanish? >> no spanish. when i find myself on the ground, there were four mexican boys standing next to me. they had been cutting corn in a field nearby. each was carrying a sickle. >> did you see? >> si. >> i don't speak much spanish. they didn't have much to communicate. but they knew i needed some help and they were there. >> they helped parr gather up his brand new paraglider, which has now been torn to shreds. >> they packed up my glider and carried it out of the woods for me. the boys led me through a couple of odd trails and i was out in
about 20 minutes, having a beer and telling stories with my friends. >> parr still enjoys the tranquil pleasure of paragliding but after his brush with death he has a new appreciation for the dangers of the sport. >> after this incident, it was some time before i went paragliding again. not trying to better my skills and advance in competition. i fly now just for fun and it is always just for me, just what i want. i think that's why i'm having a lot more fun flying. >> may 2001, in seoul, south korea, a military helicopter is transporting a large metal sculpture designed to commemorate the 1988 olympic games. it will be a monument to the olympic spirit and pride felt by the south korean host nation. the helicopter lowers the sculpture carefully on to the center tower of a bridge spanning the han river. everything appears to be going as planned, but suddenly something goes terribly wrong. looking again, the pilot lowers the helicopter to release the cables from the sculpture. the cables remain attached. so the pilot continues his descent, lower and lower. but he fails to notice his blades are perilously close to
the metal sculpture. once the blades make contact, the helicopter drops, striking the bridge. part of the aircraft plunges into the river below. military and emergency response personnel rush to the scene. a frantic rescue operation takes off in the river. tragically, the lifeless bodies of all three crew members are recovered by divers. the bridge is closed to traffic at the time of the accident. so there are no injuries on the ground. coming up -- a speeding fugitive nearly takes out a police officer. >> i took a couple of side steps to the right. and he ran into my car. >> a high speed car chase ends in sudden impact. and a collapsing crane sends a water tower and three men
crashing to the ground. >> we really didn't think there would be any survivors based on what i'd seen. ♪ ♪ what started as a whisper every day, millions of people choose to do the right thing. there's an insurance company that does that, too. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? all at 150 calories or less, there's definitely a temptations for you. unless you're one of those people who doesn't like delicious stuff. temptations. it's the first jell-o that's just for adults. ask me how i've never slept better. who doesn't like delicious stuff. [ male announcer ] why not talk to one of the six million people who've switched to the most highly recommended bed in america?
it's not a sealy, a simmons, or a serta. ask me about my tempur-pedic. [ male announcer ] did you know there's tempur-pedic for everybody? tempur-pedic beds now come in soft, firm, and everything in between. ask me how i can finally sleep all night. [ male announcer ] tempur-pedic -- the most highly recommended bed in america. and now there's a new surprisingly affordable tempur-pedic. ask me about my tempur-pedic. [ male announcer ] these real owners are talking about their new tempur simplicity beds. all the comfort and support of a tempur-pedic in a simple, clean design. ask me how it's just what we need. and nothing more. ask me what a step up this is from my spring mattress. ask me about a good night's sleep. [ male announcer ] the new tempur simplicity beds -- surprisingly affordable and all with a 10-year warranty. to learn more or find an authorized retailer near you, visit tempurpedic.com. tempur-pedic -- the most highly recommended bed in america.
[ clang ] my house is where plants came to die. ♪ but, it turns out all i was missing was miracle-gro potting mix. it's got what a plant needs. even plant food that feeds them for up to 6 months. you get bigger, more beautiful plants. guaranteed. who's got two green thumbs thanks to miracle-gro? uh, this gal. boom! everyone grows with miracle-gro.
this man considers himself the luckiest man alive. and once you see what he's been through, you'll probably agree. february 2009. 32-year-old jeb is standing beside railroad tracks in turkey. overhead surveillance cameras capture a flat bed truck as it passes him and crosses over the tracks. suddenly, an approaching train rams into the truck sweeping over him and knocking him to the ground. he slides under the truck between the front and rear tires, narrowly escaping death. he lies motionless. precious moments pass before his friends rush to his side. >> translator: i cannot remember
anything about the accident. i thought i was sleeping, but when i woke up i was not in my bed. >> remarkably he and the truck driver suffer only minor injuries. grateful to be alive, he says, life is beautiful and considers february 25th, the day of the accident, his new birthday. in a small iowa town, an exciting day turns tragic when a water tower comes tumbling down. leaving three lives hanging in the balance. >> it happened so quickly. it was such a shocking moment. >> july 2000, reporter brian schultz is dispatched to new providence, iowa, to cover the installation of a new water tower. >> that looks pretty good, don't it? >> it does. >> getting the water tower was a point of pride for new
providence. something they'd been trying to get done for quite a while. so it was quite a big deal. >> new providence raises enough money to purchase its very first tower. the remote town of a little more than 200 people is all abuzz. >> anyone who was at home at the time, they were going to go out and see this happen. >> as local residents gather in the streets, a 150-foot crane rises and successfully lifts the four steel legs into position. >> there were some gentlemen on top of the tank that were attaching these straps to a central point that the crane would lift up. there were a few gentlemen on the ground that were kind of directing them. and there was a gentleman on top of the crane that was waiting
for all this to happen. i remember even at the time i was pretty impressed with how cautious they were being. >> we're going for liftoff. >> with two workers poised on the tower, the container begins its delicate 100-foot climb to the top. >> the tank being lifted was a pretty laborious process. very slow, very deliberate. seemed to have taken maybe 5 or 10 minutes to get it a hundred feet off the ground. once they did, probably another 10 or 15 minutes to get the tank oriented correctly above the legs. >> the crane operator nearly 130 feet in the air lowers the container closer and closer while his co-workers guide its placement with the attached cables. as one of the men begins his climb down to the ground, the crane suddenly starts to shift. within seconds, to the horror of those watching below, the crane carrying the container gives way, colliding with the legs of the water tower. with cables breaking, the container drops, steel stanchions snapping like twigs. the crane and tower sway toward the spectators, the crane operator and two other workers are caught in the collision as tons of metal slam to the ground. >> oh, my gosh. >> brian schultz is standing nearby. >> i saw the tower twist
clockwise slightly and start falling in my direction. and i do remember it seemed to take forever to fall. it just seemed to take a very, very long time for the top of the tower and the crane to hit the ground. >> schultz and local residents scramble to safety. >> get out of the way! >> i turned around from running. there was a lot of dust from it hitting. there were sparks, there was a nearby power line that had been hit. and, you know, i heard a lot of people screaming. i really didn't think there would be any survivors based on what i had seen. >> the tower lands just feet from a home, a gaping hole on his top where the crane slammed down. the twisted wreckage is scattered across the neighborhood. >> you could recognize that the tower was a water tower or the remains of a water tower, but a lot of the metal was twisted, dented up. and at about that point i
realized the crane had come down as well. and that was completely crumpled. the rigging on the crane was twisted beyond recognition. >> the 24-year-old crane operator suffers critical injuries, but survives the accident. one of the worker on the tower, protected by the cage surrounding the ladder is in good condition. tragically, the other worker is airlifted to the hospital but does not survive. >> i'm not sure what anyone could have done to avoid this. there was a significant amount of compacted earth at the job site that was covering a liquid mud slurry that was undetectable from the surface. they had the outriggers in the correct places, but there was just so much weight on the ground that it collapsed due to that mud slurry. >> the residents of new providence vow to rebuild the tower in honor of the fallen.
they will never forget that tragic day. >> i look back on that experience with some awe with what had happened. and i also am a little bit grateful personally in how i felt it brought the community of new providence together. they had something to rally around. they were so proud of these men who built that water tower for them. coming up -- an suv crosses the line right into oncoming traffic. a daredevil pushes the limit and a joy ride turns tragic. >> when i heard him moaning, i figured okay, at least he's still alive. >> and a lowering bridge -- >> oh, my gosh. >> slices off the top of a freighter. in here, great food demands a great presentation. so at&t showed corporate caterers how to better collaborate by using a mobile solution, in a whole new way. using real-time photo sharing abilities, they can create and maintain high standards, from kitchen to table. this technology allows us to collaborate with our drivers to make a better experience for our customers. [ male announcer ] it's a network of possibilities -- helping you do what you do... even better. ♪
the teacher that comes to mind for me is my high school math teacher, dr. gilmore. i mean he could teach. he was there for us, even if we needed him in college. you could call him, you had his phone number. he was just focused on making sure we were gonna be successful. he would never give up on any of us. that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8. [ female announcer ] the vertical chair-climb. it's not an olympic sport, but it takes real effort and it takes a diaper that fits their every move. pampers cruisers with 3-way fit
welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. to many there is no greater sense of freedom than taking a motorcycle out on the open road. we all know that bikes can also be very dangerous. as you'll see, the rider is exposed and vulnerable to all kinds of threats, whether it's other drivers or unexpected obstacles along the way. a violent collision catapults a motorcyclist into midair. local police in taiwan are monitoring traffic conditions from a busy street corner when a small car approaches the intersection. the driver shows no signs of stopping at the red light in front of him. front of him. as authorities look on, their dashboard camera captures an unsuspecting motorcyclist with the right of way. as he enters the intersection, the rider lands directly in a path of destruction. the car plows into the biker, then crashes into the median. shards of glass and debris go into the street.
into the street. the violent impact sends the biker into the air and crashing down on to the car's roof, hood, then into the street. the motorcycle is reduced to a pile of scraps and rests in middle of the road. the motorcyclist lies almost motionless as the frantic driver exits his car. police run to the scene while witnesses call for help. the driver tries to help the fallen biker while calling for an ambulance. miraculously, the biker survives that spectacular crash. his injuries are minor and, unbelievably, within minutes, he's back on his feet. paul mcdonald a school
teacher and thrill seeker, is not quite so lucky when his joy ride ends in complete disaster. vince and paul have been friends for more than ten years, sharing a passion for motorcycles and the open road. in october 2001, the pair travel to san francisco to visit mcdonald's parents. early the next morning they ride north to what they expect to be a long stretch of empty road. armed with a helmet cam, he rides behind his friend and off to one side. >> we got up and he wanted to go out and do some filming. he was being a maniac on the streets of san francisco. the weather wasn't too bad. it was a little foggy, but it was cool. >> mcdonald has been deaf since birth and communicates with the help of a sign language interpreter. >> translator: i thought of a good place by the beach. it was very empty. there were no trees.
there was no parked cars. there were no people. there was nothing for me to hit if i made a mistake. >> to communicate visually, they ride in a staggered pattern. >> i always try to stay on his left because that way he didn't have to let go of the throttle to sign to me. he was basically dictating where we were going. he doesn't do the whole follow thing well. >> a self-described daredevil, donald decides to become just a little more adventurous. >> translator: now, i pulled a wheelie and i was doing a mac back. that's when i take one leg and put it over on the other side. and i pull on the bike to keep the center of gravity, the balance. it's very difficult to do. it's not safe, but i felt okay in that area. >> it was something new for him. his attention, i don't think was too much on the trick. it was more on the car that was illegally parked on the side of the road. >> an unexpected and dangerous obstacle in a no parking, no
standing zone. mcdonald was approaching the car quickly with only seconds to react. >> i noticed he was looking at the car more than he should have. the rule on the bike is look there, go there. with him on the bike looking at the car. i figured you better look down the road because you're going to steer right into it. even with the front wheel in the air like that, you can still turn just by looking somewhere because your body language tends to move you over. he was so mesmerized, more surprised than anything else, that the car was even there. >> mcdonald frantically tries to recover, but when he sets down his front tire, the bike begins to wobble uncontrollably. >> i figured okay, maybe he can ride this one out or give it some throttle to pick the front wheel back up, it will stop.
it got too violent too fast. >> mcdonald braces for impact. >> translator: the bars were going back and forth. they were just too violent. and i thought, i better not fall off to the right. i got to fall off to the left because i saw the road was coming up fast. then it was lights out for me. >> the brutal collision sends mcdonald spinning on to the middle of the road. his motorcycle shattering into pieces. >> after he hit the back of that car, it was pretty horrific. i didn't want to have to call his mom. i just didn't want to have to make that phone call. >> lamarche, still filming, pulls over and rushes back to his friend. >> first thing was get my bike stopped and get over to him to see if he was still breathing. i saw the bike in the background. it was smoking, it was finished. i looked down at him. his eyes were rolled back in his head. he looked a little gray. it looked bad. it looked really bad.
>> he removes his helmet cam as eyewitnesses call 911. mcdonald lay still, showing few signs of life. luckily, a doctor and nurse are walking nearby and keep mcdonald still and stable. >> when i heard him moaning, i figured okay, at least he's still alive. i was trying to keep him down, but usually in a wreck like that, especially somebody like paul, he's like, oh, i'm not hurt. i'm going to get up. >> the emergency response is swift, but mcdonald's injuries are severe. internal bleeding, a fractured collarbone, five cracked ribs and both hands broken. >> translator: my first thought was where are my hands? what about my hands? how am i going to communicate with my family, my friends? >> though mcdonald has not completely recovered after years of physical therapy, he has
regained full use of his hands. >> translator: i'm a little bit glad that vince had that camera on and was recording me. i really do believe that this video can show other people out there what can go wrong. >> mcdonald attributes his survival to proper protective gear. >> translator: definitely believe in my equipment and my helmet and my gloves and my boots. that's what saved me for sure. if you can't afford the safety equipment, if you can't afford to be as safe as possible, you have no business starting something. >> mcdonald still takes to the highway, but approaches the ride a little differently. >> translator: i really do believe that to become old and wise, you have to be young and stupid first. that's what i was back then. now i like to think i'm older and wiser. coming up -- a texting bus driver wreaks havoc on a crowded highway. >> it was horrible. the most horrible thing i've probably ever lived through. >> and a fleeing criminal aims right for a state trooper. >> when i realized that the
suspect vehicle was headed right towards my car, i had to decide which direction i was going to go. i didn't want to commit too early and get run over. [ donovan ] i hit a wall. and i thought "i can't do this, it's just too hard." then there was a moment. when i decided to find a way to keep going. go for olympic gold and go to college too. [ male announcer ] every day we help students earn their bachelor's or master's degree for tomorrow's careers. this is your moment. let nothing stand in your way. devry university, proud to support the education of our u.s. olympic team. so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life, but with advair, i'm breathing better so now i can take the lead on a science adventure. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both
an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator, working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking advair. if you're still having difficulty breathing, take the lead. ask your doctor if including advair could help improve your lung function. get your first full prescription free and save on refills at advaircopd.com.
that's why you've got us. at the staples pc savings event, for a limited time get up to $200 off select computers. staples. that was easy. june 2008. a cautionary tale of how dangerous texting can be while driving. it's a problem all across america. millions of people concentrating on their cell phones, sending text messages when they should be concentrating on the road. as this video shows, it only takes a fraction of a second for the driver to look away before calamity strikes. >> it was horrible.
it was the most horrific thing i probably ever lived through. >> betty jo hummel is in the driver's seat of the suv ahead sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a busy texas highway. but the driver of the san antonio bus with two disabled passengers on board doesn't seem to notice. he's using his cell phone to send text messages. >> i knew something must have taken his eyes off the road. >> cameras on board the bus catch the driver taking out his cell phone and text messaging for six minutes leading up to the crash. once he looks up, even he knows it's way too late. hummel never saw him coming. hummel's thrown forward. her suv slams into the van in front of her, glass flying in every direction. the bus driver, knowing he's in trouble, pounds the steering wheel in frustration.
>> i just started shaking. i mean, i really did. i started shaking. things were flying all over the car. >> the bus driver approaches as a shaken hummel gets out of her car. >> it's the scariest thing ever. i was in tears. >> the driver's fired for violating his employer's policy. though plagued with constant pain and high medical bills, betty jo hummel considers herself lucky to be alive. for distracted drivers, hummel has some advice. >> pay attention to what you're doing. pay attention when you have so many lives at stake. it shouldn't happen. it shouldn't happen. august 2001, ontario, canada. local residents witness a fiery blaze aboard a freighter ship in the welland canal. moments earlier, the great lakes freighter named "the wind dock" carrying 26,000 pounds of wheat
approaches the allenberg bridge. >> no, a boat that size. >> oh, my gosh. oh! >> there's people in that top part, eh? >> just before 9:00 p.m. as the ship nears, the operator begins to lower the bridge, too soon. the captain struggles to stop the ship frantically trying to get the bridge operator's attention. he drops anchor, but the ship's momentum makes a collision inevitable. >> there's guys up in that bridge. >> to the horror of those watching on the shore, the 730-foot-long freighter slams into the steel bridge. its upper deck completely tearing off. the crash first sheers off the smokestack, then the ship's wheelhouse with the captain still inside. the bridge is pushed clear off its track. >> i've never seen such a thing. they could be killed.
>> the vessel sustains heavy damage. with the wheelhouse completely destroyed, there's no way for the captain to control its direction. "the wind dock" drifts aimlessly down the canal. the boat begins to slow, but the nightmare has just begun. just as the massively damaged freighter comes to a stop, flames shoot out from the point of impact engulfing the upper deck. >> god, jump off the boat, guys. >> i knew this would happen. >> as 22 crew members work quickly to secure the ship, the fire consumes the freighter. everyone on board scrambles to safety as emergency crews rush to the scene. >> holy mackerel. this is out of control for sure, eh? >> the fire continues throughout the night. the accident shuts down the entire seaway between lakes erie and ontario, stranding several ships for several days.
remarkably, no lives are lost. only two crew members are treated for minor injuries. the damage to the ship is estimated in the millions. an investigation reveals the bridge operator lowered the bridge too soon and was most likely impaired by prescription drugs. february 2009. a close call on u.s. highway 301 near tampa, florida. a black suv slams into an oncoming semi. other motorists scramble to avoid the collision, flying debris. moments earlier, a florida woman noticed the driver swerving in and out of traffic. she grabs her cell phone and starts recording. within seconds, the sport utility vehicle veers into oncoming traffic, and then
smashes into the rear portion of the grocery tractor trailer. remarkably, the driver survives. he's airlifted to a local hospital with serious injuries. the trucker is not hurt. coming up -- a state trooper answers the call and lands directly in the line of fire. >> i've been a state trooper for 21 years. and this situation is definitely one of the most intense ones i've been in. look, every day we're using more and more energy. the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪ that's why right here, in australia, chevron is building one of the biggest natural gas projects in the world. enough power for a city the size of singapore for 50 years. what's it going to do to the planet? natural gas is the cleanest conventional fuel there is. we've got to be smart about this. it's a smart way to go. ♪ all at 150 calories or less, there's definitely a temptations for you. unless you're one of those people
who doesn't like delicious stuff. temptations. it's the first jell-o that's just for adults. is the pain reliever orthopedic doctors recommend most for arthritis pain, think again. and take aleve. it's the one doctors recommend most for arthritis pain. two pills can last all day. ♪ ♪ na, na-na, na [ men ] ♪ hey, hey, hey ♪ goodbye [ flushing ]
authorities go after the suspect at high speeds on two different freeways. after 30 minutes of swerving and weaving through lanes of traffic, the driver unexpectedly stops, in the middle of the freeway. officers prepare to advance but the driver takes off again. california highway patrol officers look on as the suv quickly builds speed, then curves sharply to the left. the car smashes into the concrete divider and spins back into the middle of the road. the median wall prevents the out-of-control vehicle from careening into a steady flow of oncoming traffic. officers assess the situation and cautiously approach the suv, with guns drawn, using their patrol car as a shield. they slowly inch closer to the car, unsure of what or who they'll find. with authorities only steps away, the injured motorist puts out his hands and surrenders. incredibly, the motorist survives the impact, only to be promptly arrested by authorities.
an idaho state trooper, attempting to stop a car chase in progress, narrowly escapes death on the side of the road. >> just looked at my car and it was completely demolished and i was just relieved that i was alive and still in one piece. >> sergeant matt manning thought he'd seen everything in his almost 25 years in law enforcement. but a call to the fort hall indian reservation almost becomes his last. >> i was at the state police office in pocatello and we received a call requesting assistance from us in trying to stop a suspect vehicle. >> october, 2005, authorities in hot pursuit of a man suspected of kidnapping and battery. sergeant manning and several other idaho state troopers leap into action, driving toward the chase. >> we heard on the radio that the pursuit was headed back toward our direction. at that point, we positioned our -- our police cars in sort
of a gauntlet for the approach of the suspect. >> the suspect is racing toward them at more than 80 miles an hour. manning and his fellow officers are in position and after waving through another driver they lay spike strips down across the highway. >> in the ideal situation to deploy the spikes is in an area where you have guardrails or bridge abutments or some area where you can funnel the suspect's car into and still provide yourself with some cover, should the car try to go a different direction. >> each steel spike is two to three inches long. if driven over, the spikes pierce through and quickly deflate the tires, eventually stopping the vehicle. >> we had spike strips across both lanes, into the grass. so, there was no way that this van was going to go through without being spiked. >> sergeant manning, seen here on the right, waits for the fugitive to arrive, but not for long.
>> i move toward the back of my police car, as i see the suspect vehicle has crossed the center line now, aiming right for my car. i didn't want to run out to the left or to the right and get run over, so i just waited till the suspect vehicle was committed in one direction. >> the van is barreling toward the officer at a tremendous speed, showing no signs of slowing down. with the vehicle right in front of him and with almost no time to react, manning makes a split-second decision and jumps into the embankment to his right. the driver of the van slams directly into manning's cruiser. the impact caught on video by a dashboard cam in another squad car. when the van hits, manning is
standing only a couple feet away. >> and there was a tremendous bang and i saw it out of the corner my eye, my car just going up and back and it felt like it was traveling right over my head. it was an eerie feeling. >> the speeding van crushes manning's police cruiser, car parts and glass flying in every direction. the car is sent spinning out of control, into the middle of the road, barely missing the other cruiser recording the incident. >> i was looking around at my other fellow police officers making sure everybody was all right. >> incredibly, no officers were hurt during the impact. as other units arrive on the scene, the troopers remove the spikes and scramble to reach the injured driver. the suspect is extricated from the van and rushed to the hospital. >> i have been a state trooper for 21 years and this situation was definitely one of the most intense ones i've been in, certainly one of the most amazing videos. quite spectacular. i'm just happy that it all turned out.
>> minutes after he escaped death, manning and the other officers gather round to watch the dramatic video playback from the police car. >> when i saw the video, i realized how close the situation was and how fortunate i was to be alive and still able to walk around after the crash. >> in a surprising twist to the story, the crash is not manning's last run-in with the suspect, who was later convicted of aggravated battery. >> we stopped a car for a problem with their license plates and it was at night. i walked up to the car and it was the suspect that ran into my car. and he was out of the hospital and awaiting trial. he apologized for the ordeal. >> still on the beat, sergeant manning has a new outlook and some sage advice for his
colleagues out on patrol. >> exercise extreme caution when you're in a situation like this, where you're deploying the spike strips. make every effort to get yourself some cover and do it in a safe location. >> we've seen what happens when drivers get distracted. air shows go awry and when people get reckless on the road, many of the crash victims you saw in this hour were left with only cuts and bruises. some suffered worse and some even lost their lives. but no one involved in any of these collisions walked away unscathed. to watch the moment of impact on tv is one thing. to experience it is another. whether you're taking to the sky or to the streets, be safe out there. and if you have a video you'd like to send to us, logon to our website, caughtoncamera.msnbc.com. i'm contessa brewer. that's it for this edition of "caught on camera."