tv Caught on Camera MSNBC November 25, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
caught on camera, watch out. 30,000 tons of rock come crashing down on a two-lane highway, threatening roads in the area. >> we knew this was not your average old slide. we didn't expect anything like that. >> that's something you will never forget. >> november 10th, 2009. polk county, tennessee. it's a dreary morning and wdfe news camera man is covering the story of a boulder that has fallen on to us-64.
>> originally we were just going to try to get pictures of a boulder in the road. we didn't know how big. we didn't know if any cars were trapped underneath. >> when reporter arrives the road is closed to traffic and the tennessee department of transportation, better known as tdot is using a giant hydraulic hammer to break up the enormous rock. >> it was huge. it was massive. it covered up an entire lane of the road. they were hitting this thing with all they had, and it was not cracking. you can see little splitters of rock climb through the area. as far as breaking that thing apart, it wasn't going anywhere. >> the 24-mile two-lane highway goes through a narrow pass called the acoe gorge and is flanked by a mountain on one side and the river on the other. the trip through the gorge normally takes 20 minutes, but with the road closed, the detour around the mountain adds more than two hours around the commute. >> there's a tremendous amount
of pressure to get the road open. but you have to do it and do it safely. >> steve jones, tdot's safety manager knows commuters want him to work fast. >> we got people that get mad at us when we stop for five minutes doing maintenance work. you can imagine when it is hours. >> according to jones the area gets two to three rock slides a year and when they happen, a tdot geologist is always called to the scene. >> we're called to view the situation to see whether we can get it safely done, to get everything stabilized to make sure it's safe for traffic to go through. >> vanessa is in her office when she gets report of the rock slide. >> at that point it was clear it was an emergency. they had a rock in the road. the road is closed. when the road is closed, everybody gets excited. okay, what is going on. >> it takes bateman about three hours to drive to the site. when she arrives there are about
30 people working to get the road open. >> the emergency response folks from chattanooga were there. the county maintenance guys were there and then a construction company had been called to bring in the equipment that would be needed to break up the rocks that were on the road, get them off. there was one larger rock, and there was a news crew. >> we saw somebody from tdot show up. this young lady got out, and she walked up and looked at me and walked on past, and she glanced at the boulder and then she went over and talked to mr. jones. >> bill mitchell, a 30-year news veteran has covered many rock slides during his career, but none this big. >> and then she came back over and she said, why don't you guys move back a little ways. she said, i'm hearing things up on that mountain that really unnerve me. i said, what are you hearing? she said, i'm hearing pops and snaps that make me believe more debris will come down. we move back about 20 yards. >> i heard a sound that sounded like a car door slam.
a really sharp report. i talked to steve, the county maintenance supervisor. and said, have you heard this sound before? he said, yeah, we did indeed hear this before. i said, we have to get all this construction equipment stopped. we have to hear what's going on. >> they stopped the jackhammer and moved the construction and news crews even further back. >> vanessa takes a look and then she walks back and she's talking to some of the tdot personnel, and all the sudden they start walking back, she jumped in her car and drives to the other end of the road, and they're walking backwards. they go right past me. and i turn to them. i said within what's go /* going on whab did she say? she said the mountain is going to come down. i said really? they said, yeah. she said run. >> fairbanks moves to safety but keeps his camera rolling when it
looks like nothing is going to happen. >> i just set up the camera and waited. our reporter bill mitchell came up. he said we probably ought to get back to the station. i said, yeah, you're probably right. but she looked really convinced. i would hate to leave and then hear it had fallen down. we waited. we almost both gave up at this point. almost turned our heads away from it. then all the sudden a big slab of rock came down. >> 30,000 tons of mountain crashes down on the road. it takes only seconds for rocks and trees to descend onto the road where the men, just standing. >> all you could hear was the rumbling sound. it sounded like something out of a movie.
it sounded like cars crashing. rocks were hitting the ground. all the sudden it stopped and everything came to a standstill. >> i was looking at this thing not believing my eyes and then the whole thing comes rushing down the slope. an immense amount of noise and dust. and you never see something like this in person. >> there's so much stuff going through your mind. to see rocks the size of greyhound buses come off the side of that mountain, when they hit the road we found pieces of the yellow line in the center of. the river 200 feet away. when i watched those rocked come down, they didn't stop. i wonder, you know, if anybody had been out there, could we have ever found them. >> while the road crew assesses the massive damage, the news crew asks themselves the age old
photojournalist question. did we get the shot? >> my worry was was it actually rolling. and, you know, i waited a little while before i hit stop. i thought, please let this be on camera. please let this be on camera. i went back and rewound the tip and hit play and there it was. felt a big sense of relief. >> got it. >> i knew he had it when he didn't talk to me. he just stood there and grinned. >> it takes road crews five months to reopen the highway. the total cost of the cleanup, $2.1 million. >> we worked in the snow to get the site open again. these guys started doing the initial scaling so it was safe to move in equipment below the slope. and then a lot of work was done with a crane. we actually went in and used
rock bolts, 15 to 40 feet of the rock face. added bolts to the site to try to stabilize it. >> while the community is happy that the road is open again, they are also proud. because of the quick thinking and expertise of a road supervisor and a geologist, no one is injured or killed by the rock slide. >> i get some cold sweats from time to time thinking of all the things that could have gone wrong that day. if i had stopped for coffee. taken extra time for lunch. before coming out to the site. the timing of everything was such that once i got there we had time to see what was going on and get everybody out of the way before the slide occurred. >> had she not been there those rocks would have come down and not just bill and myself, but everybody that was working that had seen all the tdot crews, it would have been a much different story had we have been standing in that same spot. >> coming up, winds cause this
bridge to swing wildly, forcing commuters to run for their lives. >> watching steel and concrete half a mile long twisting 20 times a minute. >> when "caught on camera: watch out" continues. with verizon. hurry in this saturday and sunday for great deals. like the lucid by lg, free. or the galaxy nexus by samsung, free. this weekend, get the best deals on the best devices on the best network. exclusively at verizon.
it's a bustry day in puget sound, a northwest section of the evergreen state. winds are gusting a little more than 40 miles per hour, causing the tacoma narrow's bridge to really sway. surprising as it looks, the movement doesn't stop cars and pedestrians from crossing it. ever since the bridge's opening four months earlier, residents affectionately call her galluping gertie. because of the way she dances and snakes in the wind. bridges are designed to move a little. but gerty's movements seem a bit extreme. for some residents crossing her is like an adventure. >> it was a thrill. it was like a carnival ride. almost a roller coaster. >> historian and author richard hobbs writes about the bridge in his book "catastrophe to triumph." >> people would come out on a windy day when there was extra bounce in the bridge and walk across. the motion could be fairly dramatic.
>> but some find that wave like motion harrowing. >> as you drove across the bridge you could look ahead and the car in front of you would absolutely disappear as you went down to the bottom of one of these troughs. it was unnerving to a lot of drivers. many who crossed the bridge swore it would be the last time. and on that windy autumn day in 1940, it is the last time anyone crosses that bridge. >> about 10:00 the bridge bridge began to move in ways it had not moved before. the undulations became higher and the ripples across the bridge were verging on dangerous. >> at 10:15 a.m. one of the bands holding the suspension cable breaks, causing the bridge to move not only up and down, but back and forth. >> once that started the bridge increasingly began to twist. there was a car that had been
trapped out on the bridge. a car driven by leonard postworth, a tacoma tribune editor. he was headed over to his summer cottage in the gig harbor area. in the back seat was his daughter's dog, tubby. he tries to drive. >> he tries to get out of the car, but he can't open the door, sew crawls out of the window and tries unsuccessfully to walk on the bridge. >> he didn't get very far before he realized that the situation was so dangerous he might not get back, and he better go back. and get tubby. >> but the bridge twists and rides so violently he can't safely go back for the dog. >> he was continually being thrown to the pavement and staggering to one side or the other. virtually crawling part of the way to the safety of the east tower. >> another person trying to escape from the bridge that day
is professor bert farquharson. >> the professor was a professor of engineering at the university of washington. he was an authority on bridge structures. so when eldridge and lacey murrow game concerned about how much this bridge might move, they hired bert to conduct some studies. >> as part of his study, dr. farquharson sets up film cameras a few weeks after the bridge opens to record its movements. several weeks later the same cameras capture the drama of the movements as they unfold. >> the phenomenal thing is we're watching steel and concrete half a mile long, twisting 20 times a minute. as the twisting increased, light polls began to dance back and forth but to snap off the suspender cables that went from the bridge deck to the main
suspension cable itself began to snap. >> and then the unimaginable happens. the massive steel structure bends, whips and contorts so violently that it collapses into the rushing water below. both men make it off the bridge alive. but not tubby. he's still in the backseat when the structure gives way. the bridge failure makes news all across the world. >> the tacoma narrows bridge dedicated in 1940 was the pride of the northwest. four months after it was opened those winds sent it into a rhythmic dance of death. it literally shook itself to pieces. >> very early in the process, in fact before construction began, the lead engineer was very
concerned about the bridge, so he began to help initiate studies by the professor at the university of washington that began to closely examine the bridge's movement. >> remedies are attempted before and after the bridge opens. >> they added cable tie downs at each end of the bridge on the approach spans. they did a good job of holding the approach spans in place. but the rest of the bridge across the center span. still moved a lot. >> professor farquharson also issued an in-depth bridge study and presents two more options to stabilize the bridge, just five days before gertie collapses, but they never get the chance to implement those plans. tim moore, senior structural engineer for washington's department of transportation
says the cause of the collapse was torsional flooder or aerodynamic instability. >> that was the vice that took the bridge down. this was a condition that no structure can maintain for a significant period of time. >> gertie is replaced by a stronger bridge in 1950, ten years after the collapse. but a part of it still survives. >> this is the size design, approach span. this is the original galloping gertie's 1940 bridge. >> many lessons are learned from gertie's demise, incluing how critical aerodynamics are in building suspension bridges. >> there really wasn't a major suspension bridge built until the replacement in 1950. and many of the things that
exist on the 1950s bridge are a tribute to better aerodynamic stability. >> in 2007 a twin bridge is completed. the architectural look of both structures resembles the original gertie, a tribute to her grace and elegance. >> so that new bridge as well as others have been constructed since 1940 are part of galloping gertie's legacy. >> coming up -- an iceberg implodes in front of a group of tourists, sending them scrambling for safety. >> we're all shouting and screaming. >> when "caught on camera: watch out" continues . birth to my dr on may 18th, five days later, i had a massive heart attack. bayer aspirin was the first thing the emts gave me. now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story.
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[ male announcer ] marie callender's puts everything you've grown to love about sunday dinner into each of her pot pies. tender white meat chicken and vegetables in a crust made from scratch. marie callender's. it's time to savor. an expedition to antarctica to explore the globe turns into an over the top moment for a dutch tourist. >> we were all shouting and
screaming. >> a giant iceberg implodes in front of his eyes, and luckily for us in front of the lens of his small digital camera. >> the adrenaline rush was enormous. february 10th, 2012, antarctica. while on the trip to argentina, lex and his girlfriend pietra set out to explore the remote continent. antarctica is 700 miles for the argentinian coast. >> normally it would be way too expensive. >> a travel group sponsors tours several times a year, particularly during the six
arctic summer months from october through march. >> twice a day do expeditions. so you go in the small raft. if you haven't been there, you can't imagine what it's like. it's so beautiful. you have all the animals. you have two types of moss that grow there. that's it. yeah, it's amazing. >> although the antarctica vistas are spectacular, they're set against the backdrop of frigid weather. average temperatures average around minus 70 fahrenheit. it was around zero. it was really cold. the wind is really cold. the ice is really cold. a lot of layers on. jackets, scarves, hats. >> despite the bitter cold, lex and company soak in every breathtaking moment of this remarkable landscape. >> we were on the raft and
flowing past beautiful icebergs and islands. >> the raft circles close enough to get a true appreciation of how enormous and imposing they really are. one in particular catches lex's eye. >> this iceberg, it was really beautiful. i think it's the most beautiful iceberg i saw there. everything is sort of black and white and then this sharp blue iceberg float in the water. i really like sculptures. this one sort of looked like a skull in the beginning. then pieces were falling off. the group returns to the shift but is so intrigued by the iceberg they go back on a second expedition the same day to get a better look at it, not knowing the extraordinary moment that is about to unfold. oh cool! we went again because when
you're in antarctica, you want to do as much as you can. you're never going to be there again. >> lex sees it has changed. big pieces of it are falling off rapidly and crashing into the water. cool! >> pieces were falling off. it was a lot of noise. and so we were there for i think maybe six minutes, something like that. and then at one point when we were thinking, okay, nothing is going to happen. >> and just when lex thinks the dramatic show is over, the iceberg gives an unexpected finale. >> it just fell apart.
a perfect implosion. and this big chunks of ice coming towards us. like the iceberg spit them out. >> the giant iceberg collapses plunging into the water. it's a frightening scenario. the impact from the implosion could easily overturn the little raft. despite the danger, lex isn't feeling fear. >> the adrenaline rush was enormous. we were all shouting and screaming. like whoa. >> quickly the two guides maneuver the raft away from the falling chunks of ice and any potential large waves. you can still see some chunks hitting the boats.
>> after the ice stops raining down on the boat, sheer excitement takes over. >> this is a very old iceberg, if you can imagine such a thing. >> geologist and college professor robert titus analyzes lex's footage and says the iceberg had all the signs of an impending breakdown. >> now what's happening here is this iceberg drifted into warm water. the warmth of the surrounding water caused the ice to expand and contract into and to fracture and the to crack. and by the time these people got there the whole thing simply collapsed. >> lex uploads his incredible shot to youtube and within one month he gets 200,000 views. sometimes it takes traveling thousands of miles away from home to be in the right place at the right time.
i was really lucky. and happy to show it to the rest of the world. coming up -- residents of a small italian town run for their lives to escape a massive landslide. when "caught on camera: watch out" continues. [ "odd couple" theme plays ] humans -- even when we cross our t's and dot our i's, we still run into problems. namely, other humans. which is why, at liberty mutual insurance, auto policies come with new car replacement and accident forgiveness if you qualify. see what else comes standard at libertymutual.com. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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i'm melissa ray burger. protests continue in egypt where demonstrators are angry over the new islamist president granting himself broad new powers. one person was killed outside an office of the muslim brotherhood, the party of the president. turns out human jer sore to blame for the huge national gas explosion. 40 buildings suffered damaged. 18 people were injured. no one was called.
more news in one hour. now back to "caught on camera." a massive river of mud, trees and dirt flows down a mountain side, threatening a small town. forcing people to run for their lives. february 15th, 2010, italy. the ancient town has had its share of landslides, but after nine days of relentless rain, residents are bracing for what looks like an unprecedented disaster. husband and wife journalist are called to cover the unfolding story by the mayor of the town. >> translator: the mayor that i was acquainted with urged me to go and see it.
however, it was a period of strong torrential rains that continued for days and days and there were landslides everywhere. so we decided to do different ones and wait. >> by the time they arrived most of the small town of 200 is evacuated but people remain near the danger zone, not expecting the hillside to go down. astonished at the scene in front of her, patricia grabs her camera from the back of her car and started shooting. >> translator: in the distance i framed a high voltage pole that very slowly began to descend, descend, descend until it finally toppled over. that's when we realized that shfs something much more serious than we could imagine. >> what she sees through her camera's view finder is something out of a biblical text. the earth buckles, waves and
moves like an ocean. >> translator: little by little we saw the hill start to crumble, and then at a certain point suddenly the mountain came tumbling down. i don't know if i realized it or i hadn't realized it, i planted myself there with a television camera on my shoulder and recorded. >> the civilian protection men try to block them from shooting, but they just keep on working. >> reporter: at a certain point we heard a deafening noise far away. and then this imposing immense landslide. i have to tell the truth, i didn't check my words. luckily i didn't say anything strange, and we went live
recording video and audio. and reporting what is immediate sensation. that was precisely the effect. something unimaginable, unforeseeable was happening before our eyes. and it was huge. [ speaking foreign language ] >> geologist and college professor robert titus explain this geological phenomenon. >> i think this was an extraordinary landslide. first for the power it displayed. you saw choppy waves of smile moving up and down, sliding by at a remarkable rate of speed. any person, any animal in the way would have been killed. any house, any home, any building would have surely been destroyed. >> tie tus says the heavy and prolonged rainfall prior to the landslide saturated the ground,
turning the limestone rock and clay soil into an oozing muck. >> all this is astonishing. it's almost like watching water flow by. >> wave after wave of soil, rock and trees break off and crumble down the mountain. the landslide keeps going and going and going. this scene lasts for 30 minutes, and petritsia and mauricio record it all. >> the effect was threwly hypnotic because of what was happening. to tell you the truth, we realizeded the truth of it all when we looked at it later. >> despite some people choosing not to evacuate, nobody is injured or killed and perhaps more astonishing, no homes are
lost. >> we were in an area totally outside of the town. the last house that's visible is precisely the last house in town. there's nothing beyond that point. there's only a road that links it with another town that now doesn't exist anymore either. >> after they visit the landslide area two years later they are concerned that no repairs have been done. the road is still not fixed and the mountain side is not secured. he is especially effected since he was born here and still has family there. >> sometimes i go back there. it also happens that i go back to that area. i must tell the truth it upsets me. two years later nothing has been done and i'm very sorry about that. >> geologists say the landslides of this magnitude are somewhat unpredictable. luckily everyone survived this one.
[ shouting ] >> coming up, fear strikes tinseltown when an enormous sink hole opens up in the middle of hollywood boulevard. >> my first concern was anybody killed or injured. >> when "caught on camera: watch out" continues. with verizon. hurry in this saturday and sunday for great deals. like the lucid by lg, free. or the galaxy nexus by samsung, free. this weekend, get the best deals on the best devices on the best network. exclusively at verizon.
california. tinseltown brings to mind the image of big stars, and the iconic hollywood sign. but this disaster is not happening in the hollywood hills or on an expensive sound stage. it's not the glamour part of hollywood. it's more residential. it's more community. >> jackie goldberg is a former los angeles city councilwoman. in 1995 she represents a district where the city is building a subway. some of the constituents are complaining about it. >> we don't need a metro rail as they are proposing it. let's get back to the buses where the people can be moved around properly. >> not only are residents complaining, but so are the business owners. for them it's less about the subway itself than the
construction. they're losing money. >> it takes so long to build these things underground and you don't have much choice but to tear up streets and close streets. we're putting big signs on the property saying open for business and people were angry. >> so when a water main breaks at the construction site on hollywood boulevard, gold berg holds a press conference to bring attention to the problem. as goldberg stands in front of news cameras, the water main problem suddenly gets a lot worse. >> we were actually not far from the actual location that morning. some people were very concerned that a lot of water was being pumped out from the soil. so we had engineers and technical people all explaining that this was going to be fine, and then crack. >> the crack she hears is the sound of the roadway caving into the tunnel under construction.
mud, rocks, dirt and water cascade down into a big hole, exposing sensitive utility pipes. the news crews on site capture the dramatic event as it unfolds. >> my first concern was, was anybody injured or killed in the hole. when they heard the crack they all moved away from the street to be sure that nothing was going to happen. >> the crater keeps expanding until it measures 70 feet wide and 70 feet deep. as the hole grows in size, so does goldberg's anxiety. her biggest fear is the exposed gas lines. >> we have all the gas company people out there to start shutting off gas lines. you break a water line you get water. you break an electric thing you might get a live wire down. but gas explodes. so we got the gas turned off
pretty darn quickly. that's why there were no explosions in the area. >> the neighboring streets are shut down from traffic. about 70 patients are evacuated from a nearby hospital. although people in the area are inconvenienced, no one is injured or killed. city and state investigations conclude that the sink hole is caused by the water main break, but there's still debate about whether it was caused by corrosion of the aging main or triggered by subway construction. >> whatever it was, it was a broken watermain. not just the pipe but the main. and that water had been coming in for some time before it was defected. >> crews repair the watermain, fill the hole with concrete and repair the road. hollywood boulevard becomes a
bustling thoroughfare once again. in 1999, four years later, the red line stop at hollywood and western is finally completed. passengers ride the trains and all is well in the city of angels. coming up -- an entire industrial building collapses from heavy snow as employees run for their lives. >> it sounded like a freight train coming. when "caught on camera: watch out" continues. [ boys screaming ] hi, i just switched jobs, and i want to roll over my old 401(k) into a fidelity ira. man: okay, no problem. it's easy to get started; i can help you with the paperwork. um...this green line just appeared on my floor. yeah, that's fidelity helping you reach your financial goals. could you hold on a second? it's your money. roll over your old 401(k) into a fidelity ira and take control of your personal economy. this is going to be helpful. call or come in today. fidelity investments. turn here. yeah. it's his thing. i don't even participate.
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massachusetts. the northeast experiences one of the worst winters in years. snowfall averages in the region break records. peter powell is a reporter from new england cable news in newton, massachusetts. >> it was a horrible winter. i can't remember what the first snow was, but it was probably november, and it started snowing and it kept snowing every five days. it never got warm enough for it to melt. the snow piled up and piled up. >> that morning a snowy, icy rain is falling. they are sent to cover potential roof collapses all over the county. >> we knew the day before there may be roof problems because of all the snow on roovs and the added weight of the water. >> they arrive at the tritan
technology building and are astonished to see it's buckling. >> we were hearing extraordinary sounds. the creeking of metal, popping out of the front of the building as the wall falls in. >> powell wonders if anyone is still in the building. it's the east coast pub of tritan technology, a 24-hour call center with about 100 employees. the chief legal counsel works at the easton facility. she hadn't yet arrive that had morning, but employees call her alarmed by the loud odd noises coming from the building. >> it was really people looking up at the ceiling and seeing the ceiling tiles moving and going, that's not normal. >> a supervisor orders everyone out of their seats and hurries them to an exit. >> luckily we had a sales
manager who started shouting at people to get out of the building. and grabbed people by the shoulder and got their attention. >> it's only a few minutes after the last employee leaves that the building starts to fall. >> the wall of the building was bowed and it was slowly falling backwards away from us. >> you could hear glass begin to crack as the building is going on itself. >> probably a 30-foot wall just slowly leaning back in a bowed position. >> and all the sudden everything just accelerated. and it goes from creek, creek, bang to the whole thing just falling. easily the most extraordinary thing i've been able to witness.
>> tritan loses an office building, and the company credits quick thinking staff with getting everyone out in time. jay naley is tritan's president and ceo. >> we had to do very extraordinary things to make sure everyone got out of the building safely. >> glad he had the presence of mind to act on it. >> a 100-year-old building collapses in the middle of a busy city. sending firefighters scrambling for safety. >> i knew something would happen. may 5th, 1997, new york city.
more than 200 firefighters are called to the scene of an unrelenting blaze in manhattan's garden district. it starts in a shoe shore that is packed to capacity with highly flammable material. the century old building has no sprinkler system. >> the fire was so heavy in the basement that we tried to put it out with foam. there was so many boxes in storage. heavy garments of mostly shoes. >> retired assistant cheaf harry norum was one of the commanders overseeing operations that day. >> i went to the staircase inside because there was no exterior openings. now they take four or five men into the cellar. the boxes were falling down into the area. so the first chief says okay, let's get out of here. >> they're forced to fight the fire from the outside, but even
that has its risks. he is concerned the old building will not be able to withstand the heat of the fire and the weight of the water being pumped in. >> we're providing 500 gallons a minute at these locations. >> the city's buildings department tells norum that the structure is stable because there aren't any cracks or bulges in the wall. but he doesn't take any chances and establishes a wide perimeter, or collapse zone around it. >> we move those trucks. the pieces of equipment and the hose line away from the building, the opposite side of the street. >> firefighters are also repositioned across the street and continue their efforts to control the blaze. norum's instijts are right. the walls suddenly give way.
bringing brick and debris to the streets below. >> it sounded to me like a crack. and a rumble. then everything became physical. >> residents are grateful there are no fatalities or serious injuries but the loss of homes and businesses is a blow. life is gone. everything that you're building. everything that you had, everything just gone. >> for chief norum the collapse emphasizes an important caution, there are often hidden hazards behind the fire and smoke. >> it's very important that people in the area, especially firefighters and other people know the agents don't subside after the fire is brought under control.
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