tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC March 13, 2019 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT
breaking news tonight. a major reversal. the u.s. grounds those 737 max jets involved in a pair of deadly air disasters. the move cominafter days of intensifying pressure. the new evidence that pushed the decision. tonight what it was like on those planes as they were grounded.rl aiines scrambling, passengers rushing to rebook. a bomb cyclone of historic proporons. a blizzard for the ages with hu icane-force wind gusts slamming eight states. the national guard called in to rescue drivers trapped on the highway. a torrent of fallout from the massive cheating scandal. "full house" star lori loughlin surrendering to the fbi and anger growing among parents and students who say the system is broken and believe the rich and famous cheat to g ahead.
>> i'm sorry that you feel so entitled that you think you deserve to take someone else's spot just because you have the means to afford it. paul manafort hit with a second prison sentence, moments later t with brand-new charges for alleged crimes that the president cat pardon. hooded gunmen breaking into d brazilian high school an opening fire. at least seven students and teachers among the dead in a horrific attac big health news for millions at risk of heart attack because of high chesterol. doctors reporting on a promising new drug without the side effects of statins. good evening, everyone. breaking tonight, american, southeast, and united airlines are parking their 737 max aircraft and rebooking passengers this evening after the faa today ordered the planes grounded in this country. here's a map that shows 737 max jets in the air over the u.s. right after president trump announced the grounding order. here's what that map looks le tonight, virtually empty.
the decision came hours after na cada grounded the planes, leaving the u.s. virtually alone in standing by them. concerns over the max intensifying after two fatal crashes under milar circumstances. igr team in place to cover the latest on the inveion and the impact on fliers starting with tom costello. >> reporter: across the country today, the minute 737 ma flights landed they faced immediate grounding. f ights preparing to take told to return to their gates. the three airlines that fly the max in the u.s. -- southwest, american, united airlines. this flight aware map showing max flights in u.s. skies disappearing through the afternoon.ee >> pilots havenotified. airlines have been all notified. airlines are agreeing with this, the safety of the american people and all peoe is our paramount concern. >> reporter: the u.s. grounded the max only after canada and the rest of the world acted first.
but the faa says its decision is based on evidenccollected on the ground in ethiopia and satellite data received from ethiopian flight 302 before it crashed which showed very erratic vertical takeoff speeds as the pilots apparently struggled to control the plane. similar to the lion air crash in indonesia last october. the ceo of ethiopian airlines talked to cn >> we believe the similarities are substantial. they're both the same airplane model, brand-new airplanes. t and al flights were very short, i think eight minutes in the case of lion air, six , nutes' flight in our case. >> reporter: tonigarly four days after the crash, ethiopia has finally decided to send the damaged black boxes to france for analysis. >> unfortunately, we've not been able to get the boxes to a country where we can start pulling data. >> reporter:ia delay some on veterans find unacceptable. >> it'sscionable the black boxes this late out after the crash, have not been looked at.
theyill tell vital clues abo the relationship to the lion air crash. >> reporter: meanwhile, u.s. pilots have raised concerns about the 737 max and its flight manual, submitting anonymous concerns to a federal database. one copilot writing, within two to three seconds the rrcraft pitched nose-down. can't think of ason the aircraft would pitch down so aggressively. another pilot in novem complaining, the flight manual is inadequate almost criminally insufficient. boeing is now pushing a software upgrade for the max fleet to fis sues with that anti-stall system that may have contributed to the indonesia crash last october. tonight the company says it supports temporarily gt unding the out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of t aircraft's safety. m but how soon t 8 and 9 fly again will likely depend on what investigators learn from the black boxes and a detail analysis of the wreckage. >> tom joining us now. tom, typically -- we've seen groundings before.
edtypically a flaw is dete the airlines are told you fix it and the plane can go back in the air. what are they telling them this time since there's no flaw that's formally beendentified? >> the fre investigative agency to begin with says it expects the black boxes sometime tomorrow. they're damaged so reviewing them could take some time. listening carefully to the conversations between the pilots and then getting a readout on the flight data, that should include everything from engine r pence to the plane's altitude, air speed, heading, pitch, the rudder and flap a position of that. so identifying a potential problem could takeays or weeks, then the fix, if there is one, that could take weeks or even months. it could be awhile before these planes fly again. >> all right,om, thanks for your reporting. tonight airlines that operate the max jets are scrambling to update their flight schedules and minimize the impact from today's grounding. as gabe gutierrez reports, passengers ticketed on these planes are rushing to rebook. >> reporter: at airports across the u.s. late today, the last
boeing 737 max 8 and 9 planes landed in a strsm of contro >> it's good to look into it and make sure there's not something intrinsically wrong with the plane. >> reporter: two u.s. airlines use max 8, sthwest and american. united uses max 9s. southwest's flights are spread throughout the country. concentrated into and out of miami. between all three airlines there are about 275 daily flights using the max fleet. >> it's a ge decision. it has an economic effect, you know, that's far-reaching. >> reporter: today in dallas, the home of southwest airlines, fliers reacted. >> all this week they've been letting people changr tickets. i think that's been great of them to do that. >> eporter: many travelers and crew members wondering what's next? >> i was scared taking off because of whawas going on in the news. >> happy to be back on the ground. >> reporter: all three airline trying to minimize travel disruptions. usuthwest, the most heavily impacted, says anymers booked on a canceled max 8 flight can rebook on alternatei
flightsut any additional fees or fare differences within 14 days of their original date of travel. >> safety fit, most important thing. it's a little scary to be up there when you know there could be something wrong with the plane. le >> reporter: whis is impacting thousands of customers, southwest says the max 8 planes only make up out 4% of its entire fleet. united and american are automatically rebooking customers on other flights right now. lester? u all right, gabe, thank very much. elsewhere, causing further disruption with flights tonight, what fecasters are calling bomb cyclone of historic proportions. a blizzard for the record books hitting eight states. the national guard being calledn we get the latest from nbc's steve patterson. >> reporter: tonight the great plains bracing for a hurricane-strength blizzard. across eight states, wind gusts reaching 80 miles per hour. in some areas up to 2 feet of snow. the national weather service rt repog a rapid pressure drop resulting in a bomb cyclone of historic proportions.
flight schedules are already scmbled. ignways shut down. more than 1,000 fls canceled in denver. the highways are no better. trooper groves killed by a skidding car. low visibility leading to pileups. >> we can just take people, but we can't move vehicles. >> reporter: the weather service warning, do not even attempt to drive in this storm. danger on the rails as well. a new mexico train derailed by wind no injuries reported. >> oh my goodness! to>> reporter: and violents delivering destruction to an amazon warehouse in texas. g wits moving at highway speeds, upending homes, tossing planes like toys, turning semis sideways. spring is only a week ut this winter just doesn't know when to quit. steve patterson, nbc news. all that fresh snow could lead to mo avalanches in an already deadly season. in a few minutes we'll join an elite team blasting away the threat with some high-tech tools. right now moving to the scandal thatas so many outraged.
actress lorioughlin granted bail on $1 million late today after she and dozens of other parents including felicity huffman were charged in a massive college admissions cheating scam. nbc's miguel almaguer with the latest. >> reporter: after her arrest earlier today, actress lori loughlin faced a federal charge. the hollywood star and her famous husband, fashionss desigr moimo giannulli, who posted a $1 million bond, are accused of paying b$500,000 ibes to get their daughters into usc. >> i mean, in complete denial -- >> reporter: two years ago on "today" laughlin and her daughter spoke about attending college, her youngest child a youtube star, blogged about going to usc. >> i don't know how much of school i'm going to attend. >> reporter: with actress felicity huffman posting a $250,000 bond last night, the steps o the federal courthouse looked more like a provy premiere.
huffman's husband, william h. macy, making no comment after federal investigators say his wife paid $15,000 to arrange foc a proctor totly change answers on her older daughter's s.a.t. 'm >>orry that you feel so entitled that you think you deserve to take someone else's spot just because you have the means to afford it. >>eporter: the list of 33 parents, who investigators say rigged the system, includes a ng stunoster of wealthy executives, a doctor, and even a lawyer. manuel henriquez, who stepped down today as ceo of a silicon valley hedge fund, acced of paying nearly $500,000 to ensure his dauter would attend georgetown. court documents say his wife and daughter gloated about the fact that they had cheated and gotten away with it. >> i feel good as a parent because we didn't do tnd my daughter got into georgetown. >> reporter: in all, eight elite coeges are at the center o the scandal. universities like stanford and yale have admission rabelow 7%. >> i feel like this isn't new at all.
people just got caught this time. >> reporter: alex mccloud, who was rejected from usc, feels robbed. >> i think the bigger issue is that our colle admission system isn't based on how hard you work, it's not a meritocracy, it's based on the zip code you were born in and who your parents are and what they can give you. ns >> reporter:ers say the admissions system is broken. >> if parents with means can really game the system to this degree, it's time to create a new system. >> reporter: the alleged mastermind behind the scheme, villiam singer, who founded a college prep ser, is cooperating with investigators. he says wealthy parents paid him more than $25 million to cheat the system. tmz obtaining this video of his audition for a reality show on the pressures of getting kids into college. >> this process brings out all d e good and a lot of the that goes on in families' homes. >> reporter: tonight from the courthouse steps to the
courtyards of college campuses, outrage over how the rich and famous bought what their children couldn't earn. the 50 people arrested will face a l judge in boston later this month. as for those children who are still enrolled in school, each university says they'll handle it dferently. usc, for example, says any student who is trying to get into theirchool and is involved in this scandal will be denied. as for those alrea enrolled in the school, they'll be handled on a case-by-case basis. lester? >> miguel almaguer, you. tonight president trump's rmer campaign chairman has been hit with a second prison sentence on top of the one from last week and moments after the n, paul ad her decis manafort was hit with a new set of charges. here's pete williams. >> reporter: the man who helped get donald trump into the white house now faces almost seven years in prison on topthe nine months he's already spent alf yearsseven and a in all, on charges stemming from
his political consulting in ukraine. ated in a wheelchair, manafort said, i'm sorry for what i have tone and all the activities that have gotten us hery. judge amy berman jackson responded, saying sorry i got caught is not an inspiring plea for leniency. he faced a maximum of 10 years on the washington, d.c. charges but the judge added 3 1/2 yearsy onto the 4ear sentence manafort got last week in virginia. >> i don't think it is overly lenient. two federal judges have looked at it, they've fashioned sentences they believe are fair an appropriate. he's going to go to jail for a long time.r: >> reporte manafort's lawyer called the sentence callous and harsh but said there was never any suggestion he helped russia meddle in the election. >> judge jacon conceded there was absolutely no evidence of russian collusion in this case. >> reporter: manafort might be hoping for a pardon and president trump did not rule it out today. >> it's not something that's right now on my mi. i do feel badly for paul manafort. that i can tell you. >> reporter: new york city's district attorney cyrunce
today quickly filed state charges accusing manafort of lying about his use of a manhattan condo to get a more favorable loan. even if manafort got a presidential pardon, it wouldns not count aga state conviction. a president can pardon only a federal crime. paul manafort turns 70 april 1st. it now aears he'll be at least 76 years old before he can get out of prison. lester? >> pete williams in washin thank you. now to a horror we've come to know too well in this l country, a schooting massacre. it happened today near brazil's largest city. at least five students and two employees kill when two gunmen opened fire. anne thompson has the latest and a warning, some of the images ardisturbing. >> reporter: one official called it unspeakably brutal. school students in brazil massacred during their snack break. t police s young men wearing hoods armed with homemade bombs, crossbows, and guns opened fire. where children and elementary
to high school age learn near sao paolo. "they just camout shooting at anyone close by," this student says. the police say the gunmen, both former students, took their own lives. among the dead, five sdents and two employees. several others were injured. this school worker ss she opened the kitchen door, rushing studen to safety when they heard shots. school shootings are rare in brazil even though it's one of the world's most violent countries. now the local governor has declared three days of mourning. anne thompson, nbc news. a crisis at another school to report in nigeria. a desperate search for survivors after a building collapsed. as manas 100 children inside. n it's clear how many may have died, but dozens have been rescued from the rubble. >> just ahead tonight, with a blizzard bearing down this evening we go behind the scenes with the elite patrol targeting avalanches. big news if you're battling high chole the young unknown starring in one of broadway's biggest smashes. stay with us.
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tonight's blizzard denver is raising new safety concerns in an unprecedented season for avalanches that have killed 22 people. r gadi schwartz went out with an elite team using high-powered technology to target the threat. >> reporter: it is 1 degree at the top of snowbird ski reso in utah. the wind is howling. the hike is grueling. and the pull of the fuse -- >> fire in the hole! >> whoa! t >> smells likehe fourth of july. >> reporter: as explosive as that looks, this is a rare glimpse at a morning routine happening at ski resorts across the west. >> oh! whoo! reporter: ski patrol blasting away avalanches before they strike on their own, and their arsenal is impressive. so this looks pretty intense. what this is thing? >> this is one of our avalanchers. it's aitrogen regressed cannon
that sho the slope.sive onto >> literally blasting explosives up on the mountain from here. >> reporter: that's not all. from helicopters to howitzers. it is a constant battle to keep the sles safe. >> gentlemen, you've got a big one coming at you. >> what would happen i guys weren't out here detonating explosives eve day? >> there would be a no way the ski resort could open safely without an aggressive avalanche control program. >> reporter: this year heavy snowfall bringing severe avalanche threats throughout the nation's largest mountain ranges. over 100 avalanches recorded in january alone. this winter 22 people kied. kiothers rescued like thiser, dug out of the back country five miles away from snowbird. forut patllin the oseho t slopes, the goal isn't aboutpi her he power of m nature. instead, it's to control it, so that everyone else can enjoy the outdoors. gadi schwartz, nbc new snowbird, utah. >> and hats off to them, that'rk important wo. up next, important news in the fight against cholesterol.
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ck now with that health news for the 100 million americans at risk for a heart attack due to high cholesterol.a doctorthere's a promising new drug without the side effects of statins. here's dr. john torres. >> reporter: 1 in 4 americans takes cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. they work, but often cause painful side effects, primarily muscle pain. jack manly says he could barely walk when he was on e medication >> it was very discomforting, yeah. it was constant leg cramps. nd reporter: a new study in today's "new englaournal of medicine" is reporting an experimental medication called bempedoic acid, taken along with a statin, reduced cholesterol by 18%. >> this medicine could help a lot of people.ny eople can't take a high dose of a powerful statin, so particularly we use combinations, two medications, sometimes lo the same effect. >> reporter: jack took the drugn alg with his low-dose statin
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>> reporter: imay not seem unusual to see a 16-year-old playing the role of a 17-year-old -- ♪ we're going to be all right >> reporr: andrew barr feldman is breaking broadway ground, cast to wear the cast in "dear evan hansen." >> this is truly the biggest dream, the craziest dream come true. >> you first saw this in 2016. if someone had told you then, hey, two, three years from now you're going to be up there doing that, what would you have >> i would have said, i better get to work. >> reporter: after winning best actor last year at the national high school musical theater awards, andrew was asked to audition for "dear evan hansen." mom took pictures of the moment when andrew received the news. >> i flipped, obviously. it was crazy. ♪ ♪ try to speak but nobody can hear ♪ >> reporter: until now the tony-winning show's lead role id only been played by gu their 20s because it's vocally r d emotionally exhausting. the complex characo's battling anxiety while getting swept up in e head-spinning world of social media. >> i'm dumping my guts on the stage.,
ah, i pass out after the show. ♪ can anybody see >> reporter: the chance of a lifetime for a teen who does not yet have a license to drive but is already taking a spin on the great white way. joe friar, nbc news, new york. >> so happy for him, best of luck to andrew.gh that's "y news." i'm lester holt. than
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