tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC April 13, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
strinks. >> it forced a woman to call for help. that's it for us for now. good night, everyone. tonight on "world news," dozing off. another air traffic controller asleep on the job. >> we're going to need to land. >> roger. landing will be at your own risk. >> we press the nation's top transportation official for answers. senseless act. a mother drives herself and three children into a river to their deaths. how one son survived and what makes a parent crack. popping pills. the number of americans taking dietary supplements every day is skyrocketing. but do they really work? and is taking them a risk? and, angel in the outfield. the little girl lost in the tucson shooting remembered by her teammates. how her friends are fielding her dream.
good evening. believe it or not, it's happened again. early this morning, another air traffic controller asleep at the switch while a flying ambulance with a sick passenger on board circled overhead, desperately seeking clearance to land. it never came. the pilot took that risk and landed anyway. and while everyone on board is okay tonight, the rest of us are wondering what is going on in those control towers? and can we be sure our skies are safe? the transportation secretary is standing by to answer those questions but we start with our aviation correspondent lisa stark on the story again tonight. good evening, lisa. >> reporter: good evening, george. well, this is now the latest in a string of incidents like this. air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job. just last month, the government said it would not tolerate such behavior. and yet, here we are again. around 2:00 a.m. this morning,
in the skies above reno, a pilot carrying a seriously ill patient is trying to land at the airport there. trying to call the tower. no one is answering. >> can't seem to get a hold of the tower here. i think i'm going to try and give them another call. >> reporter: the pilot then calls the last controllers he talked to, at a facility in sacramento, and they try to reach the reno tower. >> okay, we're going to call them on a phone line. >> all right, we'll circle some more. we've got a pretty sick patient. we may just have to land. >> reporter: the small plane, with its sick patient, continues to circle and circle the airport. finally, the pilot of the lifeguard flight, a designation for urgent medical missions, cannot wait any longer. 16 minutes have gone by. >> we're going to need to land. >> lifeguard, you're tango november. and landing will be at your own risk. >> this kind of outrageous, ridiculous behavior will not be tolerated. >> reporter: so, starting tonight, the government is
ordering two controllers on the midnight shift at each of the 27 facilities that now have only one controller working overnight. some wonder what took so long. it turns out the reno mishap is the latest in a string of sleeping controllers on the overnight shift. last month at washington's reagan national. in february at knoxville airport. earlier this week at boeing field in seattle. and in lubbock, texas, two weeks ago, two controllers failed to answer a radio call. >> this shouldn't happen in nevada. it shouldn't happen anywhere in our country. >> reporter: why are all these controllers falling asleep on the job? one issue may be their uneven schedules. a day shift one day, a night shift the next. >> there is obvious fatigue implications when you rotate from shift to shift throughout a week or a daily period. >> reporter: the faa says it is reviewing how it staffs and schedules air traffic controllers. and abc news has now learned that after the incident here at national, those folks in the reno tower did add a second
controller to the overnight shift but then went back to one controller after the faa put in some procedures to make sure that controllers were awake before planes were handed off to them. obviously those procedures did not work. george? >> thanks, lisa. let's turn to the man in charge of the nation's skies, the secretary of transportation, ray lahood. and mr. secretary, you call this incident outrageous, but it's at least the fourth, maybe the fifth in recent weeks. how could it happen again? >> george, i want people to know that we are outraged. this is just absolutely ridiculous that a controller could fall asleep in reno when a plane is trying to land there. and we have now five investigations going on. we'll learn a lot more about it. we've suspended these controllers and we may have to take more permanent action once these investigations are complete. >> you know, we checked in with our aviation expert, john nance, and he said that these controllers are being set up to fail. and it's time to grab the agency by the ears and make changes.
are you prepared to make more changes? >> absolutely. i'll be grabbing the agency by the ears. we've done some grabbing today with the outrage that we've expressed and the suspension of this controller and the investigations. and there will be more to come, george. i guarantee the flying public we will not sleep until we can guarantee that there's good safety in the control towers. when these planes are coming in and out of airports. i'm going to work 24 -- >> can you make that guarantee tonight? >> i will make the guarantee tonight that there's two controllers in these control towers and that it will be safe to fly in and out of these airports. >> mr. secretary, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you, george. also in washington today, the president made his opening bid in the next budget battle, with a blistering speech that could also serve as the first salvo in his re-election campaign. he laid out a new plan to reduce the deficit, $4 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases over the next 12 years. we asked jake tapper to break it down and answer two key
questions. how will the deficit affect you? and what's the president's fix? jake? >> reporter: good evening, george. well, that's right. republicans said president obama's speech was light on specifics and heavy on raw politics. what does all this out of control government borrowing mean for you? it means eventually, because of all the interest on the debt, the government will stop being able to pay for programs like medicare, schools, law enforcement, highways, bridges, food programs for the poor. >> all the things the government does for us, it will have to do a lot less of. our lives will be significantly diminished. >> reporter: today, president obama outlined his plan to reduce the deficit and big battle lines have emerged. the president wants to raise $1 trillion in new revenues by letting the bush tax cuts on higher income americans expire next year. >> it's a basic reflection of our belief that those who have benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more.
>> reporter: republicans call that a non-starter. >> if we're going to resolve our differences and do something meaningful, raising taxes will not be part of that. >> reporter: another big battle to come, the president says he wants $500 billion in health care savings for medicare and medicaid by negotiating for lower drug prices, among other steps. today, he assailed the republican proposal to find savings by replacing medicare with a system that helps seniors buy private insurance. >> put simply, it ends medicare as we know it. that's not right. that's not going to happen as long as i'm president. >> reporter: the president charged republicans would deprive 50 million vulnerable americans of health insurance. >> many are somebody's grandparents, maybe one of yours. some are middle-class families who have children with autism or down syndrome. >> reporter: about a year ago, george, president obama told republicans they'd never be able to do anything about the debt and entitlement spending if every time one side offered a plan, the other side said, oh,
they're trying to hurt senior citizens. but today, the white house said president obama was not doing that today, he was merely telling the truth about the republican plan. george? >> they're going to have to come to some agreement to get that debt limit passed. thank you, jake. and tomorrow night, we'll have my exclusive interview with the president, right here on "world news," followed by "nightline" and "gma." and if you have a question you'd like me to ask the president, send it into abcnews.com/worldnews. and one final note from washington. it turns out that hard-fought deal that brought the government to the brink of a shutout last week is going to save us all a lot less than we thought. both sides claim it will cut $38 billion from the budget, but the congressional budget office estimates that only $352 million, less than 1%, will actually be saved this year. and there is a verdict in the barry bonds trial. he was found guilty of obstructing justice, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on whether bonds lied to a grand jury back in 2003 when he denied that he knowingly used steroids and human growth hormones. there was a mistrial on those
counts after four full days of jury deliberation because the jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict. when the judge read the verdict, bonds sat stone-faced, showing no emotion. turning now to the day's most gut-wrenching story. late last night, a young mother packs her four kids in the family mini van and drives right into the hudson river. only her oldest boy survived. how did the 10-year-old escape the murder scene? and what made his mother snap? linsey davis reports from newburgh, new york. >> reporter: angela gilliam had to see it for herself. the place where her niece, a young mother of four, came to kill herself and her children. police say just minutes after a domestic dispute, armstrong loaded up her mini van with her four kids, her 10, 5 and 2-year-old sons and her 11-month-old daughter. she then drove six blocks to this boat ramp and didn't stop, plunging into the cold, murky waters of the hudson.
all would drown, except one. >> the 10-year-old child managed to escape. he managed to hit the power windows and opened up one of the windows and climbed out before the vehicle sunk. >> reporter: a passer-by spotted the boy, still soaking wet, and drove him to authorities. >> having difficulty speaking, of course. and just was repeating about the car being in the water with his mom and siblings. >> reporter: we briefly spotted lashawn at his relatives home. the father of the deceased kids did not live with them. he's talking to police. this kind of tragedy has played out before. in 1994, susan smith murdered her two young sons. andrea yates was committed to a mental hospital after drowning her five children in a bathtub. among children under 5 who are murdered, 61% are killed by their own parents. >> the depressed mother who loves her child very much is, thinks this world is not a place where she can survive.
she loves this child and would not leave them alone motherless in this cruel world. >> reporter: motherless is exactly the life this boy now faces, in addition to living with the agony of watching his loved ones die. the 10-year-old who survived is currently with relatives. and they described him as not talking very much. but police say were it not for the boy, they would still consider his mother and siblings as missing persons. george? >> linsey, thank you. and still ahead, new numbers. the use of dietary supplements is booming, but do they work? you've seen the ads promising to help you with the irs. is it a worthwhile service or a rip-off? brian ross investigates. the young girl lost that day in tucson. how her little league teammates are fulfilling her dream. ♪
remember when you had " more energy for 18 holes with your buddies. more passion for the one ya love. more fun with your family and riends. it could be ! a treatable condition called low testosterone or lw t. come on, stop living in the shadows. you've got a life to live. [ male announcer ] so don't blame it on aging. talk to your doctor and go to isitlowt.com to find out more. more and more of us are making a habit of taking vitamins every morning. a study out today found the number of americans who use vitamins and other supplements has climbed about 50%, turning it into a $26 billion a year business. but are all those pills helping? and when may taking them actually hurt? sharyn alfonsi tackles those questions tonight. >> reporter: pat white is fighting breast cancer and wondering if supplements should still be part of her daily routine. >> do they make you feel better? >> oh, yeah. i've been taking them for years.
part of it is calcium supplement. >> reporter: more than half of americans, sick or healthy, now take at least one. >> i take b, c, e. >> i take fish oils and i take a multiple. >> the only thing i really take is multivitamins. >> reporter: and while most swear by them, we reached out to more than a dozen doctors around the country for their thoughts, asking, does a dietary supplement always improve health? most of the doctors we spoke to said no. >> taking a dietary supplement may improve health in some cases but not very many. some supplements are beneficial. a few are harmful. and most don't make a lot of difference. >> reporter: so what do make a difference? the doctors say evidence shows folic acid can help prevent birth defects. calcium and vitamin d help with bone health. and how do they feel about a multivitamin? most doctors said, save your money. >> there's not much effort at evidence at all for taking a multivitamin. people take it for insurance purposes.
but taking a multivitamin does not make up a bad diet. >> reporter: and what about claims that taking some supplements can actually put you at risk they should. for example, our doctors said taking a red yeast rice is up supplement with a cholesterol drug could increase the risk of kidney or liver damage. st. john's worth can lower the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. pat white's daughter worried how her mom's cancer medication is mixing with her supplement. >> we don't know what's in all these. >> so, i would bring the whole package. don't -- don't just bring the name but bring the actual bottle. >> reporter: and that's what so many doctors told us. if you're taking supplements, physically bring the bottle into your doctor's office so they can look at it. see what it does for your prescriptions just to be safe. >> okay, sharyn, thank you. and still ahead, they promise to reduce tax debt. a lifeline for desperate taxpayers or a rip-off? brian ross investigates.
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featuring tax masters founder and ceo patrick cox saturate the cable news channels with lots of promises for people having trouble with the irs. >> our former irs agents and tax professionals have helped many good people just like you. >> reporter: but left out by cox is one key fact. that the company is under active investigation for deceptive practices in at least two states. >> they are making outrageous promises, false promises, deception, lies. >> reporter: yet, the tax masters advertising campaign continues and has made cox, seen here outside his houston mansion, a wealthy man, well-known for his claims of helping clients take on the irs. >> at tax masters, we help solve your tax problems. >> that's how they get people to pay money, saying, we'll solve your tax problems. they don't. >> reporter: like many others, sabrina paid an up-front fee, $2,800 in her case. and then, she says, was essentially ignored for months. >> i was leaving urgent calls,
they weren't returned. i sent urgent e-mails, they weren't returned. >> reporter: until, she says, someone from tax masters finally called to say she didn't have a case after all. >> i received not only nothing, but i was insulted and betrayed. >> reporter: the minnesota attorney general says tapes of tax masters salespeople claiming they can get back-due taxes reduced to pennies on the dollar prove another aspect of the fraud alleged in her civil action. >> you owe $19,000. we can get you down to, basically, next to nothing. and our goal is to get you to zero. we're 97% successful. >> not true. it's another falsehood of this company. >> reporter: tax masters says it prides itself on honest customer service. cox declined to be interviewed by abc news about the allegations and customer complaints. on the day before we told him we'd be in town, we saw cox leaving his mansion with a suitcase and driving away in his pickup truck. in the wake of the investigations, tax masters says
it is modifying some of its fee structures. but the investigations in texas and minnesota are continuing, as is the tv ad blitz. fox and cnn told us they are aware of the investigation, but have no current plans to pull the ads which officials say are deceptive, george. >> and you'll have a lot more on this tonight on "nightline." >> reporter: that's right. >> brian, thank you very much. and still ahead, the little girl taken too soon. turning a little league diamond into a field of dreams. i do remember sitting down with my boys, and i'm like, "oh, promise mommy you'll never ever pick up a cigarette." i had to quit. ♪ my doctor gave me a prescription for chantix, a medication i could take and still smoke, while it built up in my system. [ male announcer ] chantix is a non-nicotine pill proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these symptoms or behaviors,
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[ man ] omnaris. ask your doctor. battling nasal allergy symptoms? omnaris combats the cause. get omnaris for only $11 at omnaris.com. finally tonight, a little girl's long reach. christina-taylor green, the youngest victim of that shooting in tucson last january, loved little league. her teammates loved her, too and now their making sure she's always with them on the diamond. here's chris connelly. >> reporter: in the canyon del
oro little league, just northwest of tucson, arizona, this has long been known as field 1. these young ballplayers know that someone is missing -- their teammate, 9-year-old christina-taylor green. what's it like to come back out and play baseball? >> it feels good but without her, um, it's a little bit lonely. >> reporter: on this baseball diamond, christina-taylor green would make the long throw from third base and sing beyonce songs in the field. mae sinclair was the only other girl on the team. >> she would stand up to the boys, if they say, she's a girl, she's not allowed to play, and stuff, she showed those boys how to play baseball. >> reporter: supported by her father, john, a top scout for the los angeles dodgers, christina had a dream. to be the first woman in the major leagues. >> i said, there aren't any right now, but that doesn't mean there can't be in the future. >> reporter: christina would
bring more of those dreams, to the meet and greet with congresswoman giffords. >> six people are dead. among them, a 9-year-old girl. >> i knew right away that the 9-year-old was christina. and -- you just couldn't believe that it could happen to her. >> reporter: the following day, messages lined the fence outside christina's school. mae sinclair put a baseball cap there. did you write anything on the hat? >> i wrote, christina, i will miss you. because i would miss her a lot and i still do miss her. >> reporter: april 1st was little league opening day. this field that once seemed so empty, now filled with people, parents and kids, gathered together to celebrate christina's life. as her beloved field 1 was renamed in her honor. afterwards, christina's family made their way past the outfield
fence, to see unveiled the statue of an angel. >> i know she would be looking down on us from heaven and she would want everyone to be happy. >> reporter: when you think about her now, what kind of memories make you happy? >> that she played baseball with me. i'm still going to play base billion and i'm going to follow her footsteps. >> reporter: why do you want to follow her footsteps so much? >> because she's one of my friends and a great baseball player. >> reporter: chris connelly, e: 60 for espn, abc news. >> thanks to our friends at espn for sharing that story. for diane sawyer and all of us at abc news, have a good night. >> barry bonds and his defense team leaving the courthouse in sacramento claiming victee following a three week perjury
trial. >> the jury convicted bonds of one of four charges and he he flashed the v for victory sign on the steps of the courthouse although inside of the courtroom he showed no reaction. they could not agree on 3perjury charges and so the judge declared a mistrial on those. >> in a december 2003 grand jury proceeding, barry bonds was asked if he was begin anything with a syringe to inject himself he said no. and he was convicted of that. the verdict was read this afternoon. outside he seemed almost relieved. bare bonds was greeted by supporters outside of the