tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC January 11, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
and of course, a big niners fan. thank you for joining us, see welcome to "world news." tonight, deadly flood. 22 inches of rain in 24 hours. reports of funnel clouds. and this evening, the rescues in the south. in the north, the giant rigs sliding across the highway, smashing into cars. and the horse races. what happens when the car leading the way suddenly spins out of control. the breaking story this saturday. you're out. the one-time golden boy of baseball, learning his fate. now, a-rod, coming out swinging. how he's responding tonight. the newest hack attack. now, we learn, it wasn't just target. tonight, the other major department store where customers had their credit card information stolen. why are we learning just now? and remembering sam. tonight, the magical boy fighting the condition that aged him at accelerated speed. he defied the odds. what he taught everyone around him. you're in math class.
and what he told us that left his own parents speechless. good evening. it's great to have you with us here on a saturday night. and we do begin with that deadly weather. the flooding, 24 hours of non-stop rain and the fierce winds coming with it. look at the view from above tonight. nearly two feet of rain falling in florida. these images from delray beach. further north, fierce winds and a reported funnel clouds destroying these homes in raleigh, north carolina. unreal. just before families could move into those homes. the devastating damage, coming in. and look at these images. the frozen rivers melting across this country, threatening to spill over. including new jersey's delaware river there. and in pennsylvania, blocks of ice beginning to move on the susquehanna river. in the northwest tonight, a powerful storm hitting while we're on the air. tens of thousands already in the dark. we have it all covered here, beginning with abc's linzie janis. >> reporter: tonight, the polar
vortex thaw, triggering massive flooding. >> i've lived here five years. and this is the first time that it's flooded this bad. >> reporter: in palm beach county, florida, nearly 22 inches of rain in 24 hours. residents wading knee-deep. some even using kayaks to escape. >> hasn't been like this since hurricane katrina, last i could remember. >> reporter: authorities say the driver of this suv died because she couldn't see where the street ended and the canal began. in georgia, strong winds sent a tree crashing through the roof of this mobile home, pinning a 14-year-old girl inside to the floor. >> very delicate situation where we had to keep the tree stable at all times so it didn't continue to fall on this young lady. >> reporter: rescuers used an air bag to prop up the tree to free her. her 2-year-old cousin found nearby was safely rescued, too. and check out this video in raleigh, north carolina.
heavy winds ripping through these houses being built. farther north, at new jersey's freehold raceway, a slick track sent this starting gate car plowing into the horses. >> we have an accident on the track. >> reporter: tonight, those horses are all okay. and in falmouth, maine, freezing rain triggering this major accident between four tractor-trailers and two cars. here in new york city, the big thaw, bringing warm temperatures and plenty of rain. but in the western part of new york state, a flood watch still in effect. david? >> some real flooding fears as we head into tonight. our thanks to linzie. i want to bring in meteorologist chris knowles in from the weather center tonight. chris, great to have you. you were saying, this rain continues right on through the night. >> that's right, david. another storm is moving into florida. and the entire east coast is affected. a front that stretches from maine to florida. bringing upwards of two inches of rain with this. strong winds, as well. we have ice jam concerns and flooding in the northeast, all up and down the i-95 corridor. but the worst of it is taking place in the southeast. raleigh-durham airport. an 86-mile-per-hour wind gust
there. so, strong winds throughout the evening. not to mention the possibility of a few tornados. we've already had reports of some funnel clouds down to the south. >> and, chris, we can't forget the northwest tonight. tens of thousands without power because of the storm moving in there. >> a monster storm. one we like to call, with teeth, david, is moving into the pacific northwest. winds there gusting 60 miles per hour or better. and the snow is a problem. in the cascades, up to two feet. so, we have some serious issues going on in that part of the country. >> chris knowles with us tonight. chris, thank you. and from the weather, now, to the other major headline this saturday night. he's out. a record suspension, tonight, for baseball star alex rodriguez, over his use of performance-enhancing drugs. tonight, the long fall for the one-time golden boy of baseball, the highest-paid player in the sport. seeming a-rod is reacting to the suspension. the biggest and some say the final blow to his career. here, tonight, abc's ryan smith. >> reporter: alex rodriguez, fighting for his baseball life.
an independent arbitrator slapping him with an 162-game ban for violating the league's drug policy. and for allegedly interfering with the biogenesis investigation. >> he could have been the michael jordan of baseball. >> reporter: rodriguez, once the golden boy of baseball, featured on magazine covers. taking flak from critics for what some describe as an awkward bromance photo with himself. not one to shy away from the limelight, dated stars like cameron diaz, kate hudson, and the material girl herself. this two-time mvp now reveals his frustration with the ruling. in a statement issued through his publicist, a-rod says, quote, the number of games, sadly, comes as no surprise. as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. if rodriguez doesn't play, he'll be almost 40 when he returns. that, coupled with multiple hip surgeries, will make his comeback difficult. >> he will be very motivated to come back. whether his body at that point
allows him to do so is anybody's guess. >> reporter: no matter what happens, the yankees still owe rodriguez $61 million on his contract that runs through 2017, making him the league's highest-paid player whether he plays or not. >> and ryan smith is with us now. and in classic a-rod fashion, he's expected to fight back? >> he's going to fight this. he's not going away quietly. he's going to bring this into federal court and hopefully stop this suspension. but in the meantime, the suspension applies to the games. he can go to spring training and is expected to be there. >> ryan, great to see you on abc news and espn. see much more of you to come. next, to the dangerous scene still playing out in west virginia this evening. the chemical spill leaving more than 300,000 people with no running water. and fear, now, that this spill is already making some very sick. abc's susan saulny is right there tonight. >> reporter: today, hundreds of thousands of desperate residents are finally getting clean water. fema trucks rolling in
overnight, carrying 1 million liters for a region that's been ordered to turn off its taps. have you had trouble getting cases of water? >> this is the third place we've been to this morning. we were lucky to get a case today. we have six people in our house. >> reporter: state officials now estimate 7,500 gallons of a chemical used to process coal leaked out of a storage tank at a chemical plant upstream from a water treatment station serving nine counties. >> do not drink it. do not cook with it. do not wash clothes in it. do not take a bath in it. >> reporter: before the warning went out, some people did just those things. debbie took a bath. and instantly broke out with a rash. >> i couldn't figure out what in the world was going on. >> reporter: five people have been hospitalized. 73 have sought treatment at the e.r. for symptoms like nausea and vomiting. residents here now want to know why freedom industry took hours to report the leak and why it happened in the first place. >> this should have never happened. no matter how you look at it. >> reporter: health officials say they know very little about
the long-term effects of exposure to this chemical. and it could be days until the public water system here is declared safe. what people really want to know tonight, david, is information. >> susan saulny in west virginia. susan, thanks. next to the growing flu fears across the country. the number of cases so high, some hospitals are taking extreme measures. tents set up in the parking lot. here's abc's chief medical editor, dr. richard besser, now. >> reporter: emergency rooms in texas -- >> most of the people that come into the e.r. have not gotten the flu shot. and their symptoms are pretty severe. >> reporter: california -- >> significant increase in the amount of flu-like illness patients walking into our emergency department. >> reporter: new york -- >> people may say it's just the flu. but i've seen people die from just the flu. >> reporter: this year, flu is not just a danger for the very young and the very old. more than 60% of hospitalized flu patients are between the ages of 18 and 64. that's almost twice as many as last year. like this mother of three. healthy and so young. just 29. >> she had a cough and runny
nose and everything like that. >> reporter: both alice jones and her husband, darell, came down with the flu last week. he recovered. she ended up in the hospital, short of breath, convulsing. and monday, dying. >> my youngest, she asked me, when are we going to go pick up mommy? >> reporter: they're just two of the thousands who the flu has infected. look at google flu trends for this week. 37 states with high flu activity. >> h1 flu viruses affect younger people more than older people, compared with other types of flu viruses. >> this is just heartbreaking. dr. besser with us now. rich, a lot of people are going to look at this and wonder how a 29-year-old healthy mom can die of the flu. >> it's so sad. it makes the point that anyone at any age can die from the flu. healthy, young adults tend not to get as vaccinated as frequently. they weren't around the last time a virus like this was
circulating in the community. so, they don't have existing immunity. >> she believes behind three children. you were telling me that one of them has been diagnosed with the flu. >> one has the flu. the others have been vaccinated. it's a point for everyone watching tonight. if the flu is in your community, it's not too late to get vaccinated. >> and this particular vaccine covers this strain? >> it covers this strain. it will take two weeks to be fully protected. within a matter of days, you'll have some protection. >> all right. still get the shot. rich, our thanks to you, tonight. and now, to the growing fallout for new jersey governor chris christie. tonight, new details on how much his aides new about that massive traffic jam on the george washington bridge. and the warning that the plot could put drivers at risk. abc's gio benitez. >> reporter: tonight, new documents show officials loyal to governor chris christie were warned on day one that the massive september traffic jam, that it was possibly life-threatening. and one of the key architects of the jam, christie's port authority appointee, david wildstein, went to the bridge himself to witness the standstill on the first day.
christie's aides have said, the four-day jam on the world's busiest bridge was part of a traffic study. but it appears it was political payback, after ft. lee, new jersey's, democratic mayor, would not support christie's 2013 re-election. christie aide, bridget anne kelly, writing in an e-mail, time for some traffic problems in ft. lee. wildstein replying, got it. christie apologized thursday, denying any involvement. >> that should have been a ringing phrase that he blames himself. rather than playing the victim that his own people betrayed him. >> reporter: christie openly mocked the jam in december with reporters. >> i worked the cones, actually. >> reporter: the documents also show that those close to christie went out of their way to make that traffic jam look like a traffic study. they even made a powerpoint presentation. but tonight, david, there is no evidence directly linking christie to that traffic jam. >> all right, gio benitez in the shadow of the g.w. gio, thanks. consumer alert and word that it wasn't just target. now, another major department store saying credit card
information was stolen there, as well. and it happened before christmas. so, why are customers just learning about this now? here's abc's aditi roy. >> reporter: tonight, another major retailer hit by holiday hackers. neiman marcus says it is investigating a security breach involving stolen credit card information from its customers. the retailer, based in texas, says it first learned back in mid-december reports of fraudulent activity on customers' credit cards. leading some analysts to question, why the luxury retailer waited weeks to reveal the news. >> it seems to me, that they didn't want to ruin their christmas shopping season. >> reporter: in a statement, the company says, quote, we have begun to contain the intrusion. and have taken significant steps to further enhance information security. the news comes out after retail giant target disclosed its massive data breach over the holidays may have involved up to 110 million customers. >> we've been making sure there's no unusual transactions. >> reporter: the personal
information stolen from target customers, included names, phone numbers and addresses. >> it's a race against time for the bad guys. it can be three weeks to three months or more or less until the card numbers are changed. >> reporter: the target theft could end up being the largest data breach on record for a retailer. as for neiman marcus, they say it's still not sure of the size and scope of its security breach. david? >> all this as shoppers say, not again. aditi, thank you. overseas tonight, a teenager in an extraordinary sacrifice. 17-year-old aitzaz hasan gave his life, tackling a suicide bomber who targeted his school. his picture sits on his classroom chair among the boys whose lives he saved. all of pakistan now calling him a national hero tonight. also overseas this evening, the passing of a world leader. former israeli prime minister ariel sharon. he was a warrior and a statesman, who spent the last eight years hospitalized and in a coma. abc's alex marquardt, looking
back. >> reporter: ariel sharon made his name as a cunning military commander. he was also found responsible for allowing christian militants in beirut, in 1982, to slaughter hundreds of palestinian refugees. as a politician, sharon was a right-wing hawk, the father of the settlement movement. but in august 2005, a move that stunned the country. sharon ordered 10,000 israeli settlers out of the gaza strip. allies on the right labeled him a traitor. >> a democratic palestinian state -- >> reporter: ever a tactician, sharon saw a peace deal as vital for israel's future. but in january 2006, sharon had a massive stroke, putting him in a vegetative state for eight years. his sons say his eyes would open and he would move his fingers when asked to. there is, perhaps, no israeli that provoked more conflicting emotions than sharon. alex marquardt, abc news, beirut. >> alex, thank you. there's still much more
ahead on this saturday night. stunning images over the mojave desert. richard branson's dream to take others into space. the closest yet to coming true. what they have now pulled off. and a special anniversary, tonight. they were married in 1948. they're going back to the famed waldorf astoria where they went for their honeymoon. and what we learned about that honeymoon suite tonight. we're back in just two minutes. raise your rate cd a that won't trap me in a rate. that's correct. cause i'm really nervous about getting trapped. why's that? uh, mark? go get help! i have my reasons. look, you don't have to feel trapped with our raise your rate cd. if our rate on this cd goes up, yours can too. oh that sounds nice. don't feel trapped with the ally raise your rate cd. ally bank. your money needs an ally. in controlling yournow overactive bladder symptoms.
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space above. >> we want this program to be the beginning of a whole, new commercial era for space travel. >> reporter: it's the brainchild of billionaire richard branson, hoping to launch the flights on his company, virgin galactic, later this year. >> we get this right, we believe there's literally millions that want to go into space. >> reporter: but the flights won't come cheap. at $200,000 a pop, branson says nearly 700 people have already signed up. all for the chance to feel weightless for a while in outer space. and a bit more weightless in the wallet, as well. muhammad lila, abc news, new york. >> so close. when we come back here tonight, the honeymoon surprise for one couple returning to the famed waldorf astoria 66 years later. what was waiting for them? in the last 23 years, but i needed help in quitting smoking. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix varenicline is proven to help people quit smoking. chantix reduced the urge for me to smoke.
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now, to our "instant index" here on a saturday night. and to a couple marking quite a milestone. tony and jo fiorvante, married in the late '40s, celebrating their 66th anniversary. back at their honeymoon hotel, the waldorf astoria. they kept their original receipt. so, awaiting them now, a bill that matches. $15.75. rooms there now start at $800. still going strong at 100 years young, the world's oldest teacher marking a birthday. she teaches home economics in north plainfield, new jersey. she didn't even start her teaching career until she was 82. she looks amazing, too. when we come back here tonight, why the new england patriots and their fans will be
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fighting a condition that rapidly ages the body so much faster than the rest of us. today, we learned that sam berns has died. but not before defying the odds and teaching us all about living. he allowed cameras to capture that sleepy walk down the hallway first thing in the morning. >> can you hold my book while i brush my teeth? >> reporter: but for sam, there was more. the medicine trying to slow down the aging. sam has progeria, the disease that ages children far faster than the rest of us. fewer than 250 children in the world with it. a hug at the school bus. about to start her day, too. a doctor, who now spends her every waking moment searching for a cure. and you say about your mom, she doesn't have a normal job? >> yeah. i kind of just want my mom to be done with progeria. for her sake, my mom will keep working until progeria is cured. >> reporter: at school, he was always just sam. no one looked at his hands or his legs.
they looked to sam for help. >> i got it. >> i was really confused. >> tell me your equation. >> reporter: you're in math class. >> yeah. >> reporter: i love it how you had to turn around and help the guy behind you. >> keep subtracting three to make it easier on yourself. i'm sure there was some simple math going on there. but i just think i was trying to help out. >> reporter: through the years, as sam engineered his own inventions, his mother was engineering something else. putting together a group of scientists, researchers. and they made a bold discovery. your team discovered the gene? >> yes. >> reporter: just another day at work for mom. >> it was great. >> reporter: and along with that gene, an abnormal protein in children, like sam. >> we all have the protein. but they're teeming with it. and it accelerates everything. >> reporter: hoping to slow it down, her team developing the first drug, the first trials. and the results showing promise. slowing the progression.
doctors once told them children like sam lived until about 13. we were with him, just days before his most recent birthday. sam lived to 17. tonight, we learned there will be a moment of silence before the new england patriots play, in honor of sam. we'll never forget, sam and his parents, and their lesson for all of us. you believe so many of us take time for granted. >> every time i see sam, sort of a moment, he gets off the bus. it's a moment. and i treasure it. >> there's a lot going on around us that you can easily miss. >> i really think that, you know, i lucked out on the parent lottery. >> we lucked out on the son lottery. >> and we lucked out meeting sam. thinking about his parents tonight. "good morning america" and "this week" with george, first thing in the morning. and i hope to see you right back here tomorrow night. have a good evening. good night.
next at 6:00, the search in the south bay for a serial arsonist. the key piece of video that could help authorities find him. >> rain seen some parts of the bay. it is not too late to vaccinate. strong demand for flu shots and at the problem some clinics are facing. abc7 news at 6:00 starts right now. only on abc7 news, this surveillance video could be the key to tracking down a serial arsonist in san jose. thank you for joining us, i'm ama daetz. the arsonist has been accused of setting eight fires in four days. authorities released this sketch of a person of interest. the latest one happened this morning. cornell bernard is live with the latest.
reporter: the fire officials really want to catch this brazen arsonist. they're offering a thousand reward for his capture. we're heave here on st. john's street where this home was set on fire this morning. other fires have happened in the same six-block area of downtown. new surveillance video has surfaced. >> at this time we can confirm that agent of these fires have been intentionally set. >> firefighters make an urgent plea to help catch a serial arson mist who may look like the man in this sketch. >> my team, the men and women of the san jose fire department arson unit will work until this threat is terminated. >> this surveillance video is from across the street which shows a man walking by four times shortly before the fire started. >> to come by four times, is kind of su