tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC March 13, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
>> a happy family. >> little guys there. that's going to it for us right now. lester hold is next with "nightly news." breaking news tonight. a major reversal. the u.s. grounds those 737 max jets involved in a pair of deadly air disasters. the move coming after days of intensifying pressure. the new evidence that pushed the decision. tonight what it was like on those planes as they were grounded. airlines scrambling, passengers rushing to rebook. a bomb cyclone of historic proportions. a blizzard for the ages with hurricane-force wind gusts slamming eight states. the national guard called in to rescue drivers trapped on the highway. a torrent of new 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 get 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 hit with brand-new charges for alleged crimes that the president can't pardon. hooded gunmen breaking into a brazilian high school and opening fire. at least seven students and teachers among the dead in a horrific attack. big health news tonight for millions at risk of heart attack because of high cholesterol. doctors reporting on a promising new drug without the side effects of statins. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, everyone. and welcome to our viewers in the west. breaking tonight, american, southeast, are parking their 737 rebooking passengers max aircraft and 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 like tonight, virtually empty. the decision came hours after canada grounded the planes, leaving the u.s. virtually alone in standing by them. concerns over the max intensifying after two fatal crashes under similar circumstances. our team in place to cover the latest on the investigation and the impact on fliers starting with tom costello. >> reporter: across the country today, the minute 737 max flights landed they faced immediate grounding. flights preparing to take off 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. >> pilots have been notified. airlines have been all notified. airlines are agreeing with this. the safety of the american people and all people 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 evidence collected 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 cnn. >> we believe the similarities are substantial. they're both the same airplane model, brand-new airplanes. and also the flights were very short, i think eight minutes in the case of lion air, six minutes' flight in our case. >> reporter: tonight, nearly 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: a delay some aviation veterans find unacceptable. it's unconscionable the black boxes this late out after the crash, have not been looked at. they will tell vital clues about the
relationship to the lion air crash. >> reporter: meanwhile, u.s. pilots have also 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 aircraft pitched nose-down. can't think of any reason the aircraft would pitch down so aggressively. another pilot in november complaining, the flight manual is inadequate and almost criminally insufficient. boeing is now pushing a software upgrade for the max fleet to fix issues with that anti-stall system that may have contributed to the indonesia crash last october. tonight the company says it supports temporarily grounding the fleet out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety. but how soon the max 8 and 9 fly again will alwreckage. >> tom joining us now. tom, typically -- we've seen groundings before. typically a flaw is
detected, 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 been identified? >> the french 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 performance to the plane's altitude, air speed, heading, pitch, the rudder and flap positions, all of that. so identifying a potential problem could take days 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, tom, 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 storm of controversy. >> 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, southwest and american. united uses max 9s. southwest's max 8 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 huge 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 change their tickets. i think that's been great of them to do that. >> reporter: many travelers and crew members wondering what's next. >> i was scared taking off because of what was going on in the news. >> happy to be back on the ground. >> reporter: all three airlines trying to minimize travel disruptions. southwest, the most heavily impacted, says any customers booked on a canceled max 8 flight can rebook on alternate flights without any additional fees or fare differences within 14
days of their original date of travel. >> safety first, most important thing. it's a little scary to be up there when you know there could be something wrong with the plane. >> reporter: while this is impacting thousands of customers, southwest says the max 8 planes only make up about 4% of its entire fleet. united and american are automatically rebooking customers on other flights right now. lester? >> all right, gabe, thank you very much. elsewhere, causing further disruption with flights tonight, what forecasters are calling bomb cyclone of historic proportions. a blizzard for the record books hitting eight states. the national guard being called in. 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 reporting a rapid pressure drop resulting in a bomb cyclone of historic proportions. flight schedules are already scrambled. runways shut down. more than 1,000 flights canceled in
denver. the highways are no have turned deadly. 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! >> reporter: and violent storms delivering destruction to an amazon warehouse in texas. wind gusts moving at highway speeds, upending homes, tossing planes like toys, turning semis sideways. spring is only a week away but this winter just doesn't know when to quit. steve patterson, nbc news. all that fresh snow could lead to more 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 that has so many outraged. actress lori loughlin granted bail on $1 million late today after she and dozens
of other parents including fellow star 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 judge. the hollywood star and her famous husband, fashion designer mossimo giannulli, who each posted a $1 million bond, are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into usc. >> i mean, in complete denial -- >> loughlin 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 of the federal courthouse looked more like a movie premiere. huffman's husband, william h. macy, making no comment after federal investigators say his wife paid $15,000 to
arrange for a proctor to secretly change answers on her older daughter's s.a.t. >> 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. >> reporter: the list of 33 parents, who investigators say rigged the system, includes a stunning roster of wealthy executives, a doctor, and even a lawyer. manuel henriquez, who stepped down today as ceo of a silicon valley hedge fund, accused of paying nearly $500,000 to ensure his daughter 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 that, and my daughter got into georgetown. >> reporter: in all, eight elite colleges are at the center of the scandal. universities like stanford and yale have admission rates below 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 college admission system isn't based on how hard you work, it's not a meritocracy, it's really based on the zip code you were born in and who your parents are and what they can give you. >> reporter: insiders 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, william singer, who founded a college prep service, 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 the good and a lot of the bad 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 federal judge in boston later this month. as for those children who are still enrolled in school, each university says they'll handle it differently. usc, for example, says any student who is trying to get into their school and is involved in this scandal will be denied. as for those already enrolled in the school, they'll be handled on a case-by-case basis. lester? >> miguel almaguer, thank you. tonight president trump's former campaign chairman has been hit with a second prison sentence on top of the one from last week, and moments after the judge read her decision, paul 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 top of the nine ady spent in jail, seven and a half years in all, on charges stemming from his political consulting in ukraine. seated in a wheelchair, manafort said, i'm sorry for what i have done and
for all the activities that have gotten us here today. but 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 just 3 1/2 years onto the 4-year 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 and appropriate. he's going to go to jail for a long time. >> reporter: manafort's lawyer called the sentence callous and harsh but said there was never any suggestion he helped russia meddle in the election. >> judge jackson conceded there wasabsolutely ne of any russian collusion in this case. trump did not rule it thing oday. that's right nowmy mind. i do feel badly for paul manafort. that i can tell you. >> reporter: new york city's district attorney cyrus vance 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 would not count against a state conviction. a president can pardon someone only for a federal crime. paul manafort turns 70 april 1st. it now appears he'll be at least 76 years old before he can get out of prison. lester? >> pete williams in washington, thank you. now to a horror we've come to know too well in this country, a school shooting massacre. it happened today near brazil's largest city. at least five students and two employees killed when two gunmen opened fire. anne thompson has the latest. and a warning, some of the images are disturbing. >> reporter: one official called it unspeakably brutal. school students in brazil massacred during their snack break. police say two 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 came out shooting at anyone who was
close by," this student says. the police say the gunmen, both former students, took their own lives. among the dead, five students and two employees. several others were injured. this school worker says she opened the kitchen door, rushing students 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, this in nigeria. a desperate search for survivors after a building collapsed. as many as 100 children inside. it's not 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 cholesl. and the young unknown starring in one of broadway's biggest smashes. stay with us. avy, overwhelming.
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tonight's blizzard in denver is raising new safety concerns in an unprecedented season for avalanches that have killed 22 people. our 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 resort in utah. the wind is howling. the hike is grueling. and the pull of the fuse -- >> fire in the hole! >> whoa! >> smells like the 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 ava-launchers. it's a nitrogen regressed cannon that shoots an explosive onto the slope. >> 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 slopes safe. >> gentlemen, you've got a big one coming at you. >> what would happen if you guys weren't out here detonating explosives every day? >> there would be 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 1,000 avalanches recorded in january alone. this winter 22 people killed. others rescued like this skier, dug out of the back country five miles away from snowbird. for those out patrolling the slopes, the goal isn't about stopping the power of mother nature. instead, it's to control it, so that everyone else can enjoy the outdoors. gadi schwartz, nbc news, snowbird, utah. >> and hats off to them, that's important work. up next, important news in the fight against cholesterol. mportant n the fight against cholesterol. i was just finishing a ride. i felt this awful pain in my chest.
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money in the college admission scandal. the red flags our investigative unit uncovered. also -- what you need to know if you )re planning a visit to yosemite this year. the weather is changing a lot of plans. next. right now at 6: htly )s going on w/ facebook ann "spotlight," the young new star taking center stage in one of broadway's biggest hits. here's joe fryer. ♪ all we see is love >> reporter: it may not seem unusual to see a 16-year-old playing the role of a 17-year-old.
♪ we're going to be all right ♪ >> reporter: 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 said? >> 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 had only been played by guys in their 20s because it's vocally and emotionally exhausting. the complex character who's battling anxiety while getting swept up in the head-spinning world of social media. >> i'm dumping my guts on the stage. so, yeah, 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 fryer, nbc news, new york. >> so happy for him, best of luck to andrew. that's "nightly news." i'm lester holt. right now at 6: what )s going on w/ facebook and instragtram? right now at 6:00, what is going on with facebook and instagram. day-long worldwide outage that is frustrating millions of people. plus a no-fly order. that is what president trump called for when it comes to 737 max 8 aircrafts. we're checking out what it means for bay area passengers. but first we're following breaking news in the east bay. a deputy involved in a shooting. our sky ranger is overhead. the news at 6:00 starts right now. and we begin with that breaking news. it is happening in san leandro. a sheriff's deputy was involved
in a shooting with suspects on east 14th street near the bay fair b.a.r.t. station. a live picture from the sky ranger and could you see below, this is a donation center called re-use it. it is not clear yet if the deputy was shot or if the suspects were shot. but we do believe one person is dead. we're working to confirm this information. we don't know what prompted the shooting. we have a crew heading to this location and we'll bring you updates throughout this newscast. well our other top story tonight, from "full house" to the courthouse. lori loughlin famous for her role on the tv show "full house" turned herself into a federal judge today snared in a massive college admissions cheating scandal. >> there are more questions about how this happened and how many more parents could be arrested. this is also prompting a bigger discussion about the pressure to get into college and cheating on the s.a.t. we have a team of reporters covering various angles. let's begin with bay area