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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 29, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EST

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xfinity live hosting the race in february. it's 0 miles long. you'll get a t-shirt and bib. there will be an official start and simultaneous finish. that's it for tonight at 6:00. on the broadcast tonight, without a trace. a massive search is on for the plane that vanished with 162 people onboard. now the u.s. is being asked to help as loved ones endure agonizing uncertainty. abandon ship. fire ravages a ferry with hundreds of people onboard as crews race against time to get them off safely. going off course the military couple forced to change their wedding plans because of one of the president's favorite vacation activities. and, animal house. a family opening their home-turned zoo and giving kids who are having a tough time a reason to smile. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world
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headquarters in new york this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. i'm lester holt sitting in for brian. the man heading the search for airasia flight 8501 today said today what many of us have been thinking that the plane is likely at the bottom of the sea. it's been roughly 48 hours since the air bus with 162 people on board vanished from radar about halfway along its flight. the pilots were trying to avoid thunderstorms around the time contact was lost. indonesian authorities admit they don't have a capability to conduct an extensive undersea search and is have asked the united states for help. a pentagon spokesman says details of assistance are being worked out. we're covering several angles of this story. we begin in singapore with nbc's katy tur. katy what's the latest on the search? >> reporter: hi there, lester. it is morning here in singapore. the start of day three with
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still no sign of this plane. the search has resumed for the morning, but there are concerns that bad weather could interfere with the effort. ships, helicopters and planes scoured the sea halfway between indonesia and singapore for any sign of the missing plane. flight 8abruptly dropped from radar after roughly 42 minutes in the air. there was no distress call. >> right now we don't have a lot of good data to pinpoint the actual location of the wreckage. >> reporter: pilots had asked to change altitude to avoid bad weather. a request that was denied because of air traffic. the weather channel's carl parker. >> we know this flight was traveling about 32,000 feet we also know there was a very tall thunderstorm ahead of the flight which they did try to get around but were not cleared to. and it's possible that they
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encountered very strong vertical winds, there are updrafts and downdrafts in thunderstorms that can exceed 80 even 100 miles per hour. at surabaya loved ones were comforted by -- only hours after the disappearance. >> we don't really want to speculate until we find the aircraft we know what went wrong, then we'll look into it and see. >> reporter: a marked difference from the way the malaysia government handled mh-370 which disappeared in march. comparisons between the two flights are seemingly inevitable but there are lots of differences. unlike mh-370 which flew undetected for hours, air traffic control immediately noticed when this flight went missing. airasia had been upgrading satellite tracking systems, but this particular plane was not yet modified. >> this aircraft will be found, it's just going to take some time. >> reporter: now there are more concerns about the weather.
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it's monsoon season. while anguished relatives wait in singapore, the head of the indonesian search effort is preparing people for the worst. our evaluation of the coordinates that we received suggested it is under water so our presumption is now that the aircraft is under the sea, he told reporters. tonight, more questions than answers and hope for anything but another airline tragedy. as for those other flights that landed safely investigators want to talk to those pilots to see if they have any insight here. we can also confirm that the u.s. is sending the u.s.s. samson a destroyer currently in the south china sea. with its help lester this will be the fifth country now combing the java sea for this missing flight. >> katy thanks. we heard severe weather was one of the factors that could have led to this plane's disappearance. many of us have found ourselves gripping the armrest in the cabin when our flights hit bumpy air. the fact is of course that the
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pilots are trained and the planes are designed to get us through these scary moments. but how do pilots and airlines know when it's safe to push through? we get our report tonight from nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: flying in severe weather can be risky. lightning can strike at any moment high winds, heavy fog, snowstorm. even clear air turbulence can cause passengers to panic, like this american airlines flight from south korea to dallas diverted to japan earlier this month. >> everything that wasn't bolted down or seat belted flew into the air. >> reporter: severe thunderstorms like those encountered by the missing airasia flight can be an airplane and anyone onboard's worst enemy. >> hail lightning, those vertical downdrafts thunderstorms are something pilots learn very early you have to avoid at pretty much all cost. you don't fly into thunderstorms. >> reporter: airlines and pilots specifically prepare their flight paths to go above or around storms. still, airasia's flight drawing
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comparisons to the 2009 air france disaster that plunged into the atlantic after critical equipment iced up in a severe storm. and a flight earlier this summer. planes are designed to withstand extreatment elements like lightning strikes. they are more ruggedly built. the 777 wing estimated 23 feet. and planes that fly eight miles a minute have radar that can track storms hundreds of miles ahead giving pilots time to plan a detour. >> in the very rare case where someone does enter a thunderstorm the biggest issue is hail because of the damage it can cause to the leading edges of the wing the windshield and to the engines. >> reporter: while it's definitely unsettling when you're flying through rough weather, air safety experts insist flying is still the
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safest way to travel with more than 3.3 billion flying on 38 million flights worldwide. >> we're joined by greg fife a former ntsb investigator. you saw him a moment ago in katy tur's report. i'm going to ask you to put on your pilot's hat. let's look at a typical aircraft weather radar display looking at storms we see the green, yellow the red. presumably the red is the rough stuff. if you're a pilot looking at this how do you decide to go around it? >> you look at this graphic and you decide that if you're going and you see red, you want to go away from that red. so whatever it takes. in this particular instance the pilot's going to want to divert his course to the left because that's where green and yellow are, not red. >> what's inside that red that's so dangerous? >> typically in that red, like john talked about earlier, there's hail there's intense precipitation, there are vertical drafts up and downdrafts of course icing conditions. all of those present a real
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problem for pilots and aircraft. >> greg we all feel like we've been here so many times before. flight 447, of course mh-370 and now this. when are we going to have a unified way to track aircraft by satellite? it seems like everything in our lives have gps technology, why not the airplane? >> we've talked about it with mh-370 lester. while the industry knows that the technology exists a lot of it is about money. airasia is trying to put that equipment on their airplane. unfortunately this airplane wasn't equipped. but the equipment is out there, and i think it's going to take regulatory action to get every airline on board with it. >> greg good to have you here tonight. thank you. >> thank you. some terrifying moments aboard another flight. this aboard a 747 in the sky above the u.k. made an emergency landing when it discovered a problem with one of its mainlanding gear. it circled to burn off fuel to get lighter before making its
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approach approach. fortunately it landed without incident. off the coast of greece hundreds have been rescued off a burning ferry. ten died when flames turned the ship into a floating inferno. those aboard describe utter chaos. our report tonight from nbc's keir simmons. >> reporter: hundreds of passengers were trapped on the burning ferry for more than 24 hours in rough sea. became boiling hot, their shoes melted. in a panic witnesses said some lifeboats were thrown overboard, empty. there was no help from the crew this family says. >> no communication. nobody to tell us what to do. i had to look for myself to find life jacket. i had to put it on my kids by myself. >> reporter: finally, they were air lifted to safety. while wind speeds reached 46 miles per hour here a mother and two children who reached up
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to a helicopter in her arms a very young child. she smiled we're okay. the ferry was heading from the greek port of patras to ancona in italy. there's confusion over whether that's accurate. it's thought fire broke out on the tar deck some passengers died jumping into the water, others suffered hypothermia with temperatures in the 30s. the greek and italian prime ministers praise the rescue efforts. and the vessel had passed an inspection according to its owner. tonight, there are reports that inspectors had questioned the ship's fire safety. while italian prosecutors have already begun a criminal investigation. keir simmons, nbc news, london. after pulling "the interview" from wide release, sony has managed to salvage some success from it. the movie made more than $15 million in online rentals and downloads in its first four
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days. it also took in about $3 million from its limited holiday release at independent theaters. the fbi blames north korea for the cyber attack that forced sony to change its movie release plan. sony is also saying its playstation network is also up and running after being knocked offline in what appears to be a simpler cyber attack. temperatures could drop to 45 degrees be low average this week beginning in the west and the plains before moving south and into the northeast. las vegas could get up to three inches of snow. and in the southeast today severe weather struck when a possible tornado hit valdosta georgia, near the florida state line. a number were injured and several buildings damaged. former president george h.w. bush will remain in the hospital tonight in houston. he was admitted on tuesday with shortness of breath. at age 90 he is our oldest
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living president. and in order to spend tonight in the hospital there may be encouraging news for him and his family. our jacob rascon is outside the hospital in houston with more. jacob, good evening. >> reporter: lester good evening. that encouraging news his breathing has returned to normal that according to a family spokesman who's given positive updates every night. yet the former president remains hospitalized. this will be his seventh night as houston methodist. the oldest living former president suffers from a form of parkinson's disease that makes it difficult for him to speak and walk. two years ago he was here for two months at the same hospital suffering from bronchitis and a persistent cough. important to note in that case we didn't learn the details of just how serious the illness was until after the former president left the hospital. lester. >> jacob, thanks for the update. still ahead tonight, the reason why the president of the united states is apologizing to a pair of newlyweds. also a kangaroo in a kitchen, otters in the pool and the
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talk about every bride's nightmare. you spend months planning your perfect wedding day, you send out the invitations, you're 24
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hours away and suddenly you're told you have to change the wedding venue. that's exactly what happened to a military couple in hawaii when their wedding plans conflicted with the president's golf plans. our report tonight from our senior white house correspondent chris jansing. >> reporter: it was a match made in military heaven two west point grads who met while stationed in germany both captains where better to marry than at their latest posting, on the 16th tee with sweeping views of the pacific, especially since the groom is an avid golfer. >> once i felt like the details were pretty set, then i got excited. >> reporter: but just 24 hours before the i-dos, a call saying you can't. president obama planned a golf outing at the same time and the nuptials would have to be moved. >> we knew there were two things that could mess up the wedding, one was weather and the other was the president. >> reporter: the couple had invited the president to their wedding, tongue in cheek, and got a polite regret.
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from the phone call the president made to the surprised couple neither did he. >> i feel terrible nobody told us. >> reporter: this isn't the first time the president's golf games have stoked controversy. >> where is priority? >> reporter: the president admitted he made a mistake. >> i should have anticipated the optics. >> reporter: and critics pounced when he was on the course in martha's vineyard while sending his attorney general to ferguson missouri after riots and protest. but this time the couple says no penalty stroke for the president. the ceremony was held just a short distance above the 16th green. >> it's actually even got a better view. it was really a blessing in disguise. >> reporter: you're not just saying this because, well he's the commander in chief. >> because he's our boss's boss's boss's boss and then a few more no not at all. >> reporter: both served in afghanistan. so while a change in venue just hours before a wedding would
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rattle most of us for them it was only a momentary hiccup. ed was more interested in what he shot on the course that day, and the president told him. an 84. lester. >> they have a great story to tell. chris, thanks very much. we're back in a moment a man paid to win and why so many are suddenly out of a job tonight. my tempur-pedic made me fall in love with mornings again. i love how it conforms to my body. with tempur-pedic the whole bed is comfortable. we actually got our bed as an engagement gift from her parents. maybe that's the secret to marriage. you're gonna stay together if you have a tempur-pedic bed. i told our friends, this is the best investment i've ever made. it's helping to keep us young. i love my bed. (vo) it's your year. treat youself to your best night's sleep with tempur-pedic. oh, i love game night. ooh, it's a house and a car! so far, you're horrible at this, flo. yeah, no talent for drawing, flo. house! car! oh, raise the roof!
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if you didn't know any better you might have looked up and thought new year's came early today in times square. organizers of the big bash here in new york did a trial run for their confetti drop with help from the cast of "aladdin" on broadway. about a ton of confetti will fly through the air when the ball drops on wednesday night. there's a reason why they call the day after the nfl's regular season ends black monday. a number of head coaches lost their jobs today after dismal season. the new york jets as expected canned coach rex ryan after the team finished 4-12.
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the chicago bears also fired their coach. the atlanta falcons did the same to mike smith. coach jim harbaugh and the san francisco 49ers claim they mutually parted ways. there's a lot of expectation that harbaugh will take the head coaching job at the university of michigan. but when the detroit fleet press ran a headline on it they had the wrong harbaugh that's a picture of jim's brother john head coach for the baltimore ravens. tourists flock to the french alps this time of year for skiing. a massive snowstorm hit the alps this weekend and stranded about 15,000 travelers in the area. icy roads choked traffic forcing hundreds to either sleep in their cars or abandon them. before the storm snow had been so light that resorts were using snow machines to cover slopes. having one set of twins is rare enough having two sets is rarer still.
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having two sets of twins at once well there's a one in 70 million chance but it actually happened to a utah couple yesterday. tyson and ashley welcomed quadruples all of them girls conceived at the same time through in vitro fertilization. maybe you saw mom's reaction to the news she was having four babies when it went viral earlier this year. when we come back a zoo's worth of animals all in one household to provide joy to kids who need it most.
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during the holidays with kids home from school and new toys strewn everywhere may seem like your house is a zoo, but probably not as much as one certain family's house where they actually live with certain exotic animals. for some kids it's a place where nature meets nurture. the story tonight from nbc's hallie jackson. >> reporter: the kangaroo in the kitchen might seem strange until you meet the baby otters having breakfast at the table. >> i can't help but kiss them. >> reporter: out back they're hungry for face time.
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the 300 animals living at this house moved in five years ago when the family made a life change after a wildfire destroyed everything they owned. >> in the end that's just stuff. what really got to us emotionally and got us in our hearts was how kind and generous our friends and our community were. we couldn't pay people back monetarily but we could pay it forward to other people who found themselves in a situation that was difficult. >> reporter: that's why they created a foundation to preserve and protect animals and help kids like zane who's going blind. >> it's life changing words that come to you instantly. you don't expect your kid to have a tumor. >> reporter: he's on therapy every week to shrink the tumor behind his eyes, but here there's so much to smell and touch and taste. even though cuddles the porcupine seems scary, these swimmers made a splash.
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the otters like to naturally play in the water anyway so coming into the pool helps both the animals and the kids feel really comfortable. >> she gets to feel them on her skin. it was adorable. >> reporter: you don't need perfect vision to see how much this means. >> to be able to give him something that is maybe not medicinal but spirit lifting is a really good feeling. >> reporter: a small way, very small, to make a big impact. hallie jackson, nbc news valley center california. that's our broadcast for this monday night. thank you for being with us. i'm lester holt in for brian. for all of us at nbc news, good night.
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chris rock's $70 million divorce. what blew up his 19-year marriage? >> we're tracking the breakup clues now on "extra." ♪ extra extra ♪ >> comedian chris rock drops
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divorce papers on his wife and he's been dropping hints for years. >> yes, i'm married, i'm married. >> plus sophia and joe engaged? the new rumor he popped the question in hawaii. then "extra" has your a-list invite to the kennedy center honors. the obamas meryl streep stain, lady gaga and tom hanks. >> this is not something you dream. the new bachelor. farmer chris soles one on one. >> i'm here for nothing but to find love. >> what are these 30 women here for? plus your daily kardashian fix. bruce pumping gas with a french manicure. what khloe wants in the bedroom and why sharon osbourne's calling out kim. >> come on kim. >> now on "extra" -- >> beat that kim. >> from universal studios, hollywood, the entertainment capital of l.a. everyone


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