tv America This Morning ABC April 6, 2010 4:30am-5:00am EDT
we begin with breaking news on this tuesday, april 6th. tragedy in west virginia. a huge jump overnight in the number of miners killed by an underground explosion. >> now, more than two dozen, plunging a community into mourning. >> it's a coal mining community. when you hear that many ambulances, it has to be something bad. >> this morning, the latest on the recovery mission. and looking into a company with a history of problems. good morning. and thanks for being with us. i'm vinita nair. >> and i'm todd connor, in for jeremy hubbard today. the explosion at a west virginia coal mine has now become the nation's worst such disaster in
a quarter-century. >> overnight, massey energy announced that 25 of its miners are dead. and the dangerous mission to rescue four more has stopped. when families were told the news overnight, some became hysterical. >> this is taking place at the upper big branch main. t.j. winick is tracking the overnight developments for us. t.j.? >> reporter: the explosion at the undergrod coal mine happened about 3:00 monday afternoon. miner steve smith was working nearby. >> we were going on our way to go to the other side of the mountain. we got called up. it was almost like a tornado. it stopped us dead. we couldn't go any farther because it was so much air towards us. >> reporter: over two dozen are now confirmed dead, and at least four others are still missing more than 1,000 feet under ground. the search has been suspended because rising methane gas levels in the mine made it a risk for another explosion. >> as catastrophic as this was,
if another explosion had occurred and we would have lost 50 rescuers, it could have been -- it would have been just something unfathomable. >> reporter: the massey energy company's upper big branch mine is about 50 miles south of charleston, west virginia. just last year, massey paid $4.2 million in corral and civil fines, following a fire in one of its mines that killed two people in 2006. it was the large financial settlement in the history of the industry. >> one coal miner's death is one too many. >> reporter: for concerned family members who rushed to the mine following the explosion, the wait and the not knowing were heart-wrenching. >> that's all they said. when i told him -- they told me there had been an explosion. >> reporter: west virginia's mining director says, though the situation does not seem promising to reach the four coal
miners still missing, rescuers would not give up. todd and vinita? >> you mentioned the rescuers won't give up. do we have an idea when they will continue or resume the work? >> reporter: right now, all we know is the rescuers will head back into the mine once it is properly ventilated. west virginia's governor says the families of the four coal miners still missing are hoping for a miracle. >> all right. t.j. winick in washington. t.j., thank you very much. massey energy pledged to renew its focus on safety after paying out that record-setting $4.2 million fine last year. as abc news chief investigative correspondent, brian ross reports, there is little proof that massey followed through on that promise. >> reporter: it has a checkered safety record. federal safety records show that this mine alone has had three fatalities over the last 12 years. and in the last year, there are reports of a spike in violations by federal safety officials. six violations alone this year.
one just last week. >> the ceo of massey energy, is a controversial figure himself. don blankenship donates lavishly to west virginia candidate hess favors. and he's spent thousands to influence members of the west virginia supreme court, who voted in his favor in a case he had before the court. again, the latest update, at least 25 miners have been killed. abc news has a team of reporters headed to the scene in west virginia. we will have the very latest on this tragedy coming up at 7:00 on "good morning america." in other news, president obama unveils a new policy on nuclear weapons today. it reduces america's nuclear arsenal and limits when they could be used. mr. obama's policy announcement is the first in a series of events aimed at reducing nuclear weapons worldwide. thursday, he signs a new arms treaty with russia. next week, he hosts a major nuclear summit in washington. a senior military official confirms that a battle video posted on the internet is authentic. the cockpit video shows a
helicopter firing repeatedly on people in a baghdad street during the height of the insurgency, in 2007. 12 people were killed, including a reuters news photographer. yesterday, the pentagon released its report on that incident. in pakistan this morning, security is especially tight around the u.s. consulate in peshawar. that's where militants detonated three truck bombs outside the gates. and five militants fired into the compound with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons until they were killed. today, there is evidence of the attack everywhere, including rubble and damaged vehicles. in mexico, two people have died and hundreds are injured after sunday's massive 7.2 earthquake. aftershocks continue to rattle the area. towns have been evacuated and tagged for inspection. the busy crossing between mexicali, mexico, and california, is closed because of damaged roads. the republican national committee has a new chief of
staff this morning. and it's lost the services of a senior adviser. those changes come as chairman michael steele dismisses criticism over how the rnc spends donors' cash. viviana hurtado is in washington with more. >> reporter: still points to good fund-raising and big wins is proof that he's an asset. is michael steele's leadership under more scrutiny because h is black? the chair of the republican national committee says yes. and that other african-american leaders face a similar situation. steele is embroiled in a controversy involving rnc funds being improperly spent. within the gop, many have hammered steele's lavish spending. $13,000 for chauffeured cars and limos. now, an accusation that a staffer spent money at a sex club. many members are furious because they believe this money should be used to win races. steele refuses to step down, leaving some to worry that the
chairman's public relations problem will turn away big donors and voters. despite criticisms, the rnc says it's raised more money than its democratic counterpart, and won big races, including ted kennedy's massachusetts senate seat. a major snowstorm is moving across the western u.s. heavy snow made for utal driving conditions in the mountains of northern california. there were multiple spinouts and crashes along roadways.r california drivers as the snow is moving out. and it will be sunny for the next couple of days. now, that system moves into the salt lake city area, which could see more than half a foot of snow by this afternoon. chicago, des moines and kansas city, could see severe weather with a possibility of hail, high winds, even an isolated tornado. more record-breaking warmth for the east coast today. atlanta is at 85, 15 degrees above the average. chicago could be close to a record at 78.
it's cooler with billings in the upper 40s. seattle will hit 51 with some showers. no matter what, it's a beautiful morning in durham, north carolina, because duke is the new champion of men's college basketball. >> the try. they're pulling it down. getting around. at mid court, launches the shot. oh, it almost went in. almost went in. >> you can hear the pain from the fans. that's how it ended last night in indianapolis. duke squeaking out a two-point win over butler. it was close the entire game. it wasn't decided until that final shot. the win gave duke its fourth national title. when it was over in indy, duke students took their celebrations public, lighting a big bonfire on duke's campus. they'll have a big celebration inside blue devils arena, cameron indoor stadium. tonight, in san antonio, it's stanford versus uconn for the women's hoops championship. uconn, 38-0, this season. the lady huskies are going for their 78th-straight win.
stanford's only loss all season was to uconn. the game is on espn, beginning at 8:30 p.m. eastern. >> hopefully as good as butler and duke. when we come back, we'll have the latest on this morning's breaking news story. two dozen miners killed in west virginia. then, elian gonzalez, a young man ten years after the then, elian gonzalez, a young man ten years after the international tu
record fine the government is proposing over those sticky gas the government accuses the company of hiding the dangerous defects for months. and proposes $16.4 million penalty. toyota has recalled more than 6 million vehicles in the u.s. because of acceleration problems. toyota says it has taken several steps to improve its communications with regulators and customers. general motors says it will use a safety system on all of its cars that can prevent unintended acceleration. the automaker says all new vehicles worldwide will have the brake override system by 2012. the system reduces power when the driver steps on the break and the accelerator at the same time. overseas stock markets are mixed this morning. tokyo's nikkei average fell 0.5% today. markets are closed in hong kong for a holiday. on wall street, the dow climbed 46 points yesterday. the nasdaq jumped 27 points. home buyers appear to be racing to take advantage of a
tax credit that expires at the end of this month. the number of people who agreed to buy a home rose in february, well above expectations. in addition to people capitalizing on the $8,000 credit for first-time buyers, many may be looking to close deals before mortgage rates rise. the government has launched a new program to speed up the process of selling homes that are worth less than the mortgage. homeowners will get $3,000 for moving expenses if they complete what's known as a short sale, or agree to turn over their deed to the lender. either option doesn't hurt a borrower's credit score as much as a foreclosure. apple has released the final numbers on the first day of sales for the ipad. the company says it sold more than 300,000 of its new tablet computers on saturday. that was pretty much in line with what most experts were predicting. apple says ipad owners downloaded more than 1 million aps and more than 250,000 electronic books on saturday. >> long lines. it's hard to believe they didn't sell out. >> i know.
updating this morning's breaking news from west virginia. at least 25 coal miners are dead, killed by an underground explosion at a mine south of charleston. at least four are still missing, as investigators look for a cause. one of the miners was just five weeks from retirement. it is the nation's deadliest mine accident since 1984. it is time, now, for a look at morning road conditions. windy along i-25 in new mexico. it will be wet on i-90 from chicago to detroit. and strong winds on i-90 in northwest pennsylvania and western new york. wet along i-5 in the pacific northwest. and it could be an icy commute
on i-15 in salt lake city. >> and if you're flying today, expect airport delays in seattle, salt lake city, kansas city, minneapolis, chicago and detroit. well, tiger woods returned to golf should take on a more normal look today as he gets ready for thursday's first round of the masters. his preparations were anything but normal yesterday, though, as he answered reporters' questions for 35 minutes. john berman has the details from augusta. >> reporter: for tiger woods, it was a day of polite applause. but also pointed questions. >> how did you fool so many people for so long? >> you know, tom, i fooled myself, as well. you know, as i said, i lied to a lot of people. >> reporter: it was the first time in five months he played golf in front of a crowd. >> today was just incredible. and the encouragement that i got, it was just -- it blew me away. >> reporter: it was a different tiger woods on the course. he smiled at the fans.
waved. a far cry from the golfer who once ignored fans. and was so easily set off by the slightest sound. >> come on. trying to be more respectful of the game. and acknowledge thfans like i did today. >> reporter: it was a different tiger woods in front of reporters, too. he cracked open the door a tiny bit on his life. on his marriage. >> elin is not coming this week. no. >> reporter: on his injuries in the suv crash. >> yeah. i had a busted up lip. and a pretty sore neck. >> reporter: woods admitted to taking vicoden and ambien, to sleep. but he refused to say if they were involved in his crash. >> they cited me 166 bucks. closed case. >> reporter: he denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs. >> i've never taken that my entire life. i've never taken any illegal drug ever, for that matter. >> reporter: despite admitting an relationship with a doctor
under investigation by the fbi. he has no doubt what he wants to do this time. >> try to go out and win this thing. >> reporter: they held a news conference now, because tiger, the masters, the other golfers want to get it out of the way early. what they'd like to be talking about the rest of the week is golf. john berman, abc news, augusta, georgia. >> and good luck with that. president obama carried on a 100-year-old tradition, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a major league baseball game. mr. obama could use a little work, uncorking one that was high and wide, before the phillies/nationals game in washington. he did get it there. he made the delivery wearing the hot of his favorite team, the chicago white sox. actress nicollette sheridan is suing the man behind the degree "desperate housewives." he said he hit her during an episode. when she reported it to abc, he retaliated by killing off her
character. the lawsuit seeks $20 million in damages. sandra bullock is apparently throwing in the towel. reports say the actress is preparing papers to end her marriage to jesse james. no indication when the paperwork might be filed. because of a prenup, james is likely to walk away with nothing if there is a divorce. well, we are seeing new pictures of a very grown-up-looking elian gonzalez this morning. cuba released these photos of elian wearing an olive green uniform. and the boy's case caused an international sensation ten years ago, when he was rescued off the coast of florida and ordered back to his father in cuba. >> hard to believe he's so grown up now. >> it's been ten years. an annual tradition on the white house south lawn. thousands of kids were invited to the white house easter egg roll. it follows the first lady's
healthy living initiative. >> president obama read "green eggs and ham," as glee serenaded the crowd. mrs. obama and the first daughters danced and sang along a little bit. the white house kitchen dyed more than 14,000 eggs. coming up, the stories we'll be following today, including the latest from west virginia. and flooded out homeowners hoping for good news today from the federal government. ♪ [ woman ] nine iron, it's almost tee-time.
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now, a look ahead to the stories we'll be watching on this tuesday. rescue teams will resume their search for four workers missing deep inside a west virginia coal mine, if toxic gases that have built up inside the mine can be removed. the bodies of 25 miners have been recovered in what is the worst u.s. mining accident since 1984. president obama releases a
sweeping, new policy on u.s. nuclear weapons policy. he plans to reduce the nuclear arsenal and limit when nuclear weapons would be used. and mr. obama is hosting an easter prayer breakfast this morning at the white house. he's expected to talk about the important role christian organizations play in serving the nation. teams from fema will be in southeast connecticut today, looking at badly flood damaged areas. the governor hopes fema will declare her state a disaster, so property owners will be eligible for federal assistance. and astronauts on the shuttle are dealing with the failure of the big dis antenna. the failure will make tomorrow's rendezvous with the space station more hazardous than usual. >> in response to not getting the e-mails, nasa has to read the e-mails that are coming into the astronauts, which i'm sure frustrating for both parties. >> a lot of extra work. >> yeah.
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>> 71,000 fans were inside lucas oil stadium in indianapolis last night, watching duke defeat butler. and, boy, did they get their money's worth. the fans were ready. but the players got off to a slow start. good shooting and "d" kept the score down early. neither team gave up on a play. the bulldogs horton hayward didn't need thball at the start of this one to finish it off. both teams heated it up. and the jump shots started finding the mark. >> both guys on this team had to elevate their game to another level to win this thing. >> reporter: at the half, butler was behind by one, after their main man, matt howard, was on the bench in foul trouble. neither team could get the lead as the second half began. each pounded boards on both ends of the court. as the clock melted away, it became apparent that the game would go down to the final seconds.
butler had two chances at the very end to make it a fairy tale ending. but could not pull it off. >> it felt good. like just wasn't there. >> reporter: when gordon hayward's half-court prayer bounced off the rim, duke had the victory, 61-59, and the national championship. >> i still can't believe we won. the game was so good, that anybody could have won. >> and it was duke's fourth championship. butler, of course, their first time to the big dance. they've never won. but it was a great game. >> i have a feeling we'll hear about the guys that played their hearts out. >> it really was great. we want to get you caught up on the situation in west virginia. overnight, rescue crews stopped the search for survivors of that massive underground explosion. at least 25 miners are dead. and that number could continue to rise. >> we're told by the red cross that some family members passed out when told the news early