tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC December 31, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
breaking news tonight. the skyscraper inferno on new year's eve. the 63-story luxury hotel, engulfed in flames near the world's tallest building. and one of the most famous fireworks displays. height alert on new year's eve. the home grown terror plot broken up by the fbi. the alleged isis supporter, planning to kill people celebrating the new year. desperate situation. the death toll climbing. hundreds of homes and highways under water. new warnings as rivers rise to even higher levels affecting more states. family fugitives. the wealthy mother of the so-called affluenza teen, hauled back to the u.s., arriving from mexico in handcuffs. her son, in a mexican jail, fighting extradition. and, u-turn. the family in tears. their plane, about to take off without them. and the delta pilot who realized
it was the one flight they could not miss. and good evening. great to have you with us on this new year's eve. i'm tom llamas, in for david tonight. the countdown to new year's is on across america tonight. the pictures coming in as a crowd of 1 million builds in times square. thousands of new york city police officers, the most ever, on high alert to keep everyone safe. and tonight, we're learning of a terror arrest in new york, an alleged isis supporter accused of plotting a new year's attack. but we begin with incredible images from overseas. take a look at that. a massive high rise inferno in dubai, erupting hours before the world famous fireworks display. abc's alex marquardt with the news coming in at this hour. >> reporter: a towering inferno. tonight, one of dubai's most famous luxury hotels consumed by flames. >> yes, i can see a lot of debris coming down from the building and it's getting bigger
and bigger. >> reporter: the fire started on the 20th floor of this 63-story hotel, and was visible from all around. the roar of the fire heard by video shot by eyewitnesses. it was just under three hours before dubai was to hold its famous new year's fireworks show, starting nearby at the world's tallest building. >> it kind of caused chaos here, some people ran, some people were screaming, not know what was going on. >> reporter: hundreds of people were evacuated from the hotel, and remarkably, fewer than 20 were injured, according to officials. undeterred, they announced the new year's celebration would go ahead, and shortly after the clock struck midnight, fireworks burst in the air. surreal scene with the hotel still burning in the background. there has been no mention of terror, arson or any other official cause, as investigators now dig into what ignited the massive blaze. alex marquardt, abc news, london. >> incredible how that fire just took off. alex, thank you. around the world tonight,
major cities on high alert over terror concerns. paris and brussels canceling fireworks. in germany tonight, the celebrations taking place, but an hour before, police warning of a possible imminent plett. people asked to avoid crowds. two major train stations evacuated. and that breaking news here at home. fireworks called off after a terror arrest in rochester, new york. you see him there, the suspect accused of plotting to kill on new year's eve. abc's gio benitez in times square tonight. >> reporter: tonight, just hours before millions ring in the new year, a terror plot thwarted. 25-year-old emanuel lutchman, charged with an alleged plan to kill innocent people on new year's eve in a machete attack at a restaurant in rochester, new york, all in the name of isis. lutchman allegedly telling an fbi informant, "we just got to show our allegiance. i will take a life. i don't have a problem with that." the government claiming lutchman went to walmart with the informant to buy materials for tonight's attack.
black ski masks, zip ties, two knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves, allegedly recording a video taking responsibility for the coming massacre. the city of rochester canceling its fireworks tonight. it's the fear of that kind of plot that's triggered the largest police presence ever at a new year's eve celebration here in times square, as more than a million revelers get ready to crowd the crossroads of the world. and law enforcement really beefing up security here, scanning this crowd for weapons with metal detectors, banning all backpacks and large bags. 6,000 heavily armed officers on patrol on rooftops and in the air. the nypd prepared with bomb-sniffing dogs, security cameras watching every move. >> plan for the worst and then expect the best. and we've always had the best here in new york. every new year's. >> reporter: largest police presence ever here. >> well, rightfully. that's true. >> reporter: officers outfitted with tens of thousands of
special cell phones to share suspicious images with each other. >> and gio is now live from the heart of times square. and besides the advance technology, it is the share manpower, not just those in uniforms. >> reporter: that's right, tom. the nypd has its countertrefrm task force out here right now. many of them are undercover. they assure us, this will be the safest place in the world. tom? >> the crowds growing by the second. all right, gio, thank you so much. let's turn now to that deadly flooding, growing worse in the heartland. blamed for the deaths of nearly two dozen people. the scene in downtown st. louis. the mississippi river expected to crest at the arch 12 feet above flood stage. hundreds of roads, even highways under water right now. several river levels reaching all-time highs. abc meteorologist indra peterson in the flood zone tonight. >> reporter: tonight, floodwaters paralyzing parts of the midwest, as river crest and records fall, residents race to sandbag homes, hoping they'll be spared. >> we just need a lot of help.
>> reporter: pets stranded where water's already rushed in, being rescued, too. this was the scene on interstate 55 overnight, where officials were finally forced to close it. traffic backed up for miles. these photos showing how quickly the waters rose. we rode along with the u.s. geological survey. they are using doppler radar to document the rising mississippi. >> all the rivers that feed this river are all coming to where their flood crest height here today and so, that's what's made this flood so large. >> reporter: this time of year, the stretch of the mississippi river should be five feet deep. tonight, it's 42 feet. to put it all in perspective there's not ten times the amount of water flowing here, underneath the bridge, than you typically see flowing over niagara falls. this video shows how poorful that can be. watch this house smash into a bridge. at least 22 deaths in missouri and illinois now being blamed on
the flooding. at least four still missing, including two teenage boys in taylorville, illinois. >> and those operations still under way. indra joins us now to give us an update on the forecast. >> reporter: tom, take a look at all of this water. and the story does not end here. while many of you will be going home, ringing in the new year this evening, residents south along the mississippi know that all this water is headed in their direction. around memphis, about a week from now. two weeks from now, places like baton rouge, louisiana, could still be entering major flood stage. there is a piece of good news, though, here as we ring in the new year. no showers expected for the next week in the midwest. just some light showers in the gulf. >> that is a promising forecast. all right, indra, thank you. now, to new developments in the case of the so-called aflew when sateen. the mother of ethan couch returning to the u.s. in handcuffs. charged today with helping her son go on the run to mexico. he's still sitting in a mexican jail cell, fighting a return to the u.s. accused of breaking probation
for the drunk driving deaths of four people. abc's matt gutman in los angeles tonight. >> reporter: after racing south of the border, the couches, now in legal limbo. tonya couch being held in isolation in the l.a. county jail. charged with hindering the apprehension of her 18-year-old son, ethan. the so-called affluenza mom's bail set at $1 million. escorted overnight by u.s. marshals, ignoring reporters' questions. her attorney saying she's innocent. and -- >> what she did was not anything to help herself. she did this, it appears, to protect her son. >> reporter: if convicted, she faces up to ten years in prison for helping her son, who continues to fight his deportation from mexico to the u.s. to face charges of parole violation. >> where's he going to go? we're going to get him at one point or another. >> reporter: we watched as he was taken from this detention center late wednesday. we believe ethan couch is in that van that just rushed out of here. turns out, he was taken to
another detention center in mexico city. his third city since his arrest monday in the resort town of puerto vallarta. there, the couches checked into this resort on december 19th, say investigators. opting for this lower end apartment and a lower profile on christmas eve. tonya even buying from this local butcher. tonya is likely to be extradited from this jail in los angeles to texas sometime next week. her son, ethan, could be stuff in that mexico city facility for weeks. tom? >> matt gutman for us tonight. matt, thank you. and much more on the ethan couch case on a special "20/20," end of the road. tomorrow night at 10:00 eastern. and we move on now to the criminal case against bill cosby. the comedian criminally charged for the first time with sexual assault after allegations made by more than 50 women. many of his accusers relieved to see the moment they thought would never come. abc's mara schiavocampo with the new legal battle involving cosby's wife. >> reporter: tonight, the criminal case against bill cosby playing out in the court of public opinion.
after the 78-year-old comedian appeared in court, facing a felony charge of aggravated indecent assault. >> reopening this case was our duty. >> reporter: prosecutors saying cosby sexually assaulted andrea constand in 2004, after giving her pills and alcohol at his suburban philadelphia home. now, cosby's attorney making the media rounds, vowing to fight what she calls an unjustified charge. >> i have faith in the justice system. >> reporter: and some of cosby's other accusers, also rell acting to the criminal charge. >> i just started to cry. i think they were tears of relief, tears of joy and tears of validation. >> reporter: more than 50 women have come forward, claiming cosby sexually assaulted, drugged or raped them, which he has consistently denied. his wife of 50 years, camille, always standing by his side. now, she may be the next one in the hot seat. though she launched a legal battle to prevent being forced to speak about her husband in a related civil case next week, a
b b c news has learned late today, that request has been denied. now, as for that criminal charge, cosby, who is reportedly worth approximately 4$400 mill n million, is free on $1 million bail. tom? >> all right, we'll stay on top of this. mara, thank you. we turn now to new developments tonight in chicago, where outrage over police involved killings of blacks brought out hundreds of protesters. chicago prosecutors called today on the fbi to join the investigations into the fatal shootings of a 19-year-old man and a 55-year-old grandmother. chicago officials also bowed to media pressure today, releasing hundreds of police e-mails discussing how they should respond to the demands for video that shows a white officer shooting a black teenager 16 times. let's turn to sports now and a big day on this new year's eve. two huge showdowns. the college football playoff semifinals. oklahoma playing clemson in the orange bowl, michigan state facing off against alabama in the cotton bowl.
the winners go on to play for the national championship. two games on the biggest party day of the year. sage steele from espn in times square, joining us right now. now, sage, gate to have you with us. the first game, the capital one orange bowl, undefeated and top ranked clemson, taking on oklahoma. >> reporter: that's right, hi, tom, and yeah, it's really a match-up of two of the best offenses and two of the best defenses in the entire country and it is live right now on espn. as you said, clemson, they're good. they have not, though, won a national championship in 34 years. on the other side, it's been 15 years for oklahoma, so, something's got to give tonight in south florida. after that, it's the goodyear cotton bowl. alabama and michigan state. crimson tide, the big favorite in that one. but hey, the spartans say, they're okay being the underdog. no issues with that. they are ready to play this game. so, it is obviously a huge night for college football on espn and like you said, all four teams hoping to win to earn a spot to play in the national championship game, january 11th in glendale, arizona.
tom? >> a great night of football. sage, thank you so much. and you can catch all the football action on espn. and just a reminder about another great show tonight. you can watch "dick clark's new year's rockin' eve 2016 with ryan seacrest" right here begins at 8:00 eastern. there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this new year's eve. the passenger plane making a u-turn on the runway. the desperate family, watching their plane leave without them. how the delta pilot noticed them and realized they needed to get on his plane. and, president obama behind the wheel with jerry seinfeld. the surprising comments the president made about some of the world's top leaders. stay with us. i sure had a lot on my mind when i got out of the hospital after a dvt blood clot. what about my family? my li'l buddy? and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital
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it leaves the gate. abc's clayton sandell on the pilot who did something almost unheard of, and with good reason. >> reporter: one of the most important flights of their lives, and the short family was about to miss it. >> i was just crying. >> reporter: they were traveling recently from phoenix to minneapolis. but their flight was late, and time to catch their connection to memphis ran out. the plane pushed back without them. >> the tower wasn't going to let them pull back in and my sisters and mom sitting there in tears and i'm sitting there screaming through the glass. >> reporter: that's when the captain saw the family. he radioed in and found out they were upset, because, for them, missing the flight meant missing their father's funeral. >> it would've been sad not saying goodbye. >> reporter: the captain, adam cohen, then made an extraordinarily rare decision to come back. "it was something we needed to do," he says. "this is something we'll take with us, knowing we made a difference." the family says the gesture made all the difference. they arrived in memphis in time
to say good-bye. >> it's very rare, someone stops and does something so kind and we need more people like him in this world. >> reporter: an uncommon act of common den se si. clayton sandell, abc news, denver. >> thank you, clayton. when we come back, the major campaign shakeup tonight. the candidate trying to regain his momentum. and, the names and faces we remember to close out 2015. huh. introducing centrum vitamints. a brand new multivitamin you enjoy like a mint. with a full spectrum of essential nutrients... surprisingly smooth, refreshingly cool. i see you found the vitamints. new centrum vitamints. a delicious new way to get your multivitamins. wopen up a lot of dawn. tough on grease...yet gentle.
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comedy partner, president obama. >> how many world leaders do you think are just completely out of their mind? >> pretty sizable percentage. >> seinfeld appearing in the oval office window, tapping the president for an episode of his popular web series "comedians in cars getting coffee." which is really funny. the president even getting behind the wheel of a nice 1963 corvette stingray. very cool. and we wanted to take a minute now to remember the famous faces who left us this year and the accomplishments we won't soon forget. >> good-bye, chivago. >> what happens to a girl like that? >> who gave you the lead be kissing me? >> so you can talk. >> yes, i can, will i ai will a. >> come here!
>> high drive, that's trouble. >> let's welcome home yogi berra, number 8. >> hello, again, everyone. >> executed double reverse sends frank gifford flying around. ♪ stand by me ♪ oh stand by me >> please join me in welcoming my friend, my father, my hero. >> we must get the american public to look past the glitter, beyond the showmanship, to the reality, the hard substance of things. >> lebanese officers, massive air strikes. north veietnamese came into the area. >> that's basically what i write about, that hollywood dream. ♪
>> do you like scary movies? >> uh-huh. >> what's your favorite scary movie? >> from wes craven, a new masterpiece in fantasy terror. ♪ it's my party ♪ and i'll cry if i want to ♪ cry if i want to ♪ cry if i want to >> blues to me is like a tonic. it's good for whatever ails you. ♪ get together ♪ let the good times roll >> fascinating. that, sir, is illogical. live long and prosper. >> and when we come back, we'll take you back down to times square for the new year's celebration. stay with us.
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everyone safe during the biggest party of the year. 1 million people helping count down the final moments of 2015. and we want to thank all of you for watching "world news tonight" this past year. it would not be possible without the incredible team behind the scenes. it is a highly skilled and relentless team of journalists that put this show on every night. so, tonight, we salute them and all of you at home. i'm tom llamas. thank you so much for your time. and for david and all of us here, happy new year. ♪ ♪ for auld lang syne my dear for auld lang syne ♪ ♪ we'll take a cup o' kindness yet for auld lang syne ♪
this is "jeopardy!" here are today's contestants -- an organization development consultant from alexandria, virginia... a college instructor from windber, pennsylvania... and our returning champion, a retired convenience store manager from dallas, texas... whose 1-day cash winnings total... and now here is the host of "jeopardy!" -- alex trebek!