tv Caught on Camera MSNBC September 3, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PDT
sometimes the best laid plans can go awry, leading to the worst kind of day possible. it's a picture perfect afternoon for skydiving, but this jumper ends up hanging on for deer life. >> there's nothing nobody can do to save him. >> at a kentucky gas station, a routine fill-up flares up. >> it happened so fast. everybody was in so much shock. further south, a tow job in texas turns powerless while
another tow goes south in the snowy northeast. animals can have horrible days too. rush hour on a freeway is always bad but for a tiny dog, it's life threatening. these are the stories of when order days turn into very bad ones. caught on camera, very bad day. a woman in iowa fights for her life. after her small boat capsizes over a dam. june 30, 2009 is just winding down for an iowa bridge construction crew along the des moines river when crane operator joe low note advertises
something wrong. >> i seen the boat drift down and he started it up and he was trying to wrap with an anchor or rope or something. then i heard him holler at his wife, put her life jacket on and he didn't have one on. >> there's nothing anyone nearby can do to keep them plummeting over the dam. the man is carried down stream but the woman is caught in the turbulence or boil of the falls. a swift water rescue team is called in and captured by local nbc cameras. they know time is not on their side. the short falls create a powerful under toe too strong for the woman to swim out of. pushing against the current they
get as close as they can and throw her a line. but the celebration is premature. >> evidently the person didn't have enough strength to hold on so they could be pulled to safety. >> the powerful falling water keeps sucking her under. further downstream, her husband does not make it out alive and his body is recovered by rescue workers. >> i was already down at that other bridge because i was going to try to save that guy because i thought the woman was okay. and i ran back up here and my boss told me to get the crane closer. >> but there's still hope for the wife. so the quick thinking construction crew springs into action. the 20-year veteran crane operator jumps into the seat of his machine. this time, instead of a slab of concrete, it's joe's colleague latched to the end. >> they harnessed me up, dipped
me down in the water and i grabbed her. >> instead of trying to left him i took him out of the white water up to the raft. >> all are relieved including the fire capital steve brown. >> we probably could have lost her at any moment but with him pulling her out, it saved her life. >> some call the men heros, but they're reluctant to accept that title. >> what are you going to do when she's like that? it's no big deal. the whole crew did it. >> i don't feel like a hero because the first one is gone. >> it's a tragedy but it could have been worse. because of the quick work of the rescuers and the last words of her husband, the woman makes a full recovery. from a dam in iowa to the rushing water in colorado, this time it's the rescuers themselves who struggle to stay alive.
tiny georgetown is built more than a mile half above sea level. so when the snow melts it can run quickly swelling the creek. short bridges span the creek. but on june 21, 1995, this scene turns into a potential death trap. on one short bridge, water pours over it. from on top of the bridge, colleagues attempt to pull them out. initially, georgetown fire chief kelly and his team are there to protect surrounding homes with sandbags. >> in 1995 it was a pretty high snow fall year, so the runoff was coming down fast and the creek was high and then we had a thunderstorm which increased the
runoff on this particular day. >> but while sandbagging, three firefighters slip in. one who manages to hold on to a short brick wall is pulled to safety. a second, wearing a baseball hat, is also rescued by his colleagues. but a third, todd, is not so lucky. he's stuck on the bridge and no one is able to pull him up out of the current. >> his legs catch under the bridge kind of like this. and his upper body is against that bridge and the water coming against his back is wanting to pull him under the bridge. he's starting to slip under the bridge and his head was going under water. we're trying to pull him straight up and it really wasn't working, the physics of that. his boots were full of water and
his turnout pants were full of water and that was helping to hold him down so he was very heavy trying to pull him out. >> while the force of the stream is crushing his chest against the bridge, the water's temperature is just above freezing, zapping whatever energy todd has left. responding to a call from another firefighter, sheriff major rick albers arrives on scene. the officer has just completed training. >> from my experience in training in swift water rescue, he wasn't going to be able to be pulled up just by his arms. he would have had to almost put him in half to get him up from that position. >> myself and a sheriff's deputy determined the only way we were going to get him out of the water was to pull him back up stream away from the bridge to get him out. because i was not working trying to pull him straight up.
>> on bunker pants they have suspenders that go up and i was able to feel down the suspenders and be able to grab as much as i could of the bunker pants and pull. >> with all his might, major albers yanks the fireman back up stream, but the man is so heavy, he's pulling the officer in too. >> just at that moment, a former paramedic grabs the major. >> she grabbed ahold of my legs which really helped me at that time. i was able to get list lower body up stream and up the bridge on to safety. >> chief kelly and his team assess his injuries.
they have two serious concerns. hypothermia and water in his lungs. they remove his cold, wet clothes as quickly as possible. major albers assists with one of the other firefighters who also fell into the freezing water. miraculously there are no serious injuries. >> it was a group effort. georgetown first responders transform luck from this bad day into improvements to improved swift water rescues. the hope is they'll be able to rely less on luck and more on preparedness. >> we learned a lot from the '95 event to where we're not wearing our turnout gear and we're wearing life vests and we have a swift water team that is on stand by for us.
taking care of the customers and making sure they're happy. >> outside, a security camera captures a man filling his tank. he grabs his cell phone from the front seat to answer a call. eventually he retreats from the chilly night back inside his car to talk on his phone. as two more customers pull in, the man on the cell gets out to remove the nozzle. that's when, without warning, this fill-up goes up in flames. >> right at that moment, i turned to my right and there was like an eight-foot flame shooting out of the vehicle, like you would see a firework on the fourth of july. >> and a truck parked close by off camera, customer watched in disbelief. >> i called 911 and proceeded to watch this car go up in flames so fast. after that you start to ask yourself what's inside the car. >> as the fire accelerates, another danger grows. buried just a few feet below the car, gas reservoirs holds
hundreds of gallons of fuel. it blow the gas station sky high. >> i shut down the emergency pump. everything is underground and you're like did i push the button in time. >> an interior camera records ashley hitting the button. a few customers retreat inside the store, along with the driver who's uninjured. they can't leave because it's too dangerous. >> even though we were inside we could feel the heat. we were waiting because we thought the windows would shatter there was so much heat. >> by the time the fire truck arrived, the car was fully engulfed. >> you couldn't look away. >> with firefighters on scene, an eye witness goes across the street to record it using the
cell phone camera. the flames draw back, belching thick plumes of smoke and steam. the firefighters disappear inside the cloud. as scarey as that looks, in just two minutes, the foam does its job and the fire is out. >> as soon as they got it foamed, the entire area filled with smoke. it was shouldering for quite some time. >> firefighters discover remnants of toddler's clothing. they belong to the driver's young daughter who thankfully was left home that night. tragedy was also avoided because ashley shut the pumps off in time. >> when i talked to the fire department they say if the button had not been pushed it could have caused an explosion within a half a mile of the gas station. >> so she probably saved a lot of damage when she hit the emergency stop.
she probably saved the building. >> with the fire out and everyone safe, one question remains. what sparked the fire. gasoline vapors are more flammable than liquid gas. on such a cool, breezeless night, the fumes stay where they fall and pile up. so conditions are perfect for what happens next. >> the occupant of the car got in and out of his car several times. the car had clothe seats. the subject had hoody-type clothing on and we believe it built up a static charge and when he got out of the car the last time, the charge he built up in his body discharged and igniting the vapors. >> next time you're at the pump
on a cold breezeless night, make sure to touch something metal before you touch the gas pump, especially if you have cloth seats. it will go along way to prevent your average day from getting worse in a flash. coming up -- a skydiving mishap threatens. >> the airplane can go into a dead spin and nobody will be able to get out. when "caught on camera" continues. you stash tissues like a squirrel stashes nuts, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® liquid gels. nothing starts working faster than zyrtec® at relieving your allergy symptoms for 24 hours. zyrtec®. love the air.
zyrtec®. love the air. 15,000 feet above eastern illinois, a sky diver's parachute snags the tail of a plain leaving the jumper twisted and helpless. his life along with 17 others still on board hangs in the balance. august 2004, jumpers around the world gather for the free fall festival. it's the largest skydiving convention in the world at the
time. for skydiver norman it's a chance to join friends and videotape 120 mile an hour drops to earth. >> i jump because i love the thrill. for me skydiving have three different thrills at the same time because you get the excitement of jumping out of the air plane and you get the rush of free falling and you know, give you that impression that you're flying. the third thrill is that you have that canopy right that is peaceful and enjoy the scenery. >> when jumping alone you step out the door, but group jumps require coordination, climbing outside of the plain, grabbing handles and standing on rails. once everyone is in position, the lead jumper gives the signal to release. at festivals with so many people jumping there's limited time and
space on the ground to repack all those parachutes for subsequent jumps. so event organizers provide packers. enthusiasts who pack them for a small fee. >> orlando was a tandem master. when i go for the first time they attach to you and they're the ones that take you for a ride. >> orlando's experience should be an asset for the group jump. but when it's time to board the plane, the packers haven't completed his chute. he rushes the packer through the process so he can take off with his buddies. it's a decision he's about to regret. norman presses record on the
camcorder. >> on that jump orlando and myself were the only ones wearing a camera. it's a good thing to have video so you can tape your friends and they can tape you and you can see what you did wrong and fix any problem that you have, just to become better. >> with norman's camera recording, no one is ready for what happens next. as orlando turns his back to the door, the pack opens, the chute flies out yanking him out and snagging him on the plane's tail. he twists out of control. his own helmet cam records the event. >> i'm pretty much early deployment is very dangerous. a lot of things can happen. by force orlando is drug out of
the plane, he can hit the door, you can see the canopy on top and on bottom and the pressure is so great that you can feel the plane bouncing like some type of earthquake. if he rips out the tail of the air plan, it can go into a dead spin and nobody can get out and there's nothing nobody can do to save him. there's no way that you can climb the tail. that's only in the movies. >> there's only one thing the sky divers left inside can do. jump. the pilot increases air speed to counter the turbulence but that puts more pressure on orlando's chute. as norman descends, his thought and his video. >> i can see the plane getting further and further and i see orlando just hitting the plane and the only thing that went
through my mind was cut away. that's the only thing you can think of. i don't know if he's conscious. i don't know if he knows what's going on at this point. >> orlando remains conscious, but he and the plane are still in grave danger. orlando's own camera is still recording. >> there was a lot of tension from the canape pulling. i tried to hold on with my hands until it was so strong that i couldn't pull. it wasn't until i looked up and saw the plane there that i realized this isn't normal. >> all sky divers carry a second chute called a reserve and that is orlando's only hope. he has to cut away his primary and pray the backup works. just as he releases, his tangled primary canape shreds orlando still clenches the rip cord in his hand.
at 4500 feet, he pulls his reserve. it works. orlando is now able to drift safely to the ground. keeping his cool under pressure turns a very bad day into a great story. >> there's no actual training hanging from a plane. there wasn't much you can do at the time. cut away, reserve. >> orlando's relieved when he finally reaches earth again. the pilot also lands the plane safely. the orlando considers why his canape opened early. it depends a lot on the closing loop. a small piece of cord that holds the chute inside the container. if it's too loose, wind can get inside and pull the chute open. a pin holds it all in place.
>> it's something that happened that while the packer was closing the container, the closing loop broke. she had to place a new closing loop in there. was it new? was it old? was it worn out? was it too loose? too tight? unless we get that little piece of material, there's no way we can determine that. >> still, the incident isn't enough to deter orlando from the sport he loves. stepping out at 15,000 feet, in no time he's back in the air with a new chute, a little wiser and as passionate as ever. >> i love the sport. i don't think it's a crazy sport. i love it. it's a thrill and you get to meet great people. >> coming up -- a tow truck driver's day goes from bad to critical. when "caught on camera" very bad
the company he works for is contracted to inspect the complex daily. he's worked at red light wreckers for two years. he enjoys the job and the steady paycheck. the company owner says he is one of the best drivers at the time. >> he is a young gentlemen, very eager. at one point he worked at wal-mart so going from making minimum wage to being a tow truck driver which pays fairly well i would say he was happy where he was out within the company. >> to help keep drivers safe on the job, all the trucks are outfitted with cameras. always rolling, the cameras are ready to capture incidents from four angles. as edward passes a fire lane, he notices a truck parked illegally.
he checks to see if anyone may be waiting inside to move it, no one is there. what he finds instead is a barking dog outside the pickup that seems to be protecting it. edward takes photos of the pickup to document its license plate and its infraction inside the fire lane. that way he can submit both as evidence to support the $70 fine the driver must pay to retrieve his vehicle. but with a truck that big, edward will need more time to remove it than he would towing a smaller car. edward's tow truck is big enough to handle the f-250, but because it's a rear-wheel drive, the wheels are locked in park. and with the tow lot four miles away, he won't make it. so first he'll have to pull it out to a more open area of the lot and release it and then lift it again by the back wheels to
tow it away from the complex. the first attempt to lift the pickup doesn't work. he realigns his rig and tries again. then two men run out of the complex and one throws a beer bottle at the tow truck hitting the back window. >> usually in a situation like that, without the beer bottles being thrown at them, usually the drivers get out of the vehicle and approach to explain to them what's going on. the law also offers them the opportunity for us to release the vehicle on site, collect payment for being parked illegally. >> what the. [ bleep ] are you doing? >> what are you doing? >> with the verbal confrontation. the offender loses any chance for him to cut them some slack.
>> get the. [ bleep ] out of here. >> when the bottle thrower gets inside if the ford f-250 and starts it, edward lifts the pickup off the ground. then, without warning, the man opens his door, aims a gun and fires at edward. >> four shots, all four hitting the tow truck, two of them actually penetrating the cab, the back of the cab and almost hitting edward. he was not shot. you know, i mean, thank god. he was very lucky, i would have to say. obviously there was someone looking over him. >> losing no time, the veteran driver is able to release the truck using the remote control with one hand while putting the truck into drive with the other. >> his ability to react having
bullets fly at him actually saved his life. not just that, in the rear or in the back end of his driver's seat there's a cross bar that's only i would say two inches wide. in that whole seat and the bullet did hit that crossbar and ricochet down. so with that bar being in place i would say that saved his life right there. >> also, if edward had been just a few inches taller, a second bullet penetrating the passenger seat could have hit his head when he leaned over. unarmed, edward floors it and reports the incident. but now he's got another problem. because the wheels of his tow truck were pointing left when he hit the gas, he was forced into a dead end. to exit the complex, he must first circle past the place where the shooter tried to kill him moments earlier.
luckily, the armed man has already fled the scene in the f-250. edward's luck hold out. cameras capture the entire incident including the license plate help police identify the shooter and issue a warrant. unfortunately, the shooter stays one step ahead. police believe the man escapes across the mexican border. surviving this brush with death, motivates edward to act on his long-held desire to become a stand-up comic. >> he was a pretty funny guy. >> edward right now, the last known whereabouts of him was in california and he's full filling his desire to become an actor slash comedian. >> so, sometimes a very bad day could give us the push we need to leave a steady gig and embrace a dream.
coming up, a different kind of towing drama. this time it's the vehicle threatening the worker. >> i thought he was dead. i really did. i thought the man was dead. >> when "caught on camera very bad day" continues. we know a place where tossing and turning have given way to sleeping. where sleepless nights yield to restful sleep. and lunesta can help you get there, like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. alcohol may increase these risks. allergic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, dizziness and morning drowsiness.
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in snow-covered southeast new hampshire, one man never sees his bad day coming. >> look out! oh, my god. >> until he's trapped under nearly two tons of suv. on january 11, 2012, a fresh snow blankets new hampshire. it's challenging enough for veterans used to these conditions, but nor new commerce it's even tougher. they often speed and won't slow down for slick surfaces.
>> traffic has increased a lot since the houses have gone in. i've found out that i'll watch people go by doing 40, 50 miles an hour. >> prepared to document any incident on her property with her camera, she snaps stills of an suv that slides off the road on to her front lawn. behind the wheel is one of her new neighbors. the sheriff is already on scene. the truck has hit a steel box. the driver and the passengers are not hurt but the accident dislodges high voltage cables which feed electricity through the neighborhood. the cables are pulled out of the ground when the suv hits the box. now, power is out for more than three dozen homes.
switches her camera to video, roberta is ready to record anything else that might happen on her land. within the hour, new hampshire electric co-op workers are on site to assess the damage. before they can make repairs, a flat bed tow truck must remove the suv. the conditions are potentially deadly. >> you got wet ground, snow and electricity. not a good recipe. it's a recipe for disaster. so the electrical worker, he was getting down in front to make sure that the power was off. so they could restore the power to the other houses. >> as the power worker looks down at the cables, the tow winch fails, so he never sees the solve rolling towards him. >> look out! oh, my god. oh, my god. >> he's trapped beneath the suv. >> i couldn't believe i was
seeing what i was seeing. i was in shock. i actually froze. i thought he was dead. i really did. my heart was -- i thought the man was dead. >> the worker is pinned against the junction box but alive. with the suv still attached to the flat bed's winch, the tow operator slowly pulls the vehicle off the man. the man gets to his feet but has trouble standing up right. he uses another utility box to brace himself. then miraculously, he limps away on his own. >> he's got an angel on his shoulder. anybody else, they probably would have been dead. even now to watch it it still bothers me. >> he suffers significant bruising but recovers quickly. curious about how the worker managed to survive, roberta takes a closer look once the area is clear.
she surmises the junction box still held in place by the cables stopped the suv. >> that thing is steel and i think that's what save the electrical guy. >> it just proves that on a bad day, a little good luck could go a long way. >> look out! oh, my god. >> from a bad tow in snowy new hampshire, to a quick freeze incline in utah, dozens of drivers are caught off guard turning a residential road. >> watch out, watch out! >> into a downhill demolition derby. >> look out, lady! watch out! >> just 18 miles north of salt lake city, bountiful utah is built into the hills of the mountain. because snow is so common, most
locals know how to handle driving in it. but on january 21, 2012, freak rain makes route 400 conditions worse than usual, according to long-time resident dave kitchen. >> it was just pouring rain and then it changed to snow. it just started out with a layer of slush and then the temperature dropped fast enough that that turned to ice. i've never seen anything like that here. >> and as heavy snowfall covers the icy road, the neighbor just happens to be videotaping at the right time. >> my parents were in the caribbean and i had just gotten off the phone with my dad and he was telling me how great the weather was there. so i was making a video to show him what he was missing. >> just as he's capturing the weather, a white saturn barrels down the hill. >> watch out!
>> ree alerts motorists, ends up no other vehicles are approaching and the dizzy driver continues on as if nothing has happened. >> when the white car was spinning out you can see i'm backing up a little behind the fence and i was trying to position myself where i could get out of the way if a car was coming towards me. >> the stranded suv that forced the white car around it belongs to ree's neighbor, dave kitchen. day of's been driving on route 400 for decades and it's unusual that there are no plows in sight. >> it's really uncommon to beat the plow because they are out there very quick on these storms. a lot of times before the snow even flies, they're putting down salt or things to make sure this doesn't happen. we ended up backing into a car just kind of a bump and we sat there.
>> seconds later, the camera captures dave's suv spinning into another car and sliding into the curb. >> it got hit by a truck that pounded it pretty hard. everybody was congratulating me on such a great parallel parking job i had done. i wasn't in the car. >> dave and his wife had gotten out of the car just moments before. with still no plows or police on scene, residents alert drivers at the top of the hill but the warnings go unheeded. >> people don't even try. oh, my god. look out, lady! >> watch out! >> the two suv's manage to avoid people in the road. >> watch out, bill.
>> but the red one hits day of's honda pilot. the third time it's been hit by a vehicle and the larger white suv smacks into the first plow on scene. all inside survive, but there are still more out of control vehicles right behind them. >> watch out guys! >> get out of the road! >> a driver just misses people running away on the sidewalk and lands in betty's front yard. >> i saw the woman in the hedges and i was afraid that she may have been seriously hurt and when she stepped out of the car it was the biggest relief that she was okay. >> watch out, guys! here comes another one. >> but the icy hill will claim one more vehicle. a full sized car slides sideways out of control. it crunches the pickup with full force. fortunately there's no passenger
in the car and it doesn't stop until it hits a tree, next to the first car that slid into the car. all told, more than 2 dozen cars slid past the camera, ten of them suffering damage. no one is seriously injured. when an officer arrives on scene to sort out this bad day, he discovers that eight of the ten drivers involved in accidents came from a nearby town to attend a church function up the hill and were unfamiliar with the road. with a higher power likely still fresh in their minds, the fury of old man winter brings them quickly back to earth. >> people have asked don't you know how to drive in utah? don't you have chains and snow tires? but i can guarantee anybody who started up on the hill once you're committed, there was no way to stop. >> it just proves that even the most experienced winter drivers can get caught with their bad day showing.
just outside phoenix, arizona, a car flips on a busy freeway. the stunned female driver survives the crash, but another survivor escapes and is on the loose, endangering its own life along with scores of drivers. more than 1.4 million people call phoenix home. the sixth most populus city in america, it's among the fast test growing in the country. on any given day, the 101 loop that surrounds phoenix carries up to 120,000 vehicles driving
65 miles an hour or faster. and it's the arizona department of public safety's job to make sure commuters avoid its daily hazards. >> most of my calls are what i deal with daily on a daily basis is traffic relation, whether it's traffic stops, collisions, motorists helping individuals that are broken down on the freeway. >> november 16, 2011. during rush hour on the 101 loop a car is clipped by another vehicle, hits the wall and flips. the driver is okay. but her two small dogs in the car get spooked and bolt in opposite direction. one of them is caught on camera. every stride she takes could be her last. officer perry is among the first to arrive at the accident.
>> the sergeant that was on scene told me to get the dog so when i looked back he said no, not that dog and he pointed north of our location. he said go get the other dog. and i looked ahead of me and saw traffic stopping in the roadway to get that dog. >> the dog runs on to a road parallel to the freeway. a driver does her best to corral it, but the frightened three month old pup runs by. at only nine inches high she's well below the sight line of speeding motorists. the cop risks putting himself in front of traffic to help her. i put out to dispatch i need a traffic break. >> it's what police do to slow or stop traffic. officer bennett rushes to assist. >> i was trying to get slow
traffic to make it a little safer for us. once i got it stopped and officer perry tried to grab it and the dog took off. they'll do anything to get away from anybody that's coming after them. so sometimes it does take quite a bit to catch a dog. >> i could stay behind the dog and push the dog. officer bennett could go ahead far enough to where we had the dog somewhat pinned in. >> but the nine-inch high dog proofs too quick. terrified, the dog is desperate to get away, but finally the dog realizes there's no where left to turn. she can't outrun the long arm of officer bennett. still, she's not going down without a fight.
cornered after running more than a mile, the dog bites officer bennett's hand with what little energy it's got left. >> it was so tired that there was nothing behind the bite and i had my gloves on. he lifts the pup carefully doing his best to calm it. a full exam reveals that the dog is fine. the other dog is also retrieved safe and sound. it's not the first time officer bennett has done this, nor will it be the last. >> i've chased dogs before on the highway. in fact it happened to me today on my way to work. >> but this "caught on camera" rescue will always stand out because of the owner's grateful response. >> just getting them back in my arms was all that mattered. they saved my children, you know? it's the greatest thing. >> it felt pretty good because people love animals and it was nice to save them. >> sometimes with just a little extra effort, even a very bad day can have a happy ending.
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