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tv   Caught on Camera  MSNBC  September 15, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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fast-paced action. daring rescues. >> approaching the 10 freeway southbound. >> life and death struggles. >> oh, my god. >> they were just like holding on for their life. it was so scary. >> sweet water oak loses the rider. >> through mud, water -- >> don't let go of the boat! >> -- and wind. >> i remember just seeing him slam straight into the ground. i thought he was dead. >> dragged by a speeding train. knocked down on the side of the road. pushed to the brink. >> he told me he was going to kill me. i said, no, i'm here to kill you. >> rides so shocking, you wouldn't believe they were real if they weren't caught on camera. >> probably only maybe a minute
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where the first person was like, did you get all that on film? "caught on camera: wild rides." hello, i'm contessa brewer. welcome to "caught on camera." fasten your seat belts. in this hour we'll be going on wild rides with men and women who never expected to find themselves in such dire situations, facing some daunting questions. will they have the strength to hold on? the will to survive? and the luck to be saved? a whitewater raft capsizes in class five rapids, leaving one woman struggling for survival in the raging water. >> let go of the boat! >> when she sucked down and disappears under the raft, i am petrified. >> burnt ranch gorge on the trinity river in northern california is a challenge to the most accomplished whitewater
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rafter. and commercial river guide john lane is just that, an expert with more than 20 years experience. >> there are days that you just feel invincible, your crew is firing on all cylinders. every once in a while, you get this feeling that things just aren't happening right or maybe there's just something inside you that worries a little bit. >> on this date, it's not a commercial raft trip. a group of guides and experienced boaters with high expectations of riding the big one. there are four rafts in the water and each is approaching the most formidable rapid of the day. one with an eight-foot drop into a hydraulic. a hole that acts like a washing machine. >> no matter how many times you've done this run when you do middle burnt ranch falls, you get a little apprehensive. >> john lane is out with his video camera that day and gets on top of the rocks to film the
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rafters coming through. as a precaution, a large team is standing on the banks of the river with throw rope on hand. one of them is eric nugturn. >> in a class 5 river, something where the group you're with is probably the most important decision you can make because they're really the ones that are there to save you if you make a big mistake. >> the team has already surveyed the rapid, and now they're ready to tackle it. >> first raft lines up nicely. raft goes over the waterfall, and then they come through that unscathed. and, you know, it was a big cheer. and then the second raft had, actually, a really clean run and didn't have any trouble whatsoever. then we get to the third raft. >> the third raft isn't as lucky. it has trouble controlling its angle and crashes against the rocks, dumping one of the rafters into the river. but the crowd on the side is ready with throw rope and quickly helps him to safety. >> so that certainly didn't go unnoticed by the fourth raft. when they ran through, as the raft was lining up, everything
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looked good, they were maneuvering well. >> all we see is the boat just come over this falls and just stop. it almost kind of stops vertically, like it didn't hit the water and skip forward. it just kind of plugs into the water, and what we see is really scary. >> the guide in the back lands on his head in the middle of the raft as the others use their oars to try to steer away from the powerful current, but the raft is effectively stuck, swirling around in the rapid. >> that's when they start really having the ride of their lives. now they have water coming over that eight-foot drop, kind of creating a bucking bronco ride at the same time the raft is spinning a 360. the river is generally going to control and dictate what happens at this point. >> in a matter of seconds the river spits the lead guide out of the raft and then flips the
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boat over, completely upside down. three of the rafters surface near the boat and are taken downstream and ultimately to safety. but two rafters are stuck in the hydraulic. >> we have a man and a woman out there. and the guy is a football player, super burly guy, but he was probably one of the least experienced people on the team. and he was very scared. there's nothing we can do out there because it's so far out there. it's just so heartbreaking. they both try and swim as hard as they can. they don't go anywhere. >> finally the man lets go of the raft and floats downstream where the rescue ropes will pull him to shore. but the woman, naomi, a river guide herself, is hanging on to the side of the raft. eric nugturn is particularly worried. naomi is his girlfriend at the time. >> if you want to figure out a way to drown, that's it. because you get a little bit of air, you get shoved to the bottom of the river, then you come up.
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and that's the most frightening part is, we know she's getting tired. we've seen her swimming. she's tried to swim away from this raft a number of times and she just gets sucked right back to it. >> let go of the boat! >> john lane screams to her to let go of the boat. they need her to go downstream if there's going to be any chance of saving her. finally naomi lets go of the boat. then she disappears into the white froth. >> and i just wait and i watched. and nothing came up. and then about 40 feet past me, all of a sudden she pops back up in the water. and at that point she's moving so fast, she's gone so far past me that i can't even throw my rope. >> naomi surfaces far beyond the last person standing on the river banks with throw rope. and everyone knows they have to act now. only 50 yards downstream is another set of dangerous rapids
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and a huge drop. naomi, who has taken a beating in the cold water, has little left in her. >> she's not swimming like any of the other people who came out. they swam like hell. so she has no energy left. she just rolled like a rag doll. it was really frightening to watch because that's a person who's really almost unable to save themselves now. >> it's going to take an incredible throw to save her. >> the chances of that last guy being able to throw that bag and hit her with a throw that she could grab was a million to one. but the guy threw that safety bag. i've never seen a throw that accurate that far. it was a 60-foot throw that hit her between the eyes. >> it's the lifeline that saves naomi. everyone is relieved. and then wondering -- >> it's probably only maybe a minute, maybe two minutes before the first person was like, did you get all that on film?
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and, of course, you know -- in my 20 years plus of boating, it is the most spectacular whitewater wipeout i've ever seen. >> i show the video to people and they say, god, how can this cameraman be doing that? and i just laugh because we all go, how can you not? we had figured out everybody's job, we had everything covered as best as we could. but even just watching the tape for the first time in a long time, it just brought chills because it could have gone much worse. thankfully it didn't. coming up -- >> sweet water oak loses the rider. >> a jockey hanging on for dear life. >> oh, my gosh. >> a boy dangles from a chair lift high in the sky. >> two window washers soar through the air on an out of control scaffold. >> it was so freaky. it was scary. of getting something "new."
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sweet water oak loses the rider. >> a jockey dangles from his horse's neck as half a dozen others charge toward the finish. >> february 3rd, 1989, i had the ride of my life. >> it's a cold, wet day for a horse race. the kind most jockeys dread. but nate hubbard is new to the sport, an apprentice. just 19 years old. and excited to be at golden gate field with a horse he's never ridden. a filly named sweet water oak. >> i wasn't too concerned about the track conditions. for some reason i did pretty good in the rain and mud. >> tom chapman is also riding in the race. >> the mud was actually like pea soup. it's always dangerous because at times when it is like that, it's a little bit slippery. >> the horses line up at the starting gate. the first race of the day. >> they're off. >> tom chapman riding current lady is among the early front-runners.
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nate hubbard and sweet water oak hang back in fifth place. as the horses round the far turn, chapman makes a break for the lead. >> current lady cruising on by on the outside. >> and now tom chapman's got his eyes on that first place finish. >> back in front current lady takes the lead. >> but nate's horse, sweet water oak, is coming up from behind. in no time at all, hubbard is riding side by side with chapman. >> you can hear him yelling at his horse, i can hear him coming up from the inside. >> current lady on the inside, on the outside sweet water oak. >> my filly started to drift in just a little bit. right when i reached up to grab her is when just a split second too late is when she clipped tommy's horse. >> i could feel my filly take kind of a funny step. and i thought, god, we collided. >> sweet water oak stumbles. >> sweet water oak loses the
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rider. current lady in front. >> the next thing you know, she's popped back up and i just happened to be hanging on her neck. >> riders, please watch out. >> nate hubbard manages to stay on the horse and grabs hold of her neck. it's the only thing keeping him from being trampled by the other horses coming from behind at 40 miles an hour. >> i looked back behind me and nate is hanging off this horse's neck. i was just like shocked. >> nate is hanging on for dear life as sweet water oak continues to run the last stretch of the race. >> i'm looking at her in her eye just hanging on to her neck. i really had no idea how i got there. it was just a blessing that i was able to just have something to hold on to and she was able to hold me up. >> sweet water oak places second that day. according to the rules, as long as the rider doesn't touch the ground, the filly has carried her weight across the finish line. to nate hubbard, sweet water oak did more than carry her weight. she saved his life. >> really didn't feel the danger
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of it till a couple hours afterward, then it still never really sank in until you get a little older and you think how precious life is and what really could have happened. >> oh, my gosh. >> it's another chilling scene, this time on the slopes of park city, utah. a 12-year-old boy dangles from a chair lift 30 feet in the air while witnesses stand helpless below. >> we were coming up, and first thing we heard a scream, and we looked up. >> vaughn grew up skiing in the utah mountains, familiar with the winding trails and steep terrain. for him the chair lift is a peaceful break, a chance to relax between runs. but this normally carefree ride abruptly turns to horror when vaughn and his family face a boy in a desperate struggle. >> at that time we didn't know what was going on.
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why he was struggling so bad. >> it's a sight vaughn has never seen. but he's not immediately worried. he thinks the lift operator could simply back the chair up to the drop-off area that was much less steep. but that drop area is not as close as it seems. and what vaughn doesn't realize is that the boy's backpack is caught in the chair. the strap is around his neck and slowly choking him. >> you can see him just really kicking and struggling to try and get free. >> vaughn films the terrifying scene. the boy hangs on for more than a minute. then as the crowd gasps, the boy finally slips and falls the equivalent of three stories on to the hard snow. >> it was just kind of like in slow motion, until he hit. it was a long ways down. >> the ski patrol is standing by. and tends to the boy in a matter of seconds, but is the boy alive? and if so, has he suffered serious injury? >> i'm very amazed that i survived.
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>> five years later as a 17-year-old anthony traber recalls that day and everything that happened that led to his dramatic fall. >> oh, my god. >> i was really fighting for air, and i knew that it would be better to fall than hang up there and die. >> it all began when traber took his backpack off to answer a call on his cell phone. when he went to put the backpack back on his waist strap was left dangling. >> and it got stuck right in there, jammed pretty tight. and then right when i jumped off, it yanked me back and dragged me around the turnstile. and then it pulled my backpack up above my head and then the chest piece moved into my neck and it was strangling me. >> anthony could hear the crowd yelling from below, but he knew even at 12 years old, that no help could reach him. it was up to him to save himself. >> i was very panicked.
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i was scared. all i could think about was my family and what i could do to get down. i was kicking my legs to try and push myself up to get some more air. i was trying to unbuckle the chest strap but the pressure was too tight. >> with all the strength he could muster, anthony decides to unbuckle his helmet to give himself more room. that move unexpectedly allows him to break free from the chair. >> oh, my god! >> every minute i was running out of strength, i was getting weaker and weaker. >> anthony suffers a bloody nose and some cuts and bruises on his body. he passes out from lack of air right before his fall and has no memory of it. that lucky memory loss may explain why he has no fear of heights and why only a week later he's back on the slopes, loving skiing as much as he did before the accident. >> i love to ski as much as i can, and i plan to do it the rest of my life.
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>> but vaughn says after witnessing anthony's ordeal, he can't help but feel a little differently on that routine chair lift ride. >> we make sure we don't have any loose straps, loose gloves. we used to take it for granted, oh, you just get off the ski lift. but we make sure we're ready to go. coming up -- an out-of-control dump truck tearing down the street. >> oh! >> a driver tries to fend off a vicious attack while steering a bus. plus two window washers hold on for dear life. when "caught on camera: wild rides" continues. (woman) this place has got really good chocolate shakes. (growls) (man) that's a good look for you. (woman) that was fun. (man) yeah.
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>> there he goes, center lane, red light. this is serious here. >> a driver in a stolen dump truck is terrorizing the streets of phoenix, arizona, weaving in and out of traffic and charging through red lights. >> they're telling all their units on the grounded to stay out of sight. >> it's right before the city's rush hour. and local tv stations are carrying the story live. >> look at him splitting the lane right now. he's in the middle and he's a big white truck. >> police chopper pilot joe hans heads into the sky to keep a close eye on the driver and to relay what he's seeing to the cops below. >> he made several attempts during this pursuit to collide with patrol cars. >> look at this. oh, man. almost head-on with a police cruiser. >> with hans in the air, police on the ground hang back in hopes the driver will relax and start to slow down. >> most of the time all officers were out of sight. nobody was actively chasing him. >> back at his house, doug click
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is in the midst of his morning routine as the tv report plays on in the background. at about 6:40, he steps out for some coffee. never dreaming his world would collide with the dump truck driver in the most unusual way. it's now almost 40 minutes into the pursuit, and the dump truck is on a war path. >> going across the middle lane. red light. nobody coming through the light. he's in the opposite lane. >> doug makes it just a few short blocks from his home when he sees the truck zoom past. >> i pulled into the intersection and saw the dump truck coming this way. >> rather than avoid the truck and turn the opposite way, doug decides to follow it, staying safely behind. there's not a cop car in sight. >> i was behind him, you know, a couple hundred yards. he kept going toward the intersection in front of him, and the light started to change. when the light changed red, the cross-traffic started to go. he didn't slow down. >> then it happens, the dump truck plows through a red light, tearing off the front end of an
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oncoming car. doug watches furious as the dump truck cartwheels down the street. >> i was pretty pissed off at that point in time. i don't have a bad temper, but i get pretty mad sometimes. >> doug has no doubt the dump truck driver has killed the passengers in that white car. and after watching the truck fly into the air and roll, he thinks the truck driver is almost surely dead, too. but just seconds later, unbelievably, the man steps out through the broken windshield and makes a run for it. doug pulls his car over and grabs a baseball bat in his trunk. doug's not taking any chance that this guy could get away or, worse, that he carjacks someone or breaks into a nearby home. >> he was really amped up when i saw him. his eyes were as big as silver dollars. >> the man takes out a pair of bolt cutters and threatens to kill doug but doug persists. >> i hit him a couple of good times with the bat and didn't seem to faze him. >> within seconds, police catch up at the scene.
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there's some confusion as to who doug is, but soon it's all straightened out. the suspect later pleads guilty to charges of endangerment and aggravated assault and is sentenced to 16 1/2 years in prison. with the suspect in police custody, chopper pilot joe hans turns his attention to the crushed white car in the middle of the intersection, and his heart sinks. >> one of the first things that came out of the car was a baby seat. >> miraculously, the women and children in that car walk away with only minor injuries. it's a comforting end to an adrenaline pumping morning. but for doug click, the story doesn't end there. his bravery and quick action captures the media's attention. >> doug click, good morning. >> good morning. >> man, what a morning you had. >> it's been a heck of a 24 hours. >> but for the son of a police chief and brother of four police officers, doug's response, he says, was nothing more than being brought up with that
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old-fashioned sense of responsibility. >> i remember back when i was a kid, you know, if anybody had done anything like that, the dads would have definitely stood up and stopped the guy. he wouldn't have gotten anywhere. the police are the cleanup crew. they're not there when the crimes are going on. if you can stop the people from doing crimes, you try to stop them as best you can. another terrifying crime on the road. this one on a public bus. a man boards a bus in broad daylight and immediately begins pummeling the driver, taking him and the passengers on a wild ride to remember. may 2008, in milwaukee, wisconsin. and a masked man reportedly asks, do you remember me? before pounding the driver's head with his fists. it's all caught on the bus' security camera. the attack goes on with the bus in motion. the driver trying to block the man's blows. none of the eight passengers come to the driver's aid.
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and when the suspects turns to leave and can't, he grabs the steering wheel and pushes his foot down on the accelerator, trying to commandeer the bus. terrified passengers scream as the bus swerves into oncoming traffic. it goes about two blocks before crashing into a tree. the suspect flees when the bus comes to a stop. the milwaukee county sheriff releases the video asking for the public's help finding the suspect. >> i want this guy in custody. this is one of the most aggravated situations that i have ever seen against a public transportation operator. >> no one's seriously hurt but the bus driver's bruised and shaken up. he says he didn't know his assailant. it's believed the attack is a case of mistaken identity. a 17-year-old boy is arrested in connection with the assault after someone thinks they recognize him on the videotape. however, he's never charged with the crime. coming up --
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a mother dragged by a speeding train. a scaffold on the loose. and a big rig keels over. when "caught on camera: wild rides" continues. i've saved $75 in checked bag fees. [ delavane ] priority boarding is really important to us. you can just get on the plane and relax. [ julian ] having a card that doesn't charge you foreign transaction fees saves me a ton of money. [ delavane ] we can go to any country and spend money the way we would in the u.s. when i spend money on this card, i can see brazil in my future. [ anthony ] i use the explorer card to earn miles in order to go visit my family, which means a lot to me. ♪ ron: i'm sorry, who are you? jc: i'm your coworker! c'mon guys, i'm driving. jc: you guys comfortable? it's best-in-class rear legroom. jim: do you work for volkswagen? jc: what? no. i work for... the company we all work for. the place we just left. you know j.d. power ranked passat the most appealing midsize car two years in a row?
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i'm milissa rehberger. here's what's happening. the head of fema will travel to kcolorado tomorrow it to see th response of flooding there. bad weather grounded rescue helicopters today. more than 1,000 people are listed as missing. 1,500 homes have been destroyed. the floods have impacted an area the size of delaware. hundreds came to birmingham to remember the bombing of the 16th street baptist church 50 years ago today. back to "caught on camera." welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. ever look up at the window washers working on high rise buildings and wonder, how can they do that?
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this is one dangerous job. the work requires no fear of heights, nerves of steel and, as our next story shows, a tight grip. downtown denver, strong winds sends a scaffold careening out of control with two window washers holding on for dear life. >> everything just happened quick, man. >> we turned around, what the hell's going on here, you know? >> it's november 30th, 2005. onlookers stand in disbelief outside the denver plaza tower. >> i'm still shooken up just watching all that happen. it was so freaky. it was scary. >> sudden wind between 25 and 30 miles an hour have a scaffold swinging out 40 feet from the high rise office building, then crashing like a battering ram into the windows. >> there was a lot of gasps, a lot of horror. people were staring out at the street saying, no, no, no.
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>> heather works on the 18th floor. >> at one point it was swinging out toward the street and it actually went up vertical like this. i think that was the scariest point for me because i was thinking for sure somebody with would fall out. >> it really had kind of an apocalyptic feel to it. >> photojournalist kirby howell works only a few blocks away and gets to the scene quickly, capturing it all on camera. >> the scaffold swung out maybe halfway between these two buildings here. my biggest fear was that the cables supporting it were going to snap and it would come crashing down to the street. >> the window washers are wearing safety harnesses, so presumably if the scaffold falls, the men would be left hanging from the top of the building. that's probably little comfort to them as the scaffold flies through the air thrashing violently. it's already plummeted about 15 feet and shards of glass from the building's windows are raining down on the street. >> to get a visual of this. you arrive on scene, you see a
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little bit of glass. midway through the incident it looks like an armageddon, a war zone down there. >> firefighters immediately cordon off the area. >> you had a wild, swinging arc of the scaffolding. looked like a locomotive in between the buildings. the obvious question was someone's going to get seriously hurt and someone could die. something had to be done quickly. >> crews rush inside the building, hoping they can catch the scaffold the next time it hits. >> we started running down the hallway. i was in the lead. i was screaming, make a hole, make a hole. we were trying to judge exactly where it was going to hit. we knew we had one shot. we knew it was coming in, we just didn't know which window it was going to come in at. >> the firefighters reach a broken window and prepare to grab the safety ropes to pull the scaffold into the building. now they're eye level with the scaffold, close enough to see the fear on the faces of those two men. >> they were terrified.
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they didn't think they were going home that day. >> firefighters try to make a bigger hole in the glass to give the window washers more room, but there's no time. when the scaffold collides again with the building, at the precise spot where firefighters are waiting the two frightened men seize the moment. >> they didn't wait. they were so afraid that they literally just dove through that small opening. >> after their 15-minute terrifying wild ride, oscar gonzalez and hector estrada break down. they are grateful to be alive. >> translator: we really thought the cables would snap and the scaffold would crash down. thank god it didn't. >> translator: when the wind started we tried to hold on to the cables on the building, but our arms got too tired. we lost energy, it was so cold. so we let it loose. >> everyone involved agrees the situation could have been catastrophic if not for the experience, skill and teamwork
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of the firefighters and for those window washers who managed to hold on tight. coming up -- a kite surfer hurled through the air. >> we saw him go up about 40 feet at least, and then slam to the ground. plus a mother's desperate attempt to save herself and her little boy. [ human league plays "i'm only human" ] [ ship horn blows ] no, no, no! stop! humans. one day we're coming up with the theory of relativity, the next... not so much. but that's okay -- you're covered with great ideas like optional better car replacement from liberty mutual insurance. total your car and we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. learn about it at libertymutual.com. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? diarrhea, gas, bloating?
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a mother's horrifying ordeal. a stroller caught in the doors of a subway train as it pulls out of the station. the mom has just a few desperate seconds to save herself and her 1 1/2-year-old son. seoul, south korea. it's november 10th, 2005.
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and the station's security cameras capture 30-year-old li chen hi boarding the subway. almost immediately the doors close with her child's stroller stuck halfway aboard the train. li struggles to release the carriage. a stranger runs to help. but in no time, the train is slowly moving out of the station with three of them along for the ride. li fights to free her son. she manages to unbuckle him. he's pushed on to the platform. while her son is out of immediate danger li's jacket is caught on the stroller and the train drags her and the stranger trying to help across the platform, heading straight for the tunnel. both women scream in terror as another passer-by quickly picks up the child. the train goes 30 yards before it comes to a halt. li is only seconds away from hitting the tunnel wall head on. >> translator: as the train was pulling me, i was afraid for my baby, so i unbuckled him.
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i got him out of the stroller while i was still being dragged. i tried to get up but my jacket was caught in the stroller. i was on my stomach getting dragged. >> the little boy is perfectly fine. li suffers just minor head injuries. after the ordeal, the stranger who tried to help collapses on the platform. it's a frightening wild ride. and in the end, mother and child are very lucky to be alive. going underneath the pomona and the 10 freeways right now. >> an ordinary day on the job comes to a surreal end for two construction workers. by 5:00, they're not heading home to their families but heading 30 miles an hour down the los angeles river clinging to the side of a cement truck fighting for their lives. >> certain points you think that -- you start doubting that, you know, you're probably not going to be able to make it. >> it's 1997. jose nunez, a cement truck
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driver, and his partner, mark, are set to work on the dry bed of the los angeles river fixing a crumbling overpass like these crews seen here. on most days the l.a. river looks like this, an open concrete trench, but when it rains the storm runoff from all the valleys in los angeles has only one place to go, the river basin. there's no forecast for heavy rain, just a light drizzle at most. nothing to worry about. but suddenly up river about noon it begins to pour. >> i was very concerned. and i kept telling mark that we should be out of there. >> at first, the water downstream is just a trickle. then jose and mark hear a dull roar. they look behind them, and see a seven-foot wall of water. >> it was like a brownish water with lots of trash in front of it. and i knew then that we were in trouble. >> the men race for their mixer,
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but water quickly floods the cab. jose and mark dart up a ladder to the top of the 20-ton truck, figuring it won't budge, they'll be safe. they're mistaken. 150,000 gallons of water a second are now rushing down the l.a. river, forcing the mixer to move. >> that's when i started getting scared. and if the water pushed us right into the middle of the river and we started floating down river. >> the truck is just approaching the 10 freeway southbound over the river. >> jose and mark are just beginning their wild ride. up ahead, bridges, overpasses and then a clear shot out to the pacific ocean. but first, a more immediate fear -- the truck hits a bridge abutment, breaks free, but nearly rolls over. mark is afraid the mixer might tip and crush them. he wants to jump off and take his chances in the raging river. >> i was ready to jump at any time in case the truck would roll over. i didn't want to be underneath it. >> but jose nunez wants to stay put.
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the men agree to hang on and take their chances on the moving mixer. they fear the worst. >> jose was really concerned about something happening serious. because all he talked about was his wife and kids. >> then the truck floats under a second bridge, but doesn't come out on the other side. it hits another abutment. and this time for the moment, it's stuck. it turns out to be a lucky break. a rescue helicopter chasing the cement truck down the river can now make a daring attempt to save them. >> air rescue 5 hovering over, trying to maneuver in there. >> i can actually see the fear in their face as i was going down. as i started to get close to them, i yelled for them to stay still. >> rick hernandez gets a harness on jose and wants to send him alone up to the chopper but jose is gripped by fear and lunges for the deputy nearly pushing him into the river. >> i had to kind of push him away from me, saying let me go, you're going to go by yourself. >> hernandez breaks free and sends jose on his way. within minutes mark is out of harm's way, too.
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shortly after the incident, both men return to the job but say their wild ride down the river is one they won't ever repeat. >> i just take things more serious now. watch out more of what my jobs are. >> it's good to be alive. coming up -- a kite surfer takes his chances in a tropical storm. and what causes this 18-wheeler to do this? >> when i knew i was going over, i braced myself and held on for dear life. okay, listen up! i'm re-workin' the menu.
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fierce wind sends a kite surfer on one wild ride, hurdling him into the air, dumping him on the sand and then slamming him against a concrete wall.
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>> it happened so fast, i couldn't believe it. >> strong winds and heavy rains will also continue -- >> it's august 18th, 2008. tropical storm fay is sweeping through south florida. warnings are posted on tv stations up and down the coast. >> then it got nasty kicking up some hefty winds. >> anthony romano is part of a television news crew sent out to cover the story for the local station. >> we had full coverage from key west to ft. lauderdale, and we were pretty much telling the audience and the viewers how dangerous it is out here on the beach. >> while setting up, romano notices several kite surfers taking advantage of those strong winds. he admits it looks like tremendous fun. >> you know, at the time i was like, man, i would love do that. i would definitely like to try that. >> but romano never imagines that in just seconds, one of those kite surfers is about to become the story of the day. >> we saw him go up about 40
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feet at least and then slam into the ground. that i'll never forget. i remember just seeing him slam straight into the ground. and then i thought that was the end of it. i thought he would land on the sand and that's it, but then it pulled him again. >> the wind catapults the kite surfer as he flies past romano and his crew directly across a busy highway, about 200 feet. >> did you see that parasailer? >> yeah! >> in a matter of seconds he it literally right over there up against that wall. and he pretty much just stayed right there and just wasn't really moving. >> romano and several others run over to the surfer. >> the wind took him and hit him right about here and collapsed right around here. this is where he was lying down. at first he wasn't moving. then we just saw him shaking like a little bit. >> his name they later learn is kevin kearney. he's 28 years old and barely conscious. help arrives within seconds to take him to a nearby hospital.
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romano fears the worst. >> i didn't hear a peep out of him. i thought he was dead. >> but remarkably kevin is alive. he suffers a cracked rib, two broken vertebrae, a broken ankle, and swelling in his brain, but seven days later, he's in good spirits, talking about his dramatic flight on national television. >> joining us now live is kevin kearney. how are you doing this morning? >> doing great from south florida, good to see you, new york. >> his voice is a little scratchy because doctors placed tubes down his throat during his treatment. kevin, who has 25 stitches and several cuts and bruises, says he's doing great. >> you know, kevin, people are thrilled that you are okay, but you know there are many people that are saying, what in the world were you thinking? >> i should have packed it up a little bit earlier than i did though. when that gale force wind picked up to 70 knots, 60 knots, and carried me across the street, that was a little dangerous.
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i regret it a little bit, but i learned. >> kevin taught himself how to kite board and says he's been doing it for four years. he's thankful he has no memory of the whole ordeal, but he surprises everyone with what he says next. >> the next time i'll be out there, but i'll be packing up a little bit earlier than i did this previous time. >> so you would still go back out there in a tropical storm, is that what you're saying? >> definitely. >> video of kevin's wild ride travels like the wind around the internet and hits the kite surfing community hard. >> initially i was shocked by the violence of the accident. >> rick is the director of florida's kite surfing association and an expert on accidents. >> in my opinion, it wasn't an acceptably safe day for anyone to be out here. in kevin's case, he had very limited experience and training. >> he says experienced kite surfers rely on understanding weather. >> as this tragic accident exemplifies, it is vital that people know weather and if they
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don't know weather, they don't go until they do understand weather. >> he says kite surfing is wonderful and safe, but like any sport, those who participate need to take necessary precautions. >> whether accidents aren't random, they're readily predictable and avoidable. in most cases, you have to use restraint, but if you do, you can enjoy the pleasure that this sport gives you in buckets and cut down the risk of having a bad day and being injured. >> kevin kearney agrees. with some distance after the incident, he now says he'll be much more aware of the weather when he goes out, and he urges anyone who kite surfs to do the same and to get proper instruction. for anthony romano, who witnessed the accident firsthand, seeing kevin alive and well on tv is a relief, but watching that video replay, it's still incredible to him that he made it out alive. >> i don't know how anybody can survive that impact. something that you see on tv,
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you would see on one of those shows, wow, that's incredible, but it's happening real life. and, like, you never expect it at all. finally another video that shows just how important it is to heed strong wind warnings. a big rig traveling near reno, nevada, is blown over like a sail, shocking the 72-year-old driver. >> i was thinking what happened? why am i off the ground? and i had no idea that a wind could do that, could move that truck that easy. apparently it did. >> it's december 2008, and truck driver dean hicks from grand rapids, michigan, enters the washoe valley with an empty truck. he's on his way to carson city to reload. >> i did not feel any wind at all. no wind that would scare me or give me any indication that there was danger there. >> hicks has never ridden in the washoe valley before, but police officer john jesse knows in
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these parts when the wind picks up, it can be a doozy. >> you can't go through the valley and you don't want go through washoe valley when the wind's that high. >> officer jesse sees hicks pass by and races to pull him over. there's an advisory that day prohibiting high-profile vehicles from being on the road, but hicks doesn't see it. he's approaching the windy valley and immediately feels wind between 60 and 80 miles an hour. he tries to slow his truck down, but it's too late. >> the first inkling in my mind was when the truck got quiet, once it came up on two wheels, there was no noise anymore. i looked in my mirror and that the wheels were off the ground and panic struck. in an instant, i tried to think of what to do, what can i do? >> he tries desperately to countersteer the truck and straighten it out, but he's outmaneuvered by the wind.
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>> when i knew i was going over, i braced myself and held on for dear life. when the truck finally hit the ground it seemed like it rolled forever. when it finally came to a stop, the first thing that hit my mind was it stopped. it stopped! i thought it would never stop. finally when it did, everything in the truck had fell over on top of me, lying on one side. >> john jesse sees it all play out just as he feared. the stunning footage captured on his dashboard camera. >> i remember my reaction from within the car just saying, uh-oh, this is not going to be good. >> he approaches the truck thinking the driver could be seriously hurt, but out pops dean hicks from the top of the truck with barely a scratch. >> i was in a state of shock. i told john that i was finished driving. >> john jesse helps hicks to his patrol car, calms him down, and
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later makes sure he has a hotel room for the night, something hicks has not forgotten. >> he went over and beyond the call of duty in taking care of me, carrying me to a hotel, to recommend that they give me a nice room, that i had had an accident, and gave me one of the best rooms for half price, and i don't care where you're from, you can't beat that anywhere. >> how are you doing? >> hicks and officer jesse reunite for the first time five months later back in reno. >> good to see you. you are such an officer, i'll tell you what. i didn't know how bad it looked until i saw the video that you took of it. i saw it on television. and i said, that's my truck. >> hicks tells jesse how his company bought him a brand-new truck when he returned to grand rapids and how he couldn't resist taking to the highways again. >> you're driving again. >> yeah. >> i remember your famous words
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that day, "i'm never driving again." >> oh, no. i changed my mind. you know, it's like anything else, once it gets in your blood -- >> in spite of his mishap, dean hicks is back on the open road, but he says he won't mess with mother nature again. >> it is very scary. i wouldn't recommend anybody going into a high wind with a box trailer anymore because that's an experience i wouldn't never want go through again. i was there for the ride, that's all i can say. it was a wild ride. for many of those who've been through a wild ride, the next most shocking thing to experiencing it is watching the whole thing unfold on video. if you have a video you'd like to send to us, we'd like to see it. log onto our website caughtoncamera.msnbc.com. i'm contessa brewer. that's it for this edition of "caught on camera."
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terrifying accidents. >> oh, that is horrible. good lord. >> up in the thin air. and on the high seas. when danger calls, they are the ones to answer. >> we had him out in seconds. >> seeing this incredible act of instinctive heroism was just quite amazing. >> amazing acts of courage. >> i asked the man upstairs to help me. >> it was the obvious thing to do. it was the human thing to do. >> lives hanging in the balance. >> i thought he was just knocked unconscious.

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