tonight on "nightline," seaworld shock. a trainer dead after this killer whale attacked in a horrified crowd looked on. it's not the first time this animal or others in captivity have gone wild. we'll have the latest. and, the dave ramsey way. his personal finance for the common man, inspired by a faith in god and informed by his own business failures. in his seven simple rules keep you out of debt? plus, a snow hurricane? that's what they're calling the latest winter blast, an unprecedented storm with high winds, blooding for some. feet of snow for others. why this old man winter just won't let up. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with
terry moran, martin bashir and cynthia mcfadden in new york city, this is "nightline," february 24th, 2010. >> good evening. we begin tonight in a place typically filled with spectator applause, replaced today by gasps of horror when a 22 foot killer whale fatality attacked his seaworld trainer. the park, a few hours ago identified dawn brancheau as the victim, confirming she was pulled into the water by the giant predator. it's just the latest example of a wild animal in captivity lashing out with deadly consequences, and tonight, we know it's not the first time till little hy has killed. the killer whale pool was quiet this afternoon. the attraction closed following the sudden and frightening attack that killed one of the park's most senior trainers.
>> it's with great sadness that i report that one of our most experienced animal trainers died this afternoon. >> reporter: investigators say dawn brancheau slipped into the tank before being attacked by the whale. news reports say at least two dozen tourists looked on from above the whale tank, and from an underwater viewing area. >> the whale just took off like a bat out of you know where. just took off really fast and then he came back around to the glass. jumped up and grabbed the trainer by the waist and started shaking her violently. and her shoe, last thing i saw was her shoe floating. >> reporter: the whale identified as tilly weighed in at six tons and 22 feet long, had already been separated from the rest of the whales at the park. separated because of a history of violence. in 1991, he killed his trainer at his former home in canada. >> the whale grabbed her back foot and pulled her under and
then the whales -- they bounced her around the pool a whole bunch of times and she was screaming for help. >> since that point, the canadian park traded that animal to seaworld, with the idea that it would only be used for mating. it would never be used in another park because of its aggressive behavior. >> reporter: in 1999, a man was found dead on tilly's back. >> somehow this individual was able to evade our staff and sneak into the area in order to try to swim with a killer whale. >> reporter: he had bites on his body and his swim trunks were torn off. >> this particular animal put him on his back for the purpose of keeping him at the surface or playing with him, we're really unsure at this point because he's not familiar with people being in the water. >> reporter: but tilly isn't alone. there have been other attacks at theme parks. in 2006, in san diego, a trainer was dragged underwater twice, but survived. and this trainer also survived
being crushed by a whale and paralyzed. over the past decade, the public has come to regard killer whales as something of a domesticated pet with the popularity of movies like "free willy." but with the growth of zoos and circuses across the country, many are surprised that animals can still be, well, animals. >> yes, they are unpredictable. people are unpredictable. we talk about this killer whale, when we can't predict what people will do when they mass shoot 11, 25, 30 people. we can't predict what a killer whale is going to do. they are dangerous. >> he's killing my friend. >> who is killing your friend? >> my chimpanzee. >> reporter: a recent chimp attack in connecticut and pythons going native in southern florida, many critics are saying, we should think of the killer whales not so much as free willy, but what they are in nature, a predator made for killing. as in the movie "orca."
dawn brancheau certainly knew how dangerous whales could be. she was a well regarded veteran who worked at the park since 1994. >> we extend our deepest similar pa think to the family and friends of the trainer and we'll do everything possible to assist them in this difficult time. >> reporter: jack hanna had worked with her on off and for years. >> i can just tell you that this young lady loved these whales and she loved her work. and she was one of the best there is. she was an icon when it came to training her -- the peers the people that work with her. anybody will tell you, this woman knew more than anybody, probably, that you could ever imagine as a whale trainer. >> many of these trainers are ill equipped to handle, you know, with an animal that weighs 8,000 pounds. an animal that's 22 feet long. an animal that has a history of aggression. how are you going to deal with that? in tilly's case, it was a time bomb waiting to go off. he had a history.
you just had to real the rap sheet and you could have figured out he was going to show aggression again. if it was just pushing a trainer around in a tank or grabbing one and taking them underwater, who knows. it was a foolish thing to have killer whales in captivity. >> reporter: in the end, says hanna, we have to understand that the work that dawn brancheau was doing, and the work of seaworld and parks like this one, are more important than a simple whale show. >> i've been asked the question, why do we have the whales at seaworld. why do we have elephants at zoos? we do it simply. we understand that animals are disappearing. we have to find out about them as quickly as we can. >> reporter: seaworld officials say this evening that the fate of the killer whale remaining unclear. when we come back, from wild animals to the wild world of personal finance, and a man who says he can help you tame it. dave ramsey. (announcer) chug that coffee,
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about switching to lunesta. we turn now to personal finance. while there are indications of a rebound in the economy, we're not out of the woods yet. look at what we learned today. new home sales, falling to a 50-year low, and the senate passing a jobs bill offering tax credits to companies that hire people off the unemployment l e lines. when it comes to money these days, everybody, it seems, can use a little advice. and as vicky mabrey found out,
dam ramsey is at your service. >> here's how you get out of debt. you run! >> reporter: like a fired up southern preacher -- >> you're not getting out of debt unless you go, go, go! >> reporter: dave ramsey xorlts his flock to stop sinning. >> you have to have a plan to invest money, change your life. >> reporter: there's sin, living beyond their means, using those devil credit cards. >> chase this, what's in your wallet. discover freedom. >> reporter: on stage, on radio, on tv, he's preaching the gospel of financial peace. getting out of debt and staying out of debt. >> you guys have got to commit to know more credit card debt and no more spending unless you have the money. >> reporter: and if in the process, you want to praise jesus, that's okay, too. >> give no sleep to your eyelids no slumber to your eyes and deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter and a bird from the hand of the fowler. >> reporter: what is the goes sell according to dave? >> if you will live on less than
you make, if you will live on a plan if you will stay out of debt, if you will save for emergencies, nor purchases and for retirement, if you will give, if you'll do those five things, anybody, given a little bit of time, can win with money. all right, rock and roll. i have to get set up over there. >> reporter: be a winner with money. a common refrain from a self-help finance rnl guy, right? but what may surprise you is where his advice comes from. >> i remember standing in the shower 27, 28 years old with the water hot in my face and just standing there and cry because i was so scared. >> reporter: you see, before there was dave ramsey financial guru, there was dave ramsey financial failure. >> they were going to come take the furniture out of the house and i finally just said, you can't have the baby bed, i've given you everything else. >> reporter: back in the '80s, he started out as a real estate flipper. >> i was buying and selling real estate. i was doing a flip before there
was a "flip this house." we had about $1 million net worth. >> reporter: but it all came crashing down. >> we hit bottom. >> reporter: ramsey and his young family lost it all. >> it was really, really hard on our marriage. it was -- i was so scared, i didn't know what to do. just this 28-year-old kid with two little babies, a toddler and a wife, with a wife ready to leave. if she had the money she would have left. >> reporter: is that the best teacher? >> no, but it's a thorough teacher. you won't forget the lessons. >> reporter: he had an epiphany. if he could do it, anyone could if they followed seven simple rules. seven baby step, he calls them. >> step one, $1,000 in the bank. the debt snowball, you list your debt smallest to largest. your fully funded emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. then you move on to baby step four, and that's where you save 15% of your income into
retirement and you do do it until then and you start doing bay si step five, which is kid's college. six is pay off the house early and that leaves us with baby step seven, which is become very wealthy and give it away. >> reporter: he put his common sense theory into a book. he was selling it from his car when he went on a local radio show to promote it. when the host quick, ramsey took over the show and had piz bully pulpit. >> take that, baby. you're out of here. >> reporter: after his bankruptcy, ramsey loathed debt. credit card debt, in particular. >> it's called plastic surgery. >> reporter: what does that plastic represent? what is cutting up that plastic represent? >> well, if you are going -- >> reporter: you're going to cut something right now? >> there's something symbolic about it. i've had people walk up to me, they say, i can't cut this one up. it's like, we know we're getting ripped off, so, there's this hitting back thing. i get to say, enough already. citi bank, what's in your
wallet? money. it's not you! and, boom. there's a sense of, i've got power again as a consumer and i get to hit back. >> reporter: he's so insistent on that message that his headquarters outside nashville, he paid for it, nearly $6 million, in cash. so this is the empire. >> yeah. it's a small empire. >> reporter: it's where he oversees his now thriving broadcast and publishing business. how many books do you have right now? >> those three are the big ones. i guess 6 million over something. >> reporter: 7 million books. for adults, fur children. his 13-week university curriculum has been picked up by high schools, military bases and many churches nationwide. >> live from financial peace plaza, it's the dave ramsey show. >> reporter: from here, he reaches 4.5 million people a week, through the 450 radio stations that carry his show, and on fox business channel.
he's folksy, but blunt. >> 7,000 debt in debt and you are sucking your thumb. shut up! >> reporter: and so accessible that he runs out during commercial breaks to greet fans who stop by. >> we just facilitated your class. >> oh, thank you. >> we had a wonderful time. >> reporter: is this a business for you? is it a ministry? is it is a ya calling? >> it's a calling and a business and a ministry. fist it's a calling. >> reporter: it is his faith in god, in christianity, that forms the foundation of all his teachings. >> i'm a pretty bold christian. not in the sense that i try to beat somebody up with that. >> reporter: wealth and faith go together? >> wealth and faith have always gone together. moses was very wealthy. they didn't view themselves as somehow being the rich guy on the hill that owned everything. they viewed themselves as someone who managed resources for good, which means two
things. you take care of your own family and you take care of others. >> reporter: there are critics that claim he's getting rich off people in trouble. >> well, i have to keep this place open somehow. there's 300 people in here, and they expect their checks to clear. >> reporter: that's another criticism, that people are paying for something that somewhere deep in the back of their minds they already know. >> well, absolutely. and they're more than welcome to listen on the radio for free. you could have listened to your grandmother and you would haven't needed to listen to dave ramsey. >> reporter: common sense advice and plenty of faith in himself, the american economy, and, of course, in god. and over the course of this journey, how have you changed? >> i think when i first started, i was so sure this was right, but i didn't have the proof that i felt like i had to fight so hard, and i was mean. now i'm like, well, if you don't get it, that's okay. you're the only guy. and now it's up to you.
it's as you will it. it's kind of weird, because it's made me more confident and gentler. thank you, houston. you're awesome. we love you. thank you. >> reporter: this is vicki mabrey for "nightline" in tennessee. >> preaching faith and wealth. when we come back, some of the weirder paths to beauty. ever heard of bum sperm shampoo, or a gold facial? [ lighting a match ] ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] you've wanted to quit smoking so many times, but those days came and went and the cigarettes remained. ♪ today's a new day. talk to your doctor about prescription treatment options and support. and this time, make it your time.
>> ann >> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with cynthia mcfadden. >> well, it may be the season for olympic gold medals, but what about gold facials? snail goo to fight wrinkles of bull sperm shampoo? well, they are just a few of the many extreme remedies people will try in the unending quest for health and beauty. it's a big business. for gloria rivierariviera, thes extremes are a "sign of the times." >> reporter: for every indulgence enjoyed during last
year's party season, there is a pushup, a situp or a sprint -- i think i might puke -- to help us detox our way back to beautiful. there's got to be a better way. well, snail goo is a new option. it apparently fights wrinkles. who knew? or, snake venom facials. some claim they're better than botox. no? what about bull sperm shampoo? aka v akaviagra for your hair. it happens to be super rich in pro teen. coat your hair in the stuff and your locks could rival brooke shields' back in the day. or, you can even start over from the very beginning. rebirthing is a haechling process through breathing that can take you back to your own birth. i went to learn the right way to breathe myself to a new and better me. >> very often it's an emotional issue and that can have an impact on your physical well being. >> reporter: behind our smiling baby faces could be memories of
a traumatic birth. rebirthing is a chance to fix it. after a lot of deep breathing, no moment with mini me, but i did feel more relaxed. price tag? five sessions run $600. on the feel good scale with being one couch potato yuck canny and ten being a fabulous detoxed super me, i would put rebirthing pretty close to couch potato. which is how this therapy made me feel. in a room made entirely out of salt, it's supposed to help you detox by clearing out your lungs. >> i felt a major change. i mean, i don't need to use my inhailer anymore. >> reporter: price tag? it cost over $1100. on the feel good scale, still pretty close to couch potato. to step it up, i wanted in on a detox secret favored by cleopatra, played in the film by
elizabeth taylor. >> is it possible you've become even more beautiful? >> almost three? >> reporter: in three years, she might have had a lot of these. gold facials, said to be her favorite because gold's natural minerals are believed to work anti-aging magic. john uses gold products, gold tools and a 24 karat gold mask. it just feels cool to have gold all over your face. you need to be ready for part two. that goes on my face? a macing straight out of "star wars" emits a bright light that penetrates to skin to leave it sparkling and fresh. after wards, i did notice a smooth difference. price tag? $650 per visit. but on the feel good scale? eight. but you can go to even stranger lengths to detox and feel good like soaking in beer, or being massaged by snakes. the last one i tried, a bird poo
faci facial. it's named the no fun facial, and the main ingredient is nighten gail droppings. it's pungent. go ahead, try these if you dare. as for me, well, i'm gloria riviera, sticking to sweating it out for "nightline" in london. >> i'm still hung up on how they harvest that bull sperm for the shampoo. when we come back, another winter blast is getting ready to strike. but first, here's jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next on abc. >> jimmy: thanks, sint ya. on the show tonight, andy garcia, michael galanes, xhed yan dana gould, and a song from tracy morgan, so watch