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CNN BREAKING NEWS

The Sights, Sounds Of A Darkened City

Aired August 14, 2003 - 19:52   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's Richard Roth is in Manhattan, as well. Richard, where are you exactly?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, I'm a block away from New York's very busy, normally, Grand Central Station. Major commuter hub, Wolf, for the suburbs in Westchester and Connecticut. And it's like a tomb in there. All the lights are off. The building is in a lock-down mode. I talked to workers who got people, some of them, out of some subway trains.

There are -- the mood is OK out on the streets in front of Grand Central. But there's one man -- a couple of people upset that Mayor Bloomberg has said the solution is, Go home and open your windows. People are on the streets holding signs, looking for rides home to faraway places, like Mount Kisco (ph), long lines for buses going out to faraway places on Long Island. But other people are taking it in stride, a woman doing her nails, nail polish being put on while sitting on the curb. Another person is writing a journal. Others are reading newspapers.

But others are still thinking that terrorism is behind this and that if it's not behind it, future terrorists have learned the key in how to disrupt much of the United States. But right now, people are asking others in the streets, What have you heard? They're upset there aren't any loudspeaker announcements giving them any briefings. But still, everyone is relatively calm. But as you have indicated, the sun is setting also here on the East Side -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Richard, I'm going to just interrupt because our John King is getting some more information. John, tell our viewers what you have.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, a number of important developments we want to pass on. Number one, we are told by the White House that President Bush at 8:30, about 35 minutes from now -- he is in California -- President Bush will deliver a statement on this power outage that we have seen in the United States today. Again, the president in California, but we will hear from him in about 30 minutes. CNN will bring you that live. We assume that capability is available to us. We are tracking that.

Also, we have confirmed the story we told you about just a few moments ago, at the time quoting the Reuters news agency. CNN has now confirmed that, according to the office of the Canadian prime minister, Jean, Chretien, officials, the prime minister's office says, on both sides of the border, in the United States and Canada, believe the initial source of the power outage we have seen affecting millions, tens of millions on both sides of the border today, was a lightning strike on a plant on the New York side, near Niagara Falls. We are trying to get more details, of course. But we have some information now that they believe this was caused by a lightning strike on a power plant.

And again, about 35 minutes from now, the president of the United States. As they try to get the power back on, another thing they are trying to do is get transportation, particularly to the airports on the East Coast, back up and running. Tracking that for us throughout the day, a very hectic day for her, Patty Davis.

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, good news from the FAA. It has just lifted ground stops at Newark International Airport and New York's La Guardia Airport. Now, what that means is those airports can now accept flights coming in from other places around the country. Now, we had heard from Continental earlier that it was able to get flights out of that airport, specifically, a flight to Rome and other flights. And the New York Port Authority is telling us that all three New York airports are now back up and running.

We still do, however, have ground stops, we understand from FAA, at Cleveland, also in Toronto, until at least 9:00 PM tonight. Now, Detroit has also been having problems. Airport operations there tells us that it's been having problems moving bags, getting things moving at that airport. But it does hope at some point today to get 6 to 15 flights out. So things are looking up for airline passengers -- John.

KING: Thank you, Patty Davis.

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