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NTSB Investigates Miami Seaplane Crash; Asian Women and Plastic Surgery

Aired December 20, 2005 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. And thank you for being with us.
Tonight, investigators are pulling out all the stops for a high- tech probe into the final moments of a doomed flight.


ZAHN (voice-over): Pieces of a tragic puzzle -- as crews raise the wreckage, investigators look to a spectacular video for clues.

MARK ROSENKER, ACTING CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: It's rare that you get the opportunity to see an accident while it's going on. We believe that there will be great information gleaned from it once we're able to enhance it.

ZAHN: The latest on the Miami seaplane tragedy.

The mysterious death of a beauty contestant.


911 OPERATOR: Is she breathing at all?

CALLER: No. No. She's cold. She's not breathing. She doesn't have a pulse. And I think she's dead.


ZAHN: Who would murder this small-town girl who seemed to have everything?

Eyes of the beholder -- why do millions of Asian women want to change their eyes?

DR. CHARLES LEE, PLASTIC SURGEON: This surgery is, to Asians, what breast augmentations are to mainland Americans.

ZAHN: We take you into the operating room and show you the dramatic results.

And who was Jesus? And where was he born? Should we forget about Bethlehem? And what about the manger? Startling research that could put new insight into Christmas.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: We start tonight with the latest developments in the investigation of yesterday's deadly seaplane crash in the ocean just off Miami Beach.

Just hours ago, the first pieces of wreckage were pulled out of the water. The plane was Chalk's Ocean Airways Flight 101, headed from Miami to Bimini Island in the Bahamas. All 20 people on board, including three babies, were killed on the crash.

Christopher King is in Miami Beach tonight. He has been covering this investigation all day long. He joins us now from the scene with the very latest.

Christopher, what do you got?

CHRISTOPHER KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula -- good evening, Paula.

Families of the victims are grieving tonight. They come from a small, closely-knit island called Bimini in the Bahamas. The impact is hitting everyone especially hard there.


KING (voice-over): As recovery teams search for parts of the ill-fated plane, families of the victims grieved. Leonard Scott (ph) was related to 11 people on the flight, including two cousins, Salame Rolle (ph) and Genevieve Ellis (ph). They had just returned from a relative's graduation in Greensboro, North Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been through tragedies and stuff. But I think I'm a little strong at this -- at this stage. I will probably break down probably as we get nearer to the funeral time.

KING: Authorities say 20 people were on board the seaplane owned by Chalk's Ocean Airways. It was headed from Miami to the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, so small, Cletus Smith (ph) says, nearly everyone there knows each other and nearly everyone is feeling the pain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's only seven miles long by a half-mile wide, and, from one end to the next, we know everybody. You can go from door to door and you can actually get a meal from a door -- from everybody. That's how close-knit we are.

KING: Smith lost his young nephew and his father, Donald (ph), a doc master at a fishing marina on the tiny island. They, too, had been returning from another graduation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We, all in there, we just pull together and we just hold on each other inside there, because, we -- together, we will get through it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was praying that they would have survived. It's really, really devastating to the family. KING: Salvage teams scour the water for the Grumman G-73. Atlanta Air Recovery of Georgia hoisted a portion of the wing out of the Atlantic. Crews are still searching for fragments of the plane. The National Transportation Safety Board hopes to recover the voice recorder on the plane, which, it says, is a delicate process.

ROSENKER: It's in a -- it's in the tail section of the aircraft, we believe. And it's difficult for us to get to it, the way -- the way it's sitting and the way the tail has been mangled up.

KING: In the meantime, officials have cleared cruise ships to leave the port. They have been forced to dock since the crash.


KING: Now, salvage teams have recovered parts of the plane. They're hoping to pull up the rest of it tomorrow afternoon, weather permitting -- Paula.

ZAHN: We hope they get some break that way. They need all the help they can get.

Christopher King, thanks so much.

Now on to tonight's other big story, the strike that has brought our country's largest transit system to a standstill, crippling New York City tonight. Imagine leaving work at 5:00 this afternoon, still being on your way home right now. Well, that's what a lot of people in New York City are experiencing tonight.

Seven million people rely on the city's subways and buses every day. Without that vital service, a lot of those people are literally left out in the cold. Look at this gridlock. That's what it has looked like all day. The strike started just before dawn this morning, forcing millions of commuters to do what you see on screen right now, scrambling to get to work, many of them walking to work many miles, in some cases.

Adaora Udoji has been out on this story all day long. She joins us with the very latest -- Adaora.


You're right, Paula, a very long commute and very, very cold commute.

We're at Penn Station, which is usually bustling with commuters, who go into the station, jump on the train and head home, but, of course, not tonight. So, any of these people that you're seeing, many of them are doing exactly what you're saying. They're hoofing it.

So, for New Yorkers or anyone who is trying to get anywhere around, it was a very tough day.


UDOJI (voice-over): New Yorkers, like newlyweds Jessica and Connor Coyne, woke up expecting mayhem.

JESSICA COYNE, NEW YORK COMMUTER: I can't walk all the way to Port Authority.

CONNOR COYNE, NEW YORK COMMUTER: I could walk to Port Authority you, and then I could just walk...

J. COYNE: That's a really long walk. How long is it? How long would it take?

C. COYNE: Probably a little bit less than two hours.

UDOJI: They live in Brooklyn, across the river from Manhattan, and, like seven million people, who usually ride buses and trains, found themselves stranded.

With bus drivers and subway conductors on strike, thousands of their neighbors decided to walk, trekking across the Brooklyn Bridge in frigid 20-degree temperatures. They were joined by the city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Around the rest of the city, commuters were forced to get creative to make it to work or anywhere else.

Cars filled to capacity rolled slowly through the morning rush hour gridlock. Taxies turned into carpools, as police enforced rules that each car carry at least four people going into Manhattan this morning.

As for our stranded newlyweds, a research assistant and graduate student, the Coynes, like many, could not afford for both of them to take a cab. So, Jessica left Connor behind. She had further to go.

J. COYNE: I guess that's one of the big positives about living in a big city, like New York, is that you're always going through the hard times with -- with everybody else.


C. COYNE: In -- in good -- in good company.

UDOJI: At it turned out, very good company -- Connor soon ran into a driver, who offered him a ride. Many people stayed home, though. And retailers are afraid shoppers will, too, with estimates of lost business ranging from $250 million to $400 million a day, a big blow five days before the holidays.

It usually takes Jessica two hours to get to work. Today, it was three hours, a strike commute that no one knows how long will last.


UDOJI: And, today, the union suffered a blow, Paula. A judge, late this afternoon, ruled against the union, calling -- calling, saying, that they -- actually, holding them in contempt and now is going to penalize them $1 million a day, as they continue to strike, and that is because of an earlier court ruling that said a strike would be illegal, based on state law. So, the union is suffering a very heavy -- very, very heavy toll.

ZAHN: So...

UDOJI: Paula.

ZAHN: ... what's the status of negotiations at this hour?

UDOJI: See, that's not even very encouraging. What we have heard today, from what we understand, the two sides didn't even sit down at all to talk today.

So, of course, that big -- the big question of when are they possibly ever going to solve this. And there are many New Yorkers and others with lots of fingers and toes crossed that it will be very soon.

ZAHN: Well, Adaora Udoji, looking around our studio tonight, you wouldn't know there was a strike. Thank you all for coming in.

Many people walking 20 miles, some biking in. They made it in, Adaora. Good luck. Stay warm.

Please stay with us.

Perhaps, you know a clue that can solve the mystery that started with this 911 call.


OPERATOR: Is she breathing at all?

CALLER: No. No. She's cold. She's not breathing. She doesn't have a pulse. And I think she's dead.


ZAHN: Her friends say she was the sweetest person that you could possibly meet. Who would want to kill her?

Later, imagine discovering brothers and sisters you never even knew you had. Stay with us and meet some of the children of sperm donor number 66.

And what is scarier to you, Halloween goblins or a visit to Santa?

Stay tuned.


ZAHN: We have a fascinating mystery story for you tonight out of Arkansas in a small town that hasn't seen a murder in nearly a decade. A beautiful and talented young woman who seemed to have no enemies at all died suspiciously last Thursday.

We sent Keith Oppenheim to look in to what's going on outside the law.


KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She loved to sing. Last June, Nona Dirksmeyer competed in the Miss Arkansas beauty pageant and described the Italian piece she would perform.

NONA DIRKSMEYER, ARKANSAS BEAUTY CONTESTANT: "Con Te Partiro" is a song about love and loss. Translated to English, it means, with you, I part, or time to say goodbye. I hope you enjoy my version of this classic song.

OPPENHEIM: Nona never really had a chance to develop her talent. Last Thursday evening, her boyfriend, Kevin Jones (ph), came to her apartment in Russellville, Arkansas, with his mother and a friend. Jones told police he had been unable to reach her for hours. They found Nona lying on the floor and called 911.


911 OPERATOR: Is she breathing at all?

CALLER: No. No. She's cold. She's not breathing. She doesn't have a pulse. And I think she's dead.


OPPENHEIM: Police say, except for socks on her feet, Nona was naked. There was blood on her face, and an inch-and-a-half cut on her neck. Investigators said it was the first homicide in Russellville in nine years.

JAMES BACON, CHIEF OF RUSSELLVILLE, ARKANSAS, POLICE CHIEF: Less than one-one-hundredth of 1 percent of our calls for service is a violent crime. I mean, it is a -- we just don't have violent crimes. So, this is a very significant event for our city.

OPPENHEIM: Nona Dirksmeyer was, by all accounts, an accomplished student. Nineteen years old, a sophomore majoring in music at Arkansas Tech University, she played the flute, studied piano, and sang in the choir.

LAUREN WOOD, ARKANSAS TECH CHOIR MEMBER: It's still very surreal. This will be the first time that we have done anything, you know, without her.

OPPENHEIM: On the day she died, police say, things seemed to be normal. Nona took a final exam at 8:00 in the morning.

(on camera): At 9:00 a.m., investigators say, Nona sent a text message to her boyfriend, telling him she loved him. At 10:20, she called a female professor in the music department. But at 2:00 in the afternoon, Nona didn't show up for another final exam. Then, around 6:30 in the evening, her body was found in her apartment.

The mother of Nona's boyfriend, Janice Jones, called 911. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)


911 OPERATOR: I need to know what is going on.

JANICE JONES: My son's girlfriend, I think she's dead. Terrible accident.

911 OPERATOR: OK, what kind of accident, ma'am?

JANICE JONES: I don't know.

911 OPERATOR: OK. What's the address?

JANICE JONES: She's lying naked on the carpet and she's got blood all over her face. I'm trying to find the address.


OPPENHEIM: A preliminary autopsy on Nona's body has been completed, but police won't say if he was sexually assaulted, if there was forced entry into her apartment, or who could be a suspect.

Nona's stepfather, Dwayne (ph), said, in the past, young men had harassed her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's somebody she knew. I think it's probably a student.

OPPENHEIM: Her mother, Carol, is simply struggling to come to terms with what happened.

CAROL DIPERT, MOTHER: I can't do what I need to do, you know, like make funeral arrangements and so forth. And I have -- I have to kind of put it in the become of my mind. And, of course, when I'm by myself or trying to rest or something, I just can't quit thinking about it.

OPPENHEIM: In the meantime, police are racing to put all the pieces together to find out who would bring the life of a young woman with a beautiful voice to such a violent end.


OPPENHEIM: Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Russellville, Arkansas.


ZAHN: And Arkansas authorities are now saying the next 24 to 36 hours may be crucial in this case. They have scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning to announce some of the results of their investigation. We will be watching closely.

Still ahead, an eye-opening look at one of the most popular forms of cosmetic surgery these days if you're an Asian woman.

Plus, there are some young men and women who have just made an amazing discovery. They're brothers and sisters, but they never even knew each other existed. We are going to have their story in a few minutes.

But, right now, it's time for Erica Hill at Headline News to update the top stories of the day -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula. Nice to see you tonight.

ZAHN: Thanks.

HILL: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is now offering $50,000 for information about the hundreds of pounds of explosives that vanished from a business near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Now, ATF says the theft was discovered on Sunday night -- so far, no signs of a link to terrorism.

Three Democratic and two Republican senators are calling for an immediate inquiry into President Bush's authorization of a secret wiretapping program. Now, meantime, Vice President Cheney is defending the surveillance, saying it's saved thousands of lives.

A 6-year-old girl is among the wounded after a shooting in a Wal- Mart today in Deming, New Mexico. Three men walked into the store and opened fire. An employee and another man were hurt. Two of the suspects are under arrest, but there's a third still at large.

And, in Pennsylvania, a federal judge ruling that intelligent design is religious-based and, therefore, cannot be required teaching in public school science classes. That's a victory for some parents who sued the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board over separation of church and state -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thank you so much, Erica. Always good to see you.

And what do you see -- and I'm not asking you, Erica -- I'm asking the audience this...


ZAHN: ... when you stare at a mirror, your mouth, your hair, or is it your eyes?


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You notice the big eyes?

ANNIE CHENG, PLASTIC SURGERY PATIENT: Yes. I actually really pay attention to that part, because whenever I see a big-eye woman, I just feel that, oh, she's really pretty.


ZAHN: Coming up next, a form of cosmetic surgery that's all the rage among Asian women.

Also, what really happened in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago? Stay with us for a surprising look at what scientists are finding by studying ancient evidence.


ZAHN: There are all kinds of cosmetic surgeries, but we have just heard about something that, frankly, took us a lot of us by surprise. Millions of Asian women are making the startling decision to permanently alter the shape of their eyes through plastic surgery.

What drives so many of these women to make this increasingly popular and controversial decision?

Take a look, as Alina Cho follows one woman through the process and right into the operating room to find out why and exactly how it's done.


CHO (voice-over): Annie Cheng is 22 and beautiful. She doesn't think so, yet.

(on camera): Do you think you're pretty?

ANNIE CHENG, PLASTIC SURGERY PATIENT: Not bad-looking. I wouldn't say, like, really pretty, because my standard, pretty should be having big eyes.

CHO (voice-over): Annie's features are typically Asian. Her eyelids are very small, almost nonexistent. And that makes her eyes look small. But all of that is about to change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's very unique to Asians.

CHO: Soon, she will undergo surgery to make the folds, or creases, in her eyes bigger, to create what's known in the Asian community as double eyelids.

CHENG: In general, I think double eyelids makes you look prettier and makes your eyes look bigger.

CHO: The man who will perform the surgery is Dr. Charles Lee. Lee is an expert in plastic surgery for Asians.

DR. CHARLES LEE, PLASTIC SURGEON: Well, this surgery is to Asians what breast augmentations are to mainland Americans.

CHO: To better understand it, we had Dr. Lee take a look at my face.

(on camera): First of all, I guess, tell me how my features different from Caucasian features.

LEE: Sure. The most common or most obvious thing is the upper eyelid.

CHO (voice-over): Lee says my folds, or eyelids, are small.

LEE: And some Asians have larger folds, which, if you open your eyes, it might be something like that. And that -- this would be an Asian appearing -- this would be an Asian with the larger fold than you have currently. Caucasians have a fold maybe way up here.

What I would recommend for your eyes is, put -- bury some stitches and set -- set your crease slightly higher.

And relax your brow now.

Set your crease a little bit -- a little bit higher, so that -- so that you look -- your eyes look brighter.

CHO: But brighter, he means bigger, which is exactly what Annie wants. She wants to look a little like the Asian actresses she sees on TV and on the Internet.

(on camera): You notice the big eyes?

CHENG: Yes. I actually really pay attention to that part, because whenever I see a big-eye woman, I just feel that, oh, she's really pretty.

CHO (voice-over): Back at Dr. Lee's office, Annie is now getting prepped for surgery. First, she is sedated. Next, Dr. Lee measures her eyelids.

The top line, 8 millimeters above her natural fold, is where she wants her new crease to be.

LEE: I'm just making sure that the markings and everything are appropriate.

CHO: The surgery take about 30 minutes. Basically, Dr. Lee is using stitches to force the skin to fold, creating a new, bigger eyelid and, in turn, a bigger eye.

LEE: When I get the stitch buried in there, you will see that I'm just attaching the internal structures a little higher up.

CHO (on camera): Creating the crease?

LEE: Yes.

When you finish this operation, she is still going to look Asian. And she will be grateful that I kept her looking Asian.

CHO (voice-over): Eyelid surgery was introduced in the 1950s, after the Korean War, when women wanted to look more Caucasian to impress American G.I.s. Critics of the surgery say, Asian women who alter their eyelids are turning back on their ethnic identity.

Dr. Lee says, that's impossible. LEE: No one's going to mistake them for being Caucasian or African-American. They look Asian. So, what we're trying to do is preserve ethnicity. And the bigger question is whether the standard of beauty is changing, but that's a bit different question than, are you trying to change your race?

CHO: Two weeks after the surgery, we're back to see Annie again. The first thing we notice, besides her appearance, is that she's happy and confident.

Her eyelids are clearly bigger. And, with her new eyes, she's doing things she couldn't before, like experiment with makeup.

CHENG: But now you can see two colors. I can even put three colors, if I want.


CHO: Though she feels sexier and more feminine, Annie says she's still the same person she was before the surgery.

CHENG: I still look Asian, but, with the eyes now, the bigger eyes now, I just feel I look better.


CHENG: It's kind of, like, conceited to say that, but, then, I just feel that way.


ZAHN: So, Alina, there is such a great demand for this surgery. Do these women really feel some sort of societal pressure to do this?

CHO: Oh, they feel tremendous pressure, Paula. I can tell you...

ZAHN: But where is it coming from? Because, on -- on -- on one hand, you hear the other people saying, don't give up that part of your identity, your...

CHO: Right.

ZAHN: ... cultural identity.

CHO: Well, I think the media has a lot to do with it.

This woman we profiled, Annie Cheng, said, if it wasn't for the actresses she saw on television or the models she saw in magazines, she might not want the surgery.

I can tell you, though, that Asian women with big eyes are considered -- and this was historically true and now -- considered the most beautiful. It's considered the most valuable physical trait you can have as an Asian woman.

ZAHN: All right. Come clean.


ZAHN: So, are you tempted to go that route?

CHO: You know what? I was a little bit tempted, but -- my mother would kill me if she heard me saying this.


CHO: But, you know, my -- my family was very anti-plastic surgery, still is to this day. So, I never felt the pressure, growing up. But, you know, again, plastic surgery is an individual choice.

ZAHN: Sure.

CHO: And it is, whether you're Asian or not.

ZAHN: Yes, a very personal one, at that.

Alina, thanks so much. Very interesting.

In a minute, you are going to meet some incredibly lucky men and women. They have just discovered they're related. They have different mothers, but the same anonymous sperm donor as their father.


WENDY KRAMER, FOUNDER DONOR SIBLING REGISTRY: So there's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 families with 15 children all born from the same donor.


ZAHN: And now that they have discovered each other, should they try to find their father?

That's next.

Then, a bit later on, Jeanne Moos considers the scariest part of Christmas, that big stranger in that funny-looking red suit.


ZAHN: Got a real "Eye Opener" for you tonight, children conceived with sperm donations trying to track down their biological siblings.

Now, I don't know think many of us can imagine what it's like to find out you have a half-dozen brothers and sisters you'd never met, never even knew existed.

But that's exactly what's happening thanks to one Web site. In tonight's "Eye Opener", Deborah Feyerick introduces us to five brothers and sisters, who just a year ago had never even heard of each other. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They laugh and joke as if they've known each other forever. Five brothers and sisters, half siblings who share a father they have never met. In fact, they only met within the last year.

(on camera): You guys are really the first generation, on some levels, to be searching for one another. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like finding long lost siblings you never had. I mean, how many chances? What are the odds that's going to happen?

FEYERICK (voice-over): More surprising for 15-year-old Justin, an only child. Unlike the others here, he only found out this summer he was conceived using donor sperm. Immediately curious, he went online, and that's where he found twins Erin and Rebecca (ph) and siblings Tyler (ph) and McKenzie (ph), all from the same donor, donor 66. All live in the Denver area with an hour's drive from each other.

ERIN BALDWIN, CHILD OF SPERM DONOR: It's always that connection that you feel like you've gone way back but you really haven't. You've just met.

FEYERICK: The one they haven't met is their genetic father. But from his written profile, which most potential mothers get, they know donor 66 was a surgical assistant. His sperm went to three mothers treated by the same doctor in the Denver area.

Wendy Kramer brought the teens together through her Web site, She created it with her son Ryan to help find his own donor dad. So far the site has made 1,000 matches between donor siblings or between donors and their children.

WENDY KRAMER, FOUNDER, DONOR SIBLING REGISTRY: So there's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 families with 15 children all born from the same donor.

FEYERICK (on camera): And you think that this is almost an under-reporting of the number, that there may be twice of three times as many from this one person?

W. KRAMER: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Forty percent of women report their live births. You know, so this -- we're seeing a fraction here.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Sperm banks are not required to track the number of children born from any one donor. They may be two or 200. Since a donor may donate multiple times, there's just no way to know for sure.

(on camera): How many half brothers and sisters do you think you have out there? RYAN KRAMER, CHILD OF SPERM DONOR: I'd say probably between 15 and 20 or so.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Wendy's son, Ryan, has never met many of them. He's 15 and by all accounts a genius. We met him at the University of Colorado, where he will soon be a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering. He easily answers calculus and physics questions. But questions about his own biological dad are much, much tougher.

R. KRAMER: Parts about my face, you know, there are -- my brow or teeth or my nose or certain things just, you know, clearly don't come from my mother. And to see those in somebody else, would just answer a world of questions for me.

FEYERICK: Ryan's donor dad likely wasn't much older than Ryan is now. In fact, the majority of donors accepted by sperm banks are college students. They must be handsome, smart, outgoing, the kind of guy a girl would like to date. It's no coincidence many sperm banks and clinics within walking distance of campuses. The work is easy, the pay is good.

DR. CAPPY ROTHMAN, CALIFORNIA CRYOBANK: They can make between 600 an $900 a month just coming to visit us a couple of times.

FEYERICK: Dr. Cappy Rothman is a pioneer in the field of donor sperm.

(on camera): What are we looking at here?

ROTHMAN: The next generation.

FEYERICK (voice-over): He founded California Cryobank in the mid-1970s, and estimated as many as than three quarters of a million babies have been born from his sperm bank alone, a daunting number considering there are now 150 sperm banks across the country.

When Rothman began, the controversy was using a stranger's sperm to have a baby. The controversy now, Rothman says, children trying to track down their genetic donors, men who never intended to be found.

(on camera): Do you guarantee the anonymity of the donors?

ROTHMAN: We try to, we thought we did, we hoped we could. But after what's been taking place with the misuse of some of the technology out there, I don't think we can absolutely guarantee.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Most potential mothers sign contracts agreeing to respect a potential donor's privacy. Wendy says she never did. It may not matter. Testing DNA is as easy as swabbing your cheek, and the growth of genetic databases could make it all but impossible for donors to remain anonymous. One teenager recently used a saliva sample, had his DNA analyzed, and found his genetic father through a DNA database.

W. KRAMER: I see all on my Web site, and over the next ten years, this wave of kids is about to hit this sperm bank industry and want answers to their questions.

FEYERICK: Donor dads have absolutely no legal or financial responsibility to their genetic offspring. So then, what is it children like Ryan really want?

R. KRAMER: Really, all I'm looking for from the donor is just to answer a few of those questions I have. You know, I'm not looking for a relationship or money or anything that, you know, a lot of people assume that donor kids want to know about them. Really, it's just a curiosity about who he is and, you know, where I came from.

FEYERICK: The five Denver born kids from donor 66 are now debating how far they want to go to find their genetic dad.

(on camera): So, show of hands. Who wants to find the donor?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would love to, but like ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be cool.

FEYERICK: You're not so sure? Why not?

BALDWIN: I'm satisfied beyond belief. I have two brothers, two sisters.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Sisters and brothers, once strangers, now family.

JUSTIN SENK, CHILD OF SPERM DONOR: You know, your friends, you may never see them again after college or after high school, but I'm going to know all of them for the rest of my life.

FEYERICK: And who's to say how many more children from donor 66 they will meet down the road.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Boulder, Colorado.


ZAHN: And there's another thing to tell you about Wendy Kramer says that her Web site has made 200 new matches between donor siblings or donors and their children.

You probably know the Christmas story by heart, right? Well, stay with us for a surprising look at what scientists think really happened and wasn't there.


JONATHAN L. REED, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE: The majority of scholars are very skeptical of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem.


ZAHN: So the question tonight is, what did happen? We're going to gather around the manger in just a second and see who scientists are taking out of the picture.


ZAHN: A lot of you have been looking at nativity scenes and singing Christmas carols for years, but what you learned in Sunday school may be a far cry from what really happened when Jesus was born. Tomorrow night the "National Geographic Channel" is running a very surprising program called "Science of the Bible." Here's a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is as close as history and science can get to the actual birth of Jesus. We've stripped away the donkey, the cave, perhaps even Bethlehem itself. The nativity scene is not just inaccurate, it is incomplete.

The true story of Christmas did not end with the child in a manger, but with rituals that most Christians would find totally alien.


ZAHN: One of the experts "National Geographic" consulted is Jonathan L. Reed, he is a professor of religion and author of the book "In Search of Paul." Good of you to join us tonight, sir.

If you believe the traditional nativity scene is not only inaccurate, but also incomplete, what really happened?

JONATHAN L. REED, AUTHOR, "IN SEARCH OF PAUL": I think one of the things the show is trying to do is strip away from the iconography that surrounds the nativity. The nativity scene in a lot of ways is wrong.

What we're trying to do is get at what really happened, what was the setting in the first century?

ZAHN: Don't you take the risk of offending a lot of people by stripping away at stories that followers have believed in for thousands of years?

REED: A lot of what we're stripping an is really minutiae. For example, the three kings, there weren't three. That's not even mentioned in the scripture.

The fact that this was sort of an outside stall doesn't make sense. It was inside of a house in the lower levels with the animals, not in an outdoor setting.

So we're not really trying to offend Christians and believers, but try to point out what does archaeology show and teach us about life at the time of Jesus.

ZAHN: We know so little about his life from the time of his birth to the time of his baptism. You uncovered a lot of interesting information about Jesus' adult life. We're going to take a quick peek at that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Two thousand years ago, in a village called Nazareth, there was once a boy. His young life is a total mystery, but he became the most famous man of his age.

Now we go beyond the gospels, in search of the lost years of Jesus, to paint a shocking new portrait of a boy who had brothers and sisters, of a man who was not a carpenter, and we uncover new archaeological evidence of a ritual that lets us see into the mind of Jesus, and the birth of Christianity.


ZAHN: So, Jonathan, you have to concede, a lot of what you are reporting in this documentary really seriously contradicts what a lot of us have been taught over the years. What is the most stunning departure, do you think, from traditional belief here about Jesus' early life?

REED: I think what we're trying to do is really show what life was like in the first century in Palestine, in Israel, at the time of Jesus. What we're trying to show is what was peasant life like.

We're trying to understand the kind of person who, like thousands of people before him, flew under the radar. This is a peasant. This is someone who worked a very arduous life just to keep himself alive, and probably around 30 came out and began his ministry.

We're not trying to say he went to India, he went to Alexandria, he went to Egypt or somewhere like that, we're looking at the lost years of Jesus in terms of trying to understand how a Jewish peasant would have lived his life in Galilee in the first century.

ZAHN: You have been researching this subject for years and years and years. Consider everything you've sifted through, and what you have found the most surprising thing of all?

REED: I think the most interesting thing for me was working with actors who were putting on they reenactments and reconstruction. I deal with artifacts and texts and books.

When you see the actors reenact the life of Jesus, it occurs to you that Christianity is really about life and living. It's not about thoughts and thinking, it's not about academics, it's about people in the world, in the lower classes, in the forgotten classes oftentimes.

ZAHN: What are some of those lessons you think have gotten hidden or lost along the way?

REED: I think one of the things that problematic, and it begins really with the apostle's creed. We talk about in Christianity, Jesus as being divine. He's born of the Virgin Mary and then he ascends into heaven. What the show is really about is trying to understand Jesus the human being, Jesus the person. What were his teachings and what did he do on a daily basis?

ZAHN: Finally tonight, one of the other surprising facts that you think of evidence of, in fact Mary gave birth to Jesus in her early teens. How old do you think she was? And how do you prove that?

REED: Well, we can't really prove it, but for sure the word that is used in the Hebrew scriptures is a very young woman. That is to say, a woman who has just reached child-bearing age. So we rather suspect in the show that Mary is maybe 13, 14, 15 years old, exceptionally young by our standards.

ZAHN: Jonathan Reed, certainly it's fascinating, and I'm certain you will spur a bunch of spirited debates with this information. I really appreciate you joining us.

REED: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thank you. And again, "Science of the Bible" airs tomorrow night on the National Geographic Channel.

Right now we break into our regular programming to get word about a developing story. Up in Boston, an airliner is now circling the local airport there, Logan Airport, right now. Apparently it has a problem with its right landing gear.

Apparently that happened right after it took off.

The plane is a Boeing 717, it is operated by Midwest air. This is the same configuration, not necessarily the same plane that's flying tonight.

This particular flight that we're talking about is Flight 210 from Boston to Milwaukee. Ninety-one people on board. Again the plane seems to be having a problem with its right main landing gear.

It is circling Logan Airport. Officials say they will attempt a landing at about 9:00 p.m. We'll keep you posted, it wasn't all that long away when we watched one of these emergency landings with a stuck landing gear with a Jet Blue flight that was a quite successful flight.

The pilot's only frustration is he landed some six inches off the centerline. We hope these pilots have the same success this evening.

As soon as we have more information on that flight, we will bring it to you.


ZAHN: Contrary to what you might think, Christmas through a child's eyes can be pretty darn frightening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we both sit with Santa Claus?

ZAHN: Coming up next, Jeanne Moos takes on the scariest part of Christmas, and no it isn't opening your credit card bills in January.


ZAHN: I'm sure you're singing it in your sleep these days. You better watch out, you better not cry. You better not pout, I'm telling you why. Well now most children know why Santa's coming to town, but could it be ominous warnings like this one, is the reason some develop a fear of Santa Claus? We sent Jeanne Moos on a mission to reveal true Santa-phobia.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Oh, sure, 'tis the season to be jolly.

But it's hard to be jolly when confronted by a bearded guy with a gut dressed all in red.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we both sit with Santa Claus?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, sweetie, sweetie, sweetie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of rejection in this job.

MOOS: Hey, kids.


MOOS: No lying.

(on camera): Were you ever scared to sit on Santa's lap?


MOOS: Not at all

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually this year was the first year they sat on Santa's lap without screaming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would not go near Santa. She walked as far away as she could.

MOOS: But you avoided Santa, why?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Because I was tired.


MOOS: They made you get on his lap.

(voice-over): Newspapers like the "Chicago Tribune" asked readers to send in scared of Santa photos with captions like, "Category 5 Scream" or "Unhand us, you fiend."

One woman sent in "Like father, like son," showing her husband when he was two, next to her son at about the same age. Some kids like Ethan here even cry when it's their own dad dressed up like Santa.

But Dr. Joyce Brothers says, no wonder Santa scares kids.

DR. JOYCE BROTHERS, PSYCHOLOGIST: He is abnormal to a child.

MOOS: He's even more abnormal this year. Consider bloody Santa, wielding a knife and holding a doll's head. A New Yorker put up the display to protest Christmas commercialism, but the display was itself vandalized by those upset over it.

And then there was hanging Santa in Miami Beach, bound and blindfolded. His owner took down jolly old St. Lynched after much uproar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It frightens me and it disgusts me.

MOOS: That's pretty much how some kids feel about the real thing. There's even research on the subject. Professor John Trinkaus observed several hundred kids in malls waiting to meet Santa.

He rated their facial expressions: exhilarated, happy, indifferent, hesitant, saddened, terrified. Indifferent won by a landslide, thought the faces of the grownups accompanying the kids were overwhelmingly happy.


MOOS (on camera): I know, but why were you scared? What about Santa was a little scary?


MOOS (voice-over): It makes you wonder if kids who are scared of Santa will progress to being scared of clowns. The two older kids in this photo had to hold onto the coat of the girl in the hood so she wouldn't run away.

(on camera): Are you scared of Santa or are you cool with Santa?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I'm cool with Santa.

MOOS (voice-over): That's not what mom says.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he wouldn't go in the room with Santa. He was terrified.

MOOS (on camera): What was it that so scared you about Santa?


MOOS (voice-over): Hey, at least he wasn't terrified of a plastic Santa. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ZAHN: When we come back, we'll have more breaking news out of Boston, where a commercial airliner will be attempting, we are told to make an emergency landing with some kind of problem in its right landing gear.

We'll have all the details for you on the other side. We'll be right back.



ANNOUNCER, "THEN & NOW" (voice-over): Dominique Dawes tumbled into the spotlight in the 1996 Olympics as part of the magnificent seven gold medal-winning gymnastics team Awesome Dawesom became the first African-American to win individual gymnastics medal with a bronze in the floor exercise.

DOMINIQUE DAWES, GYMNAST: It just meant a lot to do it for the country, my team and myself.

ANNOUNCER: After the Olympics, Dawes turned heads on Broadway. Dabbled in acting and modeling and cart wheeled her way through a Prince music video.

She hung up her leotard in 1998 and went on to the University of Maryland, but soon realized that gymnastics was not quite out of her system. Dawes participated in her third Olympic games in 2000 in what she calls a once in a lifetime experience. Dawes, now 28 is completely retired from gymnastics and splits her time between coaching and motivational speaking.

DAWES: It's really going out there and teaching young girls what being fit is all about.

ANNOUNCER: She's also president of the Women's Sports Foundation and has recently launched a new project, Go Girl Go.

DAWES: I feel like I do have to inspire and empower others and that's why I found these different platforms and these different venues that I feel live been able to touch lives in.


ZAHN: Breaking news out of Boston right now, where an airliner is circling Logan Airport. The airliner apparently has a problem with its right landing gear. That happened, we told, after it took off. The plane is a Boeing 717. It is operated by Midwest Air. The plane has the same configuration, we're told, as this plane. And it is going to attempt an emergency landing sometime within the next 10, 15 minutes.


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