Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Interview With West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin; How Far Has Face Transplant Patient Progressed?; Miracle in Sago

Aired January 18, 2006 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
We are at a place tonight where a medical breakthrough is happening not far from where a disaster unfolded. Now, in both places, the story is still being written in tears of sadness and of joy. But, questions, too, including, what happened to the promise of an open and public investigation?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Two weeks after the fatal Sago Mine tragedy, doctors say we are seeing a miracle.

DR. JULIAN BAILES, CHIEF OF NEUROSURGERY, WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY: We announce that Randy McCloy is awakening from his coma.

ANNOUNCER: But so many questions remain, the cause of the explosion, the mine safety violations, and tonight, fears that the promise of a public investigation may be forgotten. Anderson asks West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin for answers.

Tonight, we are "Keeping Them Honest."

Surgeons who performed the groundbreaking face transplant surgery reveal startling new details about the French woman whose surgery surprised the world, what she's doing, how she looks.

And a car plunges into the water. The driver's granddaughter makes a desperate call to 911.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The water is coming in and we are sinking.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: A heroic rescue and a 360 survivor's manual -- what to do if you're ever caught in the same life-or-death situation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of Anderson Cooper 360.

Live from West Virginia, here's Anderson Cooper. COOPER: Good evening again. We are in Morgantown tonight, outside West Virginia University's Ruby Memorial Hospital. Inside, medical history is being made. Randy McCloy is slowing waking up after inhaling what for nearly anyone else would be a killing amount of carbon monoxide.

For 11 bodies who didn't die in the initial explosion -- one person did, you will remember -- it was, how did Randy survive? Why did the others die? And more than two weeks after the disaster, why is a good deal in the investigation into what happened to the Sago Mine happening out of the public eye? We will look at all of that tonight and more, including why a young man like Randy McCloy keep heading down into the mines.

We will begin, though, with his long journey back to daylight.

Here's CNN's Chris Huntington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Randy McCloy is recovering more quickly, more completely than his doctors could ever have expected.

DR. JULIAN BAILES, CHIEF OF NEUROSURGERY, WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY: With great hope, we announce that Randy McCloy is awakening from his coma. He is opening his eyes. He has purposeful movements. He responds to his family in slight ways. He moves all extremities. We consider him probably best described in a -- in a light coma.

HUNTINGTON: McCloy can track objects and people around the room with his eyes. He can suck on an ice cube, a sign that he may soon be ready for something closer to a normal meal, instead of the feeding tube through his stomach wall.

McCloy has been out of intensive care since Monday, breathing on his own for several days. His doctors won't predict whether he will fully recover, but they are sure now that Randy McCloy's rebound from the more than 40 hours of severe trauma and carbon monoxide poisoning he suffered in the mine is unprecedented.

BAILES: In every measure, this is one of the most or the longest survivor from that sort of environment that we know of.

HUNTINGTON: McCloy's doctors say his recovery, even his survival, are beyond what they can explain medically.

DR. LARRY ROBERTS, JOHN MICHAEL MOORE TRAUMA CENTER: We may start with a miracle. Maybe that's the best way to describe it. I am completely speculating. But perhaps he was -- he had more oxygen available to him than those who succumbed. I can't explain why or how, but that would be a logical explanation for why he did better.

HUNTINGTON: In the week after the disaster, Randy's father told the Associated Press that he believes the other trapped miners shared their emergency oxygen with his son because he had young children. McCloy, Sr. said he had no facts to base that on, just his knowledge that miners treat each other like brothers. Dennis O'Dell, a mining union official being briefed on the Sago investigation, tells CNN he does not know of any evidence that Randy McCloy used any of his fellow miners' emergency oxygen. But O'Dell says McCloy was found furthest from the barricade set up to block fumes, fire, and debris.

And he speculates that could mean McCloy took in less carbon monoxide. Only the federal investigation into the explosion could answer that question. McCloy has come a long way. He was found in the mines severely dehydrated with a dangerously low body temperature and with a collapsed lung, nearly dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.

His wife, Anna, has been at Randy's bedside throughout their ordeal.

ANNA MCCLOY, WIFE OF RANDAL MCCLOY: He's a good dad, and a good father, and a wonderful husband.

HUNTINGTON: His doctors say that they have no doubt that the presence of McCloy's wife and children is crucial to his recovery. Anna McCloy says she has no doubt that a higher power is also playing a role.

MCCLOY: Before he would go out the door, he said, God loves you, and he loves me, too, and then he would go out the door, and I would just wait until the taillights were gone before I would shut the door and lock it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HUNTINGTON: Now, no matter who has a hand in Randy's recovery, the doctors here say it will almost certainly be measured in weeks and months and not days.

And Anderson, they do hope there just may be a couple of weeks out that they can move him into physical rehab, some kind of extra rehab above and beyond what he's getting right now. They're trying to work him as he lies in bed. But they're hopeful that he will be able to be in a position where they can truly move him around.

COOPER: When you hear that he's coming out of the coma, though, it sort of implies that he's up and about and fully conscious. He's not. They're just saying he's in a light coma.

HUNTINGTON: Right. We have to be -- put a very clear point on this.

He is still not in anywhere close to full consciousness. He's not speaking. And when they talk about his ability to track things around the room, fingers and such, with his eyes, the doctors underscore that by saying that they still don't believe that he is able to sort of fix his gaze meaningfully on things, that he's still -- he's not all there.

COOPER: Nevertheless, they are amazed that, I mean, A, he survived that long...

HUNTINGTON: Yes.

COOPER: ... but that he's doing this well.

HUNTINGTON: Yes.

And, today -- it's interesting that it's taken them a couple of weeks to sort of come to say this, but they believe now, after carefully consulting with people -- or doctors around the world, and all the available medical literature, that his recovery from the degree of trauma, from the exposure that he undoubtedly suffered to carbon monoxide, it appears to them to be a medical first.

COOPER: It's amazing.

Chris Huntington, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Now we turn to Governor Joe Manchin and the investigation which got under way just yesterday. Already, there are some complaints that the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, which is the federal body responsible for protecting miners and the safety of mines, as well as state officials, are only conducting voluntary interviews of miners, and doing it behind closed doors.

Well, now, we're spending a good deal of the program tonight looking for answers and getting the facts and "Keeping Them Honest."

We started with the governor, who we spoke with just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Governor, I want to talk to you about the status of these investigations.

MSHA has said that they were going to have public hearings; it was going to be an open process, transparency. They started asking questions. They started investigating yesterday. But, so far, it's all behind closed doors.

GOV. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: What happens now is, you have a lot of theories, a lot of hearsays.

They try to construct everything they can, and then put it factually, present that in an open forum, which has never been done in our state before. And then we're going to have the families participating. We're going to have an open hearings to find out what the facts are.

COOPER: I mean, you agree transparency is important. I think everyone wants to know what happened in that mine.

I want to read you something that -- that a writer, David Hawpe with "The Louisville Courier-Journal," just wrote. He said, quote, "What MSHA and West Virginia officials have convened are voluntary, closed-door interviews, which the witnesses can terminate at any time, and during which they can refuse to answer any questions they don't like. Company ears are there to hear anything a survivor might say about how the mine was run. But the victims' families won't be."

Does it make sense that company officials get to hear what's going on behind closed doors, but families don't?

MANCHIN: Company -- Anderson, company officials won't be there either. It will just be the federal and the state doing the initial investigation.

COOPER: I do just want to be clear, though, because this is happening behind closed doors, and we don't have access to find out exactly who is there.

For a fact, you know that company officials, ICG company officials, who basically are being investigated, they are not part of this process at this point? They are not listening in, hearing what witnesses are testifying to? Is that...

MANCHIN: Correct.

COOPER: To your knowledge, is that correct?

MANCHIN: I'm understanding today, up until today, you were going to have the mine owners with the ICG, and then you were going to have a representative from the United Mine Workers representing the families.

I think it has been decided -- I heard this evening it has been decided, there will be nobody involved except the state and federal officials, nobody.

COOPER: Because there have been a lot of questions raised about -- about MSHA and about their transparency.

I mean, as you know, in the last couple of years, they no longer allow anyone...

MANCHIN: Sure.

COOPER: ... victims' families, to see the inspection reports that these inspectors go down and do.

Under Reagan, under the former President Bush, under President Clinton, you could actually see the inspectors' reports. They no longer allow that. Do you have concerns about the level of openness on the part of the federal government, on the part of MSHA?

MANCHIN: I don't know what sins of the past they might have committed, or what -- how they worked, under what rules.

I can only tell you, with the Sago Mine investigation, it's being done with the state of West Virginia -- and I have Doug Conway as our director handling our investigation, working in conjunction with the federal, with J. Davitt McAteer, overseeing the whole process, reporting to me daily.

Then, when we have all of those facts gathered, we're going to present that in an open forum. You and the rest of the world, the families, everyone will be able to see.

COOPER: It does seem very primitive, the way rescue operations are done. I mean, it's kind of ad hoc, getting people from around who will come in. It takes a long time.

You know, it took a long time for 911 to be called by company officials. It just seems very kind of, you know, bare-bones, the way -- where -- the way these operations are being run.

(CROSSTALK)

MANCHIN: Anderson, I can't sit here and give any excuse, nor will I even try.

I can tell you, we're going to fix -- something's broken. It must be fixed. And it's an absolute horrible price that we in West Virginia have had to pay. And the suffering of these family members, it's horrible. And that will never happen again.

In 1968, we had a horrible disaster in Farmington. I lost my uncle and I lost a lot of my friends. With that, we had tremendous changes come about. And it's a shame we have never evolved from that to really keep up with the technology that is available. That's not going to happen in West Virginia, not under my watch. And I'm committing and committing all the resources of our state to make the changes.

And I feel confident the federal government will come along with us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the governor called me shortly after that interview just to reiterate that there will be openness in this investigation, that the investigation that began yesterday is just the early phase of it, just to clear up some things, and that company officials will not be part of that initial investigation, as they have in past years in other investigations.

Two weeks ago, when we all mistakenly believed that 12 trapped miners survived the Sago Mine blast, the Helms family, well, they couldn't celebrate. At the time, their loved one, Terry Helms, was thought to be the only victim. Three hours later, they would find out that they weren't alone in their sorrow, but that doesn't necessarily ease the pain, does it?

We got to know the Helms family well during our visit to Upshur County. We went back to see them today to find out how they're doing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): We first met the family of Terry Helms as they waited for word of the fate of the 13 miners.

VIRGINIA MOORE, FIANCEE OF TERRY HELMS: My fiance, Terry Helms, is in the mines, and we -- that we had heard that he was one of them that was trapped in there. And so we -- we're here. And we're here until he comes out.

COOPER: It was an agonizing vigil for Virginia Moore, Terry's fiancee, and for his children and nieces and nephews. They waited all through the cold, black night, all through the terrible day that followed.

(on camera): Why is it so important for you to be here?

MICHELLE MOUSER, NIECE OF TERRY HELMS: Because I don't really want to miss anything. I just -- I keep hoping and praying that he's going to drive out in his truck or he's going to walk over here, you know, or something.

COOPER (voice-over): Terry Helms had been a miner for more than 30 years. He was the fire boss in the Sago Mine, and his body was the first one found by rescuers.

(MUSIC)

COOPER: In the two weeks that have passed since then, there have been funerals and memorials, ribbons and reminders, 12 families lost, a community's pain. Terry's fiancee, Virginia Moore, and his niece, Michelle Mouser, both work at the hospital where Randy McCloy, Jr., the sole Sago survivor, is being treated.

MOUSER: It's hard seeing the cards come in for him and the packages and stuff, you know, knowing that he's here, and then I have one that I have lost.

COOPER: The loss is hard to accept for everyone in Terry's family.

MOUSER: You still have that feeling that you hope that, well, he's going to come back or this just didn't really happen. But, yes, I'm dealing with it. And I will accept it.

MOORE: I come home from work. And then I wait a while, get done what I need to get done, and fix dinner, and 7:30, he would be coming home. And he's not coming home no more. It's hard.

COOPER: Terry's fiancee, Virginia, says the cards and letters she has received have helped. Nearly 200 have arrived so far. Terry's two children from a past marriage are staying with her right now. That helps, too. But, still, she misses everything about Terry.

MOORE: His smile, the smell of him, his touch. I was never much for going places. And he says, oh, you got to go places. You know, he always wanted to go and -- places he has never been and do things he has never done.

COOPER: One adventure they looked forward to together was marriage. It was going to be a simple wedding. The actual day, however, was a surprise.

MOORE: Just go get the license, that was going to be plenty enough. But he said either my birthday at the end of this month or Valentine's Day was going to be a special day for me. I guess I will never know now.

COOPER: Those who knew Terry Helms will tell you he had a heart the size of Texas. He worked hard in the mines, loved to golf and hunt, but his family and his fiancee were the center of his world.

MOORE: He's a great man, a loving, caring, super man. He's everybody's hero. He was a full-fledged dad, and he loved being a dad, yes, a superhero.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Terry Helms.

Well, this past Sunday, a memorial service was held for the Sago miners. More than 1,800 people -- 1,800 flooded the chapel. There were families and friends and strangers, as well.

Nine-year-old Cheyenne Polis (ph), a great-niece of Terry Helms, was there, as well. She had planned to read a letter about her great- uncle, but reading in front of nearly 2,000 people is enough to give any nine-year-old stage fright, including Cheyenne (ph) . She's watching. And I'm sure it would have given me stage fright, as well, Cheyenne (ph).

She didn't read her letter in the chapel Sunday, but agreed to read it for us to honor her uncle Terry. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uncle Terry was a kind man and was willing to help at any time.

He would calm people down when they were angry. Everybody loved him. And he was the best man in the world. He died in an accident that was so bad. He loved his two kids, Amber and Nicholas. His heart was bigger than Texas.

If you needed something that he had, it was yours. Uncle Terry's spirit will live in all of us forever.

Terry, I hope you know that we all loved you, and we still do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, amid the grief, still many unanswered questions tonight -- the search for answers. CNN got copies of the mine inspections reports, and the findings are alarming. We will have that ahead.

Plus, a girl calls 911 from a car as it was sinking into a harbor -- her plea for help and the daring rescue caught on tape -- when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So, having cleared up some of the questions that we had, at least, about the Sago Mine investigation with Governor Joe Manchin earlier in the program, we want to look now at the questions about the disaster itself, what caused it, what happened.

With that tonight, CNN's Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Those who have been through painstaking mine disaster investigations before know how hard it is to separate the facts from all the confusion.

CHRIS HAMILTON, WEST VIRGINIA COAL ASSOCIATION: It's a slow investigation. And that's by design. They're very meticulous in interviewing and talking to all the witnesses, all the miners at the site, all those that have had contact with the operation over the past couple of weeks.

JOHNS: Among the questions, why did Randal McCloy, the youngest miner, survive, when all the others died? What's the significance of the heartbreaking last letters found with the miners who didn't make it out? How much time did they have to write them? And why couldn't the rescuers reach them in time?

And, for the state's point man on Sago, who has spent his career focusing on coal mining safety rescues, what the rescue teams did and how long it took them to do it is perhaps the first and foremost of the unanswered questions, including why the closest rescue teams were not at the Sago Mine, but instead were in Morgantown, about an hour's drive away, when every second counted?

J. DAVITT MCATEER, FORMER MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION ASSISTANT SECRETARY: The mine rescue system allows companies to use contract mine rescue teams. And, also, mine rescue teams have diminished in number over the years and diminished in strength over the years.

We have -- we think there's a real profound question of whether there are enough teams, whether they're close enough, and whether they can get to the mine within two hours, as is required by law.

JOHNS: What we do know now is that the tragedy started with a report of an explosion. Did lightning cause the spark? And what fueled the explosion? Was it methane gas that had reached a combustible level in a sealed portion of the mine?

MCATEER: Certainly, we will look at methane. Certainly, we will look at that the lightning-strike possibility. But you also must keep an open mind and let the facts dictate what you find underground.

JOHNS: While the investigation may go on for months, much of the safety record of the mine is carefully documented in scores of notices for violations lodged with the owners over time. Mine experts say many of the notices involved mundane, relatively minor infractions, but some now seem to stick out, in light of the accident. CNN filed a Freedom of Information request with the state of West Virginia to get copies of inspection reports housed here at this mine safety office.

What we found was that methane was an issue at Sago Mine as recently as 2004, while it was under different ownership. And state inspectors were concerned enough to write about it in their reports. In April of that year, one inspector wrote, "workers" in a part of the mine "did not have the means to check for methane."

In June of that year, a different inspector wrote that workers "were not making required gas examinations" in a mine which, in the past, had methane ignition. In both cases, the inspectors said the mine corrected the problem shortly after being notified.

By 2005, methane was still coming up in the reports. Last August, an inspector wrote, methane examinations cannot be conducted at certain places, and the mine was given time to make corrections. Besides methane, there were also issues about escapeways and ceilings and ventilation. In October, the month before the current owner, ICG, took over, one inspector wrote, "The approved ventilation plan is not being followed at this mine."

For its part, the current owners of the mine have said repeatedly that they essentially inherited many of the problems when they bought the mine, and that they were taking steps to address those problems when the accident occurred.

Joe Johns, CNN, Buckhannon, West Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, I should also point out that the man who owns the mine, the man who owns ICG, was also on the board of the last company that owned the mine.

So, while the investigation continues, 12 lives lost and reminders of them everywhere, a community deep in grief, trying to move forward. Coming up, we will talk to the pastor who has been with the miners' families every step of the way.

Also tonight, horribly disfigured, her dream was to have no one notice her when she walked into the room. How far has the world's first face transplant patient really come?

From America and around the world, you're watching 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, one man who attended Sunday's memorial for the Sago miners didn't know any of the men personally, though, he, too, is a miner.

He explained why he came like this. "Mining is in our blood," he said. "It powers our lights and runs our lives. And I just wanted to show my respect."

Well, the tragedy at Sago Mine has shaken this region to its core. Ed McDaniels is the pastor of the Christian Fellowship Church in Buckhannon, West Virginia, where the families waited, then rejoiced, then crumbled with grief. He joins me now.

Ed, thanks very much for being with us.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Take me back to that terrible night, when you first learned the news. You learned ahead of the congregation of the miners' families, about 20 or 30 minutes, I think, ahead of them, that, in fact, 12 miners had died and had not survived. When you first heard that, what went through your heart? What went through your mind?

ED MCDANIELS, PASTOR, CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP CHURCH: Well, certainly, the first thing I wondered if what I heard was true. That's why I was so hesitant to be able to say anything to anyone, because we had heard such great news.

And to be able to hear the news that I had heard from an unsubstantiated source, I just decided to think, you know, this wasn't true. I was going to wait to hear from someone else, other than what I had listened to. And then, when we heard the news, the devastation was just unbelievable. And the agony inside the church, I still don't think I can put it in its proper sequence or in its proper tense, but I do know that, as the events unfolded, and the calmness began to fall and the understanding began to happen, people dealt with what they heard.

And, as time has went on up to this day, people have certainly been able to get closer to God in every stretch of the way. It's been an amazing transition.

COOPER: For people who don't have faith, perhaps, who are listening to this, I mean, how do you explain to someone -- or were there families there -- I mean, I understand there were some people there in that moment who questioned their faith, who questioned God, why God would do something like this. What can you say to someone in that moment?

MCDANIELS: I think that the reactions that I saw were normal.

In fact, the pain that was there, that ripped out the hearts of so many of the folks, no one could understand, unless you were there, unless you were one of those in the inside, instead of one on the outside looking in.

I think the people handled just about as normal as anyone could handle it. And -- but the great thing, Anderson, is that the time went on. The healing began to happen. As I tried to explain before, we had 40 hours that we were gradually stretched to the limits. And then we got relaxed at the 12:00 a.m. hour. And then, three hours later, we didn't get a chance to stretch. They ripped our hearts open. And when that rip happened, people reacted. And, yes, they reacted in ways that they shouldn't have, said things that they shouldn't have said.

But I can tell you that, now, when they have had a chance to process what has transpired, they understand that God is still God. And I don't know that it's wrong at times to question God. But whenever you get the answer, you have to accept the answer that he gives.

(CROSSTALK)

MCDANIELS: And what he has given as an answer is, 12 have died. One is alive.

And we need to be grateful for the one that's alive. And we need to be praying for those who have lost their loved ones.

COOPER: You know, people on TV use that term closure a lot. I personally never use that. I just don't think closure exists when you have experienced a loss, as your community has, as the -- the families there have.

How is the community doing? How is Buckhannon doing? And, if there's no such thing as closure, how do you move forward?

MCDANIELS: Well, I have to disagree, because I think there is closure, at least for our community.

Our community, after the service, many of them said that what they were able to do is put a face with a name. And then, by giving some descriptions, they began to be able to sense that they knew these people. And many folks have shared with me about the service that it made them feel good that they -- they now knew who they had been praying for. They could visualize. They could see through a picture. And they could also know something about them.

And you must understand that, as a community, which is hard maybe to understand, that we have to go back to our jobs. We have to go back to our families. We have to go back to our livings, and, probably, for us, the times that we will remember the most is when we see it on TV or we read about it in the paper. and in our hearts will hurt for them.

Now, the families, for closure to happen for them, it's going to take months, years, and for some of them, they may never fully ever recover. I like to say for them, sometimes when these happen, their picture of life is out of focus. And it's hard for them sometimes to get the focus of life back to being crystal clear. But what will happen is that they will get it clear enough so they can function once again.

COOPER: Let's hope that happens soon with time. Pastor Ed McDaniels, appreciate you coming on the program. Thank you.

MCDANIELS: Thank you.

COOPER: We're going have more on the mine tragedy coming up. Plus, we'll check in on the woman who put a whole new face on modern medicine. It's been more than seven weeks now since the world's first face transplant. How is that extraordinary young woman in France doing? We'll check on that.

And it's a situation who gives most of us the creeps just to imagine being trapped in a sinking automobile watching the water rise. We'll have the story of someone who survived that nightmare and called 911. You'll hear the tape and advice on how you can survive that, as well.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A public appearance for the world's first face transplant recipient, that is coming up tonight, but first, here are some of the other stories we're following at this moment.

In Washington, growing anger and frustration from the Bush administration over Iran's nuclear program. Iran says it wants to negotiate, but today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it's difficult to trust Iran due to its history with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Rice says, until Iran ends its nuclear activities there's, quote, "not much to talk about."

Was one of al Qaeda's senior members killed in last week's CIA air strike in Pakistan? U.S. counter-terrorism officials say the terror network's master bomb maker was in the area when the missiles struck the compound. But officials do not know if he died in the attack. The bomb maker, known as Abu Kebab (ph), ran terror camps and experimented with chemicals on dogs and other animals. We'll have a lot more on this coming up later on 360.

And remember the couple who put a severed finger in a bowl of chili in Wendy's? Ah, yes, hard to forget. Today they were sentenced to prison for the extortion scheme. The woman who said she bit into the finger -- Oy! -- was given nine years. The husband was slapped with more than 12 years behind bars.

Is it news that a young woman in Lyon, France is now able to go about her business entirely without being noticed? Normally, it wouldn't be, but it is in this case, if this woman is the first person on earth to have received someone else's face after her own was hideously mauled. That makes it news indeed that no one much is looking twice as she goes by.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has an update.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been seven weeks since surgeons stunned the world with news of the first partial face transplant performed on a 38-year-old French women, Isabelle. Though she is still a hospital patient, her doctors say Isabelle often leaves for walks nearby, and that her new appearance does not draw attention.

DR. JEAN-MICHEL DUBERNARD, FACE TRANSPLANT SURGEON: (INAUDIBLE) and she was surprised because nobody was looking at her. DR. BERNARD DEVAUCHELLE, FACE TRANSPLANT SURGEON: She is doing very, very, very well. She is normal, normal except maybe in sensitivity, motility (ph). She is inserisant (ph), OK, so, but she go walking. She eat.

COHEN: Once again, she's eating. Before the surgery, for seven months after her dog mauled her, Isabelle had to use a feeding tube. Though news of the face transplant dazzled the world, Wednesday, for the first time, her team of doctors revealed the scientific details to an audience of fellow transplant surgeons in Tucson, Arizona. Her surgeon, Dr. Jean-Michel Dubernard, said it would take several more months to fully recover.

DUBERNARD: She is looking normal after this. But you have to wait.

COHEN: One concern, Isabelle has again taken up smoking, and it could slow her healing.

DUBERNARD: This is a big problem for us because she used to smoke, smoked before the operation. And she started to smoke again.

COHEN: Though she cannot smile or laugh, cannot form a facial expression, Isabelle is just regaining sensitivity to touch. As for complications, she did experience mild tissue rejection three weeks after surgery. But doctors quickly remedied it with a greater dose of anti-rejection drugs. So far, they say, so good.

DR. MARIA SIEMIONOW, TRANSPLANT SURGEON, CLEVELAND CLINIC: We have to be very cautious, like with any transplantation procedure. The real success would be able to evaluate, will be, you know, in a year from now.

COHEN: So what does she look like? Does her face now resemble the donor's? The doctors say she looks like a combination of her old self and, well, her new self. Psychologically, this is virgin territory. A team of psychologists sees her every day.

DEVAUCHELLE: It's not the identity of the donor. Is not exactly her identity before.

COHEN: Remember, for Isabelle, this was not life or death surgery. She would have survived without it. She wanted it because her injuries were emotionally devastating. With recent advances in face and hand transplant procedures, doctors say these quality of life transplants will occur more often. In fact, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States are now screening severely-deformed patients as candidates for the first facial transplant to take place here. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Could those doctors be any more French? I don't think so.

Well, coming up, a car sinks underwater with a girl and her grandfather trapped inside. You're going to hear her desperate 911 call and the man who rushed in to try to save them from drowning.

Also tonight, back to work despite the Sago mine tragedy. Miners heading underground again, returning to their dark and always dangerous profession. From West Virginia, you're watching 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A car submerged in a desperate plea for help. We'll tell you how to survive if it happens to you.

First, Erica Hill from Headline News has some of the other stories we're following tonight.

Erica, good evening.

ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson, good evening to you. In China, some of the world's richest nations pledge nearly $2 billion to fight the bird flu virus. The money will improve surveillance and provide quicker response. Experts hope to prevent a global pandemic that could unfold if the virus mutates and starts spreading through human-to-human contact.

Near Lincoln, Alabama, two trains, one carrying sodium cyanide, collided this afternoon. There's no word of any life threatening injuries. The 50 foot flames and smoke have prompted officials to ask residents living within one mile of the site to evacuate.

Meantime, around Houston, a two-hour high speed chase ends when the driver of this fleeing BMW, see that there, started going about 100 miles an hour, going the wrong way on an entrance ramp, hit that silver sedan head on. You can see the woman who jumped out here jumping over. Seems like to confront the man. Then goes to check on everybody else in the car. There was an infant, another woman driving. Officers worked to extricate the driver. The speedster, meantime, put his hands up and surrendered.

In California, cave explorers have discovered 27 new species of spiders, centipedes and scorpion-like creatures. Gross.

I've got just enough time to make your skin crawl. I'm going to not look at the pictures as we introduce you to the eyelet (ph) silver fish. A creature dubbed harvest man. How about a round of applause for the pseudo-scorpion.

We should point out it is actually extremely rare to find new species on the surface, but caves, often never previously explored. I mean, really, just a cornucopia. All kinds of good stuff. I hate bugs.

COOPER: Erica, what's up with the glasses?

HILL: My -- I've worn them before. You may not have noticed. My contacts were bugging my eyes today. So I took them out, put the lenses on.

COOPER: I like the glasses.

HILL: As long as you like them.

COOPER: All right. Thanks very much. See you again in 30 minutes. So imagine if you were riding in a car when suddenly veered off the road and plunged into the ocean. The nightmare came to life this weekend for a teenage girl in Hawaii. Tonight you're going to hear her desperate 911 call from underwater.

Marisa Yamane from our affiliate KHON reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARISA YAMANE, REPORTER, KHON2 (voice-over): As the car was filling up with water, McCarthy's 15-year-old step-grand-daughter called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is at the yacht club.

DISPATCHER: At the yacht club?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. The water ...

DISPATCHER: I'm sorry, what is your problem? What is happening?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm in a car and I can't open the door. Water is coming in and I'm sinking.

YAMANE: When the car was submerged the passerby saw bubbles coming out of the car and jumped in and rescued the girl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to drown!.

DISPATCHER: Waikiki Yacht Club?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

DISPATCHER: OK. We're sending some trucks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hurry, please.

DISPATCHER: Can you open the window? Hello? Hello?

YAMANE: Firefighters say because of murky water, the good Samaritan wasn't able to find McCarthy. Rescue crews arrived and pulled him out, but it was too late.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Unbelievable. The man who saved the girl from sinking car is Larry Cummins. Here's what he had to say about his heroic rescue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY CUMMINS, SAVED GIRL FROM SINKING CAR: We started looking closer and see bubbles coming out. I said, you know what, that's a car. Look in the backseat. And I felt -- I just grabbed a hold of it. And once I grabbed a hold of her, I said, I'm not letting go. This is somebody that's coming out with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He was in the right place at the right time to save her life. But what if no one was there to save you from a sinking car? What should you do? That's the assignment we gave CNN's Rick Sanchez.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the stories that really makes you fight your demons. My father always told me if you're scared, just say you're scared. Guess what, folks, I'm a little scared.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Also tonight, a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. A woman who competed in the Iditarod race tells us about her brush with death. Hear what it was like for her living through a coma. She said she could hear everything that was said to her. She says she know as little bit about what Randy McCloy is going on right now, behind me here in West Virginia.

Before we hit the break, "Time" magazine dubbed it one of the most amazing inventions of 2005. It's the TurboTap, and tonight's focus of "On the Rise."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT YOUNKLE, LAMINAR TECHNOLOGIES: My name's Matt. Welcome to TurboTap.

I'm president and chief technology officer of Laminar Technologies, makers of TurboTap. It's the magic behind pouring beer quickly. It's real easy. Just snaps on to an existing beer faucet. We pour beer from the bottom up and it produce a perfect beer every pour. Will pour beers two to four times faster than conventional beer taps, and there's going to be a lot less waste for the bar owners, for the concessions area.

I got the idea for TurboTap standing in a beer line at the University of Wisconsin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After years of what Younkel describes as R and D, or research and drinking, TurboTap hit the market in 2005.

YOUNKLE: Our first customers were all stadiums. We're in a number of bars now in the Chicago area, and we're starting to expand into various markets. We installed in the neighborhood of three to 4,000 TurboTaps last year. 2006, we're targeting about 30,000.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Time" magazine listed Turbo Tap as one of the most amazing inventions of 2005. And the gadget is also earning accolades among some clients.

TIMM FENNER, OWNER, TA' TOO: People can get a drink faster they're happier to be where they are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: TurboTap does have competition, but Younkel is not phased. He is focused on developing a faster process to cool beer, expanding internationally. And enjoying the perks of his job.

YOUNKLE: We have beer on tap at the office all the time. At the end of a long day, we can kick back and enjoy it and it will be perfectly poured.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So before the break, you heard a frantic 911 call from a teenager trapped inside a sinking car. She made it out alive. Sadly, her grandfather did not. Although it seems unlikely the possibility of your car plunging into a body of water is no so far fetched. If it were to happen, and you suddenly found yourself submerged at the wheel, would you know what to do to get out of it?

Rick Sanchez shows us how to escape from a watery grave.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): What you're looking at is a view from inside a car that has just gone below the surface of a canal. It is a terrifying image that each year for hundreds of motorists becomes their last.

DISPATCHER: Miami-Dade County Police and Fire, what is the emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I just got into an accident. I just went through the railing and I'm sinking in the water.

DISPATCHER: Are you out of your vehicle?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not yet.

SANCHEZ: The 911 call you are hearing was dialed by a woman from inside this car as it was sinking. She was driving on the Florida Turnpike. It was 2001.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God, my car is sinking.

DISPATCHER: Can you get out of the vehicle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No I can't. If I do all the water is going to come in.

DISPATCHER: OK. Well, ma'am can you open a window or door to get out of the vehicle? What's the last exit...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The water is going to come in.

SANCHEZ: The woman did not know it, and the operator did not seem to be able to convey it. But experts say, opening the window is exactly what she should have done.

DISPATCHER: OK. Stay on the line with me, Karla.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But my car is sinking.

DISPATCHER: Karla, you can't open a window or get out?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I can't. I can't. My car is sinking.

SANCHEZ: Karla Gutierrez drowned. Her body was recovered the following morning. Tire tracks visible only by the light of day finally led police to her location. At the time, 911 operators did not have specific instructions to tell motorists how to get out of a sinking car. Today, in part because of Karla's story, Miami Police and many other departments across the country, do.

SGT. JOSE ACUNA, MIAMI POLICE: Officer Wiggins has the final call on whatever is going on.

SANCHEZ: It's a Saturday morning on the banks of one of the thousands of waterways that crisscross the State of Florida. Miami police who now do extensive training on submerged vehicle safety have agreed to demonstrate how to get out alive. It's a daunting lesson that I'm about to receive. But one these police officials are convinced can save lives.

ACUNA: If we need to extract Mr. Sanchez, we'll take them -- we'll take him to fire and rescue for medical attention.

SANCHEZ (on camera): This is one of those stories that really makes you fight your demons. My father always told me if your scared, just say your scared. Guess what, folks, I'm a little scared. So the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to get together with some of these dive masters and understand exactly what I'm supposed to do because once you're down there underwater, it's going to be a little too late.

JULIUS WIGGINS, MIAMI POLICE: As soon as that car hits the water you have the seat belt on, you want to get rid of that seat belt as soon as possible.

SANCHEZ: OK.

(voice-over): To say that Miami police officer Julius Wiggins who is also a dive master, is passionate about teaching people how to get out of a sinking car would be an understatement. His goal, to reach as many people with, what he calls, the basics.

WIGGINS: Seat belt first.

SANCHEZ: OK.

WIGGINS: Then unlock the car door.

SANCHEZ: Right.

WIGGINS: OK? Then roll down the window and start climbing out.

SANCHEZ: OK.

WIGGINS: Then what you're going to do, you're going to work your way out here quick like this. Once you're sitting here, all you have to do is just push yourself off.

SANCHEZ: If ever there's been an appropriate use of the term "dry run," this is it.

WIGGINS: Gone in the water. Seat belt first, unlock, roll the window, start climbing out.

SANCHEZ (on camera): Got it.

(voice-over): And now the real thing. The car plunges into the canal head first, then bobs back, allowing enough time to put the basic plan into action. With me inside the car, photographer Rich Brooks, who is a certified diver. From his pictures, you can see I'm working fast to take advantage of what is a perfect scenario.

The car has leveled out, giving me time to open the window and get out before it sinks. However, on my second attempt, the car turns slightly, forcing the water in faster, slowing my exit, with the seat belt off, the lock undone, the window rolled down, I take a final breath and climb out.

My third attempt takes a bit longer, but I'm realizing window exit seems most effective. Whether it's a roll down or electric, it doesn't matter, as long as you don't remove the keys from the ignition. Remember, even underwater, your battery will continue to operate the windows. What happens, though, if the window is stuck, or for some reason simply isn't working?

This window is being shattered underwater using a tool called a power punch that motorists are urged to buy and keep in their glove box.

Now, the last dive. An attempt to get out through the door. From inside the vehicle, you can see how it looks when I leave the window rolled up. The water is now seeping in from elsewhere and quickly filling the cabin. I try to push on the door, but it seems jammed. Outside the car, divers are also trying to unjam the door to let me out, but are unable to do so.

Admittedly, it's a chilling moment. I grab for the emergency air supply left in the front seat, rush it to my mouth and wait nervously. For the car to be hoisted out of the water. With me still inside, breathing, waiting and with a much better understanding now of how important it is to know the basics, how to act fast, and how to get out alive.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It is terrifying to see the water pouring in like that.

We want to thank our international viewers for watching. If you're just joining us, thanks for joining us.

Coming up on 360, hope for the family of the lone Sago mine survivor. Doctors say they're seeing very positive signs, those are their words. We're at the hospital, and we'll bring you the latest.

Plus, a police beating in New Orleans caught on tape several weeks after Katrina. If you thought this was shocking, wait until you hear how the case is being handled. They were in court today, and there were a lot of surprises. We'll talk with the alleged victim.

And father knows best, except when he's robbing banks. The secret life of a 64-year-old man is finally exposed. Across America and around the world, this is 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines