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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Note From Missing Climbers Discovered on Mount Hood; Donald Rumsfeld's Legacy; Rubik's Ruse?

Aired December 15, 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, everyone.
A new note found on Mount Hood gives fresh hope to the families of three missing climbers, even as wicked weather pounds the mountain.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Blizzard conditions, avalanche warnings, and a new note found -- a new glimmer of hope for the missing climbers.

CAPTAIN CHRIS BERNARD, 304TH RESCUE SQUADRON, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE: ... they did all the right things. They're doing all the right things. They took all the right gear.

ANNOUNCER: Rummy's farewell salute -- the controversial architect of the war in Iraq got fired. Good riddance, or good job?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This man knows how to lead. And he did. And the country is better off for it.

ANNOUNCER: The Duke rape case -- nine months later, and the accuser is about to give birth. Who is the dad? And what does it mean for the three defendants?

Will partying cost her the crown? Miss USA in danger of being dethroned by the Donald. Is he ready to tell her, "You're fired"?

And the blindfolded Rubik's Cube's master? Is this guy for real? Many of you think not. So, tonight, we're putting him to the test.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And thanks for joining us. Want to welcome our American viewers and everyone watching around the world right now on CNN International.

On Oregon's tallest mountain, the life-and-death drama that began more than a week ago deepened today. Searchers have found another note from the three climbers stranded on Mount Hood in blizzard conditions. Now, that note is giving their families new hope, even as horrible weather continues to hamper the search.

CNN's Dan Simon is there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A small orange piece of paper raised hopes that the three climbers are still alive, a note left by the trio at this ranger station one day before their journey up the mountain. It's one of several notes the group left along the way.

CAPTAIN CHRIS BERNARD, 304TH RESCUE SQUADRON, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE: They outline what they have. We have food, fuel, ropes, shovel, bivy sacks, heavy parkas, et cetera. We have experience on Rainier, Denali, South American expedition, et cetera.

SIMON: Authorities had known about the note for several days. It wasn't clear why they never mentioned it before, but it's revelation reinforced optimism that the climbers have the necessary resources to survive.

BERNARD: I always knew that they were, you know, a, you know, squared-away climbing group here. But it's just one more -- one more piece that, you know, highlights that, that they did all the right things. They're doing all the right things. They took all the right gear.

FRANK JAMES, BROTHER OF KELLY JAMES: These three guys got -- dotted all of their I.'s and crossed all of their T.'s.

SIMON: But the search was stymied by the second straight day of blizzard-like conditions. The mountain and its surrounding towns took a beating last night and today.

It got so bad that most of the rescue teams had to come off the mountain. They had been hunkering down at 6,000 feet, far below the location where they believe one of the climbers, Kelly James, is holding out. That's at the 10,000-foot level, where the situation resembles something like this from a few days ago.

Still, the Nevada Air National Guard was able to up one of its planes, a C-130 with thermal imaging. It was unable to detect anything, but more missions were planned, including some at night.

CAPTAIN JON PROEHL, 152ND AIRLIFT WING: Darkness is not too much of a factor, because we can still get an infrared capability, looking for a heat signature. But the -- of course, if they're in a snow cave, we probably won't be able to see that.

SIMON: The families have shown remarkable strength, while waiting for information about their loved ones' fate. But, today, there was visible emotion, as James' wife talked about his and the other climbers' strength.

KAREN JAMES, WIFE OF KELLY JAMES: They're fighting so hard to do everything they can to get down to us. And -- and that's what we take, because they're not quitters. And Kelly has this thing in the house. You can't say "can't." And -- and that's just how they are.

And, so, we know that their number-one goal right now is to hunker down, make it through, and then come back to us.

SIMON: And, with an expected break in the weather Saturday, rescuers plan an aggressive search to find the missing men.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, Dan, what is the strategy tomorrow?

SIMON: Well, it's being described as a full-court press, if you will.

There are teams going up on the north side and the south side of the mountain. And because there is a threat of avalanches, there are actually people -- people going up who have a specialty when it comes to detecting and avoiding avalanches. You are talking about also helicopters, airplanes, these unmanned drones with thermal imaging.

All of it is finally going to be put to use this weekend. Obviously, this weekend represents a critical window of opportunity. And nobody's forgetting the fact that, on Monday -- on Monday -- Anderson, there are supposed to be some more storms -- back to you.

COOPER: So, how long has it been -- been, Dan, since searchers have really been able to go as high as they would like? I mean, it's been several days now that they have had to be below that -- I guess that 8,000-foot threshold.

SIMON: Yes. They actually never really got to that 10,000-foot threshold, where they believe Kelly James is holed up. So, they're hoping to get there tomorrow.

I -- I think they are going to get there, because the skies are supposed to open up. But it was really on Wednesday, when they got to about 8,000 or 9,000 feet, they did an aggressive search then. But the last couple of days, the weather has just been so bad that they -- that they really couldn't do anything -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, let's find out about the weather now.

Dan, thanks very much.

The search teams on Mount Hood, they just cannot catch a break. As Dan was saying, for days, this bad weather has made the search impossible.

For the latest on the weather, let's go to CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano.

Rob, what does it look like?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Anderson, the good news is, with this strong storm that moved through yesterday, it was strong enough to pretty much shift the whole weather pattern. So, there will be a good couple of days where they will get a bit of break.

There are getting a break now. Now, a break in the Cascades this time of year means, you know, snow showers and, at that altitude, winds 15 to 30 miles per hour. That's about what they're going to see tomorrow. Around this time last night, around midnight local time in the Pacific Northwest, Mount Hood, at the 6,600-foot level, was blowing at 99 miles per hour.

And you can bet, at the 9,000- and 10,000-foot level, it was well above 100 miles per hour. Of course, if you are in a snow cave, you wouldn't be too affected by the wind.

High avalanche danger today. Tomorrow, once the snow pack begins to settle a little bit, that will lessen a little bit as well. And the good news is, we have a pretty uniform atmosphere, as far as the cold air is concerned, none of this up and down with the snow levels anymore. It's going to stay right at the surface. And that's good, for the snow to settle.

Here's a little system that is going to come through the area tomorrow. It doesn't have a lot of wind. It looks a lot worse in the satellite picture, but it will bring a little pulse of maybe six to eight hours of some snow and some wind tomorrow. But it will be nowhere near what they have seen in the past couple of days. This was a monster storm that rolled through the entire northwest, Anderson. We will talk more about the surrounding areas in just a few minutes.

COOPER: All right, Rob, we will come back to you for that.

Now, if you want to get idea of what the three missing climbers are facing, it is hard from -- from the pictures that we have just been showing you, where you saw Dan Simon -- it looked kind of calm where he was.

Take a look at what our Rick Sanchez found at 11,000 feet. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're at about almost 12,000 feet. This is the Continental Divide. I have been in enough hurricanes to know what hurricane-force gusts, if not winds, feel like. This is easily at least 60-mile-an-hour gusts that are blowing through here. At times, it's difficult to stand up. It's a -- it's a biting cold. It's hard to see. In fact, it's downright painful.

The question now is, if you're stuck in these conditions, what do you do? How do you survive?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And we will talk with Rick about that al Qaeda little later on 360, information that could save your life if you're ever stranded in the cold -- back now to the search that has taken on new urgency. A couple of days ago, a rescue leader said it best. Men and machine have their limits. And those limits are being tested by wind and weather and time right now. Those who know the missing climbers best say that each one of them is up to the challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Three men, three different lives, brought together by a passion for climbing that led them to an uncertain fate.

Thirty-six-year-old Jerry Cooke is a lawyer from New York. Thirty-seven-year-old Brian Hall is a personal trainer from Dallas -- also from Dallas, Kelly James, a 48-year-old architect, all experienced mountaineers, all with loved ones who have faith.

FRANK JAMES, BROTHER OF KELLY JAMES: I want to assure you all that the families are very, very hopeful. We have not given up hope in the least.

JASON BUTERBAUGH, FRIEND OF JERRY "NIKKO" COOKE: He's strong. I have no doubt whatsoever that he will -- he will be able to -- he will be able to pull through it.

COOPER: They set out for Mount Hood last Wednesday, leaving behind a note on the dashboard detailing their plan.

It reads: "We are party of three attempting north face. We plan to sleep 12/seven on route and descend south side on Friday. We will retrieve truck Saturday afternoon. In emergency/storm, we will be descending Cooper Spur and have food, fuel in truck. Thanks."

They said they would descend 11,239-foot mountain, the tallest in Oregon, from the north face. That would take them along the Cooper Spur route, a popular path for climbers during the spring and summer. But, in December, covered in ice and snow and plunging slopes, every step could end in catastrophe.

After reaching the summit, the men would descend the south face. Traveling light and fast, they hoped to be done by Saturday. The weather was good for the first two days. But, on Saturday, the ninth, a storm arrived, bringing rain, ice, snow and hurricane-force winds, more than 80 miles per hour.

On Sunday, James made that desperate cell phone call to his family from a snow cave. As rescue teams search the mountain, family members of the climbers are waiting.

JAMES: These are three extraordinary men -- I -- I -- I can't emphasize that enough -- very determined, strong-minded people. But they come from strong-minded families. And the families are -- are remaining strong, just like they are.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, they certainly are.

You just saw Frank James there. He joins me now live from Mount Hood.

Frank, it's good to talk to you again tonight.

JAMES: Thanks.

COOPER: This note that we have learned about today -- I guess you probably knew about it before -- that -- that was found at a ranger station, detailing what -- what your brother and the other two, what kind of equipment they have, what did that tell you about -- about what they're facing now?

JAMES: Well, it tells me that they're prepared for any difficult circumstance. I mean, these are -- these are -- these guys are really good. And they're very well prepared.

And that gives us great hope that they can survive even the most difficult of circumstances.

COOPER: Where was this ranger station in -- in relation to where you think they may be now?

JAMES: Well, you know, I -- it's -- whereabout? I suppose about several miles away from this -- from this point. This ranger station is, I guess, about several miles away.

COOPER: And -- and for our viewers who -- who haven't been following this as closely as -- as much of the country has been, when was the last time authorities got a ping or some sort of signal -- we talked about this a little bit last night -- some sort of signal from -- from -- from the cell phone?

JAMES: That's right.

Yes, that would have been 1:40, 1:50 a.m. on Tuesday. That's -- we don't know exactly what happened. But, apparently, Kelly turned on or turned off his cell phone. That sent a signal of some kind that was picked up. So, that, again, gives us hope and encouragement that he is alive, and is thinking well about circumstance, letting people know that he's still there.

COOPER: How glad were you to see the C-130 with this thermal- imaging equipment?

JAMES: Oh, I can't tell you how glad I am. It's just great. It means that one of the things that's happened here is that the -- the community, the nation has put together all of its resources. And they are -- they're -- they're going after this.

They have described what's going to happen tomorrow as an assault on the mountain. And our hearts and -- and our -- our hopes and prayers go with those rescuers, as they launch their assault tomorrow.

COOPER: It seems like it's sort of a two-day window, more bad weather supposed to arrive on Monday. So, an assault certainly...

JAMES: Yes. COOPER: ... is needed.

How -- you know, have I asked you a lot about how -- how you have gotten through, how the other family members have gotten through all this.

You talked a lot about the importance of faith, and -- and that for all the families, and -- and -- and, obviously, the -- the power of prayer.

Where do you actually spend your days? How -- do -- how often are you in communication with authorities?

JAMES: Well, we talk to them off and on all day.

I mean, a good bit of my day is spent doing media kinds of things. I mean, I want people to know that my brother and that Nikko and that Brian are on that mountain. We're passionate about this. We're working hard to let people know that they're there, and that we -- we believe they're alive.

COOPER: Well, Frank...

JAMES: So, that's what we do.

COOPER: Well, Frank, we appreciate talking to you. And -- and we hope there's good news tomorrow. And we hope to talk to you tomorrow with good news.

Frank, thank you very much.

JAMES: Thanks very much.

COOPER: Well, there have been dozens of rescue efforts on Mount Hood over the years. It is not the deadliest summit. Here's the "Raw Data."

The most feared mountain is K2 in northern Pakistan. It is the world's second tallest peak, with an elevation of some 28,251 feet. Only about 200 people have attempted to climb to the top. And between 1978 and 1999, one in seven died on that ascent.

Well, winter weather, of course, adds to the risk of mountain climbing -- coming up on 360, CNN's Rick Sanchez is going to show us, the full report, what it takes to survive in brutal conditions like those climbers are facing now on Mount Hood.

Also ahead: drumrolls, cannons and gushing praise, all for a man who ultimately became a liability for the White House -- coming up, Donald Rumsfeld's splashy send-off at the Pentagon and the legacy he leaves behind.

Plus: Is this guy really a whiz kid or is it just a Rubik's ruse? The other night, this guy solved the Rubik's Cube in just over two minutes while blindfolded. The video is all over the Internet. A lot of you said it must be a trick. I think I might have said it, too.

So, he actually called us up. He said, come on. And he's going to come on live, and he's going to prove us wrong. Can he crack the cube, blindfolded, live? We will see. We're keeping him honest -- a little Friday night fun ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, those are the kind of conditions the climbers are facing right now who are trapped on Mount Hood.

They call it the rule of threes. In severe weather, a person can survive three weeks without food, three days without water, but only three hours without shelter. The three climbers stranded on Oregon's Mount Hood, Kelly James, Brian Hall and Jerry Cooke, are, by all accounts, experienced outdoorsman. You just heard from -- from -- from the brother there.

But to really understand what they're up against, you have to go to a mountain just as high in conditions just as harsh to really get a sense of what it's like.

CNN's Rick Sanchez went to Loveland Pass, Colorado, to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): From a distance, Rocky Mountains' summits seem to melt into the clouds. As we get closer, though, they reveal their danger.

That cut is called Seven Sisters. See the seven parallel paths? Each one is a known avalanche zone, where skiers and mountaineers have been trapped or killed.

(on camera): You are not going to be able get out of the way once that thing gets -- gets rolling?

MICHAEL ALKAITIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICAN MOUNTAIN GUIDES ASSOCIATION: Oh, no, no. You will be -- you will be right in it.

SANCHEZ: Really?

ALKAITIS: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Chances of surviving?

ALKAITIS: Oh. I -- I couldn't say. Not very good.

SANCHEZ: Not good?

ALKAITIS: Yes.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): As we drive higher, we're met by a sudden ground blizzard. I expected it to be extreme, but this is unmanageable. (on camera): There are places on Earth where you feel God's fury, but I can't imagine any of them being any worse than this that we're feeling right now.

We're at about almost 12,000 feet. This is the Continental Divide. I have been in enough hurricanes to know what hurricane-force gusts, if not winds, feel like. This is easily at least 60-mile-an- hour gusts that are blowing through here. At times, it's difficult to stand up. It's a -- it's a biting cold. It's hard to see. In fact, it's downright painful.

The question now is, if you're stuck in these conditions, what do you do? How do you survive?

(voice-over): We have elicited the help of two renowned mountaineering experts, who teach, the first order of business is to build a snow cave. Without it, you will not survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would just get in there, into that cave, get on our pack to insulate ourselves from the snow...

SANCHEZ (on camera): I see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... and stay warm, huddled close together all night.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Even in a snow cave, you can still get slammed by an avalanche. But experienced mountaineers avoid it by taking into account both slope and snow density when figuring out where to camp.

(on camera): We can't see the top of that peak. Look straight up there. Because of this wind, you can't see it. But could that start an avalanche at any time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not tall enough...

SANCHEZ: I see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... right now to start an avalanche. If it did slide, it would -- it has no energy.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): But, by far, the biggest killer is the weather itself. Within hours of being exposed, mountaineers can suffer hypothermia, which causes them to become strangely illusional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you would eventually become euphoric, think that the snow is really warm and soft, and lay down and go to asleep forever.

SANCHEZ: It is why some victims are found disrobed. They actually believe it's warm in freezing weather. Experts, who recommend not going into these conditions without a shovel, a backpack, a headlamp, a compact stove to melt water, and at least a sleeping bag, say, even with these items, under extreme conditions, you will still only be able to hold on for so long. Rick Sanchez, CNN, Loveland Pass, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the pictures there in Colorado are certainly dramatic. But keep in mind that the wind in that report, those conditions, are even on Mount Hood, in Oregon, where the climbers are strapped.

Since Saturday, blinding snowstorms and blistering winds have hampered the search for the climbers. And, yesterday, another massive storm moved in.

Again, with a look at the weather in the entire area, here's CNN's Rob Marciano.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARCIANO (voice-over): This storm brought its full force down to sea level. Huge waves roll in. Winds over 100 mile an hour lash the Oregon coast. Roads are cut off, as the storm moves inland.

South of Seattle, winds hit 69 miles per hour, strongest ever recorded in December. Tall Douglas firs were no match for the fierce winds. Sparks flew, as falling trees snapped power lines. Decades- old pines fall. Here, trees crashed through rooftops, destroying homes. This woman and her cat survived, but the storm killed four people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's where my head usually is, over there.

MARCIANO: Residents seem shocked by the strength of the storm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like a hurricane and tornado, all at once.

MARCIANO: This storm had wind gusts like a major hurricane. And the mountains made it worse.

Mount Hebo and the Coast Range had winds as strong as 122 miles an hour. And, in the Washington Cascades, 135-mile-an-hour winds ripped across the ridges. The storm rode a powerful jet stream across the Pacific, gathering strength as it closed in on the Northwest.

Once ashore, winds whipped north up the valleys, knocking out power to more than a million utility companies from central Oregon to Seattle. Around the Puget Sound, the damage is widespread. Cessnas stacked up on the tarmac at Boeing field in Seattle. In Tacoma, boats at one marina lay listing, cars swamped by rising water, nearby roads completely blocked by fallen trees.

This floating bridge linking Seattle to the suburbs, closed by dangerous winds, now open, as the waters calm and the storm moves out -- the worst this area had seen in more than a decade.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: And CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano joins us now.

Rob, what are folks in the Pacific Northwest dealing with tonight?

MARCIANO: Temperatures at about freezing, and there's even some rain, mixed with snow showers. You don't typically get that cold punch of air in the Seattle and Portland area. But that's what we're seeing tonight.

We're into the cold portion of this storm. It really dragged down some cool air down, and all the way down to the valley locations, from Seattle to Portland -- temperatures, right now, about 35. They will drop down to about the freezing mark. And, as of just a few minutes ago, I checked the Puget Sound Energy Web site.

They have really only restored energy to about 100,000 people or so. So, there's a lot of people who are without power. As far as precip precip is concerned, this pulse we talked about earlier will come ashore tomorrow, rain mixed with snow at times, all the way down to the valley floors. And the cold air will remain in place over the weekend. But no real big windstorm is an anticipated for some time to come.

This was the worst they have seen in quite some time. So, it will give Mother Nature some time to recharge the battery, so to speak -- hopefully, some calm weather for the next few days -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, let's hope -- hope, for climbers' sake, certainly.

Rob, thanks very much.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: At the Pentagon today, a farewell salute to Donald Rumsfeld -- the day of praise, but it's still not how he hoped to leave the office. That is coming up.

Plus: the latest twist in the Duke University rape case, three major developments that some say have turned it upside-down and may bring the case to a halt altogether -- when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, at the Pentagon today, Donald Rumsfeld got a formal send-off on his last full day in office. On Monday, Robert Gates will be sworn in as the nation's 22nd defense secretary.

After 2,171 days on the job, Mr. Rumsfeld leaves behind an unpopular war that has claimed nearly 3,000 American lives. He has a lot of critics, but today was all about praise.

Here's CNN's Jamie McIntyre.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There were the requisite full military honors...

(MUSIC)

MCINTYRE: ... and high accolades.

GENERAL PETER PACE, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: He's a man of enormous commitment. He pushed us hard. The only person he pushed harder than us was himself.

RICHARD B. CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe the record speaks for itself. Don Rumsfeld is the finest secretary of defense this nation has ever had.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This man knows how to lead. And he did. And the country is better off for it.

(APPLAUSE)

MCINTYRE: But for all the warmth on this unusually mild December day, this is not how Donald Rumsfeld hoped to go out, under the cloud of a war his successor says the U.S. is not winning.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Leadership is not about doing what's easy. It's about doing what's right, even when it's hard -- especially when it's hard.

MCINTYRE (on camera): President Bush ticked off a long list of Rumsfeld's accomplishments over the last six years, but Rumsfeld's legacy will hinge on one event: the Iraq war.

(voice over): Rumsfeld himself has named the abuses committed by U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison as the low point of his tenure, crimes that were punished and, Rumsfeld argues, were never authorized by him or anyone at the Pentagon.

But his critics point to larger miscalculations, such as the failure to anticipate the tenacious insurgency that now resembles a civil war.

It's been a fiasco, says Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks, whose highly critical book of the same name faults Rumsfeld, President Bush and many of the top generals.

THOMAS RICKS, MILITARY CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": He's likely to be remembered, along with Robert McNamara, as an aggressive, hard-charging leader who, unfortunately, presided a war that seemed to head south pretty steadily.

MCINTYRE: Many analysts have now come to believe the Iraq war was fought on the cheap, with too few troops and too many blunders.

MAJOR GENERAL DONALD SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think he made one decision that had a major, major effect. And that was the decision to shake his head, and say, OK, at the recommendation of -- of Secretary Bremer, let's basically take down the Iraqi army. That was a decision that will live in infamy, if you will. It was a bad decision. I think that is a major cause of what's going on right now in Iraq.

MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld did made history, the youngest defense secretary under President Ford, he leaves now as the oldest and just shy of McNamara's record as the longest serving.

His parting words were unapologetic and ended with prayers for those he sent into battle who did not return.

DONALD RUMSFELD, OUTGOING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: And I will remember the fallen. And I will particularly remember their families and the -- from whom I have drawn inspiration.

MCINTYRE (on camera): Rumsfeld's critics call him arrogant. His supporters say he is supremely confident, but Rumsfeld himself believes that what he calls the great sweep of human history will ultimately provide vindication for his judgments.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, Donald Rumsfeld's resignation was certainly a major story this year, but was it the top story of 2006? We want to know what you think. Log onto the 360 blog and answer our new online poll. Tell what story you think defined this year. We'll announce the results next week in a special 360. The web address, CNN.com/360blog.

Well, it's not on our list, but it did get attention this year, the Duke rape case. Coming up, the latest twist, raising more questions about what really happened that night, whether this case will ever go to court.

And trouble for Miss USA. That's right. Will reports of her wild nights of partying bring an early end to her reign?

And you've seen the video on the Internet and here on 360. Can this guy really solve a Rubik's Cube in just over two minutes blindfolded? A little Friday night fun. We'll put him to the test, live when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, coming up in about a half hour in the 11 p.m. hour of 360, we're bringing you amazing stories of survival. Would you know how to get out of a burning plane? Tonight, CNN's Gary Tuchman shows us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold tight! Brace! Brace! Hold tight! All right. Stay in your seats.

Gary, get the window open now.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got it?

TUCHMAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Evacuate. Leg by leg. Release your seat belts. Come this way.

TUCHMAN: Come on out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Don't miss "Against All Odds: Survivor Stories". That's in the 11 p.m. hour of 360.

First, though, a busy day in court for lawyers handling the Duke University rape case. Almost from the beginning, there have been questions about the accuser's allegations. Now new twists in the case are creating more doubt more about what really happened on that night nine months ago.

Here's CNN's Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What will most likely end here began here on the night of March 13. An off campus party by Duke University lacrosse players. Two exotic dancers hired to perform, showed up at the door.

One of them claims she was gang raped in a bathroom by Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann. All three Duke players were indicted for rape. All three say they're innocent.

And in a case full of surprises comes three new, huge bombshells. First, the accuser is pregnant. And the prosecutor says she's due in February but sources tell CNN she could give birth at any time. The defense and the prosecution believe none of the players is the father. The judge has ordered a paternity test.

Then, there's this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He looks just like him without the mustache.

JOHNS: You're looking at something we rarely see, part of an actual police lineup tape showing the alleged victim in the station being asked to point on a screen if she recognizes the suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was the one that was standing in front of me.

JOHNS: Defense attorneys allege the lineup was biased because it consisted only of the Duke lacrosse players wearing the team uniform. The judge will decide if it's admissible.

LISA PINTO, LEGAL ANALYST: They showed her photos of lacrosse players. There was no control here. There were no photos of other guys from the street. So, clearly, the police were involved in her -- in pushing her to make an identification of some kind. And then what stems from that should be thrown out of the courtroom.

JOHNS: There's more. Outside the courthouse today, a shocking charge from the defense: accusing the district attorney of burying evidence, holding onto it for months, when he should have handed it over immediately.

The lawyer says the prosecutor knew a DNA report found no match between the accuser and the defendants. He wants to know why it took so long to tell him so.

JOSEPH B. CHESHIRE V, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR DUKE LACROSSE PLAYERS: We are extremely troubled by that. We will get all of what was said today. And we will look at it, and we will review it, and we will act on it.

JOHNS: There's been a lot of talk about how important DNA is to this case, but one legal expert says science shouldn't be the ultimate factor.

PINTO: The trouble with DNA nowadays with all the TV shows with crime scenes and people in lab coats is that the American juries believe that there should be some compelling forensic evidence in order to convict a defendant of a crime. But that's not what the law says.

JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the law says you have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But are prosecutors doing that here? There are a lot of questions.

Earlier, I spoke to Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom about the case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, how does this affect things? She's pregnant.

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: Well, of course, it would be a big bombshell if the defendant was the father, right?

COOPER: But no one is saying that.

BLOOM: That would be a slam dunk. Nobody is saying that. Even Mike Nifong said in court today he's not alleging that. If that was true, it would be a bomb shell.

COOPER: They still want a paternity test.

BLOOM: They want a paternity test, I think...

COOPER: The defendants do.

BLOOM: ... to rule out any idea that anybody might have. Look, the baby's born nine month after. It goes through people's minds perhaps it's one of the defendants. They want to rule that out.

Now, I think they also want to say that perhaps, if she's having consensual sex and conceiving a child immediately after an alleged gang rape, that could cast doubt on her credibility as to whether it happened.

COOPER: Because they did a pregnancy test, the -- when she went to the hospital, and there was no evidence of pregnancy.

BLOOM: That's what I've heard. That would be standard, and the morning-after pill would be standard, as well, in a rape kit. Now, if it was conceived before the alleged rape, I don't see how it's relevant. If she's had consensual sex before the alleged rape doesn't prove much.

There is this issue of other DNA on her and in her. That's probably going to be a bigger issue, ultimately, than this pregnancy.

COOPER: And that's already a big issue. Because now we've learned the DNA lab, the private DNA lab that the state went to, to get this testing done, basically colluded with the defense -- with the district attorney.

BLOOM: Shocking, shameful, if that's true. Highly unethical. I mean, I can't give you strong enough words for how awful that is.

COOPER: And basically, explain what happened. They colluded to withhold...

BLOOM: Exculpatory information, information that would tend to show that the defendants are innocent. Namely, that none of their DNA is on or in this alleged victim.

COOPER: Why in a million years would they do that?

BLOOM: The -- what they said in court today was, "We wanted to protect the privacy of these defendants." I mean, come on, Anderson. Does anybody believe that? Does that make any sense? Does that pass the smell test? No. It makes no sense.

So the only explanation I think we have right now is that they, as you said, colluding with the prosecutor. Absolutely outrageous.

COOPER: Also, the lineup that police did -- I mean, you know, I don't know anything about the law, but I know from what -- you know, I'm obsessed with "Law and Order" and I know that in a lineup...

BLOOM: And Court TV.

COOPER: You don't -- and Court TV. In a lineup, you do not have just possible defendants. You have police officers. You have other.

BLOOM: What you need is possible wrong answers, and because they only gave her pictures of Duke lacrosse players and she said, "I know it was Duke lacrosse players," they were giving her, effectively, a multiple choice test with no wrong answers. She couldn't pick a wrong picture. And that's essentially the reason why it's argued that it's an unlawful lineup, it was improper, it is unethical.

COOPER: It seems like pretty basic police work. I mean, it seems like the thing you do intentionally. You don't just do it by, "Oh, we couldn't find anybody else to do the lineup."

BLOOM: And when you take that and you add together the crime lab problems, the fact that this prosecutor has never personally interviewed this victim, it certainly does not look good for this D.A.'s office.

COOPER: Why has he never personally interviewed the...

BLOOM: Well, he says that, "It's not my job. I'm the head of the office. I have other people who do that." But come on, this is a high profile case. You would expect the D.A. to interview this alleged victim, and he's never done that, even up-to-date now.

COOPER: So what happens now?

BLOOM: Well, what happens now is the judge will decide these motions probably within the next few weeks. If the judge excludes the lineup, there probably isn't enough evidence to go forward.

COOPER: This could very easily get tossed out.

BLOOM: This could be the end of the case. But it doesn't look like the D.A. is going to toss it out. He's really dug in his heels. He's been reelected. I think he wants to see this thing through for whatever reasons. Perhaps he really has bonded with the accuser; he really believes in her.

COOPER: He's bonded with the accuser he hasn't met?

BLOOM: Well that's true. But he's read the story. He's read her account.

And sometimes attorneys do that. They really dig their heels in and they believe in one side of the case. But this is a case that really seems to be falling apart day by day.

COOPER: Lisa Bloom, thanks.

BLOOM: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, coming up tonight, the beauty queen shocker. Have you heard about this? Miss USA under fire. Say it ain't so. Accusations that she parties too much. I'm not even sure what that means. Will it cost her the crown? We'll find out. Later, "The Shot". Tyson Mao, can he really solve a Rubik's Cube in no time flat? That was the tape. Can he do it live? Let's see. There he is waiting for the challenge. Stick around and see if the Rubik's master can do the incredible when 360 continues. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Miss -- what is she? Miss USA? Anyway, in a rare public appearance, Donald Trump will address the media next Tuesday. A rare public appearance? We were kidding. It was a little joke.

The reclusive mogul is expected to talk about the controversy surrounding the Miss USA title. That's right. This is big news. Or as the Donald might say, it's huge. That's -- I didn't have time to practice that one.

At the heart of the matter is a young woman whose reign has suddenly turned very rocky. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): She's 20 years old from Kentucky and began competing in pageants at the age of 4. She loves golfing, sky diving and was a model/student/waitress, but that was before her crowning achievement.

On April 21, Tara Conner's dream came true: she was named Miss USA 2006, and life as she knew it was over. She dumped her high school sweetheart, moved to New York City and wore her sash with pride. There she goes, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

But while she was posing, it's reported she was also out partying. That according to the entertainment web site TMZ.

HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: Well, we are told from sources inside the NBC and pageant camp that they believe that this Miss USA is out of control. That she has gone to a lot of New York bars and partied way too hard, drinking, socializing, doing other things, as well, that have really concerned them. And she's missing appearances.

COOPER: The Miss USA pageant is a joint venture by NBC and Donald Trump. It seems Tara's alleged troubles are causing a headache for the Donald. So is he ready to tell her...

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: You're fired.

LEVIN: Maybe not. In a statement to CNN, the Miss USA organization says, "Mr. Trump is seriously studying the situation. First and foremost he is concerned about Tara and wants to do what is best for her. Then he will think about what is best for the very successful Miss USA pageant. But for now, Tara's future is of primary importance to him."

But the people over at TMZ, who broke the story, say Tara is toast.

LEVIN: I am told that Miss California has already gotten the word to get ready. She's the first runner-up. So, that's kind of where it all stands right now. The bottom line is, it would seem that Miss USA's days are numbered.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So don't panic. Miss California is ready to assume the mantel if and when that, in fact, does happen.

We tried to get a comment from Tara Conner, but an official from the Miss USA pageant told us she will not be doing any interviews at this time. Well, we'll be waiting.

You've seen the video of him solving the Rubik's Cube. Some of you e-mailed us saying you didn't believe it. Coming up, we put Rubik's Cube master Tyson Mao to the test. Right now, he's sitting in a studio. There's a complete stranger sitting next to him -- hello, complete stranger -- who has been mixing up the cube for lo many minutes now, probably about an hour or so. So he can't get a hold on it.

You can give him Tyson the Rubik's Cube. Normally it takes him a minute or so to kind of study the cube. So Tyson, you can take a look at the cube. And what are you looking for now?

TYSON MAO, RUBIK'S CUBE MASTER: I'm looking for -- basically there's a path where the pieces want to go. And I have a set of numbers that I use to help me remember this. So this very example right now starts off 1, 11, 7, 2, 9, 6.

COOPER: See, I don't understand a word you just said. You're looking at a cube with colors.

MAO: I'm sorry. It's -- there's a way to this -- I don't have a photographic memory. Memory is something that can be practiced and learned. And basically, what it comes down to, it comes out to about 20 digits. So people say that I'd have a good time memorizing phone numbers. You've got to meet girls first to memorize phone numbers.

COOPER: Tyson, I'm sure you do just fine, especially after this. They're going to be throwing themselves at you, because God knows the ladies love a Rubik's Cube master.

MAO: Thanks.

COOPER: We're going to give you the entire commercial break to take a look at this and then on the -- when we come back, you're going to solve it blindfolded after the break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: All right. We've gotten Rubik's Cube crazy here. It's kind of a retro, old school thing. Time now for our "Shot of the Day". Earlier this week, we showed you this video of Tyson Mao solving the Rubik's Cube in just over two minutes while blindfolded. There were some skeptics, naysayers out there -- I think I might have been one of them -- who e-mailed us saying they didn't believe he really did it.

Tyson contacted us. Now he's out to prove them wrong and prove he is truly a Rubik's Cube expert. He joins us now from San Francisco.

Here's the deal. A woman who does not know Tyson who we know has been mixing the cube up. Tyson has been examining the cube over the commercial break.

You now have the blindfold. You're ready to put it on. You ready to go, Tyson?

MAO: Yes, I'm ready to go.

COOPER: How long do you think it will take you?

MAO: The solve time, probably about -- I'm now live -- probably about 75 seconds.

COOPER: Wow. OK. Well, put the blindfold on and our expert can maybe just check the blindfold and make sure it's go, and you can go.

MAO: May I start?

COOPER: Yes. Go. In sympathy, I will attempt a Rubik's Cube, also, while Tyson is doing his. Hmm. And...

MAO: Sorry I'm not having more conversation. I'm thinking.

COOPER: No, no, that's fine. I don't want to disturb the process. For those who are interested, I'll talk to our viewers who are, you know, are leaving in droves at this moment.

Tyson is an astrophysicist -- I believe, graduated just from college and...

MAO: Six. Um...

COOPER: Huh-oh.

MAO: No, no, I'm OK. One, 7, 2, 9.

COOPER: He looks like he's close.

MAO: Come on, 2, 9 -- 9, 6.

COOPER: Can't even move it that fast. I find it gets stuck.

MAO: Three.

COOPER: WE should add a little music for this. MAO: Three, 5, 10. Oh! Wrong way. I was close.

COOPER: Oh.

MAO: I was close.

COOPER: So how do you do this? To you, you assign -- there's like a number thing to it?

MAO: Yes. Basically, each piece has a place it wants to go and you solve it in cycles. What I did -- on the very last one, I went the wrong way and so you know, three pieces were off.

COOPER: Frankly, I believe you can do it. You were -- just watching pretty impressive. But you assign -- you don't pay attention to the colors, is that right?

MAO: Well, the colors -- each piece has a set of -- you know, each piece has its own stickers on it and you can assign a number. Or it doesn't have to be a number. It's just an abstract way of remembering what each piece is. You could totally do walrus, llama, duck and it would be the same thing.

But for me, this white-green one here is number 1. This one here is number 2. And so, there's -- you basically -- I use these numbers to help me remember where each piece wants to go.

COOPER: I still don't know how you do it. But I find it impressive. And you have a web site where you explain this to people. What's the web site?

MAO: You can go to my website, TysonMao.com. I have a tutorial on there that will teach you how to solve it with your eyes open. I do have a tutorial for if you want to learn how to solve it blindfolded. It's not uploaded right now. But I can put it up on the web site.

COOPER: All right. TysonMao.com. Tyson, thanks for being a good sport. Thanks for coming in.

MAO: Sure. Sorry I didn't get it all completely.

COOPER: You came pretty darn close. Good enough for me. Thanks.

In a moment, coming up, a 360 special hour, "Against the Odds: Survivor Stories". We're going to return Oregon's Mt. Hood for the latest on the search for the three missing climbers and lessons that could save anyone's life if you're ever stranded in the snow.

Also, trapped beneath a, 800-pound boulder, alone with time running out. He faced a horrible choice: his arm or his life. Could you do what Aron Ralston did?

And trapped inside a sinking car, hundreds of people die every year because they aren't prepared for this. What would you do? How do you get out? Just ahead, Rick Sanchez shows us how to survive. Information we all need to know, next, on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: On Oregon's tallest mountain, a new clue raises new hope for finding three men alive in the worst possible conditions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Blizzard conditions. Avalanche warnings. And a new note found, a new glimmer of hope for the missing climbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did all the right things. They're doing all the right things. They took all the right gear.

ANNOUNCER: He was the only one who could save himself. Hidden beneath an 800-pound boulder, facing a horrible choice: his arm or his life.

ARON RALSTON, HIKER: In the end, I was given an epiphany of how I might be able to actually get myself free.

ANNOUNCER: Life and death lessons. Your car is sinking. There's barely time to think. How do you get out? Tonight, how to survive a death trap that kills hundreds each year.

And crash control. If the worst happens when you're flying you'll have just seconds to make life and death choices. Will they be the right ones?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brace! Brace!

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hold on!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold tight!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is a 360 special, "Against All Odds: Survivor Stories."

Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to welcome our viewers here in America and watching around the world on "CNN INTERNATIONAL" right now. In the hour ahead you're going to see some incredible stories of survival. You'll also learn lessons that could literally save your life.

We begin with a rescue still underway right now. It has now been more than a week since three missing climbers began their trek up Oregon's Mt. Hood. Terrible weather is making am already difficult rescue that much harder. Today a new clue surfaced, and with it new hope.

CNN's Dan Simon has details. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A small orange piece of paper raised hopes that the three climbers are still alive. A note left by the trio at this ranger station one day before their journey up the mountain. It's one of several notes the group left along the way.

CAPT. CHRIS BERNARD, 30TH RESCUE SQUADRON: They outlined what they have. We have food, fuel, ropes, shovel, bivy sacks, heavy parkas, et cetera. We have experience on Rainier, Denali, South American expedition, et cetera.

SIMON: Authorities had known about the note for several days. It wasn't clear why they never mentioned it before. But its revelation reinforced optimism that the climbers have the necessary resources to survive.

BERNARD: I always knew that they were squared away climbing group here. But it's just one more piece that highlights that. That they did all the right things. They're doing all the right things. They took all the right gear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These three guys got -- dotted all their Is and crossed all their Ts.

SIMON: But the search was stymied by the second straight day of blizzard-like conditions. The mountain and its surrounding towns took a beating last night and today. It got so bad that most of the rescue teams had to come off the mountain. They had been hunkering down at 6,000 feet, far below the location where they believe one of the climbers, Kelly James, is holding out. That's at the 10,000 foot level.

The situation resembles something like this from a few days ago. Still, the Nevada Air National Guard was able to put up one of its planes. A C-130 with thermal imaging. It was unable to detect anything. But more missions were planned, including some at night.

CAPT. JOHN PROHEL, 152ND AIRLIFT WING: Darkness is not too much of a factor because we can still get an infrared capability looking for a heat signature, but of course, if they're in a snow cave, we probably wouldn't be able to see that.

SIMON: The families have shown remarkable strength while waiting for information about their loved ones' fate. But today there was visible emotion. As James' wife talked about his and the other climbers' strength.

KAREN JAMES, KELLY JAMES' WIFE: They're fighting so hard to do everything they can to get down to us. And that's what we think because they're not quitters. Kelly has a thing in our house, you can't say can't. And that's just how they are. And so we know that their number one goal right now is to hunker down, make it through to come back to us.

SIMON: And with an expected break in the weather Saturday, rescuers plan an aggressive search to find the missing men.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That's great that there's going to be a break in the weather. What's the strategy tomorrow?

SIMON (on camera): Well, this is being described, Anderson, as a full court press. You have dozens of searchers going out on both sides of the mountain. And remember, on the north side, based upon the cell phone data retrieved from Kelly James' cell phone, they think they've zeroed in on exactly where he is up in that snow cave.

And also there's a threat of avalanches tomorrow and so the people going up have a real specialty when it comes to detecting avalanches and avoiding them.

Obviously tomorrow represents a critical window of opportunity. You have the airplanes, you have the helicopters and they're all going to be put to use tomorrow -- Anderson.

COOPER: Let's hope there's good news.

Dan, thanks for the reporting.

The weather has been a huge obstacle, as Dan has been talking about. Let's check in with the latest.

CNN's Meteorologist Rob Marciano -- Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Anderson, it is definitely more calm, but the colder air has moved in. That's bad and good news. That and that it's colder up there. Obviously not good for human survival. But good news in that that will help settle the snow pack just a little bit.

And the avalanche danger which is high right now, will gradually get a little bit better as we go through the next two days.

Still some showers coming up and over the top of Mt. Hood. This is all snow. Snow levels have now dropped down to the surface. Tomorrow afternoon there may very well be a four to six-hour period where this little impulse -- there's not a whole lot of wind with this, but there probably will be. An elevation will come across the area and bring in a little bit of snow. But there are no major storms on tap until at least Monday night. So they have the next two, maybe three days, Anderson, to find those climbers.

COOPER: Let's hope it helps. Rob, thanks.

This the second major rescue mission in Oregon in the past month.

The search for James Kim, of course, ended tragically. Mr. Kim, you will remember, died while trying to get help for his stranded family. What happened to the Kims really could happen to anyone.

To show us how to avoid some common mistakes and get a feel for what it's like to be exposed overnight to the elements, we sent CNN's Rick Sanchez into the wild.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An hour and a half of trekking through the Rockies in the middle of the night, and my meet are without feeling, my nose won't stop running, and the shivers are starting to become uncontrollable.

I'm really starting to feel beat up in the conditions. So I'm going to try and hunker down for a while and create a shelter since I don't have one. And that's exactly what we have here.

Colorado park rangers and survival experts have earlier shown me how to build a shelter of last resort. It's essentially a trench about four feet deep, topped with thick branches cut from Pine and covered with snow like an igloo.

It doesn't look like much, but it works. Between the blanket and the heat that's generated by my body in this confined space, it's much more comfortable in here -- certainly, much more comfortable than it was when I was out there walking around for an hour and a half.

Comfortable as it may be from the waste up, my feet now feel like they're being stuck by a thousand needles. So I head to my original shelter, my car. Stuck in the snow or not, this is where you're most apt to survive longer.

Here's another reason to stay near the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we go out searching for people, the first place we're going to look for is where that vehicle is.

SANCHEZ: And you can help them find you with fluorescent tape. In fact, anything bright will be greatly appreciated by pilots looking for you.

RANGER KEN BRINK, SURVIVAL EXPERT: When a person is standing up, waving their hands, it's very difficult to see them from the air, but anything bright and large is helpful.

SANCHEZ: Now I'm back in the car, where my survival expert told me I should have stayed in the first place.

Run your ignition for a while and then turn it off. When you close the door, you seal in that heat and it will last a good long while before you'll have to do it all over again. Eventually, though, you're going to run out of gas.

And what do you do when you run out of gas? That's where a candle and a tin can can save your life. The key now is to try and keep the candle inside this coffee can. I'm going to drop some wax there on the bottom and while it's still hot, I'm going to place the candle so it stays in position.

RANGER DAN WEBBER, GOLDEN STATE CANYON PARK: You light the candle. It will help warm up the car. It provides company for you. It's something that people are used to. It's a campfire analogy where you light a campfire and people sit around it and it warms them up. And it actually warms up the inside of a vehicle.

SANCHEZ: Without a candle, experts say the inside of my car with me in it will stay around 32 degrees. Not bad, but not great. With a candle, it will be around 50 degrees. Now that's a temperature that can keep you alive until rescuers arrive.

(voice-over): It doesn't take much. Look at this survival kit. An old blanket, a whistle, a tin can, a candle, a couple water bottles, a nutritional bar, some tape. Maybe a shovel, some matches, hats, gloves, and a flashlight.

Using some of these items, I lasted nine hours. That's about all that I could take. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like for the Kim family. They were out there nine days.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Golden, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Until you're looking death in the eye, there's really no way of knowing how far you'll go to save your own life.

In the most extreme situations, like the one you're about to see, sometimes the only option you have is unthinkable.

As you watch this, ask yourself, could you do what Aron Ralston did to survive?

Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He thought his life was going to end in this Utah canyon. A half ton boulder landed on both of Aron Ralston's arms while he was hiking by himself. He got his left arm out, but his other arm was pinned.

Six days went by. He made a video of himself when he thought he was nearing death.

ARON RALSTON, CUT OFF ARM TO SURVIVE: My name's Aron Ralston. My parents are Donna and Larry Ralston of Englewood, Colorado. Whoever finds this, please make an attempt to get it to them.

TUCHMAN: But Ralston survived. How he did it is what makes this story so incredible.

RALSTON: Essentially, I got my surgical table ready and applied the knife to my arm and started sawing back and forth. And it didn't even break the skin. I couldn't even cut the hair off of my arm. The knife was so dull at that point.

TUCHMAN: His decision to try to self-amputate his right arm came after he ran out of water and was forced to drink his own urine. There was no help on the horizon.

RALSTON: The rational section -- portion of the decision to sever my arm came when I just -- I realized that it was really the last opportunity that I could have and still have physical strength to get myself out to where help would find me. I felt pain. And I copied with it. I moved on.

TUCHMAN: Even after he cut off his own arm, he had to fix a rope and rappel to the canyon floor, and then hike about seven miles. Finally he was found.

RALSTON: I stayed conscious and coherent through the helicopter ride, landed in Moab. It's beautiful country to see, but even more beautiful to see a town with a hospital rising up out of it.

TUCHMAN: More than three-and-a-half years later, Ralston gives motivational speeches, holding the microphone here with his prosthetic arm.

But that's just a small portion of his new life. Among his ventures, he has formed a nonprofit organization to help preserve wilderness areas in Colorado. A movie about his life is in development.

RALSTON: If the tops touch, then our saliva is touching.

TUCHMAN: And he even has a six-figure contract to appear in Miller Lite commercials. Ironic, perhaps, because of words he uttered two weeks after his experience.

RALSTON: If the doctors will so allow it, I'd love a big tall tasty crushed margarita. I thought a lot about margaritas while I was there.

TUCHMAN: No question, Aron Ralston is making the most of what feels like a second chance at life.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Remarkably, Aron Ralston didn't give up climbing. He remains an avid outdoorsman and wrote a best-selling book about his brush with death. It's called appropriate, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place."

I talked to Aron recently about his amazing survival story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Aron, tell me what happened the day you became trapped. RALSTON: Well, Anderson, I was out on a solo canyoneering hike in southeastern Utah and was moving down through the bottom of a slot canyon, when the boulder that I was at first standing on and then climbing off of dislodged under my weight. I pulled it free and as it was falling and I was falling with it, as I hit the ground below it, was shielding my head with my hands. And in that instant of the rock ricocheting between the two very close walls of the canyon, it ensnared my right hand, trapping me against the wall of the canyon for what became six days there.

COOPER: And what's going through your mind? I mean, you're talking about this obviously very rationally because, you know, it's -- a lot of time has passed. You've talked about it before. But in that moment, was there panic? Was there anger? I mean, were you crying? What was it like?

RALSTON: For the first hour there was definitely a lot of anger, rage, panic, indeed tears, and there would be a lot of emotion over the course of those days that I was there.

I knew I was going to die in that place and that caused me a lot of grief, especially knowing that there were a lot of people in my life, my friends and my family who loved me, and that I loved them. And never being able to see them again took me to some real despondent times, even to the extent that I thought about killing myself rather than just delaying the inevitable.

But I prayed about that and I decided that I would see it through to the end and in the end I was given an epiphany of how I might be able to actually get myself free, despite having too pathetic a knife to be able to actually cut through the bones of my arm.

That was when this voice spoke up that said, use the boulder. Use it to break your bones. And I understood with my engineering background and, of course, the concept of torque and leverage and how exactly I would just be able to push myself against the rock to create enough bending force in the bone to then cause it to snap.

And after the first one went and the smile started to grow on my face, I was able to then make the same thing happen to the lower bone in my arm, where they both broke in the exact same location, about half the distance between my elbow and my fingertip, a few inches back from where the wristband of a watch would have been on my wrist.

I had this mounting feeling of euphoria that continued as I reached for the knife and told myself, here we go, Aron, you're in it now.

And the emotion still comes back to me as far as how beautiful an experience that was -- even as it was the most painful thing I've ever been through in my life. But I was smiling the entire time for that hour as I was getting myself free.

COOPER: When you heard about what happened to James Kim and you heard about him out there trying to get help, what went through your mind? RALSTON: Well, a lot of compassion. I also do a lot of search and rescue work, volunteering for a local group here in Aspen. I've done that for seven years now in the places where I've lived. And it's really meaningful work to be able to go out and to help people.

And sometimes the best you can do is to bring out the recovered body of a family's loved one.

COOPER: Clearly, three years later, I mean this event has changed your life, your priorities. In what way?

RALSTON: There's hardly a way that this experience hasn't changed my life. Everything from an enhanced connection with my family and my loved ones, a greater understanding of the priorities that I have in my life, to a sense of confidence and I think clarity and self-awareness that I'm able to understand much more clearly who I am and what's important to me.

COOPER: You said that you had a vision when you were trapped about a young boy that they gave you motivation to leave. You write about that. Is that something that -- I mean, is it important to try to stay motivated, to try to keep in mind things that give you hope?

RALSTON: I think when you are really struggling to find a source of strength or courage, that relying on the connections you have with other people is the best way to do that. And that's the greatest thing that perhaps I think the connections that we build with others can contribute to our lives is that strength and courage to do what we don't want to face sometimes or what we think is impossible.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Aron had six days to come up with a plan to save his own life. Sometimes you only have seconds. It's one of the most terrifying situations you could face. Trapped in your car underwater. Time running out, panic setting in.

Coming up, Rick Sanchez shows us just how scary it is and how to save yourself. Something you need to know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A car can also become a death trap. And it happens more often than you might think. You're driving along, thinking about the day ahead, when suddenly your car skids off the road and into a river or a lake. When that happens, you need to get out fast, but how?

Again, here is Rick Sanchez.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: 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.

MIAMI-DADE 911: Miami-Dade County Police and Fire. Where is the emergency?

KARLA GUTIERREZ, DROWNED: Hi, I just got into an accident. I just went through the railing and I'm sinking in the water.

MIAMI-DADE 911: Are you out of your vehicle?

K. GUTIERREZ: 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.

K. GUTIERREZ: Oh, my God, my car is sinking.

MIAMI-DADE 911: Can you get out of the vehicle?

K. GUTIERREZ: No, I can't. If I do, all of the water is going to come in.

MIAMI-DADE 911: OK, Well, ma'am, but can you open a window or a door to get out of the vehicle? What's the last exit?

K. GUTIERREZ: Water's 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.

MIAMI-DADE 911: OK, we're getting help out, OK? Just stay on the line with me, Karla.

K. GUTIERREZ: But my car is sinking.

MIAMI-DADE 911: Karla, you can't open a window or get out?

K. GUTIERREZ: No, I can't. I can't. My car is sinking.

MIAMI-DADE 911: OK, I'm transferring you...

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 DEPARTMENT: Officer Wiggins (ph) 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: Or if we need to extract Mr. Sanchez, we'll take him to fire rescue in the event he needs any medical attention.

SANCHEZ (on camera): This is one of those 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.

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.

OFFICER JULIUS WIGGINS, DIVE MASTER: As soon as the car hits the water, you have the seat belt off. You want to get rid of that seat belt as soon as possible.

SANCHEZ (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: The seat belt first.

SANCHEZ (on camera): OK.

WIGGINS: Then unlock the car door.

SANCHEZ: Right.

WIGGINS: Then roll down the window.

SANCHEZ: OK.

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

SANCHEZ (voice-over): And now, the real thing.

The car plunges into the canal headfirst, then bobs back, allowing enough time to put the basic plan into action.

(on camera): 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 seem 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 under water 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 time, 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: The next survivor you'll meet on this 360 special report disappeared and no one knew it. Snatched off the street, held hostage. He was convince head would die. But he didn't.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was done extremely effectively and very quickly. I was handcuffed behind my back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just a big blast of air, dust, smoke and it started getting hot. It was dark. You couldn't see your hand in front of your face. I thought we was going to die. Especially when the heat and the smoke. I didn't think we would -- we would get out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The whole world watched the Sago Mine disaster unfold, but it doesn't always happen that way, especially in places like Iraq where kidnappings have become commonplace.

This is one hostage story. He'd been kidnapped and no one even knew about it. His parents, on vacation, hadn't been checking in. His work contacts were also off for Christmas and New Year's. The only thing he could only count on were his psychological survival skills and luck.

Here's CNN's Nic Robertson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is how you get kidnapped in Baghdad. A wrong turn, an empty street, two cars speeding at yours.

PHIL SANDS, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: I immediately knew what was going to happen. And you know you're in big trouble.

ROBERTSON: It's a terrifying moment, as Freelance Journalists Phil Sands knows, when you realize you are a kidnap target.

Sands was trying to work under the radar. No security. Just a translator. Sometimes a driver. All the while pushing to report from the middle of events.

SANDS: I suppose it's the arrogance of always thinking, well, I'll be smart enough, I'll be sensible enough and I'll be lucky enough to make it work.

ROBERTSON: Last December, Sands sensed the situation had taken a terrible turn for the worse when he visited a Baghdad hospital.

SANDS: There was a really nice doctor there. And she said to me, what are you doing here? This place is hell. Iraq is hell now.

ROBERTSON: It was too dangerous to stay. But Sands wanted one last story. The day after Christmas, with his translator and his driver, they went out to find it. And of course, when they made that wrong turn, Sands himself would become the subject of that last story.

Almost before he knew it, Sands was pulled out of his car, put in the trunk of another.

SANDS: It was a kidnapping. It was done extremely effectively and very quickly. I was handcuffed behind my back and with plastic zip ties. ROBERTSON: In the trunk, blindfolded, he panicked. Thought about his family, his translator, himself.

SANDS: In my mind, I was dead. I really believed that. In a way, that's quite liberating because you can't get any lower than that.

ROBERTSON: As Sands recounts it, he was taken to a house, he was questioned. When he said he was a journalist, his captors told him he wouldn't be harmed. He told them how to get online to see his stories in the "San Francisco Chronicle," proof he was a reporter.

(on camera): What followed was several days of tedium and terror with a twist of the absurd. The Sunni insurgents, who wanted the Americans out of Iraq, often treated him kindly. Once taking him at gunpoint to a 20-foot pit. He thought he was about to be shot. Instead, they forced him to do aerobics to keep him healthy.

SANDS: They were consistently trying to get me to eat more. It was almost like being at your grandmother's. I mean, eat more, eat more, you know, you're thin. Why are you so thin?

ROBERTSON: But always looming, he feared the day they would tell him it's time to make his hostage tape.

SANDS: I had hoped that they saw me as enough of a human being that they would shoot me instead of behead me.

ROBERTSON: And then unexpectedly on his fifth night, his ordeal suddenly came to an end.

SANDS: And then the door just kind of exploded open. And very quickly two American soldiers were coming into the room. As this young soldier lifted his flashlight in my face, he obviously saw that I wasn't an Iraqi. And I said to him, I'm a British journalist. I was kidnapped.

ROBERTSON: Thirty minutes later, Phil Sands was on a helicopter. And with his typical British reserve, thanking his rescuers.

SANDS: I sat there and said, gentlemen, it's very nice to see you all. And I'd just like to thank you because I think you saved my life.

ROBERTSON: His last story there was his own story, a story about a very lucky man.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, millions of people get on airplanes every year, but how many know what to do if the plane goes down? Do you? Coming up, how to increase your odds of surviving a plane crash.

CNN's Gary Tuchman shows you the steps that might just save your life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brace! Hold tight! All right, stay in your seats. Get the window open now.

TUCHMAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got it?

TUCHMAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Evacuate. Leg, body, leg. Release your seatbelts. Come this way. Leave everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we hit, we hit hard. It felt like the plane was going down a road filled with potholes that were six to 12 inches deep and just literally, just shaking. We heard a flight attendant announce, ladies and gentlemen, everything's OK. I could smell some kind of petroleum gasoline smell at that point in time. Everything was not OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: When you get on a plane, the last thing you want to do is dwell on the possibility of crashing, but not preparing for the possibility could cost you your life. In a plane crash, passengers often have just seconds to get out before fire or smoke kills them.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has been at a training session with actual flight attendants, learning how to get out of a plane fast and safely. They used a corporate jet simulator, but the lessons you are about to see are the same for commercial jets.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, ladies and gentlemen, the captain has just informed me that we have an engine fire and the fire is on this side of the aircraft. Therefore, we're going to use this exit right over here. If I'm not able to open this, will you will be able to open it for me?

TUCHMAN: Yes, I will. Yes, I will.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is how you're going to do it. To remove the cover, pull down on the C-handle. Take both handles on each side of the exit and evacuate leg, body, leg.

TUCHMAN: We're definitely going to crash, there's a fire? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. There is a fire in the cabin. There is smoke in here. There is nothing I can do about it. So, please, bring your shirt up over your nose and mouth and breathe through it.

In the meantime, I need you to move over there, quick, now. Get your seat belts on, everybody. This is your brace position. I want you to lean completely over. Grab your arms and the back side of your leg. OK? Very good.

You, put your feet flat on the floor, heads are back.

You two, go all the way down. Grab your ankles on the back side of your legs.

OK, very good. You all can relax. I'll call for that command 10 seconds before landing.

TUCHMAN: OK, this could be the abridged version, so let's go 30 seconds before the crash now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. All right, there's the 30 seconds. If you have any sharp items on you, I need you to remove those. Your eyeglasses, take those off, put them in your chair. Any sharp items, pass them to me immediately.

We are getting closer to landing. Everybody, put your seat belts on. Make sure they are tight. We're going to meet 100 yards away from the aircraft. Stay in a group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten seconds. Ten seconds to landing.

TUCHMAN: Ten seconds, everybody. Ten seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brace! Brace! Hold tight! Brace! Brace! Hold tight! Brace! Brace! Hold tight! Brace! Brace! Hold tight! Brace! Brace!

TUCHMAN: Hold on!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold tight! Brace! Brace! Hold tight! Brace! Brace! Hold tight! Brace! Brace! Hold tight! Hold! Hold tight! Hold tight! Brace! Brace! Hold tight!

All right, stay in your seats. Gary, get the window open now.

TUCHMAN: OK, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got it?

TUCHMAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Evacuate. Leg, body, leg. Release your seatbelts. Come this way. Leave everything.

TUCHMAN: My job is to help other people out, but I'm going to come down and finish this off. I mean to be -- usually, but to defend yourself, the most important tip they gave us when we took this training earlier today, know exactly how many rows you're away from the exit row when you sit down on your plane because as you can see, there is no way to see.

Flying it is good to know where that exit row, how many rows away it is from you when you're sitting in your seat on a plane flight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Bethany Hamilton, a competitive surfer, lost her left arm and almost her life when she was attacked by a shark. She was only 13 years old at the time. She nearly bled to death, but somehow managed to keep her cool. Her amazing survival story, ahead on 360.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETHANY HAMILTON, SHARK ATTACK VICTIM: Shark just like came up and attacked me and it like kind of pulled me back and forth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton didn't plan on becoming a statistic, the victim of a shark attack. She was just doing what she loves, having an ordinary day in the water. And then suddenly, she had to fight to stay alive.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Barely a teenager, Bethany Hamilton was already an inspiration. A real life surfer girl competing at the national level and determined to live out her dream. Nothing was going to stop her.

On Halloween 2003, however, something almost did. As Bethany was surfing off the Hawaiian coast, a massive tiger shark, 14 feet long, was following her. It was a gray blur in the water, and it struck in an instant.

BETHANY HAMILTON, SHARK ATTACK VICTIM: I didn't see the shark in advance, but as soon as it happened, I knew what happened.

COOPER: The shark let go after a few seconds, but the damage was done. Bethany's left arm was severed at the shoulder. She lost 70 percent of her blood. And if not for a quick-thinking friend, Bethany may never have made it out alive.

HAMILTON: He just got a surfboard leash, which is like a thin plastic rubber. So it was kind of like the perfect thing. I guess the doctors said that was one thing that definitely saved me.

COOPER: Enough of the bleeding was stopped and Bethany was pulled to shore.

Her recovery since then is nothing short of remarkable. Within three weeks, she was back on her board, searching for the perfect wave.

HAMILTON: I guess all I can say is my love for surfing just is what brought me back out there. I love being in the ocean and the beach and it was just one thing I had to do, wanted to do. Fall off a horse, get back on.

COOPER: Since the attack, Bethany's amazing story has only gotten better. In part, she says, due to her faith in God. She's now competing at the pro ranks, is racking up medals and just last year took first place in one national surfing competition.

At 16, she has also a keen business sense, with several major endorsements and a growing franchise of merchandise, including fragrances, accessories and surfboards. She's written two books and a film is in the works. As for sharks...

HAMILTON: They always come up in my mind now, but I try not to think about it. I just want to have -- mostly have fun.

COOPER: To the many people that look up to her, Bethany's message is as clear as the water she rides on.

HAMILTON: To like encourage people and let then know that, like, they can do whatever they want if they just set their heart to it and just never give up and just go out there and do it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: In a moment, you're going to meet two more teenagers who almost lost their lives at sea. They set out on a fishing trip that quickly turned into a hellish odyssey. What saved them, next on 360.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, the first time I actually got mad at God in my life. But I never thought that would happen. But I just -- I was really confused and I was just asking him why me? Like, what did I do to deserve this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in a bungalow with my friend, Ben. And I heard roaring sound, which I thought was very peculiar. And the next moment I saw some water rushing by the bungalow. And then instantaneously it was like a truck crashed through the wall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Our special edition of 360, "Against all Odds: Survivor Stories," continues now. Two teenage boys setting out to fish off the cost of South Carolina. It doesn't get much more ordinary than that. But for Josh Long and Troy Driscoll, ordinary quick turned to horrifying.

Here's CNN's Chris Lawrence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The two boys were drifting in the Atlantic. 3:00 in the morning, pitch black. They had been praying for a boat, a boat big enough and close enough to rescue them.

JOSH LONG, SURVIVED AT SEA: ... like a loud roar.

LAWRENCE: Instead, an enormous freighter almost killed them.

LONG: I went in shock. As soon as I saw the boat, I just froze up. I couldn't move.

(CROSSTALK)

TROY DRISCOLL, SURVIVED AT SEA: And when you looked up, the boat's like...

LONG: And all of a sudden his weight just lifted us up, laid the boat on the side, and then pushed us out of the way.

(CROSSTALK)

DRISCOLL: Water came in.

(CROSSTALK)

LONG: It was scary.

LAWRENCE: The big container ship didn't even slow down, probably because its crew never knew the little boat was there.

When Troy Driscoll climbed back in, he was just about ready to give up.

DRISCOLL: Actually, the first time I actually got mad at God in my life. But -- I never thought that would happen, but I just -- I was really confused and I was just asking him, why me? Like, what did I do to deserve this?

LAWRENCE: They went out for a morning of fishing, just off the beach near Charleston, South Carolina.

LONG: And we just put the boat in right here. And there's a sand bar back there, we're just going to paddle straight across to the sand bar.

LAWRENCE: A rip tide caught their boat, started dragging them out to sea. They thought about swimming back to shore, but Josh remembered what his grandfather taught him, stay with the boat.

LONG: Just because I didn't have flares and I didn't have this and that, doesn't mean that he didn't teach me what I needed to know.

LAWRENCE: Their boat had no sail and one paddle. The Atlantic currents knocked them around for six days. The sun beating down. They went swimming to cool off, careful not to swim too long.

LONG: You would be in the water for 10, 20 minutes and you'd have to get out because the sharks would be coming around.

LAWRENCE: A few times a day they'd gargle handfuls of salt water.

LONG: It was bad. So I tried just tried not to drink it. Sometimes you just couldn't help it. You needed something down there.

LAWRENCE: And when the sun went down, they hugged each other to stay warm.

LONG: At night the waves were so bad and they were just coming over the side of the boat. And couldn't sleep, so we'd sleep in the water. And it was freezing cold.

LAWRENCE: Josh and Troy talked openly about dying, but feel they survived because of their faith.

LONG: We would pray to God and say if it's not your will for us to live, then just let us come home. I said we can at least watch our families from up in heaven.

LAWRENCE: They drifted for six long days before a fishing boat rescued them, off the coast of Cape Fear, more than 100 miles from where they put to sea.

(on camera): What was your first thought when you actually got a look at that boat that they rode out there for six days?

PETTY OFFICER DANA WARR: It was amazing. It was utterly amazing.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Petty Officer Dana Warr says the Coast Guard scoured the ocean for three days. But with no sign of the boys, they had to call off the search.

WARR: They didn't have any safety or survival gear, so for them to be alive, it's extremely lucky.

LAWRENCE: What some would call pure luck, these kids call a miracle.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Charleston, South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The U.S. Coast Guard wasn't able to fine Josh and Troy, but not for lack of trying. Fact is finding a lost boater is incredibly difficult. And often the Coast Guard has few facts to go on. Pay close attention now because there are things you can do to boost your odds of surviving if you're lost at sea.

Here again is CNN's Rick Sanchez.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a visual. Starboard bow. Going down. Coming right. Coming to starboard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got them on my radar. Got them on my radar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): The U.S. Coast Guard, demonstrating their precision. A boat or boater is lost at sea. Their job is to search and rescue. As they peer toward the horizon, they know that somewhere out there, someone is desperately hoping to be found.

MICHAEL GERVISS, U.S. COAST GUARD: We're sent on scene to respond to a man in the water or a vessel that went down. We had got on scene to the last known position, we didn't find them. At that point we did what's -- what we commenced what's called the victor sierra search.

SANCHEZ: Victor sierra is a search conducted using a series of calculations, factors like when the boater left, where he was last seen, the wind and current conditions. It is an inexact science that relies as much on persistence and experience as on any particular instrument. And there's no guarantee of success.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes the information's not accurate. Sometimes we'll get a search where the communications get cut off before we get all the details and we don't know exactly what we're looking for or where we're looking for.

SANCHEZ (on camera): And then it's really like finding a needle in the haystack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): And the odds get even worse. If they're looking not for a boat, but for a person.

We experienced it firsthand by going out about a mile offshore and jumping overboard. Nothing more than a life vest.

(on camera): It's amazing when you get here, your line of sight is literally covered or obstructed by most of these waves. You can't see what's on the other side of the waves. And unfortunately, in a rescue situation it's harder for them to see you as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rougher it is, the harder it is to spot it, especially because if it gets choppy up here, you may think you saw something for a second and then you get behind a wave and you may not see it again for another five minutes. SANCHEZ (voice-over): That is why it's important to wear a life vest that's approved by the Coast Guard. Bright reflective colors, like orange that stand out against the blue green surface of the water. Experts also advise that you conserve your energy. Don't splash. Try to keep both arms folded and legs crossed.

(on camera): The longer you're out here, the more you increase the chances of dehydration, hypothermia and exhaustion. Together, those three things make it more difficult for you to be able to help yourself while the Coast Guard are trying to find you.

As planned, the 41-footer has spotted me in the water and is in the process of executing a rescue operation. Because we're out so far from shore, I'm figuring they couldn't get to me soon enough.

As a human being, once you're in the water for a long period of time, you start to realize that you've just dropped to the very bottom of the food chain. There's about 1,000 feet of water under you and who knows what kind of animals.

(voice-over): For us and Coast Guard officials, it is a worthwhile exercise that can save lives. For people that have actually lived through this ordeal, it is a moment frozen in time.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, off the coast of Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: This special edition of 360, "Against All Odds: Survivor Stories," continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And that wraps up this special hour of 360. Thanks for joining us. We hope you never have to use the lessons and the survivor stories you heard tonight. But if you do, we hope they keep you safe.

"LARRY KING" is next.

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

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