tv Caught on Camera MSNBC July 17, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
a truck torpedos through a store front and strikes a young woman. >> that poor little girl who maybe weighs 100 pounds took the whole brunt of that dodge pickup. >> a monster machine wreaks havoc on a small town. >> oh, no, don't go for the library. a daring air show stunt goes from fun to frightening. >> he's going to crash! a high-speed chase spins out of control. >> as you hit speeds upwards of 90 miles an hour with this truck and trailer and lawnmower. >> in this hour, high impact -- >> and it was just shocking, to say the least. >> low bridges -- >> we call it the can opener. >> and crushing life-or-death
moments. this is "caught on camera: crash." hello. i'm contessa brewer. welcome to "caught on camera." a crash can happen just about anywhere. sometimes the impact is no more than a minor inconvenience. other times it is a life-changing or even a life-ending event. while crashes are often accidents, in our first video, you'll see a one-man wrecking effort that is anything but accidental. june 4th, 2004, an irate man in a bulldozer wreaks havoc on the small town of grandby, colorado. >> the vehicle was going in and out of this, basically, a big
concrete warehouse, that was made out of prefab concrete. and what he would do is fall forward until the wall would collapse on top of him and then he would pull backwards and he was just going from one end of the build to the other doing that, causing the building to collapse on itself. >> glen trainor is the former undersheriff of grand county, colorado. when the call first comes in that a bulldozer is on the loose, he isn't overly concerned. but that changes after a report of shots being fired. it turns out this is no ordinary bulldozer. >> when i arrived on scene and walked around the corner and saw this big behemoth tank there that that was fully encased in armor, i knew that we had a problem that was much bigger than our team could handle on our own. >> the homemade tank is outfitted with high-caliber rifles and is rolling over everything in its path.
a few residents grabbed cameras to record the destruction as it happens. >> mad man in grandby. >> the rural sheriff's department is ill equipped to handle such an attach so trainor calls for backup. >> we made the notification to ask for a larger tactical team and agencies to respond from the denver metropolitan area. and the jefferson county sheriff's office. i actually even requested assistance from the colorado national guard. of course, they're an hour and a half away. >> in the meantime, the four to five bulldozer is destroying the town. and there's nothing the sheriff's department can do to stop it. >> hear shots fired. >> our primary purpose at that point was to try and just evacuate the town so that nobody got hurt. because we knew that our armament was very ineffective against it. >> while the residents flee, trainor tries to determine who is unleashing this wave of
destruction. >> we were notified that the individual who was driving this bulldozer was most likely marvin heemeyer. >> marvin was a commoner around town. he was well known. people knew him. many people considered him a friend. >> i met marvin heemeyer back in the 1990s. he ran a muffler shop in the town of grandby. and i knew him just as a businessman. >> the motive is becoming clear. heemeyer's been harbored deep-seeded grudges against some prominent town members. this is his revenge. >> marvin was upset because a showman by the name of cody wanted to open a concrete batch plant adjacent to his muffler shop. mr. heemeyer felt this was not good for his property values and objected very strongly to the special-se permit and the
avenues in which the town went about proving this batch point. >> the plant is the main source of his anger, but heemeyer's also unhappy with the town council members for approving the plant's construction. his next target is the grandby town hall. >> he began systematically from working in a clockwise fashion going around that building and basically taking it down. >> and the building houses more than civil servants. >> oh, no, don't go for the library. >> we had evacuated approximately 12 elementary schoolchildren from the library, which was in the town hall. >> but heemeyer isn't done yet. board members work in other places all around town. >> after the bulldozer left the town hall, it then went to the local bank that was on the corner. one the employees of this bank had been also a member of the grandby town board. he systematically went from one end of that town to the other to try to destroy literally their entire livelihoods. >> the rampage is not the act of a man who suddenly snaps.
the planning and execution is painstaking and more than a year in the making. >> marv heemeyer purchased a bulldozer at an auction in california and then had it shipped out to grand county, and he kept that at his muffler shop for several months. he began modifying it by placing sheet steel, quarter or half inch of sheet steel. and then this certain key places he placed anywhere between 4 and 12 inches of concrete and then encased that concrete in another layer of sheet steel so that it really was totally armored. mr. heemeyer also placed three different firearms in the walls of this thing using gun ports. >> and yet even his close friends had no idea that he was building this implement of destruction or that he was planning to use it. >> heemeyer's careful in his construction. there are no windows, leaving
little chance for law enforcement to get a shot into the rolling fortress. but heemeyer has to come up with another way to see. >> he placed several cameras at different locations outside of the bulldozer, just pinhole cameras, so that he was able to actually drive the thing using a closed-circuit tv video system. >> with heemeyer demolishing the town and help still a long way from arriving, trainor devices a plan to try to stop the destruction. >> knowing that we could not stop this vehicle, this tank from going where it wanted to go, i then remembered a video i had seen of a tank in san diego where the sheriff's deputies had actually entered the tank from the top through a port hole and then killed the driver. >> it's a risky move and apparently one that heemeyer had planned for. >> mr. heemeyer had taken axle grease and had greased the
entire side of the tank so that, you know, if he tried to get on top, you would just slip off. i was able to stick my fingers in between a couple of pieces of metal that had an exposed space and was able to eventually get on top of the tank. and was very surprised to find that there was absolutely no hatch visible into the top of the tank. i began looking for areas that i might be able to actually shoot inside or move to actually gain entry into the tank. >> with the bulldozer about to ram into another building, undersheriff trainor is out of time and ammo. he's forced to abort the plan. the destruction continues. but then a lucky break. >> he started overheating and became stuck on a -- the foundation of this building. the tracks, one on dirt and one through an open crawl space of the basement. >> the bulldozer is finally stopped. authorities prepare for a
lengthy standoff, but suddenly a single gunshot. >> we were unaware if this was somebody who was actually barricaded at this point, if he had committed suicide, or what the situation was. within just a few minutes of all this happening, the bulldozer shutting off, the tactical teams from the denver metro area and the front range began arriving. >> unsure whether or not this is a ploy, sheriff trainor keeps the teams on high alert while they attempt to find a way into the dozer. >> finally, many, many hours later, they were able to actually use a cutting torch and cut into the top of the tank or the bulldozer through where that air-conditioning unit was. and determined at that point that mr. heemeyer her died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. >> sheriff's deputies later find his writings which lay out his
grievances with the town and his reasons for the rampage. no residents are injured, but marvin heemeyer destroys 14 buildings and causes nearly $8 million in damage. >> it's apparent, in talking to the citizens of grandby and grand county, a lot of systems worked well. this could have been much worse. >> we have all felt very blessed that there was no loss of life, no civilians were injured or killed. >> the incident is shocking, but in the aftermath, the small town pulls together and starts to rebuild. >> the town wanted to do it right, and so they did not rush into the rebuilding of the town hall. however, i think the town hall was seen as a symbol of the reconstruction or the rebirth of the town, if you will, that once the town hall was completed, i think it allowed the townspeople to feel that we're actually back to normal. >> mad man in grandby. coming up -- a high-flying act comes crashing down.
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a harrowing scene at an air show in southern texas when a stunt plane struggles to stay airborne in front of thousands of spectators. >> we've been doing air fiesta here in brownsville since 1991. and we have never had an incident of this nature before. >> he's going to crash. >> on march 12th, 2011, crowds gather at brownsville south padre airport for the high-flying event. >> it's a fair-type atmosphere. there's music and there's people talking and there's just all
sorts of sound and activity going on. >> the day's featured attraction is the pirated skies act performed by the husband and wife team of kyle and amanda franklin. >> they're two of the finest air show performers in the country. >> as the franklins begin their routine, crowds are amazed by kyle's skillful piloting and amanda's daring wing walking. >> there aren't that many wing walkers at the air show. it's a really thrilling thing to see. >> the routine is going exactly as they rehearse it. amanda's jaw-dropping stunts and kyle's aerial acrobatics wow the crowd. >> kyle franklin is one of the finest performers i've ever seen. his airplane is a unique biplane. it's big, it's loud. he makes it do things that airplanes shouldn't be able to do. he has a pretty sophisticated smoke system that pumps out
smoke as he's doing, you know, all of his aerobatic maneuvers and it's quite entertaining. and amanda, basically, crawls all over the airplane while kyle is doing all sorts of aeromatic maneuvers with that big old biplane of his. >> but toward the end of their routine, something goes horribly wrong. >> there was one final loop that they made, and i guess we were all just waiting for them to come back down. >> he's going to crash! he's going to crash! >> and the plane didn't come back up. >> it just kind of disappeared behind a little brush line. >> i didn't know what was happening. we actually thought it was part of the show at first. people were anticipating for the plane to come back up. >> the plane never rises, and people in the crowd realize they just witnessed a terrible accident. >> i was so shocked because the crowd, some thousands of people were here, and you could have heard a pin drop. >> we have an airplane that went down at the air show.
>> fortunately, our crash fire and rescue trucks were rolling before the airplane ever got on the ground and so they were there almost immediately. >> both amanda and kyle survive the crash, but they're not out of danger. >> and a couple of seconds later, smoke started coming down. >> kyle got out almost immediately and was trying to help amanda out when a fire ensued. >> but she's still strapped to the plane, and kyle can't free her. >> i heard amanda. she was screaming. >> i heard the scream, and i ran to the plane. >> air show worker eddie alvarez is one of the first people to respond to the crash site. and what he sees shocks him. >> first thing when i got there, i noticed -- i saw the fire. >> the fire threatens to consume the entire plane. rescuers have little time.
>> sprinkler. >> copy. >> they eventually started taking them out, and they were able to get them out and take them to the local hospitals here. >> unfortunately, kyle and amanda both sustained burns as a result of that. kyle sustained burns on his arms and as of today he's still undergoing physical therapy. >> but amanda's injuries are far more severe. one week after the crash, an emotional kyle franklin describes the extent of his wife's injuries. >> she's got burns over 70% of her body. she's got inhalation injury. she's got a broken neck. a broken back. her face is smashed. she's got multiple fractures all down her face. she's got very little skin left for them to do very much grafting. >> due to the severity of her
burns, she suffers from numerous infections and her kidneys all but shut down. 11 weeks after the crash, kyle is forced to make a difficult decision. he takes his wife, amanda, off life support. she passes away two months after her 25th birthday. the ntsb hasn't released its final report on the cause of the crash, but kyle franklin says he believes something caused the engine to flood. once the plane is in trouble, he and amanda had precious little time to react. >> from the time that the engine developed a problem from the time that they were on the ground was a matter of five or six seconds. six seconds. she was standing on the top wing when they crashed into the brush she was inside the front cockpit. >> they leveled out so that amanda could get back inside the cockpit.
>> he had to get amanda back in the airplane before he actually could adjust his direction, otherwise she might have fallen off the wing. >> and then as he tried to make his way back into the open area, he didn't have enough altitude so he went down in the brush just across that -- across the runway. >> after the wreckage is cleared, the crash site provides clues as to what split-second decisions kyle made in an attempt to save his and amanda's lives. >> this is where the plane went down. and after looking at the site, it appears to me that he was trying to turn back towards the runway because there's a tree up there that has some branches missing at the top and if he was coming from that direction, that implies that he was going back towards the runway and he just didn't have enough altitude to make it. >> despite not making it to the runway, kyle still manages to get the plane in a good position for the rescue. >> if he had gone in another 20 or 40 feet east of here, the fire trucks wouldn't had been able to get there.
so he did a masterful job of at least getting it into a position where the rescue crews could get to him. it truly is amazing. coming up -- a carjacking leads to a dangerous high-speed chase. and later, a vintage warplane takes a dive when "caught on camera: crash" returns. just one phillips' colon health probiotic cap a day helps defends against occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating.
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an unusual and dangerous high-speed chase is the culmination of a day-long crime spree in north carolina. >> there's a utility truck of some kind. >> and the frightening ending is all caught in the eye of the sky of local nbc station wcnc-36. >> oh. >> it hits speeds upwards of 90 miles an hour with this truck and trailer and lawnmower. >> april 9th, 2008, a landscaping crew in huntersville, north carolina, is
in a municipal pickup truck when suddenly a trio of armed criminals steal it. >> the suspect and his two friends approach him with a handgun and demanded the town vehicle. >> one the maintenance workers flags down a police car, and a chase ensues. >> you have citizens out on the road, and then when you have people that drive crazy trying to get away from the police, it just creates a dangerous situation. >> they're putting innocent people in a lot of danger by the way they're driving and especially the fact that they've got a trailer with a very heavy piece of equipment on the back. >> the heavy trailer makes it difficult to maneuver through traffic, but somehow no one gets hit. >> they're split in traffic and just fortunately all the other drivers seem to be aware and pulling over to the side. >> the police chase the suspects for more than ten miles into the city of charlotte. here, the driver's unable to maintain control of the truck and trailer creating an even
more frightening situation. >> and they fishtailed this is not a good idea to do this on a bridge. >> we're extremely luck they that mower didn't go overboard. >> it turns out this isn't the first time the suspects commit that day. earlier, they're seen cruising in a stolen 4-runner looking for vacant houses to rob in cornelius, north carolina. >> the m.o. that we have seen is a stolen vehicle is used to go to other areas, neighborhoods, and try to check for people who aren't at home for easy targets. >> after circulating several neighborhoods for approximately 30 minutes or so, i went into one of our neighborhoods where we had had an increase in home break-ins. >> the suspects are spotted, and police work quickly to try to catch them. >> officers from huntersville helped out with the officers in cornelius to kind of secure the entrances to that neighborhood. >> the officers were already at this point in position ready for
them. and the 4-runner went over some spike strips. >> we did actually flatten the front left tire of that car. >> even with a flat tire, the trio manages to escape the roadblock. >> one of our officers was behind them, lost sight of them due to heavy traffic at this time. >> once they lose the police, the suspects need new wheels. that's when they happened upon the maintenance truck, not exactly the ideal getaway car. >> they realized they got in the other vehicle, i believe, when a town employee flagged an officer down and told the officer that they had just been carjacked at gunpoint. >> clearly, when an event like this does take place, we have to keep in mind that these are potentially very dangerous individuals. at the end of this chase, it had, obviously, a very dramatic ending and a potentially very deadly wreck over a very busy interstate. >> but even after the truck crashes, the suspects don't give up hope of escape. >> they all jumped and ran from the vehicle and ran from the police officers who were running
after them. >> conveniently for us, they never left the leader. they followed him everywhere he went, which made it very convenient for the officers in pursuit. >> april 9th, 2008, turned out to be a very bad day for these three individuals. >> with the suspects in custody, authorities put the day's dramatic events in perspective. >> no injuries to the suspects. no injuries to officers. and no injuries to any citizen that may have been around that incident. >> okay, look it, he's fishtailing. >> here you go. >> fishtailing. he's going to wreck. >> we were very, very fortunate that nobody got hurt. that mower didn't fly off of the bridge onto that busy interstate. >> the three men are charged with numerous crimes, including robbery with a dangerous weapon. >> i did testify against the three individuals and ultimately they were all sentenced to prison time. >> mr. staples, who was the
leader of this group, got 12 years, six months active. and the other two individuals, mr. gaines and mr. hines, received eight years, six months. >> these high-speed hazards should serve as a warning to anyone on the road. >> when a car passes you at a high rate of speed driving erratically, it's obviously some issue that you need to be aware of. we tell people to pull over to the shoulder of the road, turn your radio down so you can hear what's going on. >> look, he's fishtailing. >> here you go. >> fishtailing. here it goes. he's going to wreck. coming up -- crash after crash after crash, all at the same location and all caught on camera. and later, a truck smashes through a store front pinning a woman behind want counter when "caught on camera: crash" returns. to keep in balance after 50,
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i'm milissa rehberger. here's what's happening. no relief in sight from an unrelenting heat wave hitting large parts of the country. heat advisories and warnings are in place in 17 states from texas to michigan. >> more fallout from the uk phone hacking scandal. london's chief of police quits. this comes after a former ceo of rupert murdoch's british newspaper empire was arrested. now back to "caught on camera." welcome back to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. it's hard to capture crashes on camera because generally they come without warning. but what if you knew where one was going to take place? this next story takes you to one location that seems to epitomize the expression, "an accident waiting to happen." it's hard to predict where an
accident will occur. they are accidents, after all. but there is one place where crashes are almost as regular as the months on a calendar. >> 31 crashes in, what, 36 months. >> durham, north carolina, the home of duke university. it's also home to this low railroad bridge. a clearance of only 11 feet, 8 inches which is clearly marked here, and here. >> some of the trucks, when they pull up, they look like sardine cans that have been opened, so we call it the can opener. >> ever since jurgen henn moved to durham from germany in the 1990s, he's been fascinated by the city's history. and the bridge at the center of so many accidents. >> the buildings here were built around the early 20th century.
the tobacco warehouses around 1904. that's probably around the time that this bridge was clearance and i suspect clearance wasn't a big issue then. >> but as trucks grow taller over the years, the bridge doesn't. >> i found photos on the website of truck crashes from the '40s and '50s and '60s. >> intrigued by the sheer volume of accidents at the bridge he sets out to document exactly how many occur. >> we were wondering if we could record the crashes to get a more accurate record of the frequency of these crashes. i have a camera set up here in the store and in my office across the street. >> from april 2008 to april 2011, henn records crash after crash after crash. 31 in three years. henn post the crash videos online. >> i'm hoping that i'm putting out these videos helps at least to raise awareness especially
for people who rent trucks because that's really the vast majority, i'd say, of the truck drivers who run their trucks into the bridge. >> over the years, that bridge has taken a beating. its operator, the norfolk southern railroad, has even taken precautions to defend the bridge from the constant collisions. >> the railroad company has set up the crash beam to prevent damage to the structure because it's a very busy train track. they've had to previously shut down the train tracks for days on end to repair the tressel which is very expensive. >> the city has also made an effort to prevent these crashes by posting clearance signs and installing a warning system. >> the city has set up a system to detect over high trucks which triggers the flashing lights on top of the crash beam to alert the driver, hopefully, that the
vehicle's too tall to pass the bridge safely. >> but the crashes continue to happen. with all the warnings and safety precautions, why are there still so many crashes at this particular bridge? do some drivers not know the height of their trucks? or do they simply not pay attention to all of the warnings? henn has a theory. >> the problem in my opinion is the speed. the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. i have noticed that a lot of the trucks that hit the crash beam go way too fast, and if you're driving a rental truck and you are really focused on sort of your immediate environment, if you're not experienced, you might very easily miss obvious signs and all of a sudden, boom, get stuck under this bridge. >> while it only takes a matter of seconds for a truck to get
stuck, getting unstuck is a completely different story. >> the process of getting the truck out depends on the severity of the crash. some hit the crash beam, back out and drive off, and others get stuck and can't get the truck out without help. >> but no matter how destructive the crash is to the trucks and the bridge, all of the drivers jurgen henn catches on camera have been able to walk away. >> i don't know of anyone who got seriously injured from a crash. they're shaken up, bruised egos for sure, but no serious physical harm. >> as for the 100-year-old bridge, things keep rolling along. >> oh! coming up -- unbelievable stories of survival. two people struck by runaway vehicles live to tell the tale.
>> i can't even express how blessed i truly am just to make it out of there alive. >> when "caught on camera: crash" returns. to stay ahead of her class. morning starts with arthritis pain... that's two pills before the first bell. [ bell rings ] it's time for recess... and more pills. afternoon art starts and so does her knee pain, that's two more pills. almost done, but hang on... her doctor recommended aleve because it can relieve pain all day with just two pills. this is lisa... who switched to aleve and fewer pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels.
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in hinesville, georgia, a pickup truck slam into a dry cleaners, pinning 22-year-old brittany cartagenia behind the counter. the store security cameras capture the entire frightening scene. >> i mean, brittany didn't have a chance. she looked up and saw it coming. >> it happened too fast. >> march 3rd, 2011, lanas dry cleaners is open for business as usual. store manager shawna rhea is out on a delivery when she receives
an urgent call. >> a car had come into the cleaners and hit brittany. >> i can remember seeing a big old front of the truck and just glass coming at me. >> i didn't know britany's condition. so, i mean, i got here just as quick as i could. >> when shawna arrives she sees the parking slot a disaster zone and a hole where the front of her store used to be. >> it was chaos. the ambulance, people were still with her. they still had her behind the counter. when i got here, she didn't come out from behind the counter for probably 15 or 20 minutes. >> it was huge. it was twisted. i couldn't bend it. >> they stabilized her and her neck and everything because they didn't know the extent of her injury. >> as awful as it is to get the call for shawna rhea, it's nothing compared to the call britany's mother has to endure. >> i was at home, and they called me and told me that there
will be an dead in here and not to worry, that they were getting her out and this, i lost it. i pretty much couldn't figure out where i was going and what i was doing at the time. i was scared. all i knew is that she was pinned but that she was alive. >> somehow brittany escapes death despite the truck coming right at her. but the crash leaves its mark. >> you can see the difference in her knees. and there's bruises here. and i have an incision here and i have one up here. >> watching the surveillance footage, shawna sees how the accident happens and why brittany's able to survive. >> what they figured is that the cinder block in the front slowed the truck down. so he didn't hit it with the full force. and we had a computer stand, and
that's where brittany landed and that was probably better for her, because those doors that we had up front, they came flying out, and if she hadn't fallen down, they would have hit her right in the head. and brittany looks up and she sees it coming, but there's nothing that she can do, and then you don't see brittany anymore. how did that poor little girl who maybe weighs 100 pounds took the whole brunt of that dodge ram pickup. >> i can't even express how blessed i truly am to make it out of there alive. >> but how could this happen? it turns out an elderly customer, roger mays, loses control of his pickup truck. >> well, mr. mays was coming to drop his clothes off. one of our customers had been at counter and he was waiting. >> after the other customer pulls out, mays attempts to pull in to the parking spot. according to the police report, he went to apply the brakes but accidentally hit the accelerator. >> he was in the cleaners so fast that it -- that it was scary.
>> mays isn't hurt but is cited for failure to exercise due care. the incident rattles him. >> once they got him out of the truck, which they, you know, had to pull the truck back, and once they got him out of truck, he was walking around and his daughter came to, you know, make sure that he was okay. and mr. mays stayed until they loaded brittany onto the ambulance. he was shook up. i mean, he's an elderly gentleman, and he was shook up. >> and while the front of the dry cleaners is destroyed, shawna manages to keep lamas cleaners open for business. >> none of our machines were hurt. just took out all of our computer equipment and the counter and all of that. you have to come to the back door, and i'm sorry for that. but we'll take care of you however we can. we're able to work. can't keep us down. an suv slams into a row of storefronts in new york city's
spanish harlem and right into an unsuspecting street vendor. >> it hit right in the middle right where he works. >> the crash rattles windows and shakes up the people nearby. and it's all caught by a store's security camera. >> it was one of those things where, it's like, it happened so fast, you don't know what's going on, like, you just hear a big noise and your first instinct is, like, what's happening? that's -- it was crazy. it was a little scary. >> february 18th, 2008, c.j. morales is working in the stock room of a shoe store when he hears a big bang. >> it sounded like a big thunderbolt or something. it sounded like -- like big crushing noise. i walked outside and i saw, like, the car was there, like destroyed. >> elvin, espenal who works at
the music store nearby, is also startled by the sound the impact. >> all of a sudden we heard a noise and we heard off. instruments that we had in the front just kind of, like, shook so right away my manager and i, we came to the front. >> john is street vendor felix johnny torya. >> talking to this guy, this lady came too fast and got no time to press the brakes. she almost go inside of the store. >> the scene outside shocks the store workers. >> when i walked out from the back, the car was on the sidewalk already. it was, like, right in front of where johnny's things were at. and it was just there, like, stop. and it was smoking. >> the suv is badly damaged, and johnny is severely injured. >> i remember him on the ground. he said his leg, his leg was like really messed up. >> i was lucky they pushed me inside. they don't push me inside, i don't be here talking to you. i called the guy from the next door. the guy gave me a hands and i was bleeding in my leg. >> he was on the ground.
he was trying to lean on things. when he came asking for help, he actually started leaning on this part -- this part of the door. and obviously that's not a good sign. so we called 911 right away. >> it was, like, probably, 15, 20 minutes before the ambulance showed up. >> due to the severity of his injuries, first responders rushed johnny to the hospital. >> his leg was, like, really messed up. and he was going through a whole lot with surgery and, like, physical therapy. >> johnny's in the hospital for five days and requires surgery. >> and this knee. >> it takes months for him to return to work. life and business go on for the vendors on the block, but everyone is a little more aware of how quickly things can change. >> i'm always cautious in my surroundings, but, like, standing where johnny's at now i'm a little bit more like -- a
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a vintage warplane loses its engine in midair and struggles to make it to the runway. >> the solar plane had circled back around over here, and it looked like it was going to land. >> instead, it slams into a harbor -- >> holy [ bleep ]. >> -- plunging the pilot and passenger under water. >> oh, my goodness. >> it was just unbelievable to me.
>> march 25th, 2011, dave darby is spending the afternoon at albert whitted airfield, a small airport just outside tampa, florida. >> my buddy kirk who's been building this air control tower back here, he's been doing it for the past year and a half. i hadn't come out to check it out yet, so he wanted me to come and see it, so we decided to conveniently come and check it out. the day the honda grand prix was going on. >> the honda grand prix is an open wheel indycar race and portions of the airport including east/west runway become part of the actual race course. >> the tower provides a perfect view to watch the race, so dave decides to bring his camera along. >> we were on top of the tower on the roof and i was just shooting just footage of, like, everything that was around, and then i noticed that there was a bunch of these old warplanes that were taxiing over here on the runway and they were about to take off. >> sometimes we'll do air shows in between races or during the
main race. in this case, it was like the event that kind of kicked the race off. >> i was getting the plane as it was coming in to land. it didn't really seem out of ordinary to me. >> but the plane is in trouble. its engine stalls. and the pilot struggles to make the runway. at first, it looks to darby like the plane is going to make it. >> then as it was coming in, it just seemed like all of a sudden, it just dropped. it just hit the water. >> [ bleep ] dude. >> crashed and flipped forward. and it was just shocking, to say the least. >> immediately, boaters in the vicinity of the crash spring into action. >> all kinds of boats started speeding in to the plane, probably about ten of them. >> i think that some the boats that responded to the site were the st. pete police department because they had a boat already in the water for the race, and i believe some coast guard as well. >> holy crap. >> the pilot and the passenger are under water. >> did he get out of plane? >> they're out.
>> but both managed to swim out of the cockpit and onto a pair of wave runners that arrive on the scene. >> the faa will probably want this footage. >> once i saw that the pilots actually got out, and then it was sort of like a relief. >> in this case, because we the race going on, the emergency crus were actually already on the property so they were almost able to get there almost as soon as it happened. >> looking at the tape it seems like the plane is going to land on the runway, so why did it suddenly drop? after the crash, darby says he's able to talk to the pilot who tells him something shocking. apparently, ditching in the water is intentional. >> from what i heard, the passenger in the back actually pushed the stick forward to push the plane down into the water because he knew that they weren't going to make it, they would probably hit the seawall if they didn't do that. >> the concrete seawall separates the runway from the bay. slamming into it would likely be more disastrous than forcing the plane into the water. after the crash, the height of
the seawall makes it difficult for the salvage crew to recover the sunken plane. >> you've got a fairly high seawall, so in order to get to retrieve the plane you have to first bring it up and close enough to shore and then you have to get the crane over to lift the plane out of the water. >> there is no physical evidence left to show that the crash ever happened. but for david darby, there is one lasting side effect. >> i don't know if i'll be flying into any little planes anytime soon. >> i just got it on film, bro. >> you got that. >> yeah. >> oh, my goodness! >> so far we've seen planes crash into water and on land. you would think once a plane makes it to the runway, it would be safe. think again. at new york's jfk international airport, a large transcontinental airplane clips the tail of a smaller regional
jet spinning it with jawing jarring force. april 11th, 2011, a small delta comair bombardier arriving from boston lands at jfk. and passengers on board get a frightening reminder of one of the reasons why they should not take their seat belts off before they reach the gate. >> 563. send the trucks. they just hit us. >> a massive airfrance airbus a380 taxiing to the runway crashes into it, turning it about 45 degrees. >> attention, all emergency equipment. >> once ground control receives word of the accident, they immediately dispatch emergency personnel. after moving both planes away from the crash site, crews work to clean up any debris on the runway. the cause is still being investigated, but the ntsb's preliminary report indicates the regional jet had to wait for another plane to depart before
being able to taxi to its gate. while waiting, the jet's tail was hanging over the taxiway. additionally, the air france airbus a380 is one of the largest commercial airliners in service to date with a total wingspan of 261 feet. while passengers on the 300-ton airbus report feeling only a slight rumble. >> airfrance thinks he may have hit somebody. >> the 56 people on the smaller comair bombardier feel a violent jolt. luckily, no one is injured. >> i think the takeaway from this show is keep your seat belt on. i'm contessa brewer. that's all for this edition of "caught on camera."