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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  June 13, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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facing the deadline. bp under new pressure to get the job done. our exclusive tour with the company as the president prepares to address the nation. the desperate search continues for victims of that deadly flash flood. and tonight, new harrowing stories of survival. heat of battle. richard engle under fire with u.s. forces in afghanistan. an extraordinary look at life on the front lines. and fit to be tied. team usa shows how to win by not losing. and the moment sure to go down losing. and the moment sure to go down in sports tree. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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good evening. just hours away from a government-imposed deadline, bp is scrambling tonight to come up with a way to capture more of the oil spewing into the gulf of mexico. the coast guard gave bp until tonight to step up its game. and right now with oil still freely gushing from the damaged well, the company says it is trying to position undersea sensors to get a better handle on exactly how much oil is escaping. in a moment, we'll take you above the spill site with bp officials. but first, there is growing pressure on the company from the white house, which announced today the president will make a prime-time address on the crisis later this week following yet another visit to the scene of the disaster. our coverage begins with nbc's mike viqueira at the white house. mike, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. the crisis is building today to a crescendo here at the white house, with the president making
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yet new demands on bp. on top of all this, lester, bp facing a deadline of tonight to come up with a better plan to stop that gushing oil. it will be a first for this president. a prime-time address to the nation, set for tuesday from the oval office. the latest move from a white house struggling to cope with the disaster. >> this is an ongoing crisis, much like an epidemic. >> reporter: the speech will come just hours after the president returns from a two-day trip to the region. his fourth. this time to areas just now feeling the brunt of the crisis. >> we're at a kind of inflection point in this saga, because we now know essentially what we can do and what we can't do in terms of collecting oil. >> reporter: after hearing complaints from local businesses about red tape, the white house is now pressing bp to create a separate escrow account, controlled by a third party, where gulf residents can go to
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recover what could total billions in lost income. >> we've been very concerned about the claims process. this is not a core function of an oil-producing company. >> reporter: and amid concerns that anti-bp rhetoric was straining ties with close ally, great britain, the president spoke with prime minister david cameron this weekend. but there was no letup today, as aides insisted that the oil giant can and should pay for all costs coming out of the disaster. and, quote, has legal and moral obligations to the people in the gulf. >> they're a highly profitable company. they've got lots of assets. >> reporter: mr. obama has also been hit for not once speaking directly with top bp officials. that changes on wednesday, when company executives come to the white house for a meeting with the president. analysts say the move shows an administration still awakening to the scope of the disaster. >> it's an acknowledgement on the part of the white house that they're playing catch-up. that they were slow to realize the perception in many cases is reality.
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>> reporter: and lester, after new estimates put the amount of oil gushing from the floor of the gulf at up to 40,000 barrels a day, the coast guard wrote a letter to bp last friday, saying, you have to come up with a better plan of capturing that oil and that is the deadline that looms tonight. lester? >> mike viqueira at the white house. thanks. this program note, nbc news will have live coverage of the president's address tuesday night at 8:00 eastern time, 5:00 pacific. we got an exclusive view today through the eyes of bp, of the operation to contain the oil spill. nbc's tom costello accompanied a top bp executive on an aerial tour of the operations underway at sea. he joins us now from houma, louisiana. tom, good evening. >> reporter: we are on a bp helicopter at bp's invitation. the company says it will respond to the coast guard by 9:00 p.m. eastern time tonight. it points out it has a bigger ship coming to suck up more oil later this week, even more ships by mid-july. but it points out there are so
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many ships and so much equipment at the disaster site now on the ocean, it simply doesn't have room for anymore. >> we are running into the constraint of how many of these vessels can put in there at the same time, and we hook up more vessels to the containment system on the seabed. >> reporter: doug suttles is bp's chief operating officer. as the pipe at the bottom of the ocean continues to spew 20,000 to 50,000 barrels of oil each day, the company has lost a great deal of credibility. >> i think a lot of americans are struggling to understand how bp doesn't have a firm grasp on how much oil is coming out of that pipe. since it's your pipe, your equipment, your pressurization methodology that's at play here, why don't you have a better feel for that? >> well, the problem we have is, is that the leak is at 5,000 feet of water depth. and you can't put a meter on it down there. you can't do precise measurements down there. you can see how that one is sheening along the edge. what that will tell us is it
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probably has tar balls on. >> reporter: suttles took us tour on louisiana's barrier islands. >> the heat of the day makes it harder to clean up oil here on the beach, but makes it easier offshore. >> reporter: on shore, crews collect the sand and oil into piles for removal. at 100, it's far too hot for the oil to form tar balls. this is -- this tar is definitely hotter and gooey and it runs, doesn't it? >> absolutely. in fact, you can just see it right here, it's just running down the side of the pile, as we speak. >> reporter: so hot crews can only work for 20 minutes at a stretch. bp says it never anticipated a disaster of this scale. that, say critics, is exactly the point. bp says it has 27,000 people across the region, if you include the coast guard, contractors, the epa, all of those right now involved in this massive cleanup operation. it says it takes four to six
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weeks for the oil to travel from the pipe to the beach, so lester, that means if in august they really get this pipe sealed off, the oil will keep coming for at least another month. back to you. >> hard to fathom. tom costello tonight, thank you. turns out there's more than just oil washing ashore in the gulf. take a look at this. a 550-gallon oil storage tank found on the beach in panama city. officials say it has markings that read bp horizon. they are now moving the tank to be checked by investigators. there is so much oil in the gulf that it threatens every shoreline within its reach. while much of the focus has been on the marshland of louisiana and the white beaches of florida, in between lie hundreds of miles of coastline in mississippi and alabama. nbc's mark potter is in orange beach, alabama, for us again tonight. >> reporter: the day after the oil hit, cleanup crews were out in force in gulf shores with, alabama, picking up as much as they could. >> oil is bad. we have to get the oil off.
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plain and simple. >> that's what i'm afraid of here. >> reporter: mayor robert kraft is expecting even more oil soon. >> more coming in. >> more coming in. so tomorrow we'll pick up that, and there'll be another line. what will happen tonight, when the high tide comes in, that will end up here. >> reporter: down the road in orange beach, the once-pristine sand in front of the tourist hotels was still fouled. and at the height of tourist season, very few people on the beach. this man fishing for sport, not food, had oil all over his line. from the air, there's an ominous sight. just three miles offshore, coast guard pilots spotted large patches of floating oil. with winds often from the south now, the question is when, not if, that and other oil will threaten the inlets and beaches. repeating the scene yesterday when stunned residents and visitors watched helplessly as wave after wave of noxious oil washed ashore all day long. for local businesses and real estate companies geared towards
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summer tourism, oil on the beaches is an economic catastrophe. >> you know, people are not going to come down to the beach and have the beach covered with oil. and we're getting skinned alive. >> reporter: mayor kraft says he's upset with bp for not compensate business owners for their actual losses. >> i have not find a thing that they have been affected by yet. and it concerns me. >> reporter: local leaders hopes president obama stops by here during his gulf coast trip, to see the threat as they see it. now, today the weather is calm, giving cleanup workers both onland and offshore the chance to pick up a lot of oil before another wave of it threatens the coast and the local economies here. lester? >> mark potter, thanks. now to the other major story we're following this weekend. the search for victims of friday's flash flood in southwest arkansas. and some dramatic news today about how many lives were lost. nbc's john yang has the latest from the emergency command center in langley, arkansas.
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john? >> reporter: good evening, lester. tonight, the death toll stands at least 19 with the discovery of another body today. but the surprising news is that the list of missing is down to one. it was 22 last night. how did it go down so fast? officials believe that a lot of people on the list were never in the campground when the flash flood hit in the first place. for the third straight day, searchers headed to the banks of the little missouri river to look for the missing, now far fewer than earlier feared. >> this area is so rugged, there's so much debris, there's places you cannot get any equipment to. >> reporter: those still awaiting word on loved ones were taken to tour the devastated campground, where rampaging waters swept vacationing campers to their deaths. pastor greg coward and his wife, andrea, went with the families. >> they were just devastated all over again. they did -- hadn't really
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grasped, you know, probably the full horrors of what happened. >> reporter: workers removed wrecked vehicles from the campground and sent in heavy equipment to pull apart debris piles, some of them 30 feet high. phone companies set up temporary cell towers in hopes that anyone still trapped could call for help. as the number of the missing dwindled, groups like the red cross turned to the searchers' needs. >> they're trying hard to keep hope. >> reporter: many of them are volunteers. some have camped in the washington national forest for years and imagined themselves facing the terrifying flash flood. >> i would haven't thought to leave or nothing like that. >> so sudden. it was just all of a sudden. it wasn't rising water, it was, all of a sudden, it was here. >> reporter: those who were there continue to tell harrowing stories. chuck mets and shelly smith, neighbors in bossier, louisiana, were camping together with their families when the water surged as fast as eight fetet an hour.
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>> when i got back out, it was coming up closer to my knee, and when chuck got into the truck and i got the floaties, got into the truck, it was at my thigh and it was just minutes. >> reporter: but the focus remains on those awaiting word of loved ones, especially children. >> they're tired, they're anxious, they're -- they're sad. they're wanting something to happen. you know, they're waiting. >> reporter: searchers are now concentrating their efforts on those debris piles. they're done doing the sort of cross-country searches. they're looking at those debris piles, because that's where the last two body have said found. lester? >> john yang in arkansas tonight, thank you. there is a developing story overseas tonight, in a part of the world seldom in the news, a bloodbath in kyrgyzstan, once part of the soviet union. mobs attacked, looting villages and killing at least 100 men, women, and children.
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hundreds more have been injured and tens of thousands have abandoned their homes and are attempting to flee the country. when nig"nightly news" continues this sunday night, american forces under fire in afghanistan. >> reporter: it's the most intense assault ever on the outpost. >> richard engle with an extraordinary view of life on the front lines, when we come back. i'm taking the right steps to manage my diabetes and my budget. extracare advantage for diabetes is a new program that helps me save money and earn double bucks on over 100 items, so we can stay a step ahead of... all: our diabetes! join extracare advantage for diabetes today and receive a free gift when you enroll. only at cvs/pharmacy. in a recently published study, key nutrients reviewed were found to be absorbed by the body. these nutrients help support energy and immunity. science gives you more reason to trust centrum.
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disaster in the gulf, but nine years in, this war has now hit a new level of frosty, as u.s. forces hit the taliban head-on and casualties mount. what are americans there going through now? an answer to that question tonight from our chief foreign correspondent, richard engle, embedded with the 82nd airborne near kandahar. and a warning, some of the footage you're about to see may be disturbing for some viewers. >> reporter: just before dark saturday, soldiers from the 82nd airborne division fight off a taliban surprise attack on an american outpost in the arghandab valley. [ gunfire ] the battle is fierce. 20 taliban fires are just 100 yards away. this place has come under heavy attack. already one soldier has been severely injured. two more americans are wounded before the fight is over. they'll all survive. >> some ammo! >> reporter: but battles like this one are picking up and
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taking a toll. on many patrols here, sergeant lewis loftus is the point man. if there's an ied in the ground, he'll most likely see it first, or step on it. 22-year-old loftus volunteers for the job. >> i'm thinking about, you know, just getting to where we're going, the safest route possible. i really don't dwell on, you know, this could be my last patrol. >> reporter: the arghandab is among afghanistan's richest farmland. the dense vegetation provides ample cover for the taliban to hide ieds. to avoid them, soldiers stay off the main roads. trudging through humid fields. and over walls to keep the taliban guessing where they're going. soldiers here say the best defense against ieds is unpredictability. watch where you step and never use the same trail twice. still, troops in this area have suffered 60 injuries. a third of those, losing limbs.
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back on base, loftus from akron, ohio, looks at photographs of the girl he wants to marry after he goes home in a few months. when i ask him about a fellow soldier killed last week, it's clear how deeply these troops feel about the growing casualties here. >> right now, i'm kind of numb to it. to be honest, i just don't really feel much. i pray for his family, i pray for his soul that he, you know -- yeah. you see, i try not to think about it. because when you think about it, then i get like this and it's not -- you know, i don't -- yeah. so -- yeah, you know, everyone deals with it in their own way.
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i try to hide it, i try not to think about it, because i got to stay 100%. you know, i got to keep a good example in front of the other soldiers. i'm sorry. >> reporter: but when the base was attacked yesterday, emotions are put aside. loftus fires away on a machine gun, side by side with his unit, still in the fight. richard engle, nbc news, arghandab. we'll be right back. ain. that's two pills for a four hour drive. the drive is done. so it's metal benches, a day of games and two more pills. the games are over, her pain is back, that's two more pills. and when she's finally home, but hang on, just two aleve can keep back pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is rachel, who chose aleve and two pills for a day free of pain. ♪
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the gulf. and a measure of just how far reaching it really is. the oil fouling those waters is also being felt hundreds of miles away, by the fishermen of gloucester, massachusetts. the blue-finned tuna they catch there begin their lives in the gulf of mexico and now they may be at risk.
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peter alexander reports from gloucester. >> reporter: at america's oldest seaport, saltwater may as well run from the veteran fishermen's veins. >> i just do it because i love it. made a good living doing it. and there's not much more to do in life for me. >> reporter: the giant blue-finned tuna, so desired by sushi lovers, are believed to spawn in the gulf each spring, before making their way from massachusetts to maine, likely putting this year's release of eggs at the same time and place as the huge bp spill. >> i just can't help but think the timing of this event in conjunction with the spawning activity of the tuna just couldn't have happened at a worst time. >> reporter: along the gulf coast, scientists like dr. jim franks are studying whether blue fin larvae, the size of a pencil tip, and other baby blue fin, will survive the leak and successfully migrate. at gloucester harbor, nearly
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every fisherman has a story of that legendary blue fin catch. they can weigh hundreds and hundreds of pounds a piece and a single fish can fetch more than $300. veteran fisherman bill holtz says the job has been getting harder and harder every year. if they are affected, what will that do to you? >> break my heart. first thing, i love going to try to catch them, but it would be devastating. >> reporter: devastating for those fisherman already dealing with a rising tide of concerns, high fuel costs, depleted fisheries, and they claim, government overregulation. >> just one more thing to worry about for the future. >> we can have a horrible impact on this year of blue fin tuna and impact our commercial fisheries and rec fisheries probably for years to come. >> reporter: leaving these fishermen once again heading out to uncertain seas. peter alexander, nbc news,
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the special relationship between the u.s. and great britain is being tested these days. we're not talking about the mess bp has made in the gulf. this is about a soccer game that
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ended in a tie that felt like a win to team usa, but will be remembered quite differently across the pond. here's nbc's dawna friesen. >> reporter: few countries can boast of having such devoted soccer fans as england. and last night, in south africa, and all over britain, from town squares to london pubs where patriotism was flowing as freely as the beer, millions watched as england scored early on. but then a massive mistake. somehow, a weak shot slipped past england goalie, rob green, tying the game. american fans went wild. and brits felt they'd been robbed. "calamity," was one headline. sports writers called it a blunder that would have shamed a schoolboy. green himself said, "i'm sure there are 50 million people disappointed with me." he's probably right and the
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mistake will likely haunt him for the rest of his life, but there are plenty of athletes who can relate. there was bill buckner, first baseman for the '86 boston red sox. a ground ball went between his legs during the tenth inning of the world series game, forcing a seventh game that the red sox lost. and in 1991, buffalo bills kicker, scott norwood, flubbed what would have been a super bowl-winning field goal against the new york giants. even game officials get it wrong. umpire jim joyce's bad call earlier this month deprived detroit tigers pitcher armando galarraga, a rare achievement, the perfect game. as for last night, that game ended in a tie, or as the "new york post" reported, with "u.s. wins 1-1." victory, it seems, is in the eye of the beholder. england fans, though, were as dejected as if they'd lost. both teams do have more world cup games to play. and in a country where soccer is almost a religion, they're praying for no mbl


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