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NTSB Examining Flight Recorders; Doctors Tend to Plane Crash Victims; Egypt's Military Steps Up Security; Survivor Describes Moments after Crash; Flight Data Recorders In D.C.; Five Dead, 40 Missing After Train Crash; Investigating Flight 214; Zimmerman Trial Resumes Tomorrow; New Video Shows Plane Crash
Aired July 7, 2013 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. These stories are topping the news this hour in the NEWSROOM.
Investigators are on the scene at San Francisco trying to figure out why a plane crash landed 24 hours ago. They already have a couple of big clues. The flight recorders from the wreckage. We're live from San Francisco next.
The George Zimmerman murder trial is set to resume tomorrow in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman's defense team will pick off where it left off Friday. We've got our legal panel ahead to talk about what can be expected.
At least five people are dead and police say many more deaths are expected after an unmanned train explodes and levels part of a Canadian town near the U.S. border. We'll have a live report straight ahead.
Let's start in San Francisco. Investigators are trying to piece together what happened just before noon yesterday when a plane crashed on the runway. The flight recorders had been recovered. The NTSB tweeted out these photos of the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. Investigators hope that will give some critical clues.
Here's what we know right now about the victims. Two 16-year-old girls were killed in that crash. They are Chinese nationals. Asiana Airlines identifies them as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia.
A doctor at San Francisco General Hospital told us last hour that six people there remain in critical condition including a child. Officials say they're seeing severe injuries like head trauma and paralysis.
The FAA said this afternoon that some flights destined for San Francisco could be delayed up to nine hours today.
Dan Simon joins us live now from the airport.
What is the latest there -- Dan? DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. It's been a little more than 24 hours since this crash happened and the investigation appears to be well under way. We know that investigators have been out to that scene trying to figure out any type of clue to determine what may have heaped here. We know that, as you reported, that the flight data recorders have been sent to Washington. They appear to be in good shape. But hopefully data is currently being extracted from those data recorders.
At this point, nothing, absolutely nothing has been ruled out including pilot error. We know that the CEO of the airlines says that it appears there was no mechanical issue with that airplane, no problem with the engine either.
Now survivors and witnesses say it appears that the 7-year-old aircraft was flying too low as it approached the runway and that the tail hit the seawall before the plane spun out of the control. We know that the tail obviously was detached from the airplane along with the stabilizers.
Now officials at the airport say that technology called the instrument landing system or ILS that helps pilots figure out where the runway is, it wasn't operating at the time of the crash, but it's unclear if that actually played a role on the incident.
We should also point out that that system has not been operating since June and pilots have been able to navigate the runways just fine. Meanwhile this could be a very telling. There was no emergency order from the pilot or from the flight attendants that there was anything wrong with that plane. Obviously it came as a huge shock and surprise to everyone who was on that plane that you have this incident.
We know that there's going to be a news conference next hour 4:30 Eastern Time and hopefully we'll get some more information then -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And, Dan, I wonder, the travelers behind you there, many folks who are waiting in line, I wonder how nervous are people as they try to make it to their flights.
SIMON: You know, folks we talked to don't appear to be nervous. You know, this is one of those things. You know, people say that this was -- they believe it was an isolated incident and that they feel pretty safe traveling.
We should point out that I looked up at the monitor just a little while ago that a lot of these flights appear to be on time. This airport, of course, has runways. Two of them are operational. And at least on this afternoon and here at this terminal, flights appear to be on time -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Dan Simon, thanks so much for keeping us posted. Appreciate that.
So shortly after passengers escaped the wreckage, some of them began recounting their ordeal right away. Take a listen to what one person said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As it landed, like, it was hard like loud noise and then like the masks fell down and then like -- I don't know, severe stuff started falling down on people and then everyone started screaming. That's it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What was falling down on people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like the luggage.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And what were -- what were you doing at the -- what were you doing at the time?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually was pretty scared. So I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A lot of people getting out of their seats? What were they doing? Screaming?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of them couldn't get out of their seats because they had like seatbelts. So like they were struggling.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you see flames? Smoke?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Like -- before like leaving I saw some smoke in the cabin, I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Frightening moments as San Francisco's fire chief said, it's nothing short of a miracle that so many people walked away from this disaster. One hundred twenty-three in all. And the concern right now falls on those who didn't come through the crash all right, especially those who remain in critical condition.
CNN's Kyung Lah joins us now live from the hospital with the very latest.
Kyung, we've heard from the doctors earlier. He talked about the head injuries, paralysis and even some burns. Tell us more about the status of the patients there.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Some extensive injuries because this is a level one trauma unit hospital in the city. So the most seriously injured came here. And the chief of surgery came out and spoke with us. And she was saying that this is the largest trauma that she has ever dealt with and maybe the largest that this hospital has ever dealt with.
Fifty-three patients were brought here in the immediate aftermath of the plane crash, 19 patients ended up being admitted, six remain in critical condition. One of those six is a child. And as you were saying, there are extensive injuries, the most concerning head trauma. They also have spinal injuries, two spinal injuries which resulted in some form of paralysis. The other thing she mentioned, Fredricka, was that there was something surprising about some of the injuries. It was burn -- like skin burn injuries, like they were experiencing road rash, something you might see in a motorcycle accident if they're not wearing leather to protect their skin.
And she said that was a little surprising. But certainly if you look at what these passengers went through, you hear their stories, you can see how some people got those injuries just looking at this wreckage -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And then, Kyung, you know, so often after tragedies, experiences like this, people don't want to talk. Quite the opposite in this case. There have been many folks very eager to recount their experiences.
LAH: Yes. Some of the people who are here at this hospital and being allowed to leave, because 19 are being admitted, a lot are leaving and they're walking through this parking lot. One of the mothers spoke with us, chatting with us. She is the mother who was traveling with five members of her family. She was seated at the rear of the plane. Her 4-year-old child has a broken leg.
She recounted the harrowing tale of what it felt like to sit in the rear of the plane. When the tail broke off, there was such a large hole that she walked out of the rear of the plane. Here's what she told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How difficult was it to get off the plane?
WEN ZHANG, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: It's not very difficult because we sit near the plane tail, we just walk out, two rows to the big hull in the big --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The tail had broken like --
ZHANG: It's broken. Yes. It's a big hole. And the passengers near the -- the plane tail just walk out from this hole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: And think about how extraordinary that must be to be seated at the rear of the plane and then suddenly look out, turn around and that's all gone. It's a big hole you're walking out of, carrying your injured child. So this is just one of the many, many remarkable stories we're hearing here on the go around -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Wow. Incredible. And are doctors saying anything about whether they expect anyone to be released today?
LAH: I'm sorry. Can you say that one more time?
WHITFIELD: Are doctors saying anything about whether they expect any patients might be released today? LAH: There are other patients that are kind of coming and going. It's hard to say if there are going to be any more released. What the hospital would say, Fredricka, is that the extent of the other injuries ranged from serious to fair to good. So it is very possible that other patients may be leaving today which will certainly be very good news.
WHITFIELD: Very hopeful. All right. Thanks so much, Kyung Lah, there at San Francisco General Hospital.
And we're going to hear from another survivor from that disaster in just a few minutes joining us live about how he was able to just simply walk away but he's recalling what happened in the last 24 hours, almost like a slide show. It just keeps coming back over and over again.
All right. Happening right now in Arizona, the bodies of 19 fallen firefighters are being taken in a procession from Phoenix to Prescott. They were part of an elite Hotshot group of firefighters who died last Sunday fighting Arizona wildfires. Those fires are now about 90 percent contained.
In Egypt's capital, the crowds are growing, a show of force by both the opposition and Muslim Brotherhood. Supporters of the deposed president are demanding his reinstatement while opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood are rallying in another part of Cairo. The military is bracing for what could be a very long night, increasing security in Cairo as well.
All right. It took 77 years, 77 years for that moment to happen. For a Brit to win the Wimbledon title. That's Andy Murray celebrating his championship over former champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Murray made it to the final last year before losing to Roger Federer. I think everyone remembers that. Well, this time, after his win, Murray, what did he do? He tweeted, like everybody else these days. And he tweeted this. "Can't believe what's just happened."
And also ecstatic for him, actor Russell Crowe, he tweeted as well. He tweeted this. "Andy Murray, you champion, well done, son."
All right. What is it like to survive a plane crash? We'll be finding out from someone who was there. We'll hear from the man who took these images. He was on board Flight 214 taking images after walking off that plane. What was that experience like? His thoughts right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EUGENE RAH, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: I just knew we were going to have a crash and I thought, now's my time. And then when it hits the -- you know, the runway so hard, yes, it was obvious.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you think anything about your life? Your daughter?
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: In Cairo, the crowds are getting bigger and fears that but this turmoil is far from over are growing as well. Neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor the opposition has any interest in giving up.
Here's CNN's Karl Penhaul.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm going to step out of the way and show you the scene right now in Tahrir Square. These are opponents of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, and they are gathering in tens of thousands, and they're still arriving in the square right now. From time to time we see an overflight by military helicopters, we've seen Apache helicopters flying over, we've seen small fighter jets flying over, pumping out plumes of smoke, the color of Egyptian flags.
That's an effort by the military to show that they're very much on this crowd's side and that's a fact not lost on these people. They very much believe that it was thanks to the military that they were able to push Mohamed Morsi out of power during the week. They certainly reject the term military coup. The crowd down here very much believe that the military simply stepped into politics to back the will of the people.
Now across the other side of town right now, supporters of the deposed president are also meeting. We haven't got eyes on the go around there so I can't tell you how big they are. But we understand there also tens of thousands across there as well. And what they are calling for is that Mr. Morsi from release -- arrested by the armed forces and be reinstated to power. But it's certainly no sign that the armed forces are going to back down on that one. But what is playing out on the streets once again tonight is a show of numbers.
WHITFIELD: All right. Our Karl Penhaul is going to keep us posted on that.
Meantime, Venezuela says its doors are open to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. But the country has not heard from him. Venezuela extended an offer of asylum on Friday. But the foreign affairs minister said yesterday it hasn't had any communication with Snowden. Bolivia also offered Snowden asylum yesterday and Nicaragua's president said it will be willing to offer it as well if circumstances permit.
The sage surrounding NSA leaker Edward Snowden and the crisis in Egypt all impacting the U.S. in one way or another. And of course the Obama administration.
Bill Richardson is former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
Good to see you. Thanks for joining us.
BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Thank you. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. First, let's talk about this NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. Venezuela, Bolivia, both offering him asylum. Nicaragua said they would consider as well. You know, but first, he has to actually get to one of those places. And if he does decide to take them up on the offer, can the U.S. intercept him while in transit?
RICHARDSON: Well, I think the U.S. has to be very careful. I think the overflights in Europe have caused these Latin American countries basically offer asylum for Snowden. I have no sympathy for Snowden. I think he needs to be prosecuted. And I think it's absolutely right that we're telling these countries, Bolivia, Venezuela, that it's a big dent in the relationship if they take it.
What I don't understand, Fredricka, I was at the Venezuelan elections. And they want to prove the new post-Chavez government, relationship with the U.S. And they said that to me. I was an election observer. They've said that to the administration. And now they say they're ready to take Snowden.
I hope Venezuela reverses itself, you know, with Bolivia and with Nicaragua it's less so. But I think the U.S. has to pursue our interests. And what Snowden did was unacceptable. You can't just decide unilaterally to leak things. It's not loyalty to the United States.
WHITFIELD: So I wonder, might there be some double-talk involving those countries, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua? That perhaps they may be saying publicly that they are offering asylum. It's another thing to actually carry through with it.
RICHARDSON: Well, I hope Venezuela reverses itself. I hope it is double talk on their part. But, you know, these are countries that have been hostile to the United States. And I think what provoked this was the possibly -- and I have no -- I'm not privy to details when President Morales was flying over Europe that maybe we said to some of our friends in Europe don't let him overfly there because we think Snowden is possibly there.
That's an appropriate action but I think it was kind of clumsily handled if it did happen. Now -- since I'm not privy to these details, I don't know.
WHITFIELD: Right. OK. Now what about Egypt now? What are your concerns as it pertains to this coup? Some are calling it a coup, some are not, but clearly there has been a changing of the guard there. How involved and to what extent should the U.S. be involved here?
RICHARDSON: Well, we should be involved. But the administration has to walk a very thin line. Let's face it. This is what we're for. We should be loyal to the rule of law, to a democratic process in elections, but also the stability.
Now what are U.S. interests? We're better off without the Muslim Brotherhood in power. We're better off because of the treaty with Israel, the 1979 Egypt brings stability to the Israel process, the Palestinian process. Secondly, we need the military in Egypt on terrorism issues. So I think what we need to do, we have a little leverage here. We provide $1.3 billion to the Egyptian military. We should push them as much as we can to make sure there's inclusiveness in an interim government. That they not -- condone violence. That they try to keep things cool.
I was disappointed that ElBaradei, Mohamed ElBaradei, who appeared to be the interim minister, I've worked with him when I was energy secretary, he was at the International Atomic Energy Agency. He's a democratic stable guy, he ran for president, won the Nobel Prize. But I guess he's out.
I think he -- would have been a good moderate force and this is what we should be pushing for. Moderation, rule of law, transparency. Elections soon -- announced elections soon and hope that a non-Muslim Brotherhood candidate wins which I think probably would happen because the Muslim Brotherhood is so unpopular because they were not inclusive, they mismanaged the economy, they took over the courts.
WHITFIELD: But it doesn't seem that they're that unpopular when you look at these live pictures in the crowd because the pictures that we're looking at right now in the screen of Tahrir Square apparently that does represent the Muslim Brotherhood, that does represent those who oppose the ousted president, Morsi.
So in your view, is that a concern when you look at that crowd or is it an inspiration that this does in some way represent a form of democracy speaking out?
RICHARDSON: Well, it's -- you know, it is a form of democracy. It is people expressing their views. But I think the reality in a free and fair election in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, there's no chance they would win because they just mismanaged their one year in office. Morsi screwed up.
And so what is needed, I believe, is the military to provide the stability that leads to a democratic process. Now the administration can't say we'd prefer the military more. I think they've handled it well. They said we're for rule of law, we're for democracy.
You know, I was with some intelligence specialists in Fenwick Island.
RICHARDSON: I think the view there is that, you know, we should -- we have leverage. But let's be judicious how we use it and I think the administration has done that so far.
WHITFIELD: All right. Pleasure talking to you. Bill Richardson, thanks so much for your time.
RICHARDSON: Thank you, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. We're going to talk more about that crash landing in San Francisco. What is it like to survive something like that? We'll be talking from someone who was they're and actually took a number of these images after walking off the plane.
WHITFIELD: Looking at the pictures, so many of us agree and have the same thought, how in the world did so many escape this disaster of that Flight 214. Pictures like these give us an idea of what it was like for the passengers especially at that moment that they were scrambling out of the plane.
Eugene Rah took these photos while on the runway after making his way out of that -- the hull of that plane. A very rare close-up look at the crash site and he spoke with CNN earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAH: The water was right there. The plane was descending like this, right? Which is normal. And this is the front part of the aircraft. This is the rear. And there's a runway here and they suppose to come like this or I saw the plane was like this. And if we go, you know, this altitude, and there's 100 percent chance that we were going to hit the runway before we touch the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Were you panicking?
RAH: Yes. Of course. Of course. I knew it. I knew. I knew it was going to happen. So I tried to hold on to, you know, whatever I could. And I hear the noise, the pilot try to send, you know, much power as he could, try to lift the plane back up but it didn't work. So before even the plane -- you know, I mean, go back up, they only lift the front part of the -- you know, the plane a little bit maybe.
And as soon as I, you know, grab, you know, anything that I could hold on to, was like, you know, bang, and the impact was so powerful. And luckily, I was sitting, it has one more strap coming across my chest here, in addition to the one that goes around the waist because there's a slipper sit. If I did not have that, I'd have hit that ceiling. That's how hard the impact was.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So what is that time period when you looked out the window, you saw the water and you knew. And then it hit. How quickly did that happen?
RAH: Everything happened all at once, in lightning speed. I looked out and I just felt that, you know, we were too low, we were coming too low. I tried to grab something and that hit, like bang. And the plane was tilted like this for some time and then hit the ground again. You know, I thought, you know, that was it. I thought I'm dying. And people scream and crying and, you know, it was chaos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Wow. Chaos. But look at so much composure as he's telling that story. Survivor Eugene Rah speaking to us earlier. The flight recorders from Asiana Flight 214 already at an NTSB lab in the Washington, D.C. area. They could hold critical information about what caused that crash. We'll take you to Washington for an update on what investigators will be looking for.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: NTSB investigators are examining the flight recorders from Asiana Airline Flight 214 a day after it crash landed on the runway. We're expecting to hear more from NTSB in about an hour from now. Two 16-year-old girls died on that flight. Asiana Airlines says they were both Chinese. News outlets in China say they were students on their way to a summer camp in the U.S.
At least five people are dead and police say many more deaths are expected after an unmanned train explodes and it levels part of a Canadian town near the U.S. border, we'll have a live report straight ahead.
The George Zimmerman murder trial is set to resume tomorrow in Sanford, Florida. The defense will continue after calling Zimmerman's mother to the stand on Friday. We'll bring in our own legal panel in a minute for more analysis.
Art collector Charles Saatchi and his famous television chef wife, Nigella Lawson, are getting a divorce. The former tycoon says he is seeking the breakup. It comes after photos were published of him with his hands around Nigella's throat at a London restaurant last month.
It took 77 years for this moment to happen. What a final play it was. A British player, now once again, winning Wimbledon title. That's Andy Murray right there, celebrating after beating former champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Murray made it to the final last year before losing to Roger Federer. Who can forget that? This time around, Murray took to twitter after typing this, "Can't believe what's just happened!"
As we mentioned, the flight data recorders from Asiana Flight 214 have arrived from Washington. They are being examined by NTSB. In the meantime, the NSTB's go-team is on the go around at the airport in San Francisco and they've been there since early this morning.
CNN's Rene Marsh is following the investigation for us from Washington. So what kind of information are they hoping to glean from those recordings, the boxes?
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, they've had these voice recorders for more than six hours now and investigators will likely be targeting specific parts of the recording like the minutes leading up to the crash landing. The voice recorder, for example, can tell them what the pilots were doing, what they were saying and whether they were even aware that there was a problem.
The data recording is monitoring specifics like the altitude, the speed, which could answer whether the plane was going too fast or too slow and whether the pilot was coming in at the correct angle. Also the data recorder would also tell investigators if any of the plane's systems like the engine or landing gear were working -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And then how long is it expected? We talked with a former DOT official earlier who said that it really could be as early as this evening when they start to get a better handle of the information. Is that about right?
MARSH: Right. That's about right. You know, the NTSB telling us that likely by this afternoon, they would have a preliminary readout of what is on those two recorders. Don't be surprised if when we see this press conference happen in about an hour they actually have information about what was on those recorders. So it's very possible when they give that first briefing of the day that we may get some information about what they were able to find -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And then you heard our Dan Simon reporting earlier about the instrument landing system at the airport that it hadn't been working for some time now. Might that have played a role in this? Is this something that investigators will be looking into?
MARSH: Right, well, the equipment that Dan was talking about is the glide scope. It has essentially been out of service for more than a month. What it does is it signals to the plane to provide the pilot -- it sends signals to the plane to provide the pilot with a precise kind of path to follow during the approach. Essentially what it wants to do is ensure the plane isn't either too high or too low. Even though this equipment wasn't working, the NTSB chairman says that planes can still land safely. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH P. HERSMAN, NTSB CHAIRMAN: There has already been a discussion about that glide slope being out of service. But there are a number of other tools available to pilots, some less sophisticated like the lights, the precision approach lights that they were talking about that show you if you're too high or too low coming in, but also some things more technologically advanced like things on this airplane that can give you GPS information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, so you hear her there saying that despite the fact that equipment wasn't working at the airport, planes can still land safely and then just final note here, Fred, again, our folks on the ground there in San Francisco, getting word from the NTSB that whatever information that comes out of this first briefing, it will be quite substantial.
WHITFIELD: Really? All right, we look forward to that. Thank you so much. Rene Marsh from Washington.
All right, now to that deadly train accident in a Canadian town near the U.S. border, at least five people are now dead and some 40 others are missing after an unmanned train rolled seven miles down a hill. The train exploded and levelled part of a small town in Quebec. Police say more deaths are likely.
CNN's Jason Carroll has been covering the story. So Jason, what more are authorities saying?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, truly disturbing to watch these images coming in. The scene is still very active, Fredricka, some sections of the explosions still too dangerous for emergency crews to get there in and search. Emergency officials say they are expecting more deaths to be reported as they continue.
The devastation began unfolding early Saturday morning that's when a train, which was pulling more than 70 tankers of crude oil, slipped downhill, derailed and then crashed into the town of "Lac-Megantic in the Quebec Province. At least 30 buildings were engulfed in flames.
Two of the five train cars that derailed are still smoldering. Authorities evacuated more than 2,000 people. One woman who works at a bar where many people maybe unaccounted for says she is still searching for her friends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no news from my friends, she says, I haven't heard from any of them. I can't say more than that. We're waiting for confirmation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: Some of the town are calling it the runaway train, this after Montreal Main and Atlantic Railway confirmed that the train was locked down by the locomotive engineer. That engineer then left for a crew change. According to the company, the train skidded into the town unmanned. The company released a statement saying we extend heartfelt condolences to those residences of Lac-Megantic who have lost their homes and businesses and particularly those who have suffered injuries and lost loved ones. MMA will cooperate with government safety agencies in determining a cause.
Again, emergency crews have recovered five bodies and estimated 40 people are still unaccounted for. Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is visiting the town this afternoon. The prime minister says his office is prepared to offer whatever assistance might be needed -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Terribly sad. All right, Jason Carroll, thank you. We'll be right back with more on that plane crash in San Francisco.
WHITFIELD: The National Transportation Safety Board is going over the flight data and voice recorders from Asiana Flight 214. Investigators are inspecting them right now at the NTSB lab in Washington. Let's bring in aviation safety expert, Todd Curtis. So Todd, you being a former Boeing engineer, you know this plane well. Based on the debris field, the aircraft appears to have struck that rock seawall at the start of the runway. What do you extrapolate based on what you've seen?
TODD CURTIS, FORMER BOEING AVIATION SAFETY ENGINEER: Well, very clearly because it struck the seawall, which is roughly 500 feet from the end of the runaway and over a 1,000 feet from the likely intended landing point. It's very likely the aircraft was obviously too low, possibly flying more slowly than it should have and therefore, unable to maintain altitude.
So this says to me that somehow or another, this was as un-stabilized approach. That is they wanted to have a particular path through the sky. They weren't able to maintain that path and at the last minute, weren't able to get enough altitude to avoid that wall.
WHITFIELD: Would that be an un-stabilized approach because of the execution of that landing or might it be any kind of mechanical failure of that plane just short of that runway? Is there a way to know?
CURTIS: It's hard to see an any -- without getting the information from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, it's hard to know what was happening in that aircraft because given that the weather was relatively clear and that in fact they were flying under visual flight rules, it should have been a relatively straightforward approach for an airline pilot to make unless there's something else going on with the aircraft or with indications in the cockpit that would mislead the pilot to fly the way they did.
WHITFIELD: For a flight like this, 10 hours from Seoul to San Francisco, it's not unusual that the plane would be on auto pilot. But upon approach, a landing like this at San Francisco, might the pilots be in total control? It would no longer be on au autopilot, correct?
CURTIS: That's correct. During the beginning, takeoff, and end of the flight during landing, pilots have a lot more input what's going on than during the cruise portion. And again, because this was a relatively good condition day, this would have been a largely manually constructed landing, not one where they are going to be relying on automated systems to do most of the work for them.
WHITFIELD: Based on everything you've heard from eyewitness accounts, witnesses saying they saw the nose pitched up. Witnesses or passengers who were on the plane who talk about the scraping sound and then the plane kind of hitting the ground and it appeared maybe the pilot was trying to, you know, correct and go back up into the air, of all the stuff that you have heard, is there a way that you can kind of surmise or kind of finalize what may have potentially happened here? What went wrong?
CURTIS: Well, the one report I really listened to closely was from the passengers, more than one said before it struck the wall, there was a sound of the engine schooling up, trying to power. That's consistent with the pilot trying to either gain altitude or gain airspeed to get above that wall and the other important thing is more or less the geometrical fact.
The fact that in a normal approach, a normal landing, the first thing to touch would be the landing gear, and in this case, it looks like the tail of the aircraft was the first thing to hit the ground, which says to me, at the very end of the flight, that perhaps the angle the aircraft had was considerably greater than what you usually have on a normal landing.
WHITFIELD: All right, Todd Curtis, thank you so much. Of course, we do understand that the flight data recorders are being evaluated right now. We hear that preliminarily we could hear -- at least the NTSB might have a better idea what might or might not have happened as early as this afternoon or this evening. Perhaps they'll make it public. We're not quite sure, but thank you so much for your input. I'm sure we'll be having you back to help us understand all the bits and pieces here. Thanks, Todd Curtis. Appreciate that.
All right, next, we're heading to Florida where George Zimmerman's defense team takes center stage again tomorrow. They've already presented two key witnesses, family members of George Zimmerman. More straight ahead after this.
WHITFIELD: The George Zimmerman murder trial is set to resume tomorrow in Sanford, Florida and that's when the defense will continue its case. Zimmerman's lawyers began Friday by calling George Zimmerman's mother to the stand.
I'm joined right now by Mo Ivory, who is the host of the "Mo Ivory" show on CBS Radio and Criminal Defense Attorney, Carrie Hackett. All right, good to see both of you. It was very interesting. Now the defense kind of gets to resume it's week after maybe blowing a bit of a hole into the prosecution's day on Friday. Kerry, you first, how does it maintain that kind of momentum?
CARRIE HACKETT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think that they're going to probably recall some of the prosecution witnesses. For example, I think that they'll probably recall Jonathan Good, who was the person who testified that he saw Trayvon Martin on top of George Zimmerman. He's the one that mentioned that he was beating him in a mixed martial arts style and I think that that's somebody that will defense is going to recall.
WHITFIELD: Because what we saw quite often is of the prosecution witnesses, they almost turn in to defense witnesses. So it bodes well for the defense so it sounds like, Mo, the defense doesn't have to do very much in terms of calling creative witnesses. Does it?
MO IVORY, HOST, CBS RADIO, "MO IVORY": I wouldn't say they don't have to do very much. I think that they should continue being strong. I hate to say it, but the defense has had a good last week and I think this is a unique opportunity for the prosecution to come really hard and fast on cross-examinations. This is where they can break apart the defense witnesses and hoping that the long weekend is an opportunity to, you know, get themselves together. Regroup and come back on cross-examination in a way that we haven't really seen them do on direct.
HACKETT: Both sides in Florida during the breaks like weekends can depose witnesses and find out if they say something inconsistent with something they said on the stand or depose new witnesses that may be called. So I would expect that the defense has probably deposed the witnesses this past weekend.
WHITFIELD: Do you think the prosecution is rethinking this weekend its strategy or perhaps does the defense even have to use this weekend or has it used this weekend to say, you know what? We really need to change the strategy. Things unfolded quite differently than I think the general public expected it to.
HACKETT: Yes. I'm sure both sides have rethought strategy. The prosecution, unfortunately, really only has cross and closing, but the defense at this point really has a wide open door to present witnesses that can present testimony that creates that reasonable doubt. I think we are there with the reasonable doubt and they'll do anything in the power to create even more reasonable doubt.
IVORY: I think the prosecution -- I mean, you can't call them finished and done yet. There's a long way to go and I think there was some very important testimony that came from Trayvon's mother, brother, that kind of will give --
WHITFIELD: What's that in your view?
IVORY: Just the change idea that Trayvon was a street kid just out and up to no good. This is a college educated family and takes everything seriously and I don't think we got that before his mother came on and his brother came on and that kind of changed --
WHITFIELD: Why does that matter? Because Trayvon Martin wasn't a suspect of anything, he was just walking through the neighborhood.
IVORY: Sure. It matters because of how the prosecution witnesses like Rachel Jeantel, for example, really damaged the image of Trayvon and what he was doing and they brought it back home this is a very good, upstanding kid and I think that will go to, you know, why was George Zimmerman really doing that? Maybe he was going after and profiling Trayvon. I think it's a big impact. I think the prosecution rather than just the defense has a unique opportunity to change things this week if they handle the cross-examinations correctly.
WHITFIELD: Carrie, we have heard testimony this past week from witnesses that talked about whether it was what they saw or heard who was on top and bottom.
WHITFIELD: What does it really matter when the bottom line is one was armed and the other was not?
HACKETT: It matters because of the Florida law and the Florida law is unique in some ways because it says even if somebody started out aggressor, if they're a victim at some point in an altercation such that they were in fear of their bodily safety and they believed that they were going to suffer a serious bodily harm, they are justified in taking a life. So armed or not armed, if that aggressor became a victim at some point, he could use lethal force.
IVORY: I don't think at all anything we heard this week whether he was moved or he was on top, has changed the fact that George Zimmerman was the aggressor. I don't think that swayed the testimony to say, my gosh, really, Trayvon was the aggressor. I think the jurors are seeing it that way and I feel from hearing people that were in the courtroom talking about the reaction from the jurors that the jurors are a little bit more pro prosecution this week.
HACKETT: I disagree, actually. I think the definition of an aggressor is different and may not be physical aggression.
WHITFIELD: All right, Carrie Hackett, Mo Ivory. Thanks so much. We'll see how the week unfolds and of course, hopefully talk to you next weekend, as well. Thanks so much.
All right, we have been talking about the San Francisco crash landing, some new images to bring you right after the break.
WHITFIELD: All right, back to our developing story, that crash landing in San Francisco, extraordinary, new, exclusive video of the plane coming in for a landing. Our Dan Simon has more on this -- Dan.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. We just obtained this exclusive new video from a gentleman named Fred Hays. He apparently is an aviation buff. He had gone to a place where you could see these planes taking off and landing. And he was able to capture the crash on video. Let's play that for you right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at him. That -- yes, he does. Look at that one! Look how his nose is up in the air. My God! It's an accident.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're filming it, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My God!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My God!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're filming it!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My God! My God! My God!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You filmed the whole thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lord have mercy.
SIMON: Well, that is pretty dramatic stuff, Fredricka. When you look at that video, I have had a chance to view it a few times now. You can clearly see that plane coming in low and then the tail of the aircraft striking that sea wall. What you're seeing on that video accurately portrays exactly what we have been hearing from the witnesses and survivors of that plane.
This is very dramatic video. This is exclusive video we just got in. I assume we're still seeing these images. You can hear the reaction from the amateur photographer that's Fred Hays as he captures that video, again, these are the first images that we are seeing. I would imagine that investigators will be interested in taking a look at this video, as well, as they try to piece together what, in fact, happened there.
WHITFIELD: Dan, that is incredible. It definitely does seem to demonstrate exactly what so many eyewitnesses said, that when they saw that plane coming in. The nose was pitched up. You heard it from the audio, from the person, Fred Hayes who is taking that video and you can also tell that clearly there was no problem with that landing because you have another plane on an active runway ready for takeoff.
So Dan Simon, you will tell us more about this as the NEWSROOM continues. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks so much, Dan, for bringing that exclusive image there of that plane in that crash landing there at San Francisco Airport. We'll have much more straight ahead from the NEWSROOM.