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Crash of Flight 214; George Zimmerman on Trial; Analysis of NTSB Press Conference
Aired July 7, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour everyone, I'm Don Lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
The passenger jet that crashed and burned on landing yesterday was going way too slow and flying way too low. That's what federal officials say at this stage of the investigation. You're going to hear that for yourself in a moment.
But first I want you to watch this video -- it's exclusive to CNN -- of that Asiana Airlines 777, it's the moment when something went very wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that one, look how his nose is up in the air. Oh, my God, oh it's an accident.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh you're filming it, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God, you're filming it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The plane broke into pieces and started burning with more than 300 people on board. I want you to listen to what the NTSB boss says they've learned so far from the cockpit recordings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH HERSMAN, NTSB CHAIRWOMAN: A call from one of the crew members to increase speed was made approximately seven seconds prior to impact. During the approach, the data indicate that the throttles were at idle and air speed was slowed below the target air speed. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Here are the casualty figures right now; 182 people were rushed to hospitals around San Francisco. Six of them are in critical condition. Two teenagers who were on the plane died, but amazingly, more than 100 people walked away without a scratch.
Now I want you to see and hear the entire video that Fred Hayes shot yesterday. He is just out walking with his family and has no idea he is about to witness a disaster. Watch and listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED HAYES: Look at him.
HAYES: Yes, yes he does. Look at that one. Look how his nose is up in the air. Oh, my God. Oh, it's an accident.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh you're filming it, too.
HAYES: Oh my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no.
HAYES: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, you're filming it.
HAYES: Oh my God. Oh my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened?
HAYES: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You filmed the whole thing.
HAYES: Oh, Lord, have mercy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That video will certainly get the attention of the NTSB crash investigators. And no doubt it will help them answer their key questions exactly what happened.
The former inspector general Mary Schiavo is here from the U.S. Department of Transportation and she joins me live in New York. And then pilot and aviation attorney Dan Rose is here as well in New York and we're going to get to Dan in just a moment but first Miss Schiavo what does that video tell you as you're looking at it?
MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Well the -- the video as it's approaching, you can't judge the air speed so much by looking at the video. But it was very low. And as the NTSB has already told us it was low and slow. And then once it hit the sea wall you can see where the pieces of the plane were coming off. And when it -- then it ran up over the edge and its nose went into the air. It had either gone off of the runway and it hit a sloping part, giving it momentum to go off, it was continuing to lose parts of the landing gear or the engines -- very, very important video for the NTSB. I think that they will be very interested in this video and it will help.
LEMON: Yes. The question was raised Miss Schiavo about look at, look at it pitching right there. And many people, a number of witnesses before I ask you that question, a number of witnesses said we saw a cartwheel. And we said how could that happen? How could a plane do a cartwheel? But it looks as if it's doing that but then it lands flat on the belly. You said that was a good thing that it went to roll, it went to its belly.
SCHIAVO: Absolutely. There was another plane in Sioux City, Iowa, where that actually did cartwheel and others have. And that would certainly have increased the number of casualties, would have increased the chance for a devastating fire, would have slow down the ability for people to get out. And so the fact that it although the nose went up and one wing went up, that it settled back on the belly of the plane was certainly a very important factor for the survivability of this crash -- a very important break.
LEMON: And as we are looking at this, again, there have been people who are asking why not, why aren't there cameras on runways so that we could capture moments like this if there are emergencies, near misses, any kind of activity that happens on runways?
SCHIAVO: The idea of cameras both in the airport and on the planes are, both of course, feasible and they're possible. There are cameras at the airport. And they cover the perimeters. There will be some footage from the tower and from the airport. The NTSB will be getting that. And I suspect we will see some of that in the days to come.
Cameras on the plane have been highly controversial issue since September 11, 2001. Because people said if you had cameras on the plane you could better know, the pilot could know, the people on the ground could know, people could better know what's going on the plane. And there has been some pushback. Some pilots unions have said it's a -- it's an invasion of privacy or it's too intrusive in the work force. And other people said they just don't want to do that.
Of course there are always some stories that some airlines do have them. I'm not going to name it because they might not have it any more. But one U.S. carrier said they did put cameras on after September 11, 2001. And there is also a company that puts them on the tail so you capture the top of the plane and better inspect it before your flight each day.
LEMON: Dan Rose, you're a pilot, and a former military pilot. Most military planes, most planes have some sort of, don't they have video cameras on them?
DAN ROSE, AVIATION ATTORNEY: Not all of them. I mean it is coming about that there are examples of cameras being on top of the tail as Mary pointed out. And it's -- you actually have -- you've seen them on some airlines, I'm sure you sit down and you can see the view out on the front of the plane. And you know small planes these days fly around with Go Pros. Everybody seems to have a video camera available either in the plane or on the plane somewhere.
So it's very feasible and it would be -- that would really be critical information to have in an accident like this and many others where you actually see from either the pilot's vantage point or from you know behind the plane what the aircraft is actually doing.
LEMON: And Dan, I should point out that you are a pilot. You're an aviation attorney. And as a pilot, let's look at, analyze this video. This is the beginning of it, so you see them making the approach here. And I know it's -- you know it's hard to tell because right of distance. Does it appear that he's coming in too low?
ROSE: Yes. It seems very clear. And in fact, the -- the witness who, I don't think he is a professional accident reconstructionist, he probably watched a lot of these planes come in from time to time and was filming this, even to him it appeared obvious that there was something different about this approach that it was low. And -- and that he could see that the nose of the -- of the plane pitched up, which is -- which means that the plane is getting slow.
So just from this video alone you can see the really, the two critical parameters of what went wrong with this approach. And that is, it came in too low and the plane got too slow.
LEMON: What are the key points from the NTSB chair that stand out to you as she is talking about the flight data recorder and the cockpit recorder? What stands out to you?
ROSE: Well you know it's obviously great that we have full and good information. I would really expect that in a -- in this type of a crash knowing you know how the plane landed and came intact. You're going to hear, I think the CVR is going to be more telling. I think the -- the flight data recorder will give us the parameters of what the aircraft was doing in terms of air speed more precisely, what the engines were doing. And that's very important.
But I think at the end of the day, what's going to be critical here is going to be what was the cockpit interaction like. What were the -- the pilots and the first officer and really there should have been two crews up there. Talking about as they commenced this approach, during the approach and you know what, if anything was said in the last seconds? And if nothing was said, that's also critical. Because that means that somebody wasn't doing their job.
LEMON: Yes and to both of you, Miss Schiavo this is a -- I'm getting this from a pilot. He says you can see the tail section fail when it reaches the nose of the taxiing aircraft. It collapsed where right there where I said it did. The engineers at Boeing are going to care about that. And I'm sure the families of those girls are going to care about how their children ended up on the runway.
Asiana will possibly, Boeing will carry legal liability for this. What do you think?
SCHIAVO: Well, that depends. It all -- it's going to depend upon what the sequence was when they hit that sea wall and how fast they hit that sea wall. Planes are put together and assembled like other machinery. And the force at which it hit the sea wall particularly at that point when the pilot or probably the pilot not flying called for a go around and they put additional throttle in, then he would have had even more force with that plane. And it's a -- it's a tremendous impact. They will certainly evaluate the stresses and forces on that tail to see if it was manufactured correctly.
The accident in Sioux City, for example, had a problem in the aft bulkhead as did Japan Airlines 123 it was the largest single crash in history. But that will remain to be seen. First and foremost, I think the primary cause will be of course they were low, slow and they hit the -- hit the cement wall.
LEMON: Miss Schiavo let's go inside that plane, these new pictures that are in from the National Transportation Safety Board when you see the seats jumbled here. And you see the -- you know things falling from the ceiling.
LEMON: The oxygen masks.
LEMON: What does this tell you?
SCHIAVO: Well it tells me that cockpit or flight cabin interiors have improved. In older days, you know 15 years ago when you worked an accident, the seats would be collapsed upon top of each other. And certainly, that is legal liability for the carrier. At that time though it was legal for Boeing and Airbus to make the seats that weren't as heavy on withstanding the G-forces. Now today they have to be heavier, they have be tougher. The materials must be less flammable in that plane. And if people had their belts latched down tightly because the seats didn't collapse on each other, they had a better chance not to have close head injuries on other wounds and things that could be quite debilitating.
LEMON: All right thank you to Dan Rose, thank you Mary Schiavo. Both of you stick around we'll need you throughout the coming hours here on CNN.
We are following every development coming out of San Francisco. We have live reports with the latest next. That's coming up.
Plus, we'll talk to a man who was on board that plane.
And another fatal tragedy has shaken a town in Canada this weekend. A train derailed setting off a huge fire. Some people, they said, may have been vaporized. And now the search for the missing is on.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Back now to our coverage of the crash of Flight 214. Let's get the very latest now on the investigation. Dan Simon at San Francisco International Airport where an NTSB update is being given, has given us plenty of information, new information. Dan, walk us through what we -- which the chairman of the NTSB said.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure thing Don but first I want to point out that we just got some new images from the NTSB of the crash scene. And I'm going go ahead and ask our control room to show some of these photos as I relay some of this information from the briefing. And Don I haven't seen these -- if one of these pictures sticks out in any way, feel free to interrupt me.
But I'll just tell you what you was relayed during this briefing a lot of information has been gleaned from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. And the bottom line here is that flight crew knew there were some serious issues in the seconds before the impact. Seven seconds before the impact, they called for an increase in speed. So they knew there was not enough speed to make a successful landing.
Six seconds before the impact, they have what you call a -- a stick shaker meaning that the plane was about to stall, meaning there are -- there may not have been enough lift would suggest there would have been some big-time trouble. And then one and a half seconds before impact they call for the landing to be aborted so they actually wanted to go up into the air, circle around and then try to make a successful landing. But of course, they didn't have enough time. I want to toss now to -- to the NTSB chairperson who offers a few more details. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERSMAN: A call from one of the crew members to increase speed was made approximately seven seconds prior to impact. During the approach, the data indicate that the throttles were at idle and air speed was slowed below the target air speed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: Now, one of the questions asked to Deborah Hersman was, all this information, when you look at it in its totality, does it suggest there was some kind of pilot error? At this point, they are not willing to go there. They are saying that they are going to be looking at all aspects of this investigation. They're going to be looking at everything.
And right now, they are certainly not ready to make any conclusions. But at this point, one would think that they are going to be looking at pilot error very closely -- Don.
LEMON: All right. Dan Simon at San Francisco International Airport -- Dan, thank you very much. Two teenage girls died in the crash but more than 300 people survived. Some walked away unharmed while 182 were taken to hospitals. The most critical are at San Francisco General Hospital -- the city's only Level One trauma center. Our Kyung Lah joins us from outside the hospital. Kyung, what is the very latest there?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well we just the latest briefing from the hospital -- Don. And what we are hearing is that out of the 53 patients who were taken here in the immediate aftermath of that plane crash, there are now only 17 people who remain in this particular hospital. Now remember, the worst of the worst came here. So of course 17, six are in critical; and of the critical, only one is a child. Really extraordinary numbers if you consider what all of these passengers went through.
What doctors are concerned with is some of the head trauma, some fractures, bumps and bruises, but also some spinal crush injuries that left two patients paralyzed. At this point they don't know what the prognosis is for those two particular patients. We have spoken to patients, their family members as they've come in and out of the hospital.
One woman who was seated toward the rear of the plane in the 40th row describes her harrowing escape. The plane hitting the runway and then the toilet that was two rows ahead of her completely disappearing -- there was a hole left in the plane. That's how she got out of the plane. Here's is she told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How difficult was it to get off the plane?
WEN SHANG, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: It's not very difficult because we sit near the plane tail which you have to walk out two rows to the big hole.
It's broken, yes. It's a big hole. The passengers near the plane tail just walk out from this hole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: And so what was beyond that hole? It was ground. She literally just stepped right off of the plane on to ground, carrying away her four-year-old child. That child remains in the hospital with a broken leg --
LEMON: All right. Kyung Lah at San Francisco General Hospital. Kyung, thank you. Much, much more on the crash of Flight 214 straight ahead.
But there is other news to tell you about including racial tensions in the George Zimmerman trial. From the criticism surrounding the prosecutor's star witness, Rachel Jeantel, to what is actually on trial here -- the killing of a young black man.
My next guest says race means everything in this trial.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: It's the biggest trial in the country right now -- George Zimmerman on trial for the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But my next guest says something else is on trial here -- black manhood.
Mychal Denzel-Smith joins me now from Virginia Beach along with the attorney for the star prosecution's highly-debated star witness, Rachel Jeantel, Rod Vereen is here as well. So Mychal I'll start with you.
In your piece on TheNation.com you say "Zimmerman's innocence rests on the notion of Trayvon's criminality. And in this country, it's not that difficult to convince six people of the criminality of a 17-year- old black boy." Why do you think this?
MYCHAL DENZEL-SMITH, THENATION.COM: I think, you know, to believe Zimmerman's story, I think -- because to me it reads like a very cartoonish version of what a 17-year-old black boy would say and do in this situation. I think, you know, to believe that Trayvon Martin was to jump out of the bushes and to approach George Zimmerman and to strike him in the face without any type of provocation sounds to me like you have to believe that there is an inherent criminality and inherent violence in 17-year-old black boys that you see.
LEMON: Zimmerman kept following Trayvon Martin even after a 911 operator told him not to. What are the racial implications for that -- Mychal?
DENZEL-SMITH: The operator didn't explicitly tell him not to follow but they said that they didn't need him to. But I think that George Zimmerman after -- again, this is my opinion -- but I believe that George Zimmerman after identifying that Trayvon Martin indeed was a young black man that he felt that his neighborhood was in more danger than the police could handle at that specific time. And that he needed to assure himself and his neighborhood that they would be protected.
Do you believe black manhood is on trial here, Rod Vereen?
ROD VEREEN, RACHEL JEANTEL'S ATTORNEY: Of course it is. You know, people have a tendency to want to believe that young black men are growing up in these urban neighborhoods to be violent. And that is absolutely not the case. They want to make it appear Trayvon Martin comes from a broken home and that he lacks parental guidance and lacks youthful guidance and therefore, was more apt to be the aggressor in the situation with Mr. Zimmerman, without any evidence to support that inference.
LEMON: But the thing is about black manhood being on trial here, this case is really about a child, a teenager who was killed and someone on trial for killing him -- not necessarily just about a black and white issue. This is about the killing of a person regardless of race -- Mr. Vereen.
VEREEN: I agree. This is about the death of a young man without regard to race. And the media has been involved. And of course, you know, what precipitated this was the impression that there were two different justice systems.
Some say had Mr. Zimmerman been black and had Mr. Martin been white, the situation would have been different. He would have been arrested, you know, at moment's notice soon as the police would have arrived at the scene and saw a young white man laying on the ground. And Mr. Zimmerman was standing with a firearm in his hands, he would have been arrested.
So you have the impression that there are two different justice systems which is not something that's far-fetched. I mean we have been listening to that over the years. I've been practicing law for 23 years. And there seems to be a difference with regard to how certain individuals are treated within the justice system.
And so I can understand why there has been criticism of the way that this case has been handled and why it is that Mr. Zimmerman -- excuse Mr. Zimmerman was allowed to be released as long as he was without having been charged with an offense.
LEMON: But hang on -- that has been debated back and forth in the media. But what's actually on trial here is the moment where there was an altercation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. And no one knows for sure what happened except for two people. That's Trayvon Martin, who is no longer with us, and George Zimmerman who is on trial now.
There has not been much talk really -- there has been some but not much talk about race in this particular case. That's been talked in the media, in the court of public opinion, but not in the courtroom -- Mr. Vereen.
VEREEN: Well, I think what is going to happen is that the jury is going to has to make a decision with regard to the animus that Mr. Zimmerman supposedly had with regard to African-Americans. When they listen to those 9/11 calls and the non-emergency phone calls, when they have to decide whether or not second degree murder -- the elements of second degree had been established, they are going to be looking for some type of racial animus by Mr. Zimmerman against African-Americans.
Because one of the things that they're going to try to establish -- at least the state is going to try to establish -- is ill will, hate, (inaudible) and depraved mind by Mr. Zimmerman. And if they can establish that by showing that he had an affinity toward African- Americans to go after Trayvon Martin because of his race, they may have to rely on that in order establish the elements of second degree murder.
LEMON: Well, we'll see very soon because it's all coming to an end, possibly this week. Mychal Denzel-Smith -- thank your very much. Rod Vereen -- we appreciate you being here as well.
VEREEN: My pleasure.
LEMON: 19 brave firefighters who lost their lives protecting others from a raging wildfire are remembered. More on the emotional day in Arizona next.
LEMON: Back to the crash of flight 214 in just moments. Other news quickly here -- we are learning new details about a major train accident near the Canadian/U.S. border. A runaway train pulling 70 tankers of crude oil rolled seven miles down a mountain, derailed and exploded yesterday. Flames from the burning cars spread to the small Canadian town. At least five people were killed in the inferno. Today Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper toured the town -- about 40 people are still missing.
Now to a symbolic and somber journey home for the 19 firefighters killed nearly a week ago fighting a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona. Today, their bodies are in a procession that is traveling more than 90 miles from Phoenix, where they were initially taken, to Prescott, the team's home base. CNN's Nick Valencia covering the story for us. Nick.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, it's certain to be an emotional day in Arizona as those 19 firefighters, their caskets are carried along in a public procession from the Phoenix coroner's office where they've been since they died last week. They'll make their way along a very special route through Yarnell where those firefighters lost their lives on their way home to Prescott, Arizona. Those 19 firefighters, part of an elite hotshots, the Granite Mountain hotshots unit. They are on the front line. They battle fires and they stay when other firefighters leave. They were in the middle of creating a barrier when the Yarnell fire took a very erratic shift in winds and created a firewall, trapping them and killing all but one of the group's members.
Now, this is a very public dedication for these firefighters. There are also other hot shot units that are going to be paying their respects along this public procession. But a lot of these firefighters leave behind small children, wives, and one story in particular is very moving. One firefighter leaves behind his pregnant fiancee. They were expecting their first child this fall.
Now, of course, there are other public dedications that will happen later this week. A memorial service will happen where all eyes will again be on Prescott, Arizona. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to pay his respects and be in attendance. Firefighters losing their lives last week. The deadliest day for firefighters in the United States since the September 11 attacks. Don.
LEMON: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you very much. Ten firefighters, nearly the entire department in the town of West, Texas died when a fertilizer plant exploded in April. Last night, the Texas Rangers baseball team honored the town, dedicating the game to the memory of those who died and to the survivors. Fans, Major League Baseball, the Players Association and the team also raised $140,000 to help the town recover and rebuild.
CNN has exclusive video of yesterday's deadly airliner crash in San Francisco. It is alarming to watch, especially when you know what happens just a few seconds later. I'm going to play the video and I am going to talk live to a man who was on that plane and walked away from the crash and the fire. He's alive and thankful. He's going to be next.
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone, to CNN's coverage of the crash of flight 214. We have new video that you'll only see here on CNN. It's the final seconds of Asiana flight 214. Watch. This is Fred Hayes. He was just taking video of planes taking off and landing yesterday when the Boeing 777 hit the ground, nearly flipped over, and started burning.
I want you to listen to the head of the NTSB today. She says the cockpit recorder gives no indication that anything was going wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH HERSMAN, NTSB CHAIRMAN: The approach proceeds normally as they descend. There is no discussion of any aircraft anomalies or concerns with the approach. A call from one of the crew members to increase speed was made approximately seven seconds prior to impact. The sound of the stick shaker occurs approximately four seconds prior to impact. The sound of the stick shaker occurs approximately four seconds prior to impact. A call to initiate a go-around occurred 1.5 seconds before impact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Look at that plane. On the air field, really, because it's no longer on the runway. And we'll talk more about the priorities here and exactly what is going on. The former inspector general for the U.S. Transportation Department, Mary Schiavo, joins us now.
The first priorities are going to be the survivors, Ms. Schiavo. 182 people rushed to hospitals around the city, six of them in critical condition. And then two teenagers who were on that plane, of course, they died. Their bodies, we're being told, were found on the air field, on the runway.
You're looking at that video. Each time you see it, it's just sort of mesmerized by that. I see you looking at it. You can't see it enough, and do you learn new things every time you look at the video?
MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER DOT INSPECTOR GENERAL: Yes, you do. You learn new things every time you hear the NTSB speak or any additional little piece of information from that cockpit voice recorder and the data recorder will give you new information and new insight at just every break.
But when you look at the plane and you hear the NTSB, what people don't realize is the NTSB also has responsibilities for those passengers. They have a lot of rules. It's called the Family Assistance Act. And when you are working a case, when I worked cases as a lawyer, I had to follow that very closely because the NTSB has a lot of things that they do for passengers that people don't see. They make sure that they get briefed, they make sure that they have hotels and food and care. They have care teams in place to help take care of them. The NTSB oversees that. So the airline has to provide services to the passengers, but the real teeth in that law is with the NTSB. And that's all federal regulation in the United States. So they have duties for the passengers, in addition to the duties they perform going through the wreckage and gathering all the data and analyzing that cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder.
So the NTSB is unbelievably busy on the site with a lot of things that the public doesn't even see.
LEMON: OK. The chairwoman said, she was speaking in that last bit of that you heard there, last bit of sound, I hate to say sound because it's so newsy, but what you heard from here there at the press conference, was from the cockpit voice recorder. She said there are two hours, very good quality. Those two hours of course include the last part of that. She said they were clear to land, runway 28-L. She says the flaps were at 30 degrees. Right? The gear was down, 137 knots below that everything was normal. And then they call for an increase of speed seven seconds prior to impact. And then the sound of the shaker? Sticker?
SCHIAVO: Stick shaker.
LEMON: Stick shaker about four seconds prior to impact. And then about 1.5 seconds prior to impact, they call for a go-around. And then after she spoke about the cockpit voice recorder, she went and talked about - she went on to talk about the flight data recorder. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERSMAN: During the approach, the data indicate that the throttles were at idle and air speed was slowed below the target air speed. The throttles are advanced a few seconds prior to impact, and the engines appear to respond normally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So as you listen to that, in layman's terms, because people are wondering, the throttle and all of that. Most people have a general understanding. But in layman's terms, what is she saying?
SCHIAVO: In layman's terms, she is saying that they were not paying close attention, they weren't paying close attention or watching closely enough their air speed, because they allowed it to get way below what it should be on an approach.
Now, had they been flying in on autopilot, they would have gotten air speed warnings. It's all automated, and that is -- you have all sorts of alarms and warnings. And the plane would have increased it. And when the stick shaker went off, and what that is, it literally shakes, it vibrates. Because there's been much research on how do you get the pilot's attention? If a stick shaker goes off on a commercial flight, the thought was you really have to get their attention. And so that's why it shakes and it literally vibrates. And what has to happen there is you must increase the air speed because your only other option is putting the nose down, which they could not do because they were also too low. So they had run out of options at that point.
And by doing a throttle at idle landing, long before I was inspector general, long before I was an aviation lawyer, in flight school I was a pilot. And we used to do landings like this in competition teams. We would throttle back and we try to land so slow and feather-light right on the numbers. And you know, pilots like to do that because it gives the passenger a quiet, safe, wonderful landing. So there are reasons why they might have been going so slowly. But once you get those warnings, there is no excuse, you have to increase the throttle. And the stick shaker would have been quite alarming to them.
LEMON: That means, warning, you are in imminent danger of stalling?
SCHIAVO: Exactly. The stick shaker means you are in danger of stalling and losing control of the flight, which is the lingo way to say you are in danger of crashing.
LEMON: She said the engines appear to respond normally. What does that say to you?
SCHIAVO: That says that they weren't having engine problems. That is always a big issue. Because the engines, many things can go wrong. It's San Francisco over water, could have been birds, but they responded normally. So there wasn't a problem.
LEMON: OK. Thank you. We'll continue on. We'll let you hear more from the NTSB and then you will interpret it for us and for our viewers, as well, throughout the hours here on CNN. Thank you, Mary Schiavo. We really appreciate that.
Coming up, her father was on that plane. He walked away, then went to the hospital. We are hearing now he may be back in the hospital. But she is going to join us on the other side of the break to explain what is going on with her father and many other people who were injured in this particular crash. Don't go away.
LEMON: Like so many others, Eugene Bird Rah has a story to tell his grandchildren. He is lucky to be alive to tell it. He survived Asiana flight 214. He also took these riveting pictures. His daughter, Eunice, joins us now from San Francisco to talk about that harrowing experience. Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. So far I have spoken to you on the phone. I have not been able to see you in person. It's good to see you. How are you doing and how is your dad?
EUNICE BIRD RAH, DAUGHTER: Hi, Don. It's good to be here. He's doing good, I mean, compared to most of the other passengers. He walked away with scratches and bruises. He did, however, go into emergency just about two hours ago. Nothing serious, but he is in emergency right now. LEMON: Yes. And it's not - is it related to the crash or do we know?
RAH: It is related to the crash. It's nothing serious from what I know right now. Right now doctors are doing continuous tests and just checking up on him. Just doing a full, you know, body-check. I don't know the details yet right now.
LEMON: What did your day say his first thoughts were when this started to happen?
RAH: I'm sorry?
LEMON: What were his first thoughts when this crash happened?
RAH: So as soon as he had, the crash had happened, I wasn't able to get a hold of him for a while. It was traumatizing. You could only think of the worst. And I can only imagine what the other families were feeling at that time. I was just praying and I know my family was praying, as well. It was a good 30, 40 minutes before I was able to get a hold of him after finding out about the crash.
LEMON: Have you been able to see the video of the crash that the gentleman Fred Hayes shot and has been airing here on CNN?
RAH: I haven't. I would rather not, not right now. Maybe later on. But you know, before I knew that he was OK, there was a long waiting time when I was actually on my balcony. And my vantage point was the crash. I could see the line of fire trucks and medics. I could see the smoke. And you know, just watching it from my balcony with my own eyes was just enough. Just sitting -- I was sweating because I didn't know if he was OK. You know.
LEMON: Yeah. It's too much for you right now.
LEMON: Yeah. And your dad is a remarkable man. He had the presence of mind to take pictures.
RAH: Yes. Other than the pictures which I'm sure a lot of people have probably seen by now, after the crash when I was in the lounge with the passengers, he was able to tell me a little bit more in-depth of what happened inside. And I really wanted to just note that he did mention the amount of heroism that took place. He did mention one flight attendant, she was a tiny, physically tiny woman, and she was helping men twice her size evacuate. And he said the Asiana staff was just so professional.
Of course, they were in tears and they were just as shocked, but they were professional. Passengers were helping passengers.
There was one flight attendant who was actually trapped for a while. The inflatable chute the side - got inflated inside the plane. And she was seated in her seat, and she was trapped. And he said as soon as they landed, he saw her leg hanging in the air. And he himself and another gentleman and actually her husband tried to rescue her. They couldn't deflate the chute, because there are no sharp objects on the plane. And finally a gentleman was able to free her. So she's OK now, but that just goes to show, you know, the passengers were very cooperative. And the flight attendants and the crew were just as attentive as well.
LEMON: A lot of unsung heroes, especially the flight attendants, and there should be much more respect for what flight attendants do. It's not just about getting water and peanuts and that sort of thing. They are the first responders in this situation.
Before I let you go, many times when things like this happen, the passengers will develop a certain bond. They will check on each other. Has your dad been able or have you been able to speak to any of the other people who were hurt, and what can you tell us about it?
RAH: As soon as my dad had gotten home, he actually tried to get a hold of, you know, the authorities or just the airport just to check on members on the flight. And I actually overheard him on the phone with another gentleman that he was trying to rescue the flight attendant and just saying, are you OK, you know? Are you home? Are you safe? Are you at the hospital? What is going on? And during the time I was relocated with my father, I happened to have another family friend on that same flight. And they've been doing well. It's just been traumatic for them. But everyone is doing well that I know of.
LEMON: First thing you said to your dad and the first thing you did when you saw him?
RAH: I didn't - we didn't really say anything. I just saw him across the room and I just ran to him. I don't remember what we said first. But it was just -- we were both really happy. We were both really just relieved, honestly. We both had such a -- it was six, seven hours after the crash. We were finally reunited so we were waiting for that moment a long time.
LEMON: Eunice, thank you so much for coming in today. Our best to your father. Give him our regards. We are thinking about him and everyone aboard that flight and all the family members and people who are involved. So thank you, OK?
RAH: Thank you, Don, I appreciate it.
LEMON: We'll be right back.