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Passenger With Stolen Passport Identified; Search Widens For Flight 370; Ukraine's Ousted President Speaks; Kerry Cancels Meeting With Putin; Pistorius Friend Now On the Stand

Aired March 11, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, investigators identify an Iranian national as one of the passengers traveling with the stolen passport on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. The latest on how he beat the system and how this discovery is helping connect the dots in this mystery.

BALDWIN: And diplomatic roadblock. Growing tensions between the United States and Russia. Can both sides come together on the future of Ukraine before this weekend's referendum. Also, Ukraine's ousted president adding fuel to the fire this morning.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Moment of impact. A terrifying moment when a school bus with children on board collides with a tax and flips over. All caught on camera. How did this happen?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

CUOMO: There is breaking news as we follow the developments of what happened to that Malaysia Airlines flight, but good morning to you. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, March 11th, 6:00 in the East. Brooke Baldwin by my side in for Kate Bolduan along with Michaela, as always. It's good to have all of you here.

We do have breaking news for you. One of the two passengers who boarded Malaysia Airline Flight 370 with a stolen passport has just been identified. Investigators say he is 19 years old and an Iranian national. Before any notions attached to his nationality, hear this, he does not appear to have any ties to terrorism. However, that doesn't mean he isn't part of the security problem revealed here. This is a picture of the second passenger believed to be traveling with a stolen pass passport, but authorities have not released any other information about him. Why not? We are going to dig into that.

The big question however remains where is Flight 370? The search is actually expanding over more ocean as China deploys 10 high resolution satellites to assist from the skies.

Let's bring in CNN justice correspondent, Pamela Brown. She's in Washington this morning with new information about who was on board. What do we know, Pamela?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, we can tell you that authorities say it appears the young Iranian they identified was trying to get to Germany where his mother lived. At this point, officials are not sharing with us the name of the other man who used the stolen passport.

But a law enforcement official tells CNN that authorities have looked at the biometrics of the two men and so far, nothing of concern has turned up on them.


BROWN (voice-over): Investigators now say a 19-year-old Iranian national was one of two men traveling on Flight 370 with a stolen transport. Authorities say Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad was on his way to Germany possibly trying to seek asylum. When he did not arrived as planned, his mother contacted Malaysian authorities to help track him down.

While the international manhunt to identify the two men with stolen passports has been intense, authorities today said the teen does not appear to have terror ties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group.

BROWN: Questions still remain about the identity of the second man who traveled with the young Iranian on the doomed flight. They have been pouring through surveillance video and thumb prints from the airport to search for possible clues. Investigators focusing on this Thai travel agency that booked tickets for the two passengers.

Thai police telling CNN, an Iranian middle man known as Mr. Ali first contacted the agency on March 1st looking to buy cheap tickets to Europe on two men on two different flights. That booking expired. So the travel agent re-booked men on the same flight, Flight 370 on March 6th. Ali paid cash. Two days later, the plane vanished.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCE ANALYST: They could be garden variety criminals, drug traffickers, people smugglers or fraudsters.


BROWN: Now aside from the two men, Malaysian officials say no one else on Flight 370 used a fake or stolen passport. So whatever to the missing plane remains a mystery and we won't really know for sure until the wreckage is found -- Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Pamela, thank you. Let's get to that mystery because the search now for Flight 370 and those 239 people on board, dozens of ships and planes from now the numbers up to 10. Ten nations involved looking overnight. A Cathay Pacific pilot reported seeing large solid debris in the ocean during a flight from Hongkong to Kuala Lumpur.

But at this hour, there is not a single confirmed sighting of that missing jet liner. Just imagine the wait absolutely agonizing for loved ones in Beijing who met with the airline just this morning. The emotions in that room. Families demanding the airline do more.

Jim Clancy, let me bring you in live from Kuala Lumpur. Just can't imagine how difficult this is for all of those people. Tell me what you know.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I know that Malaysia Airlines officials say we must find this plane. All of the Malaysians repeat that. They know that this mystery cannot be unraveled unless they locate just where this jetliner is now. Take a look.


CLANCY (voice-over): This morning, search and rescue teams are expanding their scope looking beyond Malaysia Airlines 370's flight path. CNN's Simon Mossim riding along with crew searching for any sign of the ill-fated flight as the search enters its fourth day --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the areas we're going to search.

CLANCY: -- officials are including the western peninsula of Malaysia and the Strait of Malacca in an expanded search zone. Scores of aircraft and ships are scouring the area spanning 100 nautical miles. Radar data leading some to believe the flight may have reversed course to return to Malaysia in its final moments.

Also this morning, Malaysia's civil aviation chief saying pilots from Hongkong spotted large, solid debris in the waters off Vietnam.

AZHARUDDIN ABDUL RAHMAN, MALAYSIA CIVIL AVIATION CHIEF: We have not received any confirmation or verification of the debris that they're from the aircraft or not.

CLANCY: U.S. Intelligence sources telling CNN they are less inclined to think that the disappearance of the Malaysia Air 777 jetliner had a terror link. While keeping all the theories open, the sources say the two men who boarded the flight with stolen passports were more likely trying to gain illegal entry into Europe.

Anger and frustration mounting as the mystery deepens. Families of missing passengers demanding answers from Malaysia Airlines being flown to Malaysia. The multi-national search efforts has quashed numerous leads, sightings of debris, oil slicks, and a lifeboat, all proved unrelated to Flight 370. But Malaysia Airlines CEO says the search will go on.

AHMAD JAUHARI YAHYA, MALAYSIA AIRLINES CEO: We're not discouraged. It must be there somewhere. We have to find it.

CLANCY: Many are turning to prayer to deal with their grief, 239 people from 14 different nations. Missing American Philip Wood's family relying on faith.

JAMES WOOD, BROTHER OF MISSING PASSENGER: You know, we're holding out hope because as of yet, there are no answers to any of this.


CLANCY: There are no answers and families have been warned to brace for the worst. Their faith, their hope, their prayers may be more important than ever -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Jim, thank you. New clues, new dead ends, but we still don't know what happened. However we do know what the most likely scenarios on. So let's bring in aviation attorney and former inspector general of the Department of Transportation, Mary Schiavo.

Mary, thanks for joining us as always. It's important to have you. Important to note also, this is one plane big, but small in relationship to where we are searching right now, right?


CUOMO: Very difficult to find, however time of is the essence. The recorders have battery life. The battery life is about 30 days, right?

SCHIAVO: That's approximately about 30 days.

CUOMO: So what happens if you don't meet that 30 days?

SCHIAVO: Well, The reported information will still be there. They will use submersibles, divers, anything that they can to try to locate those boxes if you don't find them in 30 days. But this isn't unusual. There have been many crashes in the past where it's taken many days to find the debris field and then eventually the black boxes.

CUOMO: OK. So the battery is not that urgent.


CUOMO: And then we are also hearing that terrorism not the biggest concern in terms of what most likely happened. Let's deal with what we think the most likely scenarios are? What's the first one?

SCHIAVO: Well, the first one is the NTSB in three-fourths of the cases find something wrong with how the pilots coordinated or how they flew the flight. Even in the case of a mechanical problem and again with two pilots, you know, they always say you've got to watch your air speeds, your throttles and artificial horizons and you have to coordinate.

So between this, the pilot in command and the first officer, they have to both coordinate and always watch the instruments. On Air France 447, what they said happened is they did not watch their airspeed. They allowed it to deteriorate and that caused the plane to stall.

CUOMO: Because this is happening though at maximum flight altitude probably on auto pilot so does that make pilot error less likely?

SCHIAVO: Well, it can, but if you hit any kind of troubling weather, if you hit any difficult wind, that can cause your airspeed to fluctuate. And then sometimes if you had a mechanical and you weren't paying attention then you wouldn't know that you were losing your air speed or had a problem with special disorientation.

CUOMO: All right, so that takes us -- you're talking about mechanical problems with the plane itself. What are the possibilities?

SCHIAVO: Well, here what the investigators are already doing and we know this because they've combed the maintenance records. They know the plane has just been in for maintenance. They're looking air worthiness directives or any warnings on the plane or clues as to something that might have gone wrong. We know that this wing actually on the right side, it had damage in a previous collision in 2012. They're going to be looking at the tail.

Obviously American Airlines 587 had a loss of a tail, although that was an airbus. There's been a warning on this system saying it was just four days ago saying that there were cracks and there could be cracks in the fuselage et cetera. And of course, there was an air worthiness directive that say to look at the joining, how the plane was joined together.

Then there was a directive for the fuel tank wiring, which is under here and of course, in the wings. And so they'll look at those to make sure that maintenance was done.

CUOMO: What does that mean directive? Is that like a recall notice that you're getting for your car or?

SCHIAVO: Pretty much so. A directive has the effect of a federal regulation and says you airline flying this plane, you must go out and inspect this. And if you find any problems, you must make changes.

CUOMO: This specific plane or this model plane?

SCHIAVO: This model plane.

CUOMO: OK, all right, so and then you get to explosive decompression. Does this help maybe with the scenario that we're dealing with of no message from the cockpit? No warning, none of the typical alert you'd think you get in trouble. Does that play into this one?

SCHIAVO: Yes, when you have an explosive decompression, of course the pilots have occasion general masks, but you have to do it very quickly, particularly at 35,000 feet and then at that point, that means you've lost the structural integrity of the plane. That can be from losing a structural member of the plane. You could also lose a door. There was a warning after the Asiana crash in San Francisco to check the door pins and the fasteners for the emergency slides. Things can just -- the plane just comes apart in that.

CUOMO: Two other points. One is going to be a repeat, however, I hear people saying, well, it had to be something big, but isn't that actually a little untrue that a small problem can become a big problem very quickly at that altitude?

SCHIAVO: Right. In any accident, it's always is series of things. In TW 800 it was the wiring in the fuel tank. What happens is little things unravel? Like in Air France, they were losing their airspeed, they weren't paying attention and they had a stall and literally fell out of the sky. A small wiring problem can cause an arcing and an explosion.

CUOMO: The big thing is why we didn't hear anything from the pilots. Mary Schiavo, thank you so much helping us get a better picture of this situation -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: That visual is so helpful in just sort of walking through potential scenarios. Thank you, Chris.

The ousted president of Ukraine is speaking out this morning. Viktor Yanukovych says he remains Ukraine's president and that any replacement is illegitimate. Meantime, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has canceled a meeting with Vladimir Putin. This was supposed to happen yesterday to address this crisis face to face. All of this as the U.S. and European allies are taking steps to isolate Russia.

Diana Magnay has more this morning from Crimea. Diana, good morning.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke. Well, we have just been hearing from the ousted president who is speaking in the south of Russia saying as you said that he's still a legitimate leader, he's still the head of the armed forces and that the new government in Kiev is illegitimate and that they are backed by ultra nationalist and fascists.

Now this is a message that we've heard over and over again especially here in Crimea where the message that is drummed into the local population by Russian m He asked the question to the west saying, do you not remember what this is. He said that the U.S. was illegally sponsoring a coup if they provided money to the government in Kiev.

Also this meeting between John Kerry and President Putin has been put on hold. It would have been the highest level talks since the occupation of Crimea by Russian forces began. President Yanukovych also saying that the elections on the 25th of May in Ukraine would be illegal.

Here in six days' time we have a referendum coming up when the people of Crimea will choose whether to join Russia or Ukraine. Apparently that's illegal too say the west, but it's going to happen anyway. Michaela to you. PEREIRA: All right, Diana Magnay, with the latest from Ukraine. Thank you so much for that.

It's 6:13 in the east. Let's take a look at more of your headlines. Right now Senate Democrats trying to prove they are serious about climate change. They are holding an all-nighter on this in the floor. Still going on at this hour. Twenty six Democrats taking part in the talkathon. They say they'll finish around 9:00 this morning. The Republican House is not expected to pass any legislation, but senators hope to lay the groundwork for future bills with their speeches.

CUOMO: Any green eggs and ham?

PEREIRA: I don't know about green eggs and ham so far. We'll keep an eye out.

Score a point for privacy advocates in the controversy over the National Security Agency's domestic spying program, the NSA was poised to destroy millions of phone records it collected more than five years ago, but a federal judge ordered the records be temporarily preserved.

NSA leaker, Edward Snowden urging the tech community to get serious about protecting the privacy of its users and customers. He appeared via video conference telling the crowd at South by Southwest Interactive Festival that the NSA is quote, "setting fire" to the future of the internet. He also said he has no regrets over leaking information.


EDWARD SNOWDEN, FORMER NSA CONTRACTOR: When it comes to -- it's absolutely yes. Regardless of what happens to me, this is something we had a right to know. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and I saw that the Constitution was violated on massive scales.


PEREIRA: Snowden is currently living in Russia. He faces charges in the U.S. of violating the Espionage Act.

A new report this morning says North Korea has developed sophisticated techniques to defy United Nations sanctions. Among them, using its embassies to facilitate an illegal weapons trade. The report also says North Korea uses complicated measures to make it difficult to track when it purchases sanctioned goods. It also says the country has showed no signs of abandoning its nuclear and ballistics programs.

Colorado is raking in revenue from recreational marijuana. The state collected $2 million in taxes in January from $14 million in marijuana sales. Kick in another 1.5 million from medical marijuana sales and the total tops $3.5 million.

Colorado plans to spend it on new school construction. The state police are also asking for a cut as well. So big revenue stream there. BALDWIN: And some of the money goes to help make sure kids stay away from pot.

PEREIRA: Exactly. Part of the program is to try to prevent abuse and getting it out of underage kids' hands.

CUOMO: So, you need money from the drugs to fight drugs?


BALDWIN: Maybe counter intuitive.

CUOMO: Is that anything scientific to that? You know what kind of segue that is. Has to lead us to the meteorologist of the moment, Indra Petersons. What do you have to make of the situation? Does it have to do anything with the weather at all?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That has nothing to do with the weather at all. You need the weather to grow into something, right?


PETERSONS: There you go. There you go. That's just so bad.

All right. Let's talk about these weather changes right now. Today, beautiful, New York City. We want to show the rollercoaster we're all in store for today, 50s not so bad tomorrow and then look at this drop. New York City, you're not the only one going from 60s down to 20s.

Let's take a look maybe across the country, what are we dealing with? Well, high pressure, beautiful today. We're talking about nice, warm air kind of filling in all the way up to the Northeast from the Southeast. It's not going to last, because there is a cold front behind it.

But just enjoy it just for a second, right? I mean, 70s, guys, out towards D.C. today. But look at St. Louis, almost near 80, 79 today. But look at the drop by tomorrow, already down 40 degrees.

So, they're going from upper 70s down to just the 30s. And this trend, unfortunately, is continuing. It looks like by the next day, talking about 20s out towards New York City. D.C. remember, 70, also down to the 30.

That is the trend, here's the reason why. This guy. This guy is making its way across the country, already bring some snow to the Upper Midwest, the Upper Plains today, eventually making its way to the Ohio Valley overnight tonight. Not a huge snow maker for them, but eventually by tomorrow night in through Thursday, a lot of snow, even strong winds, are going to be expected in Upstate New York and also around Maine.

Now, totals we're talking about, over a foot. But, again, look at where that is. Everyone else staying a tenth of an inch in New York City, and, of course, towards the high valley, several inches, Chicago getting about 4 inches. It's not a huge snow maker for many of us, but it's definitely huge drop in temperatures.

BALDWIN: When is spring starting again?

PETERSONS: Let's just say yesterday. But it's gone quickly, no, in the couple of weeks. Painful, right? Painful.

BALDWIN: Well --

PETERSONS: Forty degrees down, I'm not cool with that. I don't know about you.



BALDWIN: Indra, thank you.

PETERSONS: It's settled.

BALDWIN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a close friend of Oscar Pistorius taking the stand in the Blade Runner's murder trial. He says Pistorius asked him to take the blame for something he didn't do. We will take you live to the courthouse.

COUMO: And the uproar over Google Glass. Fights are breaking out in bars, lawmakers screaming for bans. What is the problem with these high tech gadgets? Don't want to get punched in the face when you have the Google Glass --



BALDWIN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

I want to get to the latest now on the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius murder trial. On the stand right now, Pistorius' friends, Darren Fresco. You may remember, he is the friend Pistorius allegedly asked to take the fall for gunfire at a crowded restaurant.

CNN's Robyn Curnow is following every single development for us at the courthouse in Pretoria.

Robyn, good morning.


Well, indeed, Darren Fresco has taken the stand this morning. He's outlined to the court two incidents he said he witnessed Pistorius being reckless, irresponsible with handguns. And, of course, as you mentioned, that he asked -- Pistorius asked him to take the rap for him.

In addition to Fresco's testimony, we've also heard the pathologist being cross-examined, more details about how Reeva Steenkamp died. Take a listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW (voice-over): This morning, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend continued his testimony on the injuries that took her life. Details so graphic, that the judge halted live broadcast.

Gert Saayman revealing that Reeva Steenkamp ate two hours before her death, around 1:00 a.m. in the morning, contradicting Oscar Pistorius' claim that they were in bed by 10:00 p.m. that night. Saayman detailed how Pistorius shot his own 9 millimeter, just like this one, containing hollow point bullets. Three shots hitting his girlfriend in her hip, arm and head.

Saayman said, "I think it would be somewhat abnormal if one did not scream when receiving wounds like Reeva's, undercutting the defense, who claims it was Pistorius screaming for help. The description of Steenkamp's injuries so gruesome, they left Pistorius physically ill on Monday, vomiting into a bucket during the proceedings, and visibly shaken as he left court.

Compared to other ammunition, hollow point bullets are incredibly destructive on impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That laceration will open like that, and besides the mushroom it would form, it would form almost like a little fan. So, you can imagine the amount of damage that can do to you.

CURNOW: Legal experts say the defense will argue it was his disability which led Pistorius to use the hollow point bullets. They say it was fear intensified by South Africa's high crime rate.

Meanwhile, the state will continue to argue that he knew he was behind the closed bathroom door and that he deliberately shot Reeva Steenkamp dead.


CURNOW: OK. Well, Oscar Pistorius is far more composed today, not vomiting, in stark contrast, of course, to yesterday.

Back to you, guys.

CUOMO: All right. Robyn, thank you very much. Appreciate the reporting.

I want to tell you about a scary moment during an NHL game last night.

The Dallas Stars' --


CUOMO: -- Rich Peverley collapses on the bench after suffering a cardiac event. The game had to be postponed.

Let's find out more, bring in Andy Scholes with this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Andy, what happened?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, this is a really frightening moment. Rich Peverley, he had just come off the ice after a shift and was on the bench when he just collapsed. It happened about 6 1/2 minutes into the game. The Stars staff immediately carried Peverley into the tunnel to begin treatment. After using a defibrillator on him, he regained consciousness. Peverley, you know, he did miss the pre-season and season opener this year because of a procedure to correct an irregular heart beat.

Right now, the Stars say he is doing well and is in stable condition.


LINDY RUFF, STARS' HEAD COACH: I thought the medical staff did an unbelievable job tonight. I was there firsthand. If it wasn't for our doctors and all the members reacting so quickly and so efficiently, we could be standing here with a different story. But they did an absolutely fabulous job.


SCHOLES: Both teams are clearly shaken and agree to postpone the game. No word yet on when they will be made up.

All right. Turning right now on, Mets, Marlins, spring training, a ball lands over the fence in the outfield, and this fan abandoned his son in a cart to go after a ball. The cart goes crashing into the fence.

Guys, check out mom. She's not very happy about this.

Safe to say this guy will not be winning father of the year any time soon.

And, Chris, we always talk about how you always go all-out for the ball, but I think the one rule should be --

BALDWIN: No, no, no!

SCHOLES: -- don't abandon the children.

BALDWIN: Mom's got like the baby on her hip, the other baby. I'd be coming after that husband like --

CUOMO: That's a huge withdrawal from his emotional capital account he's going to have to make --



CUOMO: I don't like that he put the wagon back in the same precarious situation with a towel in front of it. That's like, you know -- BALDWIN: Do not.

CUOMO: That's a double dumb.

BALDWIN: You learn that --

CUOMO: So, we call it the double dumb, Andy Scholes. Thank you very much, buddy.

BALDWIN: Thanks, Andy.

Coming up next here on NEW DAY, I want to get you back to the breaking news this morning. The search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. We now have new information about these two passengers who boarded the flight with the stolen passports. Officials have just identified the second man. Those details straight ahead here on NEW DAY.