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Search Finds No Sign Of Debris; Mystery of Flight 370; Report: Plane Flew After it Disappeared; Severe Winter Storm; : Two Dead In Car Crash At SXSW Festival

Aired March 13, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everywhere you look, somebody's been hit. Multiple people down.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, a horrible situation at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin when a suspected drunk driver being pursued by police plows his car into a crowd, killing two people. Nearly two dozen injured. We have the latest.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Also, growing frustration overnight. Search crews coming up empty in an area Chinese satellite images showed possible debris. Also this morning, new questions about how long this ill-fated flight was actually in the air. We'll have the latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Death toll rising. Now, at least six people killed, dozens more injured when a gas explosion destroyed two New York City buildings. This morning, investigators are trying to figure out what went wrong as the search for more victims continues.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

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


CUOMO: We do have breaking news, but good morning and welcome to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, March 13th, 6:00 a.m. in the east. Michaela and I joined once again by Brooke Baldwin. Happy to have her. We do have breaking news from Austin, Texas, that's where the annual South by Southwest Festival takes place.

Two people were killed, nearly two dozen injured when a car plowed into a crowd of people waiting outside of a nightclub in downtown Austin. The driver, who police say was intoxicated is now in custody. In just a minute, we're going to talk with someone who is an eyewitness to what you're watching right now, but first, Rosa Flores is following developments. Rosa, what do we know?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this hour, we're learning more about how the suspect was apprehended. According to police, this individual was tasered before being taken into custody. Now, we don't know the name of this person, but we already know that he or she faces two counts of capital murder.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple people down.

FLORES (voice-over): One minute of peril leaves two dead as a driver under pursuit crashes into a crowd of people at South by Southwest. People scattered in the streets with serious injuries. Police rushed to the scene, performing CPR as ambulances were on their way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just saw all these people, like, just flying. It was terrifying.

FLORES: Police say the driver crashed through barricades they'd set up, plowing through a crowd outside of a nightclub. Nearly two dozen people were injured. Witnesses describe a horrific scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People down every ten feet, everywhere you look somebody's been hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just remember seeing people bouncing off in the street, all the way -- that's when there was cops coming through and the helicopter chasing him and everybody were scattered.

FLORES: Police say the suspect was driving the wrong way down a one- way street when they attempted to pull him over, suspecting him of drinking and driving. The suspect sped off, almost hitting an officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a result of this person's reckless and willful disregard for the safety of the people of this city that were here along Red River, we've had two individuals that were pronounced dead.

FLORES: The suspect now facing two counts of capital murder for allegedly killing two people who were on a moped. Police say the suspect also struck a taxi and a van before fleeing on foot. The whole incident took place in the span of one minute, according to police. Police subdued the driver with a taser, taking him into custody.


FLORES: Now, according to police, it took them 47 minutes to clear the scene, clearing the trauma for some of the people who were in attendance, of course, expected to take much longer.

CUOMO: Rosa, thank you very much. We have on the phone a man who witnessed the accident, was standing just feet from the car at one point. His name is Pablo Vasquez and he is joining us from Austin. Pablo, can you hear us?

PABLO VASQUEZ, WITNESSED SXSW CAR CRASH: Yes, I can hear you. CUOMO: All right, thank you for joining us and it's great to hear that at least you are safe. Please, take us through it. What did you see?

VASQUEZ: Well, I was right outside the Mohawk on Red River, which is -- the Mohawk is a venue there for South by Southwest for one of the music shows that was going on. I was just there mingling with the crowd, and we had just been, you know, herded across the street to get ready to go into the venue when, out of nowhere, a car just barreled through some barricades and directly into a group of people, maliciously, even, I would say, as there was an open space in the road where he could have driven. But the car, it was traumatizing. The car barely missed me. I was less than a foot away from where the car barreled through the crowd of people.

CUOMO: Was it a situation where anyone had time to react or was it all just happening too fast?

VASQUEZ: It was far too fast. I myself went into some form of emotional shock. I really didn't know how to process what was going on. People were crying around me. People were screaming, you know, people were bleeding around me, and you know, I saw some, you know, the folks die. A couple of folks went unconscious. No one really knew what to do. My first reaction, because I had been keeping in touch with people online, was to immediately tweet out what had happened. And I was one of the first, I think the first to actually tweet out what had happened, calling for anyone who knew medical, you know, expertise to come out and please help out.

CUOMO: Well, that was smart. It was smart to call attention to it in order to get some help. That's for sure. Now, did the car stop once it contacted people or did it just keep going?

VASQUEZ: It just kept going. Like I said, it actually swerved to hit these people. There was no reason for it to have actually swerved into this group of people. I'm not sure what the intent of the driver was, but the driver really just went forward and then continued until I saw it impact right down the road with what looked to be a motorcycle at my end. But ended up being a moped, and then hit a taxi and some other vehicle. And I think that the taxi was the one that disabled it and then just tried to take off on foot.

CUOMO: What a horrible thing. Luckily, you made it through. Many did not and got injured, we understand that, and we also understand that it's still developing there. We're not exactly sure how many people were hurt. Hopefully, they're getting the help they need there right now. If you learn anything else, Pablo, please be in touch. Again, I'm glad that you escaped the fate that so many others did not. Thank you for joining us on NEW DAY.

VASQUEZ: Thank you, and I hope everyone out there at South by Southwest can be safe for the rest of their time here.

CUOMO: Absolutely. That's the hope of all of us, OK? And hopefully, you deal with this and you made it through, and hopefully, you find a way to stay strong now, OK? VASQUEZ: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll be talking to the Austin police chief later this morning, too. Again, this man, this driver facing capital murder charges.

Meantime, nearly a week since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished, and seemingly every lead they got, you know, fell within hours. Well, overnight -- look at this here with me. This search crew in Vietnam says that there is no sign of debris where satellite images spotted objects like this one here after the plane went missing.

Also this morning, the "Wall Street Journal" sites unnamed sources who say information from the company that makes the engine shows that the plane was in the air for four hours after it lost contact with the ground.

Moments ago, we're hearing something different from officials in Malaysia because they are calling that report into question, adding that the satellite images were released by mistake. So, where does the search go from here on this day six? We have full coverage for you this morning, starting with Jim Clancy in Kuala Lumpur. Jim, good morning.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Brooke. You know, it may continue to expand because they're trying to intensify it and everything else, but I think we've just seen in a press conference, they have declared that, look, we have had a hard time trying to deal with a mystery around this flight that vanished into thin air, but we are not hiding anything. As they debunked two rumors that were out there, two possible clues, a news story. Let's just go through some of this.


CLANCY (voice-over): Malaysian officials say they found nothing.

HISHAMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN TRANSPORTATION MINISTER: Let me be clear, there is no real precedent for a situation like this. The plane vanished. We have extended the search area because it is our duty to follow every lead, and we owe it to the families, and trust me when I say we will not give up.

CLANCY: And the hopes that these clues would lead to answers now not as promising. Vietnamese searchers came up empty after scouring the coordinates where Chinese satellite spotted three floating objects. It was near 370's flight path in waters between Malaysia and Vietnam, approximately 140 miles from where the plane's transponder went silent.

The images were from March 9th, one day after the aircraft went missing. Adding to the mystery of the missing airliner, the "Wall Street Journal" reports U.S. investigators suspect the flight remained in the air an additional four hours beyond its last confirmed location.

The sources of that information were unnamed, but the revelation could force a further expansion of the search that already spans 27,000 nautical square miles. In Beijing, China's premier said his country would not give up on the pursuit of any clues.

Earlier this week, Malaysia's defense minister admitted it could be some time before they are able to answer all the questions. Another clue being pursued, the possibility the plane veered way off course. Officials here hope the U.S. can help sort out Malaysia's military radar records to prove or disprove that theory.

It all adds up to agony for the families of those missing. Paul Weeks was on Flight 370 heading to a job in Mongolia. Before boarding, he handed his wife his wedding ring and watch to give to their sons if anything should happen to him. His wife spoke to "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" last night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm praying that, you know, I can give that back to him, so I can hold on to, because there's no finality to it and we're not getting any information.

CLANCY: The hunt for the plane and the answers continues.


CLANCY: Now, as we look at the situation, authorities here are saying they've got Boeing here. They've got Rolls Royce here. They've talked to them. Those engines weren't sending out any data messages at all for four hours. All of that stopped when that transponder went off. And as far as the Chinese go, they say the Chinese have now said they never meant to release those photos, the satellite photos of debris. It was all a mistake -- Chris.

CUOMO: Jim, before we lose you, who says that the engines weren't sending any messages? Because the "Wall Street Journal" is reporting that, supposedly, the engine company says that they were getting telemetry or some data information from the engines. Who says that that's not true?

CLANCY: The Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that they have talked with Boeing here. They have talked with Rolls Royce here. They have talked with Malaysia Airlines, and that after that plane took off, it did send two bursts of information --

CUOMO: It's like even the satellite communication deepens the mystery in this. Obviously, we just lost Jim. I think what he was about to tell us is the "Wall Street Journal" has an unnamed source --

BALDWIN: Two unnamed sources.

CUOMO: -- for Rolls Royce. So, obviously, the sourcing isn't perfect on it, but they say that the engine sent some initial information back to the engine-maker --

BALDWIN: Right. CUOMO: -- which is part of the service contract with Malaysia Airlines.


CUOMO: The Rolls Royce, the engine company, they do this with a lot of airlines, and that they did get early ones, but they don't know for sure that it sent it afterwards, certainly after the transponder stop working.

BALDWIN: But again, conflicting information, again.

CUOMO: But thanks to Jim for chasing that down. We'll be back with him. Now, as this search for the plane goes on at sea, the investigation continues into the plane's final moments in the air. Again, trying to piece together what is actually known. We do know the pilot's final recorded words show no hint of a problem. So, how did it go so wrong so soon? Pamela Brown is tracking that part -- Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to you both, Brooke and Chris. Just moments ago, the minister of transportation in Malaysia held a press conference, and again, Malaysian officials now continuing to contradict reporting, which, of course, is just adding to confusion and the mystery over what happened to Flight 370.

The minister of transportation denying reports that the homes of the crew members of that Boeing 777 were searched. Yesterday morning we learned from CNN reporters on the ground there in Kuala Lumpur that the homes of the crew members had been searched, which according to officials I've spoken to, is what you would presume would happen in a situation like this, where you don't have any answers and they're looking at whether the crew members had any psychological problems, whether the plane had been sabotaged or hijacked.

But again, this Malaysian official coming forward today and denying reports that the crew members' homes had been searched. Also, officials denying this "Wall Street Journal" report citing unnamed U.S. investigators that bursts of data information from the Rolls Royce engine on that Boeing 777 showed the plane could have been flying for four hours after the last known contact with the plane.

Of course, that opens up all kinds of theories. But again, Malaysian officials denying that, saying it's simply inaccurate, that they have been in touch with Boeing and with Rolls Royce and the airline since very early on in this investigation and that that information is inaccurate. So, of course, we're left just with not many more answers than we had before -- Brooke and Chris.

CUOMO: I'll tell you, Pamela, it is increasingly confusing how the Malaysian officials and the different parties here are seemingly contradicting each other, and now it continues as we move into day six. There are some leads, but there are, as Pamela and everyone else is saying, more questions than answers as we deal with the search for Flight 370. So, let's deal with what we know here, OK? Basically, we're dealing with the search, OK? Here's this route. This is basically the best and only pure piece of information we have. The flight leaving Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. Saturday en route to Beijing, OK? So, this is where it stops sending back information, where it went off radar. There were reports of radar blips.

This is important, OK? So, this is where the two theories come in. The Malaysians have been forwarding the theory that after it stop transponding here, after they stopped getting information, all of a sudden, there were some little pings, unsophisticated pings, in this area here. They believe this is where they got almost like a vague signal.

It's called a reflection in radar terms, very unsophisticated, raw, that there may be something like an airplane here. They have since been trying to figure out, were there any airplanes in the area, could it have been this one, and that's proving very slow.

The Chinese, however, then had their own theory, which was that they have satellite images. There are satellite images here, OK? The Chinese.

Now, questions about the Chinese. Why did it take so long? When did you get these satellite images? Have you been withholding these images? What do you know about these images?

They seem to show an object. Well, where from? How long would this object have been on the air? Was it close enough to the time that it would have been sustained in the air or has it been up there in an unreasonable amount of time?

They say it's here, though, right? So, if it's here, that's obviously much more reasonable. Maybe it would have made it there in the amount of time, OK?

But these are the two competing theories that are going on right now. We thought that we had something that was interesting here with the "Wall Street Journal," because the "Wall Street Journal" supposedly talked to Rolls Royce. They make the engines.

And they say they get information from the engines, and the engines gave them information four hours afterwards, which seemed consistent with this theory that the Malaysians have that it then made a big, dramatic left turn, right? This left turn that it made and then started flying towards the Strait of Malacca. That is the thicket that we are in.

Let's try to suss out what makes more sense here with aviation attorney and former inspector general with the Department of Transportation, Mary Schiavo.

Mary, I know that you're following this. I know you've been in a hundred of these investigations and then some. But this Chinese satellite image coming out now, does this make sense to you that the timing is suggested to have been something that could have been suspended in the air is reasonable to assume? Do you like what you're hearing here?

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER U.S. DOT INSPECTOR GENERAL: Well, it made sense because it's where you would expect it to be if you had a catastrophic event, where the transponder stopped transmitting, and I think that's probably the most appealing part of those pictures. They're awfully big pieces, if you had a midair explosion or breakup.

But I said, it's possible if the plane came down in one piece, it didn't -- I mean, even an attempted landing on a water, whatever, you could have some big pieces. They're usually much smaller, but it's where you would expect it to be if that's where the disaster happened, that's what was so compelling about those Chinese images.

CUOMO: And what makes them un-compelling? Other than a little bit of suspicion into why it took the Chinese so long to develop them, what takes away from the credibility of this theory?

SCHIAVO: Well, what takes away is the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, among other naval forces, are very good about tracking ocean currents, winds, where debris should be going. So, they can track from where it was on Sunday and then they can project out where it should be now based on the currents, which, you know, they have an awful lot of ability and computer modeling to do that.

And if they're still finding nothing -- and, of course, you take the ships in, where this debris was found and then track it back to where the impact or the explosion would have been, and you look on the ocean floor and you don't find anything, that casts doubt on it, because there should be something on the floor. Not everything floats. There's currents on the floor of the ocean as well that will move it around, but you should have two different places where you could be looking, where the floating debris is now and where the event was on the floor of the ocean.

And if they're finding nothing in either place, that casts doubt on those satellite images as being parts of a plane.

CUOMO: You know, it's unusual -- I was surprised to hear Malaysian officials kicking back on the Rolls Royce report, because it squares with their theory, that the plane became a ghost ship because there was some catastrophic event in the air, maybe distress cracks around the antenna, as you suggested, and then it continued on a straight- line path, suggestive of autopilot, as opposed to human, and towards the Strait of Malacca.

But now, they're kicking back information that would have helped their theory. What do you make of it?

SCHIAVO: Well, what I make of it is there is probably some justifiable outrage. If you're there, you're in charge of the investigation -- now, certainly, the Malaysian investigation is not a model so far, although we don't know everything, but if you're there trying to do the investigation and then Rolls Royce and Boeing are there with you and you get news from the "Wall Street Journal," you know, a very major news source, that their information is different than what the parties to the investigation, Rolls Royce and Boeing, are telling you, I would imagine you'd get more than kickback.

I'm hopeful that they're calling a meeting right now, and the first thing that should have happened -- and this would have happened from the NTSB -- the very first thing is to grab all that data, all the maintenance data, all the engine data, all the repair data, anything about the physical structurability, maintenance, things on that plane, that should have been grabbed day one. And if the Malaysian authorities don't have it, there is outrage to go around.

CUOMO: Well, outrage at when they learn it versus saying that it's not true are two different approaches.


CUOMO: One has to do with the politics of a situation, the other with the practicalities of just finding the damn plane, you know?

SCHIAVO: Right, except if they don't have it and it was sent back to the Rolls Royce headquarters, that would explain. You know, they'd probably say it's not true because we don't have it in our investigation.

CUOMO: Right.

SCHIAVO: But if it went back somewhere else, you know, there's a mystery to be solved. And the mystery, the crazy thing about this is it's easy to solve this mystery. Get the people who know and get this over for the families in terms of this information. And this is a mystery that doesn't have to be on this particular point.

CUOMO: Mary Schiavo, thank you very much for the perspective. We'll be leaning on you throughout this story.


PEREIRA: Let's look at other headlines, 20 past the hour now.

The diplomatic push to keep Russia from annexing Crimea is intensifying this morning. A day after sitting down with President Obama, Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk meets with Vice President Biden before addressing the nation, and Secretary of State John Kerry jets to London tonight for a meeting Friday with Russia's foreign minister. Kerry is warning Moscow, sanctions could get ugly fast if Ukraine loses Crimea.

We have just learned Russian officials say about 8,500 troops are taking part in military exercises near its Ukraine border, as Ukraine's parliament has reportedly voted to create a national guard that could stand up to Russia.

Stunning, new developments in that massive GM recall. A filing with federal safety regulators shows GM had received reports of an ignition defect back in 2001. That is three years earlier than the car maker previously disclosed. That defect is now linked to 12 deaths and at least 31 crashes over the past decade. New this morning, case dismissed for the Indian diplomat whose New York arrest and strip search sparked an international uproar. A federal judge dismissed Devyani Khobragade's case Wednesday, saying she has diplomatic immunity. She was indicted in January for lying on a visa application about how much she paid her housekeeper. Prosecutors suggested they may seek a new indictment against her.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. He is spending the day on a spiritual retreat in Rome, and apparently just tweeted, "Pray for me" to mark his anniversary. Pardon me.

Last year, the Buenos Aires-born cardinal became the first Latin American pope as well as the first Jesuit and the first to choose the name Francis. One year.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: On the cover of "Rolling Stone." Never seen that before.

PEREIRA: One-point-two billion Catholics, yet, he is getting attention from people that aren't Catholic, people that aren't even believers. It's been really interesting to watch.

CUOMO: Catholic means universal, his message is a little bit more that way.

BALDWIN: So, walking outside this morning --

PEREIRA: Shocker, right?

BALDWIN: A little bit of a shock to the system, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: OK, it was for me. I knew it was coming, regardless. Forget the temperatures it was so windy, guys.

Keep in mind, we are not the only ones that dealt with this. Take a look at this pileup. We were talking about heavy, windy conditions and a lot of snow that made its way across the country. You can actually see Cleveland, Ohio, where unfortunately they had that huge pileup, saw about 3 inches of snow. Unfortunately it was just those near zero visibility with the strong winds out there that caused that accident.

Buffalo, New York, though, had blizzard conditions. They got over a foot of snow in the region. So, definitely, that system, we want it out of here, guys. We are talking about it now, starting to exit off into the Northeast. Still looking for some snow into that region, but the bulk of you kind of already having seen everything you're going to see.

New York City, you're lucky to see a couple flurries throughout the day. Buffalo could see about an inch, but really only about 3 to 5 inches left in the Northeast. This number I'm not going with, I'll say the models are wrong. Still, maybe 5 to 7 inches in the region.

The big story, we were just talking about this, the temperature change. When you felt it this morning, those winds are strong. You could really hear them ripping out there, 30, 40-mile-per-hour winds dropping temperatures. Yesterday, D.C. was 69. Today, you're only looking for 30s.

New York City going from 50s down to the 20s, the windchills this morning in many places in the Northeast feeling like subzero. I mean, right now, D.C.'s 27, New York 20. Look at Pittsburgh, 10 degrees.

Now, you add in the windchill and you talk about 40, 50-mile-per-hour winds out there, and there you go. Pittsburgh feels like 10 below, Detroit feels like 8 below.

This is brutal. No one wants this to last, especially me. The good news, it is not. Plus, we're so close to the weekend. I always say happy Friday eve on Thursday, because yes, as we're going towards the weekend, D.C. going to the 50s, even mid-60s by Saturday. So, if it's only one day, hopefully a distant memory very quickly. Like that. Boom, like that.

PEREIRA: Feeling like a cold reality.

CUOMO: It sounds like Indra's getting over the whole "Bachelor" fiasco there.

PEREIRA: I think.

BALDWIN: Too soon, Cuomo.

PETERSONS: Yes, too soon, right? I had my TiVo, and it did nothing for me. In case you care.

CUOMO: Of course I care.

And a quick programming note for you. Be sure to watch CNN's new original series "Chicagoland". It's tonight at 10:00 Eastern/9:00 Central.

BALDWIN: OK, coming up next this morning on NEW DAY: fires flared up again in Harlem after two 5-story apartment buildings were leveled by a gas explosion yesterday morning. Several people are still missing at this hour. A big question: could this have been prevented?

We'll have a live report from Harlem in a matter of moments.


BALDWIN: This morning, firefighters are still battling this fire where two 5-story apartment buildings were absolutely leveled in this natural gas explosion in New York City. And investigators, rescuers have been combing through this rubble, trying to find people who are still trapped, people who are still unaccounted for.

As far as numbers here this morning, the death toll stands at six. More than 60 people were injured in that blast and several others, as I mentioned, are still unaccounted for.

CNN's Poppy Harlow is live for us in Harlem. Poppy, how many people are still missing?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning, Brooke.

Unfortunately, that number is high. It is nine people that they are still searching for after this tragic blast. I want to zoom in so you can see what we're talking about, because the smoke that is still billowing from these two buildings that collapsed is because firefighters tell us they have not completely been able to put out the fire yet. The wind here, it is extremely windy, making it much more complicated as they continue to fight the fire, so many other first responders digging through the rubble looking for anyone that may have survived.



HARLOW: New York City's East Harlem neighborhood shaken by an intense explosion Wednesday morning. The blast shocking residents and reducing these two buildings to piles of rubble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was so powerful that you heard the boom, and then it rocked the whole apartment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ceiling tiles started to fall down. The back wall was lined with mirrors. The mirrors started to shatter and fall down.