Return to Transcripts main page
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Confusion Surrounds Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; Weather Impact on Search; Mystery of Flight 370; Searching for Answers; How Planes Communicate; Expansion of Search Zone; Crisis in Ukraine; Western Sanctions Threat; European Stocks Down, Dow Sharply Lower
Aired March 13, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE CLOSING BELL)
RICHARD QUEST, HOST: The closing bell rang on Wall Street, and it was a very down day for the Dow Jones Industrials. They were off sharply, a loss of more than 1.5 percent when they hit the hammer on Thursday, March the 13th.
Tonight, new searches, new leads, same confusion, even with fresh information about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. We're going to try and clear up some of what's been happening.
Later support say the plane may have been flying for hours after it lost contact. Now the search could be shifting to an entirely new ocean.
And the crucial question at this hour: what does the Malaysian authorities know and what are they not telling us?
I'm Richard Quest. We have an hour together. And I mean business.
Good evening. Anyone who's been following the events of the past 24 hours, you would do well not to be too confused, because the developments have been confusing, indeed.
New leads on the final hours of Flight 370 have emerged, and this time, the details came not from Asia, but from the United States. In doing so, questions are raised as to whether Malaysia has made public vital clues on what happened.
US officials are telling CNN American experts think the plane could have flown for hours after the last radar reading that's been acknowledged by the Malaysians. The White House says searchers may now start looking -- wait for it -- in the Indian Ocean. That's far further west than they'd been looking so far.
US officials are saying very similar to what the "Wall Street Journal" reported on Wednesday, a report that Malaysia quickly rejected as inaccurate. And the officials have told us American transport watchdogs and the plane maker Boeing are analyzing new information right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're looking at information, pursuing possible leads, working within the investigation being led by the Malaysian government, and it is my understanding that one possible piece of information or collection pieces of information has led to the possibility that a new area -- search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Our goal for you now is to help clarify and strip away some of this confusion. So, let's go through this very carefully.
Originally, they are looking in this sort of area here, just between the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Then, they extend that range out towards the Straits of Malacca and up towards the Andaman Sea.
Now, they are completely widening the circle right the way around, adding in parts of the Indian Ocean, because this is the range at which the 777 would have been able to continue flying as it managed to keep going for several hours.
Senior US officials telling CNN that there have been several pings from the aircraft that were received by satellite, and that, they think, the plane could have flown out into the ocean. An official said -- and this is the crucial part -- it's not 100 percent correct.
All this was revealed in some shape or form this morning in the "Wall Street Journal" that said the aircraft had gone on flying for hours after its acknowledgment. But here's the problem. We know from the "Journal" and we knew from what the Americans say, but the Malaysian authorities say this scenario is not right, they haven't received data.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HISHAMMUDDIN BIN HUSSEIN, ACTING MALAYSIAN MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION: I would like to refer to news reports suggesting that the aircraft may have continued flying for some time after last contact. As Malaysian Airlines will confirm shortly, those reports are inaccurate.
The last transmission from the aircraft was at 0127, which indicated that everything was normal. Rolls-Royce and Boeing teams are here in Kuala Lumpur and have worked with MAS and investigation teams since Sunday. These issues have never been raised.
Whenever there are new details, they must be corroborated. Since today's media reports, MAS has asked Rolls-Royce and Boeing specifically about the data. As far as Rolls-Royce and Boeing are concerned, those reports are inaccurate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: So says the Malaysians. But bearing in mind, the US is moving assets into the Indian Ocean as you heard. What will they find, in terms of the weather? Jenny Harrison, what is the search conditions likely to be in the Indian Ocean and around that area when they get there?
JENNY HARRISON, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Depends exactly how far south they're going to go, Richard, and I'll show you why. Because of course, the further south you get the nearer you get to the inter-tropical convergence zone, and that is where we see most of the weather.
Now, typically again in the last few hours, it has been very good across this particular region. We've seen clear skies, very fine, very calm. Not unusual for this time of year, but we have been very lucky.
This, the original search, as you've just been talking about. And now, as you say, it has, of course, been expanded to this vast area. And you can see what I mean. That area there, that line of clouds, that is the ITCZ, and so that is where we see more in the way of weather.
But you can see here, certainly, if we head into more western areas up into the Bay of Bengal, for example, conditions actually there should remain fairly good, fairly quiet.
These are current conditions right now across the region. It's still a couple of hours until official sunrise in Kuala Lumpur, but you can see again, there's a mix of cloud as you can see.
And then, this is basically what we've got over the next couple of days, breezy conditions, mostly sunny to start the next 24 hours, then it will change over to more in the way of scattered showers. If the breezes increase that also means of course the seas are likely to get more choppy.
But you can see, the showers fairly sporadic, but they do get a little bit heavier and a bit more intense across the Malay peninsula, certainly, as we head into the latter part of that time period, Richard.
QUEST: Those are the searching conditions. Jenny Harrison at the World Weather Center. Jenny said that it is just nearly daylight. In fact, it's about five past -- ten past 5:00 in the morning in Kuala Lumpur. Andrew Stevens is there.
Andrew, when the first -- you and I have got to get to grips here with the simple fact that this vast area has been opened up for a reason that the Malaysians said 24 hours ago wasn't relevant. They weren't getting information. What are you expecting to hear from them this morning?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, if the previous few days have been anything to go by, it will be equally confusing. And what we may hear today maybe denied tomorrow. It is a very, very difficult story, and a very, very difficult investigation as we both know, as everybody now knows.
As we go into the seventh day, to actually find out any hard facts on the ground. You pointed out that the US intelligence that the plane may have flown into the Indian Ocean is not 100 percent. You also saw the Malaysian defense minister basically knocking down the theory -- the first theory in the "Wall Street Journal" that the plane may have flow for several hours.
But there is a key, here, which I've been looking at, because the Malaysians seem to be basing their evidence that the plane didn't fly on on the fact that Rolls-Royce told them there was no information coming from the Rolls-Royce engines on that plane back to base. Now, these engines do transmit --
STEVENS: -- automatically information. But Rolls says they would not commit as sending any information back. So, the Malaysians are saying well that Rolls is saying that, so we have no information to say that the plane carried on.
But let's just rewind two or three days, because three days ago, we were reporting that there was this unidentified radar blip which saw an unidentified plane flying back across Malaysia. That was later denied by the Malaysian government, and then the next day, they said yes, actually, it's true.
QUEST: All right.
STEVENS: But this is still an unidentified plane. So, this is -- this now looks the most promising search area, promising in there's a direction and there's a vast expanse of sea. The Indian navy's also getting involved, that adds another piece of evidence to the fact that this where the focus is going.
But Malaysia also said in that press conference yesterday very, very clearly that the South China Sea is the focus --
QUEST: All right, I --
STEVENS: -- the South China Sea is on the other side of Malaysia, not near the Indian -- yes.
QUEST: I need to just jump in there, because I want to just focus finally, Andrew. The criticism now, look, obviously they are dealing with an investigation, and that does not necessarily mean dripping out information to the media on an hour-by-hour basis.
But there are loved ones and there are concerned travelers and there are legitimate public concerns. So, are the Malaysians, do you think, and are people saying, keeping back more information than they are actually telling us?
STEVENS: That's a very difficult question to answer, Richard. There are obviously as we see, as we have seen over recent days, information has been put forward, withdrawn, denied, and then put back on the table.
On that evidence alone, it wouldn't be unfair to say that there may be more information out there that they're not releasing. The Malaysian government has been doing one press conference a day. They keep on saying that they want to -- their first priority is to find this plane --
STEVENS: -- and when we know, you will know. But it has been chaotic in the actual information exchange, what's gone out, what's been factual, what's been then withdrawn, that the key at the moment is if the US services have this information, do the Malaysians have it, did they have it, and if they had it, why didn't we know about it, why hasn't it been mentioned just as a possible lead to keep people fully informed?
I can't answer that question. We're certainly going to dig today and talk to the Malaysians if we get a chance about what's going on on that specific information. But it has been very, very difficult, as you know, as we all know, to actually pin down what is firm and what isn't.
QUEST: Andrew Stevens in Kuala Lumpur. It's ten past 5:00. You have your work cut out for you, Andrew, for the next few hours in terms of those questions to ask. Keep in mind, this vast expanse of area that has now been opened up. What do we know and how do they know it?
Joining me now to talk more about this as we dig into it is the former FAA investigator David Soucie. Good to see you.
DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER FAA INVESTIGATOR: Hello, Richard.
QUEST: All right. We've both covered -- you've covered it professionally, I've covered it as a journalist -- are you surprised by this development?
SOUCIE: Not really. I'm really not. I -- first of all, when you were talking about the Malaysian government, whether they're putting information out or not, it's such an art to figure out what information needs to go out and what doesn't in an accident investigation, particularly when you're not used to doing it.
The military -- the Malaysian military, the Malaysian civil authority there is not used to doing this. And I think what we're going to see --
QUEST: And certainly not under the glare of --
QUEST: -- this sort of extreme interest from China for one, and from everybody else on top of it.
SOUCIE: And think of all the countries that are involved that have tensions already. Trying to put those things together is not an easy thing to do. Even in the United States, doing accident investigations here, it's hard to decide what gets shared and what doesn't.
QUEST: So, take us inside an investigation, because obviously, there's a core group of people who are doing the -- the investigator in chief and all -- there's a core group of people that, quote, "are in the know."
QUEST: And the information and the rumors coming in, you fall into the mud. But how do you make the decisions about what to follow and what not?
SOUCIE: The NTSB -- in the United States, the NTSB is the actual --
SOUCIE: -- the investigator in charge. Sometimes it gets delegated through the FAA, which was my position. So, in those things, they're very organized, it's every bit of information is cataloged, every bit of information is stored and related and drawn together and see how they relate together. Again, it's something that is gained over experience over time.
QUEST: Right, but what I'm trying to understand here is, is this -- do you -- this idea that suddenly you expand the range by thousands of miles -- or nautical miles, square miles -- because a potential satellite information that you're only learning five or six days after the event is mind-boggling for even those of us who cover this.
SOUCIE: It is for me as well. It is for me as well. The fact that there was information available that wasn't used or wasn't recognized as valuable information until now, I find that really hard to believe. It's really difficult to understand how someone would withhold that information, would have it and not know it. It does, it's boggling to me.
QUEST: Because a lot was made of the Chinese pictures yesterday and the other debris.
QUEST: That's normal, isn't it?
SOUCIE: Yes, absolutely.
QUEST: You used it --
SOUCIE: And you discard that as hey, it's just --
QUEST: Just one of those things.
SOUCIE: -- people are trying to find an answer --
SOUCIE: -- and they're putting the handle on the wrong place.
QUEST: But not getting raw information, ATC cones --
QUEST: -- radar tracks --
QUEST: -- sat com.
QUEST: Whatever it might be.
SOUCIE: Right. Right. That's information that's available to everyone that's in that system. So why that information wasn't investigated at first, I don't know.
QUEST: I'm going to ask you, finally, the question that I've been asking all experts on this situation. I nailed my colors to the mast early on in this when one of my colleagues said, "Richard, if they don't find the answer" --
And I said, "No, stop it. It's not an 'if.' It's a 'when.'"
QUEST: Am I still right to keep to that position, bearing in mind what you now know about this vast expansion? Is there a real risk they will never find the answer on this?
SOUCIE: They found the Titanic. You know? How long did it take to do that? It's going to be found. When? There's no way of knowing. And now, we're talking about a longer, longer period of time, unfortunately.
When you expand it into that much of an area, unless you have some real reliable information that we don't know about, which they very may well have.
QUEST: Which takes us back to exactly where our discussion --
QUEST: -- started.
QUEST: David, we're glad to have you in just to help make sense of all this. Thank you, sir.
SOUCIE: Thank you, Richard. I appreciate it.
QUEST: We will continue our coverage of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines 370. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, we're back in a moment. Good evening to you.
QUEST: Fundamental to the question of why the plane hasn't been found is the fact that no distress signal was received and, seemingly, no information from the aircraft. The plane's transponder, the bit that sends out the information of what plane it is and where and how and how fast lost contact with the ground an hour or so after takeoff.
What can we make of that information? Well, we clearly need to know, how do planes and pilots communicate with the ground, and CNN's Rene Marsh has been finding out.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside the cockpit of a Boeing 777, there are multiple ways pilots communicate with the ground. The ACARS system automatically beams down information about the health of the plane. Until today, we thought the last transmission was 1:07 AM local time. Now, there's word it may have been transmitting data hours beyond that.
MARSH (on camera): What information -- give me details what kind of information is being beamed down.
TOM HAUETER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NTSB OFFICE OF AVIATION SAFETY: Commonly, what's downloaded is engine parameters, temperatures, amount of fuel burned, any maintenance discrepancies.
MARSH (voice-over): Airlines monitor the realtime data. Another way to communicate: radio. "All right, good-night," the final call from the pilot as flight 370 left Malaysian airspace, the common phrase when changing controllers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via radio): We are in a dive here.
MARSH: In Alaska Airlines Flight 261, when the plane dived out of control, pilots radioed what was happening. But no mayday from Flight 370.
MARSH (on camera): In the event of an emergency, is communication secondary?
HAUETER: Yes, the first thing is to fly the airplane, navigate the airplane, then communicate. That's the order of precedence.
MARSH (voice-over): A third way to communicate, by transponder. 1:21 AM, Flight 370's transponder signal goes dead. It transmits the plane's location, speed, altitude, and position.
MARSH (on camera): Is there any good reason that a pilot would want to switch that off?
HAUETER: No, clearly, if all the power is lost to the aircraft or something happened to take out that part of the electronics -- the electrical system, that would turn it off. But certainly one aspect of turning it off is because you don't want to be seen.
MARSH (voice-over): Radar tracked Flight 370 flying for another nine minutes. At 1:30 AM local time, the plane vanishes. But the one piece of the plane that is likely still communicating, the flight recorders. Only sonar equipment can detect their pint, and time is of the essence. The signal only lasts for about 30 days.
Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.
QUEST: Now, a short time ago, I spoke to Peter Goelz, the former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States. Here's what he had to say about this vast expansion of the search zone.
PETER GOELZ, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR, NTSB: Well, it continues to add to the mystery of this disaster. And the point is, you can't ignore it. So you're going to have to chase it down. But with the expansion of the search zone, it makes it more and more unlikely that we're going to get to the bottom of this anytime soon.
QUEST: A hard question, but a blunt question: are the Malaysians handling this investigation satisfactorally, do you believe?
GOELZ: I think it's getting better, but clearly it overwhelmed them completely, as it would almost any country that has not had experience in dealing with not only this size of disaster, but also the extraordinary media attention.
There's only a few countries in the world that deal with this kind of situation effectively, and during the opening hours, every accident is chaos.
QUEST: That's crucial here, isn't it? Because I've covered a few, and you're obviously enormously experienced. Those first few days, you always see these rumors. But you do start to see an order coming along. Now, can you start to see the hand of the NTSB and the FAA and helping out here yet?
GOELZ: Well, I think it's beginning -- I think you are beginning to see it. I think you saw a fairly quick shoot-down of the floating wreckage rumor. So, I think you are starting to see it. And I know that the NTSB and others are really scouring the radar data to try and get it right.
What the public doesn't understand is, radar -- once it's passed -- once it's on a primary return, it's as much art as science.
QUEST: This is just -- it's not -- we see pictures of a nice little line with little dots --
QUEST: -- it's not a bit like that, is it? It's just a dot, and a dot and a ping --
GOELZ: It is.
QUEST: -- and all over the place.
GOELZ: That's right. And if it -- if the transponder is off, there's a lot of other stuff going on in the sky, some of it false images. Weather can affect it. You really need some detailed, skillful analysis. But I think they're getting that now.
QUEST: Peter, I sort of nailed my colors to the mast some days ago when I was asked if they would find the cause, and I said it's never a case of "if," it's "when." Because the authorities have to know. Am I still safe with the "when" not "if"?
GOELZ: I agree with you. Commercial aviation cannot stand a vacuum. You cannot have any sort of cloud sitting over a product such as the 777. We have got to find out what happened, and I think we will find out what happened.
QUEST: You have heard two experts on this program, both say exactly the same thing, that it's not a question of if, it's a question of when because we have to. We'll be back after the break.
QUEST: The managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, says it's made progress in the mission to Ukraine. An IMF team in Kiev will now hold talks with the interim authorities about economic reforms.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's prime minister was at the UN and blasted what he called Russia's military aggression. Arseniy Yatsenyuk addressed the UN Security Council and said Russia's military presence in his country is clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARSENIY YATSENYUK, INTERIM PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE: My country has faced a military aggression of a neighboring country, which is a P5 member. This aggression has no reasons and no grounds. This is absolutely and entirely unacceptable in the 21st century to resolve any kind of conflict with strength, artillery, and boots on the ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the OECD, has put Russian membership talks on ice. At the same time, the OECD says it will strengthen ties with Ukraine.
The German chancellor Angela Merkel sent an unusually sharp warning to Russia: change course or risk catastrophe. The two countries have deep ties. Germany says it's Russia's third-biggest trading partner. Chancellor Merkel says Russia risks suffering massive damage to its economy as a result.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): Ladies and gentlemen, if Russia continues on its course of the past weeks, it will not only be a catastrophe for Ukraine, we would not only see it also with neighbors or Russia as a threat, and it would not only change the Europeans' relationship with Russia, no. This would also cause massive damage to Russia economically and politically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Western leaders are coming to terms with the fact that if they do take action, it would also have an effect on their own economies. David Cameron certainly has warned that there'd be a cost to Britain for any action.
Earlier, I spoke to Liam Halligan, the economics commentator with the Daily Telegraph Media Group in the UK and asked him if the West was risking too much? Were they overreaching by threatening sanctions against Moscow?
LIAM HALLIGAN, ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR, TELEGRAPH MEDIA GROUP: The West has, indeed, got a great deal to lose. Western Europe's trade with Russia now is upward of $400 billion a year. America's trade with Russia is much less than that, only about a twelfth.
But even in the States, you've got big thoroughbred corporates who have made multibillion-dollar investments in Russia. I'm thinking of Ford, GM, Boeing, John Deer, P&G. These are all major companies that have invested very, very heavily in post-Communist Russia, and they will help to, I think, keep things in check in Washington as we approach --
HALLIGAN: -- what's obviously a confrontational situation.
QUEST: That may be so, and there is an argument that commerce is crucial, but it -- does commerce trump morality, philosophy, political philosophy, whatever you want to call it, in the sense of if Russia is annexing or potentially annexing Crimea?
HALLIGAN: Oh, I think history shows, Richard, that the best way to prevent conflict between nations and to keep relatively friendly terms between rival powers is through trade and commerce. But you've really now got to ask, can we justifiably warrant sanctions on Russia? And I think the case is far from clear.
The Russians are allowed to have up to 25,000 troops in Crimea under the terms of the 1994 deal which they cut, with the US and the UK heavily involved, with Ukraine. And it's not at all clear that there are anything more than 16,000 or 17,000 troops in Crimea, Russian troops. No one knows --
QUEST: Now, well, hang -- well -- well --
HALLIGAN: -- no one knows if troops have actually been brought in from Russia into the Crimea or if the troops we see on the ground are troops that were already there. If it's troops that are already there, we've then got to ask ourselves, are they doing a task of legitimate peacekeeping in a situation of serious potential --
QUEST: You don't -- you don't believe that any more than most other people that those troops are not there for the purposes of trying -- of peacekeeping, as you put it.
HALLIGAN: Well, we'll see what Russia's real intentions, won't we, after this referendum? I still think, Richard --
QUEST: Right, but under the Budapest -- under the -- I just want to finish this. Under the Budapest agreement, to which you referred, this very referendum is unconstitutional because one autonomous region of the country is not allowed to have a secession referendum.
HALLIGAN: And referendums in the Balkans were, of course, unconstitutional, but of course, the West backed them. We'll see Russia's real intentions, won't we, after the referendum?
It may well be -- it may well be that even though the Crimean electorate wants to get a lot closer to Russia, and it will of course vote overwhelmingly in favor of that, given the ethnic makeup of Crimea, about 75 percent Russian people, of course. Even if the Crimeans want that, it's not at all clear that Russia is going to accept it.
QUEST: Liam Halligan talking to me earlier. Now, in the stock markets, shares across Europe ended the session lower. Look at the numbers. There were some worries about the Ukraine situation and the standoff between Russia and the West. It all cast a rather grim shadow. And once again, it was Frankfurt that was the worst of the day.
US markets were also down very sharply, 1.4 percent for the Dow Jones, off more than 200 points, 16,000 is looking a bit rocky. The S&P and the NASDAQ were also off 1 percent.
They'd all -- and what was interesting about that is look at the way - - there was the green at the beginning, and by 11:00, it had become red, and that red just accelerated the losses throughout the course of the day.
Wall Street is waiting to see the Crimea vote and what's going to happen on that front, because that will entail for relations with Russia and the West.
When we come back in just a moment on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, we will be talking more about, well, reset.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment. This is CNN and, on this network, the news always comes first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST (voice-over): U.S. officials have told CNN the missing Malaysia Airlines plane could have carried on flying for some hours after its last confirmed sighting on radar. Malaysian authorities have denied there was evidence for that suggestion after it was reported by "The Wall Street Journal." The White House says searchers may now be sent to look in the Indian Ocean, much further west than the original search area.
Ukraine's prime minister has hit out on what he calls Russia's military aggression. Arseniy Yatsenyuk has just addressed the U.N. Security Council. He says it's clear Russia has a military presence in Ukraine.
A member of Nigeria's national assembly says at least 69 people have been killed in attacks in northern Nigeria. He said men riding motorcycles burned down homes in four villages in the state of Katsina. Rescue teams are searching in the bush for more bodies.
The president of the German Football Club Bayern Munich is facing jail after being found guilty of tax evasion. A court sentenced Uli Hoeness to 3.5 years in prison. The 62-year old had admitted to evading more than $39 million in taxes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Our top story: the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. And we want to know what Barbara Starr, our Pentagon correspondent, has.
Barbara, you and I have been talking about this backwards and forwards all day. Just give, in a nutshell, in a nutshell, Barbara, why are they now searching or why is the U.S. sending assets to the Indian Ocean?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Far to the west of the Malaysia Peninsula, isn't it, Richard?
Well, the reason is the Malaysians at this point say they have pings from an airplane that flew 4-5 hours over the Indian Ocean and that the profile of that plane matches this airliner. The U.S. is working with them to analyze that information, those pings that went from an airliner by all accounts to a satellite.
But you know, our sources are telling none of this is 100 percent. There are a lot of clues here; a lot of new clues. But we've been down this road almost every day, haven't we, where something comes up; they look at it; it doesn't pan out. The Malaysians have a different story than the United States or the companies involved that manufactured the plane and the engine.
But at this point, it looks like there are enough new clues with these pings that they're now going to move some ships into the Indian Ocean and look there, Richard.
QUEST: This satellite imagery, "The Wall Street Journal" has clarified its article; Rolls-Royce has denied pretty much that it was their engines that pinged out the information. So we don't really understand too much more about the nature of this information.
STARR: Right. We don't in particular. There's no reason to believe it's an actual, you know, piece of imagery or picture. By all accounts, what it appears to be is some sort of electronic ping to a satellite, sort of very typical when you -- you're using your phone and you go through Bluetooth perhaps, and it goes to a satellite and you begin -- information begins to transmit.
It's not clear how specific the information was, the data, what leads them to be able to calculate that it is at this place in the Indian Ocean. But this 4-5 hour calculation, the other things that play into it are the amount of fuel the plane had on board, when it was last heard from, a calculation of its reasonable range, how far it might have flown off of all of that.
And that's where they come to at the end of the day with all of this.
QUEST: Let's go into really tricky areas here, Barbara. The U.S. has a huge interest in this. It's a Boeing plane; the 777 as well as the lives on board. But are the U.S., to your knowledge, expressing any frustration at either the quality of information they are being given or the depth and amount of information?
STARR: Well, Richard, I have to tell you, honestly, sources we're talking to in the U.S. government are expressing frustration at all of it. Well founded or not. There is clearly a sense this is not going as smoothly, as well organized as they hoped it would. And one of the problems here is that, you know, you're dealing with a lot of countries involved in the search right now, a lot of national pride, national interests in not just their aviation industry but in their intelligence, admitting what information they have, the quality of the information and sharing it with other countries.
This is very tough; this is. And as you have said for so many days, Richard, it is really unprecedented.
QUEST: Barbara, thank you very much indeed for that side of it. Appreciate it and come back as soon as there's more to report.
Barbara's talking there about the international search operation. And she makes the point very strongly about the countries, the 12 countries that are lending expert and military support. And I'm going to show you exactly what it all means with those countries.
So Barbara said the countries -- that this is wide-ranging; it is very deep. The largest contingent of the search operation, of course, comes from Malaysia, which has nine ships, nine navy ships; 17 other vessels, three helicopters, a vast array of resources. And you'd expect that as well. It's a Malaysia plane; they're the state of origin. They're the state of registry and they could well end up being the state of occurrence because of where it actually goes to.
But the largest number of passengers of nationality come from China and of course, China now has sent huge resources, eight ships, three helicopters, two fixed-wing airplanes, 10 satellites. Those satellites, incidentally, they were the source of the pictures that we saw yesterday of the floating debris in the water. We all -- we all took that because of the positioning of that debris. It was just off into the right sort of area and we all took that as being extremely significant. But that proved not to be the case.
Vietnam has sent resources in six fixed-wing, two helicopters -- excuse me -- and seven ships. Vietnam initially pulled back some of their resources, believing, of course, that they weren't getting enough information. So all these countries with an enormous amount of information and this is the sort of thing. I want you to think about just the difficulty of what they're engaged in, whether it is satellite telemetry, looking off a ship, looking from an aircraft or, indeed, just from the sky into the water and trying to see something off.
And you've got language barriers, different radar formats when it comes to the equipment. And similar forces, of course, as always with people relying on binoculars; whereas the U.S. Navy is using high-tech night goggles. NASA's using cameras on the ISS as well.
So never mind the finger-pointing or the frustration. The head of IATA, the International Air Transport Association, says finding the missing plane remains the number one priority. And Tony Tyler said this isn't the time for accusations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY TYLER, IATA CHIEF: It's a very difficult situation for the various authorities involved. And I wouldn't want to make their job any more difficult than it is already. We just want to hope that they can find this aircraft.
Later on --
QUEST: Are you --
TYLER: -- about all these. We can look at how well that -- all this process has worked. But right now let's just focus on the priority.
QUEST: Right. And one final question on this area, the passport question, and the fact that a database clearly -- I mean, it would -- seems to be a red herring in terms of what -- of what happened.
But again, another question raised that your members will quite rightly be wanting to know from various authorities how do stolen passports, a year after they've been stolen, still get the people onto planes?
TYLER: Yes, I think either the airline industry provides at some significant expense to itself, it provides a lot of information to governments, what we call advance passenger information. And you know if you travel, you know you have to give your passport number. You have to give lots of details. The airlines then have to give that to governments. Some government even charge us for use, for providing this information into their systems.
I mean, governments should be asked whether they're using it or not. If they're not using information, why not? If they're not using the Interpol database of lost and stolen and misappropriated passports, canceled passports, then why not?
And I think it's up to governments all around the world to face up to this issue and to get on top of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Tony Tyler; in the last half hour, Commander William Marks of the U.S. Navy has been commenting, speaking to my colleague, Wolf Blitzer. He said the decision to move the assets and to move the ships into the Indian Ocean, he says they're not freelancing. There is reason to be doing this and it's being done under request of the Malaysian authorities. So a lot more clarity now starting to come about why the Americans are moving ships into the Indian Ocean, not freelancing, at the request of the Malaysian authorities, so says Commander William Marks of the U.S. Navy. We'll have more in a moment.
QUEST: So the U.S. commander, William Marks of the U.S. Navy now saying that the reason why that the United States is sending ships into the Indian Ocean is at the request of the Malaysian authorities. They are not freelancing, he says, speaking to us a short while ago.
Meanwhile, officials say Malaysia Airlines jet may have continued to fly for some hours after its last radar reading. Engine data may have been transmitted to satellites or at least not so much engine data but data from the aircraft, hours after the plane disappeared.
American authorities and the plane maker, Boeing, are analyzing; NTSB and Boeing are analyzing.
So we know what the weather is in the region, but now you need to know, of course, the weather where you are.
And Jenny Harrison is at the World Weather Center.
Good to see you again, Jenny.
JENNY HARRISON, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And you, Richard, too. Some pretty good news when it comes to weather conditions across in Europe, when a very nice warm weather pattern definitely spring in some areas, the only problem we've had is a little bit of haze across in areas such as Paris or say London and maybe even some morning fog.
But you can see these good clear skies are really good indication the high pressure is very much in control. Look at these high temperatures from this day, Thursday, 19 in Paris; the average is 12. We had 19 in London, in fact you can see three 19s there obviously all in a row. So we've got temperatures as much as 9 degrees above the average. So feeling very nice indeed.
And looking very nice, too. Look at this, Strasbourg, right over there across from Eastern France, a beautiful magnolia tree which is really in full bloom and of course once the clouds have gone, the leaves will appear.
Now having said that, because they've had a little bit of haze and a few problems like that in Paris, what they've said, the authorities, is that they're actually going to allow three days of free public transport. They're trying to encourage people to leave their cars at home, always a good thing, of course, if the pollution adds to the hazy problems in cities.
So this is the general pattern. It will change a little bit across the north as we head into the weekend with a little bit of low pressure, which actually swings its way down across Northern Europe. We'll see some snow in here and also some fairly heavy amounts of rain and the winds as well. They are once again, going to be fairly noticeable. In fact, look how they travel across into northern mainland Europe at times. We could have some gusts getting on about 90 kph in Copenhagen and generally it is going to be quite a windy weekend ahead for some of those locations. But the temperatures over the next few days, again, well above the average. We've got 19 Friday again in Paris, 17 on Sunday, London temperatures up to about 16 degrees Celsius and also in Berlin, the average is 8. So we're not as warm Saturday and Sunday but still pretty good and 14 on Friday. And do remember, those are temperatures in the shade. So it will feel warmer.
Now as I say, in that system, that low pressure system working its way across Northern Europe, it does actually tend to dip down across into these areas, across the north, mostly rain, a little bit of snow still, mostly those higher elevations but overall when it comes to traveling in the next 24 hours, not too many problems. We have got again a couple of areas, Geneva here as well. You could have some low clouds, some fog, maybe some decreased visibility. But for the most part, looking and feeling pretty good and on Friday, you've already seen those temperatures so again well above the average, 19 in Vienna, 18 in Rome. The only thing we're going to watch, Richard, is that little area of low pressure across northwestern Africa. It's what we call a cutoff low. So high pressure the north is preventing that from moving. So we are going to see quite a bit of rain across this region again as we head through the next couple of days. We'll keep you posted on that, Richard.
QUEST: I think I like the idea of a cutoff low.
HARRISON: A cutoff low.
HARRISON: It sounds like a piece of clothing, doesn't it? I don't know what it sounds like --
QUEST: And now I have a -- now I have a meteorological way to cut you off. I'll just simply say, no, Jenny; no, Jenny Harrison. I'm afraid it's at the low end of a cutoff low.
HARRISON: Well, it did -- you know, the only person who can cut me off, Richard, you know who that is, it's (INAUDIBLE), isn't it? So I --
QUEST: (INAUDIBLE) Black now. Right. Thank you very much. Jenny Harrison at the World Weather Center.
We'll have more. It's been a very busy day. We're glad you're with us this evening. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. More after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Welcome to behind the scenes at QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. New technology on the horizon could revolutionize the way we power our electronic devices. I don't just mean the sophisticated stuff like this. I'm talking about the phones like that. Everything from smartphones to TVs, all these wires -- I've cut some of these from my laptop until Christmas -- as CNN's Nick Glass discovers, in "Make, Create, Innovate," the power cable that makes this spaghetti juncture could soon become a relic of the past.
NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wires, wires, more wires. We are forever plugging into this or that, recharging our laptops, our tablets, our mobile phones. But is that all about to change?
KATIE HALL, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, WITRICITY: The technology that we invented is called highly resonant wireless power transfer. It means that if we're going to transfer power without any kind of wires.
GLASS (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) Katie Hall is helping lead an electronic revolution towards a home without wires. At WiTricity in Boston, Massachusetts, a team of engineers is building on a breakthrough discovery by an MIT physics professor, Marin Soljacic, in 2006.
HALL: A professor at MIT was awakened in the middle of the night by the cell phone beeping. It needed more power. And he stood in the middle of his kitchen and he looked around and he saw outlets everywhere in the house where there was power. And he thought, why can't I just get the power that last few feet from the wall to this phone? It's all around me. There has to be a way.
GLASS: So I was going to say, eureka moment, but I suppose -- well, they're actually (INAUDIBLE) eureka moment.
HALL: Yes. I think there -- I think there -- it is a eureka moment. When you think about what you could do if you could wirelessly exchange power over that distance, the possibilities are unlimited.
GLASS (voice-over): The technology uses coils of wire or resonators to generate magnetic fields like the one our cell phones use to transfer electricity through thin air.
HALL (voice-over): So this is a wireless source. In this case it's being powered by a battery. Where you see the circle is where the coil of the resonator is. And it's generated a magnetic field everywhere around it. So if I bring in another resonator that has also built into it, you'll see that the power's transferred from the source to the device (INAUDIBLE).
GLASS (voice-over): So far, the technology has been used to power a laptop, a cell phone, a TV.
HALL (voice-over): As you can see, there are no wires in between. It's just magnetic field.
GLASS (voice-over): And one day soon, an electric car. And with customers including Foxconn, Intel and Toyota, Hall is hoping the technology will continue to spread.
HALL (voice-over): Our business model is really to try to work with other companies to build the wireless power into their product. It's in process to be out in quite a few applications in the next couple of years.
GLASS: How safe is it?
HALL: It is perfectly safe. So the kind of fields that we're using to transfer the energy are the same kind of fields that people use in cell phones, in wireless routers. And we have to conform to all the same standards which are well known and established around the world.
GLASS (voice-over): The challenge now is to incorporate the technology into all the electronic products we use every day. Dr. Hall likes to dream of a completely wireless world.
One spends one's life plugging things in.
HALL (voice-over): Right. That's right.
GLASS (voice-over): But not in your future.
HALL (voice-over): No, because there will be no wires anywhere. And you won't have any outlets in your wall. They'll be a source, actually, but it will be embedded in the wall. But because we're using the magnetic field to transfer energy, it goes through things. It goes through anything that a normal house is made of. And you'll be able to place a lamp anywhere you want and it will light up. You'll be able to hang your TV on the wall. There won't -- you won't have to worry about wires or plugging it in. You know, your phone will always be charging while it's in your pocket. It'll just be something that nobody thinks about. We always talk about wireless because those of us who lived with wires know they're gone. But the kids that are growing up in a couple of years will never -- will never have to plug anything in again to charge it.
QUEST: She specifically made the point that fascinating (INAUDIBLE) wireless. Why was it called a wireless? Because it didn't have any wires. So the next generation will have absolutely no idea of what we're talking about.
Look, @RichardQuest is the Twitter name where you can get hold of me. If you've got a question about Malaysia Airlines 370 coverage, anything you particularly want to know about this, feel free to give me a tweet and after QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight, I'll do me best to answer as many as of those questions from the reporting strength that CNN's brought to this that I can.
After the break, we'll have "Profitable Moment."
QUEST: Finally tonight, we've shown you throughout the course of this program this vast new area where the U.S. Navy is now sending assets into the Indian Ocean. They say they are not freelancing. It's widely believed that the request of the Malaysian government. They are now searching the Indian Ocean, well, it becomes a much more difficult job because you've not only got searching on the eastern side in the South China Sea, you've got the Straits of Malacca and you've got the (INAUDIBLE).
But listen, I'm sticking to this idea, as indeed the guests you've heard on this program tonight, it really is a case of not if but when they find out. It may be many years, it may be a decade or two, but they will find out.
And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. And we'll make time for each other tomorrow.