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Mystery of Flight 370
Aired March 24, 2014 - 21:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST (voice-over): (AUDIO GAP) Flight 370. Grief. Anger. Acceptance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing I hope, they don`t give up the search.
PINSKY: The behavior bureau looks at the many different reactions. I`ll explain why some still believe their loved ones are alive. And why the world is obsessed with this tragedy.
Plus, we are answering your questions.
Let`s get started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Good evening.
My co-host is Sirius XM Radio`s Jenny Hutt.
And coming up, hear from families, saw call the Malaysian government murderers and they say that there`s just a great big cover-up.
But first, Malaysian Airlines says Flight 370 ended in the Indian Ocean and all 239 lives have been lost. Families were notified first via text message. The search for two objects spotted in the Indian Ocean has just been suspended because of severe weather. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has been the most emotional day for these families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a text message that Malaysian airlines sent out to family members of those on board Flight 370.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to assume beyond all reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that none of those on board survived. How can you tell people via text something like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact this plane flew so far, set to be off the southwest coast of Australia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Australians were able to spot from the air some debris that had distinct colors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say one object is grey or green in color and it`s circular. The other is orange and rectangular.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they want is tangible proof, proof that that plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean.
PINSKY: Joining us to discuss, Loni Coombs, former prosecutor, author of "You`re Perfect and Other Lies Parents Tell", Michelle Fields, correspondent for PJ Media, and Evy Poumpouras, security expert, former special agent in the Secret Service.
Here now is what we know at this moment. Malaysia Airlines has texted the family members, quote, "None of those onboard survived", unquote.
The government says flight went down on the southern Indian Ocean, two objects spotted. One is green, grey, and circular and they think that looks like piece of an aircraft, and rectangular, suggesting that it`s perhaps one of the floating rafts, the orange rafts that airplanes carry.
A source says that this plane flew as low as 12,000 feet before disappearing. And as I said earlier, the search has been suspended for the day, due to bad weather.
Evy, what do you think of the Malaysia Airline texting the families about this news?
EVY POUMPOURAS, SECURITY EXPERT: You know, I don`t think that was a wise call on their part. Just from a moral perspective, if that were me, I would not want to get a text telling me that, you know, by the way, your family didn`t survive or your loved one didn`t survive.
Now, I want to say this. Granted, I understand these people were spread out, but you can come up with a better tactical way to get through to these people. They could have handed out cell phones to these people. They could have had somebody, a representative spread out that had a direct phone list to get in touch with these people.
So, there are ways and strategies they could have put in place for when this time came. Not to jump the gun and send out a text to everybody, because they wanted to make sure the families knew, they were not notified, before they said this in a press conference.
PINSKY: I get what Evy`s saying, but, Michelle, welcome to the program. Michelle, I would have wanted however they could get the information to me. I want to know now, now, now, now, as soon as they knew something. What do you say?
JENNY HUTT, CO-HOST: In a text?
PINSKY: Anything. Whatever they need! It`s all bad news.
MICHELLE FIELDS, PJ NEWS: They could have got --
PINSKY: On the phone or get a text. I don`t care.
FIELDS: But they could have got ten in touch with them before sending the text, before going to the press. And I think what it says to a lot of people is that they`ve gone and made this announcement without any solid proof, evidence, physical evidence. That`s what people want. And instead, these loved ones get a text message that basically says their family member or a loved one who is on the flight is dead.
And we don`t know where they are, we don`t know where the debris is, we don`t know where the plane is, because we don`t have any physical evidence. That doesn`t provide any closure. That just brings about more questions.
PINSKY: I am really glad Michelle said that.
Jenny, you`re looking in disbelief, but I agree with Michelle. They don`t have the hard evidence.
Listen, I`ll bring the behavior bureau in a little bit later. And I`m going to say, you know, what are we as a therapist, if somebody`s working with a family to grieve over this, we`re not 100 percent sure. Do you tell them to give up all hope and let go?
JENNY HUTT, CO-HOST: Well, Dr. Drew, in this set of circumstances, I kind of think yes. I mean, it`s tragic, it`s awful, I want to throw up. And this morning, hearing it live, I wanted to throw up watching it.
But come on, how could anyone possibly be alive? To give false hope I think is cruel.
PINSKY: Well, all right. Loni`s got an idea. What do you think?
LONI COOMBS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I totally disagree. First of all, I think it`s inexcusable to send a text. I mean, we`re in a day and age where you can get ahold of people. You can Skype them, do that face-to- face if you`re going to tell somebody, that beyond a reasonable doubt, we believe your loved one is dead.
But more so, I think it`s unconscionable that they stepped up at this time and made a death confirmation that everyone was killed. They don`t know that for sure.
The information they got from this new data didn`t really change the information we knew a day ago. It essentially says where the plane was. But they have no visual confirmation. They have no actual evidence to say, yes, they`re all dead.
They didn`t need to say, they`re all dead. They could say, we have this new data that confirms our belief that it`s down near Perth, but why did they have to go so far as to say, they`re all dead.
HUTT: Because they all are!
PINSKY: Evy, do you want to react?
POUMPOURAS: Well, no, I do agree with what she`s saying. One of the things they could have done is they could have assigned grief counselors to all these people and had someone in person telling them. This is a difference here, these people have been through such an emotional roller coaster ride and I just don`t think this was fair. They should have something --
PINSKY: I know how you feel about this. Evy, before we go to break, does the fact that this plane dropped to 12,000 feet, apparently, that is a well-confirmed fact. What does that say to you? Does that mean anything specific?
COOMBS: Well, it tells us that there`s somebody still controlling that plane, because if it was on auto pilot and everybody was disabled, it would stay at the same level.
PINSKY: All right. Evy, you agree?
POUMPOURAS: Yes, I do agree. What they`re saying is, they believe it dropped to 12,000 feet. And if it did, the only way it could climb back up to 35,000 feet is manually. If it was on auto pilot, auto pilot can not do that.
PINSKY: But not only that, but he could not have made it to where the debris is because of the resistance of the atmosphere at 12,000 feet, it would have chewed up all the fuel before they got to this point. So they had to have gone back up to a higher altitude, if in fact the debris is in fact the aircraft.
Michelle, I want to give you a last word.
FIELDS: Look, I think that these people rushed to make an announcement. I think it was dumb of them to do that. And now, the families do not have closure. They shouldn`t have made this announcement. We are in the same place that we were a week ago. We still don`t have any debris, we still don`t have a plane. And it was far too soon for them.
PINSKY: All right. Well, next up, the difficulty confirming what they think they have found. Weather has become a massive issue. And later, hear from a mother who wants to search for Flight 370 and his sister who was on board to continue.
Back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The weather forecast for the search area expected to be very poor. There is a weather system coming in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The conditions can change on a moment`s notice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The cloud cover expected to be worse, the waves even higher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Back with Jenny.
Now, two objects have been spotted in the southern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Australia.
Search crews barely had time to look for them today, when bad weather and dangerous conditions forced a suspension of both air and sea search activity.
I want to read you a tweet, Jenny, from our last conversation, from Pug Lover. Dr. Drew, the text is OK. These people want to get that first word before hearing on the TV. It`s a massive undertaking.
Meaning it`s difficult to get everybody together and make sure everybody hears about it before the press gets ahold of it.
HUTT: But Dr. Drew, it is impersonal.
PINSKY: It`s not personal, but wouldn`t we be the ones yelling that, you know, they didn`t tell us first, why didn`t they tell us? The fact is, they`re caught in a tough position.
HUTT: I would have liked them to be told first, but more face-to- face or Skype or a phone call. Something a little more, in a way, compassionate than the text message. It`s cold!
PINSKY: Yes, I know, it`s -- but I understand, I guess is what I`m saying.
Let`s bring in everybody in. I`ve got Loni, (AUDIO GAP).
Joining us, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
Chad, how bad was the weather today and how will this weather affect the search efforts?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, we have to take our time, our a.m. and make it p.m. for them, or p.m. and make it a.m. So, right now, it`s daybreak. It`s 9:00 in the morning there. They want to be out there.
But this weather front that Kyung was talking about is moving straight into the search area. Back up here in Perth, it`s not too bad, but at least some rain showers are coming in. What they have here are 60- mile-per-hour wind gusts, on top of a sea state that`s six to 10 feet high.
Now, let me tell you, just from being a maritime guy out there for all my life, you look out and the wind`s blowing 50 or 60 in a rough sea. You`re looking for white -- all you see is white, because it`s all white caps.
And there you go. That`s the weather today. There`s the weather tomorrow, and that green is 30 to 40-mile-per-hour wind gusts again tomorrow. I don`t think it gets a whole lot better.
When you get that ocean in a frenzy like that, there is no visibility whatsoever. Also, there`s going to be rain, low clouds, the planes can`t fly as high as they want.
PINSKY: So, Chad, are you saying this thing is down for two days?
MYERS: I believe so. I don`t think they`re going to go back out in this.
The risk assessment said that it is too risky for the crew to be out there searching. That`s that, you know, the risk/reward kind of thing. It is dangerous.
PINSKY: But I understand, it makes sense from the standpoint of the air surveillance, but do they have to pull the ships out as well?
MYERS: Well, when you have seas of 15 feet, you can`t have little ships out there. You have to have something over 100 feet to work on that. And they have something out there, but they have moved a lot of them to the south.
Now, that`s not saying they may not find something down there, but they have tried to move them out of the way of the significant wind which is right to the middle there.
PINSKY: Chad, thank you very much.
Evy, I want to go to you. Listen, so now you`ve heard it, two days of winds and high surf. Where is that going to move this so-called debris or is it going to sink it to the bottom? How do they adjust for all that?
POUMPOURAS: It will most likely move the debris. Typically, it`s average it moves on the basic current alone, about 150 kilometers per day. So putting in these winds and the massive amount of movement we have with the ocean, it`s highly likely it will dislodge and shift the debris.
But hopefully, they`re able to kind of still it. It will still stay within that area that they`ve already kind of scanning. So, hopefully, it won`t go too far out.
PINSKY: Michelle, this search is costing millions of dollars. It`s been 18 days, nothing has been found. Is there some point when the return on investment becomes too much?
FIELDS: Well, I think right now, they need to be focused on trying to get the black box because they have 30 for that black box. It gives off signal. And after 30 days, it completely dies.
We only have less than two weeks to find that black box. And I think the guilt really rests on the Malaysian Airlines. They have wasted so much time. They have run this investigation like the Three Stooges, like a circus.
They`re not willing to work with the United States, they aren`t asking for help, so we need to speed it up and get that black box as soon as possible so we can know why this plane went down.
PINSKY: Loni, concerns?
COOMBS: Yes. Well, I totally agree with the way this has been handled is just ridiculous. I mean, you say a text is OK, but they should have had something set in place. They knew at some point they were going to make some type of announcement to these people.
HUTT: Of course.
COOMBS: They should have had it set up ahead of time. And yes, it takes a lot of money, but they need to keep looking for this black box. They need to be able to get some closure for these people.
And, Jenny, I understand that you want closure for these people. But the way that it was handled by this Malaysian government, it didn`t give them closure and just remember --
HUTT: However, hold on --
COOMBS: Let me just finish. Their concern and paranoia that they`re not being told the truth, that they`ve been misled and that they`ve been stonewalled from getting the real information. So, the way they handled this whole text thing, that just reaffirmed that. Instead of helping that, it`s caused them to be more upset about the situation.
HUTT: But, Loni, to string them along and give them a false hope that these people are alive when we all know they`re not alive!
COOMBS: They`re not giving them false hope.
FIELDS: The problem is this airline cares more about the public relations issue than about the families. That`s what it was all about. Rushing to go to the press to give a story instead of thinking about the families and saying, let me talk to the families first before I go out to the media.
Their whole -- everything they`re thinking about is PR.
PINSKY: We`re going to talk about the family, their outrage, their anger, the grief, some of them having acceptance. Some family member saying this is all just a big cover-up, they don`t trust the Malaysian airlines. They don`t trust their government. They don`t trust the Malaysian government.
And later, I want to know about the black box and what in fact it tells us. What exactly is in that black box? How are we going to break that down?
And we`re going to go and answer any and all of your questions. Please send them in, tweet us @DrDrewHLN #370Qs. That`s 370QS.
And we will get to your questions and more after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The past few weeks have been heartbreaking. Deep sadness and regret that I must inform you, Flight MH370 ended in a southern Indian Ocean.
(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Back with Jenny.
The search for Flight 370 has taken an emotional toll on the family of the missing passengers. I think everyone is aware of that. And when there are no clear answers, no certain answers, what does that do to them and what does it do to the people trying to help them?
Let`s bring in the behavior bureau. Erica America, Z100 Radio personality and psychotherapist, Judy Ho, clinical psychologist, and Samantha Schacher, host of "Pop Trigger".
Now, we`ve seen multiple manifestations of grief, anger, violence, fainting, denial.
Erica, are these differences concerning to you or simply to be expected?
ERICA AMERICA, Z100 RADIO: I think they`re, you know, to be expected. There is no one way to grieve, such a -- you know, unique situation. We don`t have the plane. We don`t have the bodies yet. It`s very up in the air.
Yet at the same time, the data is pointing to this answer. So, it`s hard. A lot of things have to happen, a lot of ups and downs and anger in this. But letting it out to me is the best way to start this process.
PINSKY: And I -- yes, go ahead, finish, Erica, please?
AMERICA: No, I was going to say, it`s the people that kind of go into themselves and don`t reach out to family and friends and that concerns me more.
PINSKY: That`s right. Or don`t have the feelings. And I think a lot of people may be sort of baffled by the idea of having to be pulled out on a stretcher. The fact is, some people have a freeze response, where their heart rate goes very low and they pass out swooning, and that`s not at all uncommon.
Judy, my question to you, though, and this is where my concern lies. Let`s say you or I were in there trying to help these people, OK? And we had somebody who had one of these dissociative episodes where they had to be taken out on a stretcher, we`re trying to get them to get back in their body and get connected to feelings of be in the here and now, and they reach out and they say, is my loved one gone, do you know that for sure?
What are you going to say? This is my -- we can`t even start to process, because we don`t know for sure.
JUDY HO, PSYCHOLOGIST: That`s right, Dr. Drew. This is a very different case than when you have an ailing loved one who you`ve had time to process, OK, they might be dying soon, you have time to plan for a satisfying way to have your last days with them.
In this case, and all cases of tragedy, where they get suddenly yanked away, the stages of grief that you were talking about earlier, Dr. Drew, they don`t get processed in the same way, because we don`t have definitive answers --
PINSKY: But, Judy, I`m going to interrupt you. I totally agree with you, but what I`m saying is, I`m not sure we can help anybody through any of these stages because when they ask, is she really gone? You know, people made sort of a test reality by reaching out to somebody in the helping profession and saying, are they really gone? Well, Jenny, you say yes, but when you`re really in that position and you need to start somebody, how are you going to feel, Judy, if a week from now they find that person that you said 100 percent they`re gone, time to get over it?
HO: Right. And you can`t tell them that, and you can`t tell them that their thinking is deluded or that their hope is false. Because we don`t know either!
PINSKY: That`s right. And yet they may be -- and they may be, Sam, I know it`s got to be confusing to layperson, the fact is this may be denial, this may be delusional, but we can`t even start to get them through that, because they`re not telling the helping people that 100 percent these people are gone.
SAMANTHA SCHACHER, POP TRIGGER: Exactly. No, I think the announcement was premature and I think it`s insensitive. And, Dr. Drew, how are these family members even supposed to believe anything that`s being told to them when there`s been so many mistruths and contradictory information.
I don`t blame them. I don`t know what I would do. I think if I were to believe what they said, I would feel that I was abandoning my family member, because God forbid, if they were still alive, I was giving up hope. And then I would feel guilty and I just can`t imagine any of those family members having to think otherwise.
PINSKY: Let me through up -- the Twitterverse agrees with you. Jenny, I know you`re in disbelief. Let`s throw this up from Josie Latimer. She says, unless plane wreckage is found, all is alive until proven dead.
HUTT: OK, Dr. Drew, OK, first of all, when my mother was dying of cancer, I get it, until she actually died, even though she had pancreatic cancer and I knew that she was dying five and a half years ago, I didn`t believe she died until she actually died. I held out hope like these people wanted to, but you know what, Dr. Drew, that did not provide a service to me or anybody in my family. And, frankly, they`re not finding these people alive, Dr. Drew.
And I think as a clinician, and I`m not one, it is your job or a clinician`s job to say, look, it`s awful, but they`re not coming back because they`re not. They`re just not.
PINSKY: Judy, and then, Erica. Judy, first.
HO: Well, Dr. Drew, you know, there`s a lot of what-ifs in this situation. And unfortunately, because now they`ve made the statement, it feels like they`re going to call it off. And for the family, it`s like another dead end, like how are they ever going to know if they start calling off the search because they`re declaring that the plane is already gone.
PINSKY: Erica, hang on to that next comment until after this break. Hang on, I know you want to ring in here. I`m going to keep you guys all with me. They are back.
And we`re going to also address what is it about this story that has so many people, viewers, the world hanging on every word. This mystery has us all preoccupied.
And later, our experts -- they`re coming in here to answer your questions. Tweet us, #370Qs, 370 questions. And we`ll be right back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have intuition and I have a feeling that they`re still alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to see some debris off the aircraft and the black box to know exactly what happened. Because there are too many unanswered questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they accepting what they`ve been told or do they need more?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It strikes me as just one more lead that may or may not come true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing I hope, they don`t give up the search. I just, I suppose I want to see something from the seas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this debris is indeed part of that plane, then it kind of dashes that wishful thinking to pieces.
PINSKY: Back with Jenny and our behavior bureau, Erica, Judy, and Sam. And we`re discussing the families of missing passengers on board flight 370. And Erica, I promised I would go to you after the break, but first I want to read a tweet. It`s from Sarah, hashtag behaviorbureau. You are absolutely right, Dr. Drew, I used to work in bereavement, and people really do need that, quote, end point. Erica?
AMERICA: Yes, now, of course, having an actual piece of a plane or a body part would give them that exact end that they`re looking for. But unfortunately, right now, all we have is the data, and that it is pointing to the unfortunate demise of the plane in the ocean. So we have to deal with where we are now. And think about people who have missing children or a military person that never comes back. This is a situation that`s happened before. And this is my suggestion for the families. I don`t know the name of the exact organization, but there is a woman whose fiancee was in flight 800, and she created an organization where they team up with someone, a like person, so if your sister was on the plane, they`ll put you with someone who had a sister on a former plane.
PINSKY: That`s a good idea.
AMERICA: And that connection with someone that has been in this very unique and torturous position of not having an answer of their loved ones, that`s what I suggest.
PINSKY: And Judy, it also raises the question, would you discourage a patient or someone you`re trying to help with these issues from hoping?
HO: Well, Dr. Drew, that`s such a great question. And I think whatever that they need to experience. Some of it, yes, the hope, you can`t really encourage that to a degree when everything else points to the fact that their loved one is gone. So what do you have to help them do? You have to help them express their emotions in the here and now. Everyone`s going to have a different process. I know Erica mentioned that in the last segment. That`s absolutely true. Some people are going to be angry, some people are going to be sad. But I worry most for my patients who don`t express emotion up-front and act like nothing is happening. Because it shows me they`re not moving through it.
And actually in the video clips you`ve been showing, Dr. Drew, a lot of these people are speaking Mandarin, that`s actually one of my languages that I speak, and they`re very, very angry towards the airliners and the media. And that`s actually healthy that they`re expressing that, because they need to start bargaining and pointing the blame at someone. You have to go through anger before you can get to acceptance.
PINSKY: And acceptance, people are -- I heard a lot of people on the news video talking about these family members accepting what`s going on. There`s a big difference between accepting the fact that this plane has gone down, if, indeed, that is a fact, and the emotional acceptance or integration of grief, which takes a long time. That is not happening today or next week. That`s not happening even next month.
Sam, I want to show you a tweet very quickly here. This is from Teri Oswald. If you guys could put this up. "The whole story bizarre beyond words. They want us to just take their word, it`s in the ocean, with no proof." And that`s what the family is so upset about, Sam.
SCHACHER: Dr. Drew, there is no hard evidence. And I just wish that we would find this black box. That is the key to unlocking what happened in the cockpit, what happened to that plane. So how can we further better the development of the black box? How come when the black box falls to the water after a crash, that it doesn`t deploy some sort of aircraft, so the search team isn`t stuck on the bottom of the ocean, looking at it at all depths which could take years.
PINSKY: Sam, funny you should bring up the black box. Funny you should bring that up. What I have here is the black box.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s orange!
PINSKY: It`s an orange box in my case, I imagine they all are, so you can see them. But in this box is a bunch of material that I consider obscure, and therefore the black box. And we`re going to get our experts in and find out exactly what can be gotten out of this box, exactly when it can be likely found, what we`re going to learn from it, how we`re going to learn that from it. You`re absolutely right. And ask questions like why we can`t use more modern technology like a satellite. Why we can`t send information upstairs to the bird in realtime.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Drew?
HUTT: I want to know, do you think the plane will be found with people alive?
PINSKY: I -- I do not. However, it`s hard for me, I put a lot of faith on people`s intuition. I would never take away hope. I think it would be very hard for me to help these family members, unless I had very conclusive evidence. However, people are getting a little weird about this. They`re going to say things like, well, somebody`s scattering plane parts around to make us think -- I`m not going there. I am not going there. But I do want to see some evidence that I can say, the probability is nearly 100 percent, I will go with that. And I do think that`s what we`re going to find, unfortunately.
Now, next up, I have questions I want answers to, like what I mentioned about the black box. Our experts will address not only my questions, but your questions, more importantly. Send them to us @drdrewhln, #370qs. We will get to them after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Malaysian Airlines flight 370 disappeared, the story of what went wrong vanished with it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As each day passes, the search widens and the clock ticks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The answers might be stuck in the flight data recorder. The so-called black box.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With batteries designed to keep pinging for 30 days, searchers may only have 19 days left to find the box with the flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, we`re talking about incredibly remote ocean, right, incredibly deep?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The odds of finding the pinger are very slim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you can`t find that box until you find the plane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Back with Jenny, and we`re getting lots of interesting tweets. Remember the hashtag is 370QS. Here`s one from Jennifer Lopez, "working as an airplane mechanic for years, I believe the aircraft was lost for a reason." Meaning an explicable reason.
PINSKY: Do you agree with that? I certainly do?
HUTT: I think something went on here of a nefarious nature, Dr. Drew. I don`t think we`re going to find this was mechanical fail. But I still think the same rings true that nobody is alive from that flight, sadly.
PINSKY: I want to bring in some experts. I`ve got Evy and Sam back, and joining us is CNN aviation analyst, Miles O`Brien. We got lots of questions surrounding the black box from Malaysia Airlines flight 370, and I said we`ll get to your questions in just a second. Use #370qs. Miles, what exactly is in a black box? How is it decoded? What kind of information is in there? Is it necessarily the case that we will for sure have the answers in this orange black box?
MILES O`BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: If we can get to it, we get a lot of answers. It has about between 80 and 90 channels of data. Think of it as 80 and 90 mini little hard drives, recording 1s and 0s, all kinds of computer data, from the aircraft. What was the position of the control surfaces, the ailerons, the flaps and so forth. What were the power settings for the throttles. Was there a fire alarm on board. What altitude was it at any given moment, what speed. It gives a tremendous amount of dimensionality as to what was going on on board that aircraft before the crash. Getting to it is an entirely different matter.
PINSKY: And Evy, is it strictly mechanical data, or can we learn anything about what was going on inside the fuselage cabin?
POUMPOURAS: You can hear -- there`s a voice recorder that`s part of the black box, where you can hear what`s going on in the cockpit. The problem with that is every two hours, it records over. So we would only hear the last two hours of when the flight ended. We would not know what happened at that point when the plane veered and made its left turn and then we had basically everything start. So that`s the concern with that.
SCHACHER: Yes, I`m actually getting inundated, Dr. Drew, with questions for our experts about the black, the black orange box.
PINSKY: Go ahead. You want to do something?
SCHACHER: Yes. If I could ask a question from David James. He tweets, "even if you find a debris field, if the black box is 10,000 feet submerged, how can you possibly get to it? What is the max depth you can dive?"
O`BRIEN: Deep sea submersibles, unmanned submersibles can get to those depths with no problem at all. So the range of that pinger, that little noise it makes, which sounds sort of like a metronome, is about 2 miles, which is about 10,000 feet. And that`s about the depth of the water where the search is going on right now.
Once you get listening devices underwater, if you`re able to find the debris field and do some sonar to try to home in on the possible wreckage, then you can put some listening devices underwater that might go a little deeper, so they have a better chance of hearing the pinging noise, which comes for the black box. Of course, there`s not much time for that now, as we know.
PINSKY: Yes, running out of time. Evy, I`m getting a lot of tweets from this Daniel Lopez, the guy whose tweet I put up in the first place, and he is saying he`s an airplane mechanic and the transponder is always on and the FAA regulation is that it stays on, and how is it that it got turned off? There`s a lot of questions about that particular piece.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
POMPOURAS: As far as the transponder, the transponder can be manually turned off. That`s something that the pilot controls. If we`re talking about the black box, I know that`s come up, whether you can actually turn off or manipulate the black box or anything like that. That is something highly unlikely. Only if you pull a fuse or take the power out, could you maybe shut that back down. But as far as the transponder goes, pilots are able to turn that on or off. And the reason why they`re allowed to do that is because sometimes transponders send out erroneous information. So sometimes the pilots are required to reboot the system or recalibrate.
PINSKY: And Sam, I`m getting just overdone with tweets here too, so I want to pore through them a little bit and find some to throw up in the next break with our experts. We`ll continue asking them questions, answering your and our questions. A reminder, you can find us anytime as well on instagram, @drdrewhln. We`ll be right back with your questions and mine after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That MH370 flew along the southern corridor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m having a tough time understanding if this is not just the same old data crunched in a whole new way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN: What they did was went back and refined it. Again and again and again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flight mh370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you`re going to tell families that their hope is done, that all is lost, you better be bloody sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Back again, Jenny, Evy, Sam, Miles. We`re talking about the missing Malaysian flight 370 and taking your questions on Twitter. Please use #370qs. 370 questions. Miles, go to you with this question from Elaine. She asked an interesting question that has just sort of come on to my radar. What about the lithium batteries, cargo, and a potential for a fire? Is that a potential explanation that something happened to the fuselage integrity?
O`BRIEN: You bet. You bet, Drew. And this is something that we should not be overlooking. A lot of people are insisting this was some sort of hijacking or a crew with a murder/suicide intent or some sort of terrorist intent. But the fact is, they had, I think, the number is 450 pounds of lithium ion batteries in the cargo hold of this aircraft. The FAA does not allow transport of that kind of freight on U.S. carriers with passengers. You`re not supposed to put them there at all. And as a matter of fact, if you have lithium ion batteries, you`re supposed to put them in your carry-on and have them with you. That way, an uncontrolled fire can`t occur that way. So that is -- so let`s not forget that. That is very hazardous cargo. Really shouldn`t have been on that airplane. They say it was packed well, but, listen, I was in the Philippines recently, almost burned down a hotel when I overcharged a lithium ion battery. It caused a huge fire in my room. It scared the heck out of me. They are very volatile things. You think about how long they last, imagine them burning -- you know, that`s a lot of energy.
PINSKY: Evy, I want to -- let`s take that hypothesis, say there was a blast, energy, and heat, why then go to 12,000 feet, then back up again and why not land the aircraft and why not communicate with the ground?
POUMPOURAS: All good questions. This is the one thing, I`m hesitant sometimes to discuss these things, because the information keeps changing. It`s a logical assessment to say that to go to 12,000 feet is because there`s some type of emergency and the pilots were trying to descend and land the plane. However, then, all of a sudden, the plane goes back up to 35,000 feet. Also, it`s possible the pilots tried to go down to 12,000 feet if there was some type of pressure issue and there was a lack of oxygen in the plane, you want to descend so that you can breathe somewhat so you`re not at such a high altitude.
PINSKY: But why go back up then? Why go back up, why not communicate and why not land the plane?
POUMPOURAS: That`s the $1 million question. Why? So it seems -- the assessment seems when it goes back up to 35,000, then the way the plane is flown, it seems that it was on autopilot. In other words, it doesn`t look like it`s being manually handled by someone. But to go from 12,000 back to 35,000, it must be manually done. So this is my concern. Is this actual fact or is this something that`s given to us that this is what they believe happened?
PINSKY: Okay, excellent. Miles?
O`BRIEN: I`m quite skeptical about all these altitude numbers. For one thing, the military radar, which is tracking these primary targets, is wildly inaccurate. It`s not like having a transponder. No. 2, we`ve gotten so much bad information, I don`t know what to believe on the altitude. I will tell you this, if you have a fire or decompression, you want to get down to 10,000 feet, that`s the magic number, as quickly as possible, where the air is thick enough for a human being to breathe and be comfortable and either to vent out a cockpit from smoke or just handle a decompression situation.
SCHACHER: Dr. Drew, I have a question for Miles, our aviation expert. Why does the black box, sorry, I`m stuck on this, why does it seem like the technology is so outdated? Why can`t we just upload all the information via satellite in realtime? Why doesn`t the black box have some sort of life raft that deploys when it hits the water?
O`BRIEN: It`s outrageous to me that in this day and age, we have this level of technology to record information on an airplane. For one thing, the Navy on its planes has floating black boxes. Makes sense for the Navy, right? Those P-3 aircraft that are searching for this plane have floating black boxes on them. That`s one simple idea.
But we have the technology today to upload a steady stream of longitude and latitude to satellites. It`s crazy! A tractor-trailer driving across this country is better tracked than an airliner.
PINSKY: Evy, last word, real quick, got to go to break.
POUMPOURAS: I just want to point out in 2012, we had about 281 deaths due to flight situations, due to flight, you know, crashes, what not. In 2013, we had 34,000 deaths due to car accidents. So my point is this. There`s never been an incentive to change the black boxes. Also, economically, to go to satellite or any type of system like that is extremely expensive. But now you can probably guarantee that as a result of what happened with this flight, we`re going to see a whole system change.
PINSKY: I hope so! I certainly hope so. More with my experts and your questions, after this.
PINSKY: Back with Jenny, Evy, Sam, and your Twitter questions. I have one right now that I think is interesting and important to address. It is from Dan J. "Dr. Drew, are you afraid to fly now?"
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
PINSKY: Sam, are you?
SCHACHER: I am, Dr. Drew. I think about it, because, before, I`ve always had a little fear of planes, but now when I`m up there, I`m going to think things all differently, because this could have happened to any one of us. Or our family members.
PINSKY: And Jenny, I know you insist on going to the cockpit and sitting on the lap of the pilot.
HUTT: I do not want to sit on a pilot`s lap, Dr. Drew! But none of the protocol was followed here. Why wasn`t there a mayday call? Why don`t we know where the plane went exactly? I don`t believe anyone`s OK, sadly, but why, Dr. Drew? It makes no sense.
PINSKY: Let me go back to the question, and step aside from all of our hysteria. We`re all kind of hysterical about this thing. Evy, you brought up some data before we went to the break that I thought was very important is why I brought up that question. I flew last weekend and I`m not afraid to fly. Every pilot I talk to says the same thing, which is the instruments, the aircraft are excellent, that we needn`t be fearful if there`s some sort of major flaw in the aircraft, that this is just one of those unpredictable phenomenon that we`ll have to find a way to explain. But it`s not something that people should be worried about. Do you agree?
POUMPOURAS: I do agree. And on a personal note, if I can share this, I was at the World Trade Center on September 11, I was there from the first plane crash to the second tower collapsing. I endured the whole thing, and to this day, I am not afraid of flying. So whether this is a mechanical error or maybe it`s terrorism or hijacking, we can`t live like this. I can`t live like this. So my thing is, you know what, this is just the way it is. We have to endure and be brave and we can`t be fearful of living.
PINSKY: I have to -- I have to go once -- were you in the buildings or what happened?
POUMPOURAS: The offices that I worked at were in Seven World Trade. Being in law enforcement at the time, I stayed behind with colleagues to set up a triage. We didn`t know the towers would come down. Unfortunately, they did, and they came down from -- they basically collapsed around us. We were much too close, we were at the base of the towers. But I was very lucky to survive. Some of my colleagues and friends were not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sad, wow.
PINSKY: And yet, let`s remind ourselves, Evy is still flying and she is not fearful of flying. We cannot let terrorism of any stripe divert us from living our lies.
So here`s the deal, though. In spite of -- just like with the Twin Towers going down, there were a lot of conspiracy theories. There are a lot of strange theories running around now as it pertains to this aircraft. Here is one right now from Beth. She tweets, next thing they will do is drop parts of a plane in the ocean and say it`s the missing MH 370, #missingplane, #illuminati. I don`t have my behavior bureau together for this, so Evy, do you want to address feelings like that?
POUMPOURAS: I think that`s rather extreme. I do believe that everybody collectively is working together. I mean, you had something good in some sense to come out. You had 26 countries working together, collectively. We`ve never seen anything like this. Everyone cares, everyone`s tweeting, everyone`s pouring their hearts out. I do believe the Malaysians want a good ending. Whether they`ve handled it right all along, I don`t think they have, but I believe everyone`s hearts are in the right place.
PINSKY: Right. I want to give you another tweet. This is from Official Turbo. It says, Anthony saying, what about the photos of the two guys that were photoshopped? Sam, tell us that story. What was that all about?
SCHACHER: I don`t know all the details of that story, Dr. Drew. All I know is that their passports were, they were invalid, and it wasn`t their actual photos. They were photoshopped, am I right?
PINSKY: And Evy, is there any sort of investigative work being done on that particular issue?
POUMPOURAS: Well, we haven`t heard anything. That`s one of the things I`ve kind of been discussing a lot. We keep talking about the plane and finding the plane, but what about everything else? What about the passports, follow-up information, what about the background checks on all 239 people aboard that plane and those who touched it, running names through a database search or a terrorist watch list and saying, oh, everybody`s cleared, we`re good. That is not a proper forensic assessment or profile. So I`m just kind of concerned. And we haven`t heard anything about the simulator, the hard drive, have we?
PINSKY: No, other than it was taken and deconstructed. This kind of stuff keeps us from getting over this and moving on, as well as the family or those of us who want to help from doing the work. We need very hard evidence. Thank you, all, guys. "Forensic Files" begins right now.