Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Mystery of Flight 370
Aired March 24, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is Piers Morgan Live.
Breaking News, the search for Flight 370 in the Southern Indian Ocean has been called off tonight. Australian officials say rough seas, high winds and heavy rain made the search simply too dangerous. Meanwhile, the U.S. navy's pinger locator is on its way. I can find so-called black boxes at a depth of 20,000 feet.
It's been a tragic day for loved ones learning the search is delayed as they're forced to face the news they hope they would never hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAJIB RAZAK, MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER: Tonight, the MH370 ended in the Southern Indian Ocean.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The families of some Chinese passengers are reacting without outrage, blaming the Malaysian government and military for deceiving them and they say covering up the truth. 239 people were onboard Flight 370, one of the oldest, 77 year old Liu Rusheng was an artist who cheated death many times, the youngest, two-year old Moheng Wang traveling with his parents on their way home from a vacation in Malaysia. I'll talk exclusively to a friend of the family who heard from them just before they left.
We are of course covering every angle and that's our Big Story tonight with CNN's reporters all over the globe. Kyung Lah is in Perth, Australia, Sara Sidner in Kuala Lumpur, David McKenzie is in Beijing, Pamela Brown in Washington and Richard Quest here with me in New York.
I want to begin with Kyung Lah in Perth where the search has just been called off for the day. Kyung, obviously very bad weather conditions has been called off. It's still only about 9 a.m. in Perth in Australia so we can only assume that it's very rough indeed.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very rough indeed. The details that we're getting from the Australian military is that waves are six and a half feet high, the swells, 13 feet but the big problem is the fog, the cloud covered 200 -- the 500 foot visibility. Plane simply cannot fly that low for an extended period of time. It is too dangerous for them to be out there. Even the ship, the Australian vessel at sea, Piers, was told to get out of that region because it is so dangerous. So disappointment certainly from the men and women who've been taken to the skies to the sea, they wanted to bring some answers, some closure to these families. Piers.
MORGAN: And, Kyung, what is the forecast for the next few days? Because clearly their still must gain (ph) I guess a tiny glimmer of hope that there may be even one survivor because they haven't found any wreckage and they haven't found any evidence of where this plane has crashed.
LAH: Well, the forecast is certainly not good over the next few days. It's not ideal. It was pretty good over the first few days of the search. But this weather in this particular region is really pretty extreme.
One of the guys who gets on the search planes told me that it's almost like looking at a washing machine. That's how the water is when conditions are pretty darn ideal. So if you a throw a bad weather on top of that, you can understand how they are reluctant to send out these men and women to try to bring some of these debris back.
MORGAN: Kyung Lah, thank you very much indeed. I want to turn now to Sara Sidner in Kuala Lumpur. There was exclusive sound for Malaysian officials today. Sarah, what can you tell me about the mood down there? Because it just seems so heart-rending for anybody watching from here and around the world.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, you put it the best, heart-rending. These families found out the news in a briefing. They were sitting there and the moment that they heard that the government had said that basically no one could have survive this if the plane was indeed in the Indian Ocean. One of the family members burst out of that briefing room. She was sobbing, crying, screaming, "Why, why, why" over and over and over again.
And then there was the mother who ran out saying, "Where is my son? Where is my son?" These families have been through so much, Piers, over the past 17 days. And finally, getting that information was too much for some. We saw a woman who was wheeled out in a wheelchair, her eyes puffy with tears. We saw another woman who was being comforted by four or five people including counselors who have been here throughout the duration with these families trying to give them advice and comfort, rubbing her back as she put her hand over her face and sobbed.
We also saw faces that were stunned, shocked. They just can't believe that little glimmer of hope they had, that tiny glimmer of hope that perhaps by some miracle their family members were still alive after all this time had finally been dashed and they finally had to deal with the horrible reality that they may never see their loved ones again, Piers.
Now, we try to speak with Malaysian Airlines, officials who have been here, Piers, and we were able to catch up with someone who were surrounding the families and finally got an answer as to how they are helping these families. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: I mean, why won't you even like talk to us? Someone from Malaysian Airlines, please tell us what happened. This is important information that people that in Beijing, the people here want to know. People have been watching this story. They care about these families. They want to at least to know what you're doing for them. That's it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're doing everything we can on what has happened. That's about it that I can comment, OK? Can we get doing our job in a moment?
SIDNER: But are they getting counseling? Are they ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. As we speak. Yeah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: So him saying there. Yes, they are getting counseling and these families will certainly need it after all these days of not knowing and then finding out the absolutely worse, Piers.
MORGAN: Sara Sidner, thank you very much indeed. I want to turn now to Beijing where David McKenzie has reaction from the families of Chinese passengers. Some of them charged Malaysian government with delays and cover-ups. A lot of mounting anger, David, on the Chinese side of this towards the Malaysian officials, tell me about that.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well that's -- yeah, that's right, Piers. The anguish and the waiting turned to real anger boiling over here in Beijing. People shouting and screaming, screaming out of the conference room when the news came, it was a very terrible scenes here. And as you say, now they're getting together organizing these family members and have very poignant statement for the Malaysian authorities. I want to read to you a bit of it, Piers.
"The airline, the Malaysian government and the Malaysian military continue putting off, holding back and covering up the truth of the incident, as well as trying to deceive the families of passengers and people of the entire world." That goes on to say, "Malaysian Airlines and Malaysian government and the Malaysian military are the real murderers that killed them."
Pretty strong words there from some of the family members pointing the finger at the Malaysian authorities. Piers.
MORGAN: And tell me this, David, do the Chinese believe the Malaysian Prime Minister when he says pretty categorically that this plane has crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean and that all the people onboard the plane are presumed dead? Did they accept that? Or do they think that without any wreckage, without any sign of any bodies or anything else that there could still be a chance that that has not happened?
MCKENZIE: Well, Piers, it's just human nature to really hope against hope even if the miracle you're hoping for seems even incredibly distant at this point. Many people I spoke to in the recent hours said, yes, they want to see that evidence, they want to see some wreckage, they want to see anything that actually proves to them some tangible evidence that this plane went down, not just data, not just a scientific hypothesis. They want to see real hard evidence before they can accept this and get some kind of closure. Piers.
MORGAN: David McKenzie, thank you very much indeed. Joining me now is Pamela Brown in Washington and Richard Quest here with me in New York.
Let me go to you Pamela, when I watched the Malaysian Prime Minister. I just thought the other thing to this statement that he made, how can they be so sure without any wreckage at all that's been independently verified that's coming from this plane? How can they be unequivocal?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, as we've heard from the president of the company and whereas at this British communications company that looked at the satellite data. They talked about that they are certain as they could be that this was an exhausted -- exhaustive and unprecedented study, Piers. They used a new technique with old technology and they spent days analyzing this data and then they conducted a peer review by sharing it with other British space companies and their calculations shut out and they felt confident to share that data with the Malaysians.
MORGAN: OK. Richard Quest, sorry, Richard, we hear that Chris McLaughlin in the south talking to Wolf Blitzer earlier, very fascinating that we've got it now. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MCLAUGHLIN, SR. VICE PRESIDENT, INMARSAT: I must stress. This is very limited data. We're not saying that we have definitively where the aircraft came down. Only the direction of travel is almost certainly to the south
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: OK. Richard Quest, he also went on to say, you know, that he was sort of slightly equivocating because it's the British way of doing things. Explain what you think he meant by that.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: What he meant was when you're put in a position of saying, are you 100 percent certain, he is saying, "Well, you know, no one can be 100 percent certain yet." And what he was saying re-listening to what he said just then, Wolf's question was very clear. It was about how definite can you be? And he basically said it has maintained -- and I spoke to Chris McLaughlin, he's maintained that view, we are as definitive as we possibly can be.
MORGAN: But is it enough, Richard? Is it enough for them to be not 100 percent certain? And I watched Wolf pushing and pushing and pushing. If they're not 100 percent certain, why has the Malaysian Prime Minister gone out and told all these relatives, "You're relatives are dead."
QUEST: Because I think in this situation there comes a point when the authorities in Malaysia decided, this is the way it looks, not just this is the way it looks. We have been told that plane came down in the South Indian Ocean. But McLaughlin said we can't be sure exactly where. But he was quite definite on the route it took.
Now, Piers, we know the route it took, we know it hasn't been seen, we know there all this facts. So ...
MORGAN: But we also know there is no wreckage that's been ...
MORGAN: ... notified there.
QUEST: And would you prefer, I want it to be in preferable for the Malaysian Prime Minister to say, "This is the evidence" and we may not have any wreckage for weeks. We may never have wreckage. So he has basically said this is the best evidence that we have and that is why we conclude the flight ended. He never said there will that the Malaysia Airlines went on to say (inaudible).
The Malaysian Prime Minister's strongest comment deeply regrettable the flight ended in the South Indian Ocean.
MORGAN: OK. Pamela Brown, let's talk about the investigation itself another focus on the pilots, obviously in this. Is the feeling generally amongst all the experts that it is more likely, there was some catastrophic event, perhaps a fire, perhaps a fire from batteries as we've seen, lithium batteries that ignited the cause of plane got out of control, put everybody unconscious and the plane then flew on autopilot? Do enough facts stack up now according to the investigators that suggest, that is more likely than a hijack?
BROWN: Well, Piers, I've been speaking to sources, investigators and basically no one is jumping to conclusions at this stage, you know, more than two weeks end, every theory is on the table. And you point out, you know, the fact they're still looking at the pilots. Malaysian authority said today that so far there's been full cooperation from the more than 100 people they've interviewed, they've interviewed family members of the passengers and the crew and investigators do continue to dig deeper into the backgrounds of these two pilots right here, Zaharie Shah and Fariq Hamid, looking for really anything that could help explain Flight 370's disappearance.
But sources are saying that at this point , Piers, there is nothing that indicates foul play and that they're still looking at the, you know, psychological state of the pilots, at sabotage, at hijacking, any theory that could help explain this. And without the wreckage, without that flight data recorder they just can't come up with a definitive conclusion.
MORGAN: OK, Richard, do you want to jump in there?
QUEST: Yeah. Most of the people we talked to upon the former (inaudible) -- they do believe that it is a nefarious act, either by the pilots or by the hijackers or terrorist.
MORGAN: But why? What points to that now from all that we know?
QUEST: What points to is that the three basic things. Firstly, the ACARS failure and no comments made about anything wrong. Secondly, transponder off. Thirdly, what everybody agrees was a deliberate turn back. And then you got the potential of this descend 12,000 feet and back up again. So they take all those facts ...
MORGAN: Well, just to clarify, that could only have happened with a pilot resetting the coordinates to take the plane back up, is that why that indicates some kind of pilot operation?
QUEST: We know the plane could not have got deep into the South Indian Ocean of 12,000 feet. It had to be at its optimal flight -- of about 35,000 feet. Now we have one source says it went down to 12, but if it went down to 12, Piers, it had to go back up again to 35, and that could only be done either on the yoke or on the -- by the autopilot.
So the view -- look, let's be blunt about this, the view of most of the people that you talked to is that nefarious hence, human intervention brought this down. I still say it's best to wait a little bit longer until we've got some concrete evidence upon which, because it's too important to just jump to that conclusion.
MORGAN: Richard Quest, thank you very much. Pamela Brown, thank you very much.
Coming up, the youngest passenger of Flight 370 was only two years old on his way home with his parents in a family vacation on Malaysia.
Next, I'll talk exclusively to a grieving friend of that family.
MORGAN: Our Breaking News tonight, the search for Flight 370 has been called off for today because of dangerous weather that's adding to the anguish for the families and loved ones of passengers on the plane. Among those 239 people onboard a young husband and wife Rory Wang and Vivia Jiao, parent of a two year old Moheng Wang. He was with them on the flight as well.
And joining me now exclusively, a friend of the family, Saleel Limaye, a classmate in Rory's MBA program at the Kellogg school at Northwestern.
Thank you so much for joining me, Saleel Limaye, and I'm so sorry obviously for the devastating news that came today. But let me ask you straight away, do you accept what the Malaysian Prime Minister has said? Do you believe now that all the evidence pointing to this plane having crashed and the lives of all those onboard having been lost?
SALEEL LIMAYE, FRIEND OF FLIGHT 370 PASSENGER RORY RUI WANG: I don't and that's just because of all the different news that have been coming through, so I'm still holding out hope until they find something that maybe they're wrong and there is this plane with all passengers have survived.
MORGAN: You were good friends with Rory, you're international students together, as I said at a grad school. Rory actually e-mailed you I believe before he took the family away to Malaysia on a holiday. Tell me about what he said to you then.
LIMAYE: Yeah, this was -- we have a tradition where students in our class send out one e-mail update every year about what's going on in their life, personal life, business life. And so Rory's e-mail came through on the first of March, exactly one week before we heard about this news. And he was talking about pretty -- he seemed pretty excited about taking a break from work and he was heading to Malaysia with his family and was going to enjoy some sun there and some beach and then come back to Beijing to start to work on a four-month long project. So he seemed pretty excited.
MORGAN: What kind of man is Rory?
LIMAYE: Rory is a -- he's very smart, hardworking person, he was a very diligent student, we do a lot of projects at Kellogg that are team based and I happen to be on a couple of those projects with Rory and he was always one of those guys who would go that extra mile for the team, for the teammates. Rory Wang is very silently quiet but very warm and affectionate person.
MORGAN: Obviously, a big family man. His baby son with him is two years old Moheng. I'm going to talk about them in the present tense. I think it's the right thing to do. I think despite all these announces (ph) as you say, there are too many contradictory statements being made, too many different pieces of information which appear to then contradict each other.
In terms of the way the Malaysian government officials and indeed Malaysia Airlines have treated the families and friends of those who were on this plane. What do you feel about that Saleel? I mean, do you feel that they have behaved as many believe reprehensively they could have done a lot more or do you feel it's been a nightmare situation? They've done whatever they can?
LIMAYE: Yeah. It's kind of tough for me to comment from here. I'm sure Rory's family in China is probably going through this and have a better point of view on this.
But again, it's such a difficult situation for all parties involved, so I think hopefully they are doing their best to, you know, communicate some of these things on a more personal basis, you know, face to face and not to any other means hopefully.
MORGAN: As you've been talking with me looking at pictures of that last holiday of the family in Malaysia. One of the things that struck me today, Saleel, was the revelation that the airline had informed many of these relatives of the news that everyone was presumed lost and dead by a text message. Did that strike you as a insensitive action?
LIMAYE: Yeah. I mean, that's shocking for me. In today's day and age, when something like this happens there's, you know, so much media coverage and there are so many people who are suffering because of all these various news, conflicting news oftentimes I would have thought, you know, this would have been a face to face communication.
MORGAN: The theories keep coming thick and fast. Many of them will turn out doubtless to be completely wrong. That just adds to the agony, doesn't it of all this for everyone like yourself who knows people that we're on that flight.
LIMAYE: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is the first few days me and classmates, all of Rory's classmates around the world really we are pretty tight group have been following the news right and all the the hysterias coming through. At some point, I think it was the last read that I stopped looking through all the details, right, just look at many of the headlines because -- again, it was disheartening to hear some of these hysterias and we were still holding on. We are still holding on.
MORGAN: Yeah. I mean, talk to me about that hope, Saleel, because I can understand, if I was a friend of somebody on that flight or if I was a family relative of someone on that flight. Not withstanding the statements from the Malaysian authorities, without any wreckage having been identified and with so many different reports out there. I would still hold some hope albeit very small.
LIMAYE: Yeah. And that's exactly what our emotions are right now. In fact, our classmates at Kellogg, one of my classmate, she came up with the idea that we are going to send these messages, these photograph messages from our classmates all over the world and holding this sign saying, "Rory, we are still hoping for you" so you're trying to collect some of those pictures over the last few days.
MORGAN: Well, Saleel, I really appreciate you joining me. I'm so sorry that you've been having to go through this, it must be absolute torture for anyone who knows anybody on that plane and, you know, I think as long as there is a tiny glimmer of hope then hope you must do and I will share that hope with you and I thank you very much indeed for joining me tonight.
LIMAYE: Thank you.
MORGAN: I want to bring in Steven Marks now. He's an Aviation Attorney. He represented families and victims of other air disaster including Air France Flight 447. Welcome to you, Mr. Marks.
Tell me about the legal position here. Is it possible that many of the people in (inaudible) here and making deliberately word of statements to cover themselves legally as some people believe?
STEVEN MARKS, AVIATION ATTORNEY, PODHURST OSRECK: Well, certainly the government and Boeing who's principally involved in the investigation, they have conflicts of interest. They're investigating themselves.
The Malaysian government who doesn't have experience in airplane investigation is trying to do this on their own, they invite Boeing who's the manufacturer, who they need their expertise to participate. I've been involved in other instances with Boeing and one case in particular the Indonesian SilkAir (inaudible) Singapore Air there were issues right off the bat questioning what had occurred. There were stories Boeing consistently put forth that story that it was in fact a suicide. We later proved years later that it was in fact a product failure and the FAA should (inaudible) requiring all 737s throughout the world over 4,000 of them to have a retrofit.
So there are conflicts of interest. Everything needs to be carefully scrutinized.
MORGAN: In terms of the way that the Malaysian authorities and the government and the airline have behaved here. Some people argue it's been reprehensible. Others as I said earlier think it's the tug of war if you like when this kind of thing happens and it's been so chaotic that facts have been so thin on the ground that there's been no other way to handle it. What is your assessment?
MARKS: Well, it certainly is difficult and it's something that they're not used to handling, so some of the early mishaps can be explained.
The second death starts happening and when the families are going through the torture that naturally follows such a tragedy and only to be tormented by misinformation, inconsistent information the way the government can solve that problem is to be totally transparent. Invite officials from other government to make sure that independence is open to the investigation.
So that you can't question whether or not it's been influenced by those who have an interest. The easiest way is to invite the United States government, the NTSB, who has far greater experience, let independent people have access to their raw data. There's no reason why we're hearing filtered reports why can't we see the satellite images, the radar returns, all of the witness statements, all of the information that the Malaysian government has, everything that Boeing has. And then we will be more trusting towards the process.
MORGAN: Steven Marks, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
When we come back, my experts react to our breaking news, search for Flight 370 suspended for today.
Also, robotic vehicles, it could be the best hope of finding the plane. We'll demonstrate one of them here live.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They made this announcement today. Is it really true? What is their proof? They simply made the announcement today, telling us that no one survived that everyone sank. Show us your proof. It has been 17 days, they simply just given us this result? How can people believe this?
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: A desperate grieving family member in Beijing today. Our breaking news, of course, the search for Flight 370 have been pulled off today because of rough seas, high winds, and heavy rain.
I want to bring in now my expert panel William Waldock. He teaches accident investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Jim Hall, a former NTSB Chairman and David Soucie author of "Why Planes Crash." Welcome to all of you.
And Jim Hall, let me go to you, you are a former chairman of the NTSB, should we accept what the Malaysian Prime Minister has announced today that this plane has likely crashed into South Indian Ocean and that all the people onboard are presumed dead?
JIM HALL, FORMER CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTAION SAFETY BOARD: Well, I think this investigation demonstrates how fortunate we are in the United State and in Canada to have independent accident and get investigation boards and family assistance programs that provide for factual information to be distributed and to have confident people prepared to handle a situation of this magnitude. Regrettably, that Malaysian government is incompetent to handle this investigation. And so, you have to ask when any of this information comes out, what's the factual basis behind it?
MORGAN: Right. David Soucie, I went to talk to Richard Quest early, he said that most people he'd been speaking to and there are many contrary reviews as we know. We're leaning still toward some nefarious reasons behind what had happened. In other words, the pilot saw somebody else onboard and taking control of this plane and taking it of. Do you think that is what you're hearing from your people, is it likely?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFERY ANALYST: No, Richard hasn't been talking to me then because that's not where I feel it's going at all. We have mentioned about the ACAR system for example, ACARS was nefarious or mysteriously turned off before the communication, that's not true. The ACARS was transmitted as normal at one 107, just like it was supposed to do, and then the transponders being turned off. There no physical record of the fact they were turned off. In fact, from the cockpit, you can put them in standby, but you can't turn them off. So, I feel after 200 miles out the radar is pinging, it may not have received the signal that far out to say, "Here I am and here's my information". So ...
MORGAN: Does the conclusion by the British firm that have come up with this latest data analysis in MR SAT. (Inaudible) conclusion to your satisfaction, I mean, that that plane has gone down where they said it's gone?
SOUCIE: Yeah, absolutely. I spoke with people at MR SAT just today or yesterday actually and talking about how they got that information and this is I think the biggest mistake is how it was presented to these families. You need to have technical information, how did they get the information, not just we have some secret way of getting it. And they explained it to me really simply and I do it too ...
SOUCIE: ... if you liked like me too. But basically, the MR SAT satellite, you picture a cone coming down on to the earth. It receives and sends signals back and forth. So it's doing this hand shaking and it takes a little bit of time. And it takes more time if it's further away from the center of the satellite than it does if you're close to center of the satellite. So what this brilliant scientist at MR SAT did was take that information and say, "Well, that means that at this ping, it was here, at this ping it was closer, closer and then it started getting further away." So from that, coupled with some SPOT satellite imagery which is small areas, kind of like cell signals within the large one, they could actually very closely identify where that aircraft stopped flying.
MORGAN: But can they be certain? David, this is the problem, isn't it? If you're -- and I spoke to a friend earlier, one of the people onboard -- of the family onboard, until there is a 100 percent certain to tell this wreckage found of any description that can be verified as being this plane, people are going to think, "Well, how do we know for sure"?
SOUCIE: Well, first of all, the pinging that they talk about, this communication that goes on, there's a 30 bit signal that goes along with that and with that 30 bit signal it says exactly what aircraft that is by serial number. So you -- and you register that ...
MORGAN: So, do they have that, do you think?
SOUCIE: I believe they do, yes. I think they're (inaudible).
MORGAN: Why are they not telling us if they got that?
SOUCIE: Because I don't think they're obligated or feel that they're obligated to give a technical explanation of what's going on.
MORGAN: But if they have directly got a link to that very plane, that is a crucial piece of information.
SOUCIE: Absolutely it is, absolutely. And I can't explain that. Other than fact that this whole investigation has been run by people who don't have a lot of experience with investigations, all the ones I've run you start out in control of it, you'd maintain that control. It's kind of like those days when you wake up and your car -- your tire is flat and then your car doesn't start and it just keep going worse and worse and worse, that's how investigations can get.
MORGAN: Bill Waldock, you've been a crash investigator for 30 years and a coast guard. You've been in the thick of this kind of thing many times. Maybe not perhaps on this scale, but I can understand these relatives. I can understand these ghastly scenes that we're seeing in Beijing and in Kuala Lumpur of people who just had been told so many different versions of what may have happened. And now, they just don't believe anything that being told.
WILLIAM WALDOCK, PROFESSOR OF SAFETY SCIENCE, EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIV: Well, I think, part of the problem here is that in fact they weren't told any technical information from the beginning. And actually, it's a fairly simple explanation and very complex calculations to do it. But it's a very simple explanation. It's just a matter of Doppler Effect. It's like standing in the train station watching the train come toward you. You're going to hear a higher pitched sound as -- from you. You get a lower pitch sound even though the train itself has the same velocity.
That's essentially what the folks that figure this out in Britain used to figure out approximately where the airplane was.
MORGAN: So from what we've heard today at, Bill Waldock, would you say as David said that it's leaning much more toward some kind of catastrophic failure onboard the plane which took it off rather than a nefarious explanation?
WALDOCK: Well, right now, I'm kind of mixed myself. But, I'll tell you this, in all the years I've been doing this, every single time we've had an in-flight fire, for example, that ends up in the airplane crashing, that happens relatively quickly within hour. So, because of the types of things that are involved, the temperatures of the fire, how quickly it spreads. And in every single case, we have to have a crew that was able to tell ADC what was going on well before the airplane actually crashed and that goes back over quite a few of these in-fight fire accidents.
MORGAN: OK. I can see David Soucie shaking his head. Let's hold it there. Let's come back and continue the debate after the break. I want to get David's reaction why you think that's not right.
MORGAN: Our breaking news tonight, the search for Flight 370 has been suspended for today. Dangerous weather in the search area is to blame.
Back with me now, my experts, Bill Waldock, Jim Hall, and David Soucie. David, you were shaking your head a bit as Bill was talking there about the fire potential element of this, why?
SOUCIE: Well, with all due respect to Bill Waldock and (inaudible) I do respect him in having -- to have it in his experience. But, I have a little concern in the fact that sometimes, our knowledge and experience in accident investigation could get ahead of us. We make some assumptions based on the past and try to fit it into the patterns. There are some differences in this aircraft and all the previous aircraft that I'm aware of that gone down from fires namely the Halon system, the Halon fire extinguishing system is onboard this craft.
There's been a lot of advancements in this aircraft as far as the isolation of fire of where it goes and how the -- how everything goes through that aircraft. So, while I don't discount that theory certainly. There's a possibility in my mind that this fire could have occurred and been contained in some way with the existing systems on that particular aircraft and then continue to fly. MORGAN: Here's what I want to ask you. The one question I keep asking myself about this is if it didn't been a catastrophic failure like a fire or something, surely, given how modern and sophisticated these planes are, is there not some kind of equivalent of a panic button that a pilot or co-pilot can just press that alerts the airline or somebody, somewhere that there is a major problem?
SOUCIE: There is nine different panic buttons and there's ...
MORGAN: So ...
MORGAN: ... is it feasible that they weren't able to do any of that? Can be -- unless it's sort of an explosion which has blown this plane to pieces in a second? Is it feasible that if it's being an accident of some kind, none of them would have had time to alert anyone?
SOUCIE: Well, the only thing I can think that's common to (inaudible) that we have out, the transponders, the ACARS, any of the VHF radios, all of that is located down in the E and E compartment in a very specific area leans within a rack. And within that rack, it's potential that if the fire started there, if there were some kind of short in that location, it could have cause the rapid decompression at that point. Now, the SATCOM System which continued to operate is in a separate rack. It's not in the same rack as all this other panic buttons if you call them.
So, there is potential, you know, I'll be at very rare on this aircraft. This is the most reliable aircraft in the skies right now.
MORGAN: Jim Hall let me come back to you. You know, you held a very high job at the NTSB, the highest job, you're a former chairman. Where would you now take this investigation to try and get some kind of resolution?
HALL: To the International Civil Aviation Organization, they need to equip this commercial aircraft with deployable recorders. They've been setting on that recommendation for five years. If this aircraft have been equipped with the deployable recorder like the F-18 Aircraft we have in the United States, like the P-3s that are conducted in the search for the Australian Air Force, we would know and have the information out of the black boxes and know the location of this crash. All of this anguish, all of this (inaudible) about the politicians in Malaysia would not have occurred, and we would possibly have had a more responsible investigation.
MORGAN: Right. Because that mean, Jim Hall, that that is the question again that so many people have asked me is that how can it be in 2014 that a plane of this size carrying this number of people and the kind of technology onboard can just disappear? It just seems beyond any comprehension that that can happen in this day and age.
HALL: Well, there are huge, as one of your other guest noted, there are huge economic interest here. And the information on those black boxes should only be an independent hands and when you are depending on the manufacturer of the aircraft or people that sells satellite services, for your information, and it's not independently verified, and that information is not presented to the families, who are the most, you know, who are the people that shouldn't have this information. You know, all you can say is the whole thing has been (inaudible) disgraceful.
MORGAN: Bill Waldock, let me just come back to you finally before we get on the break. You've also been a coast guard. In terms of the actual rescue operation, how difficult is it going to be given the horrendous weather conditions which we expect this will last for a few days to get anywhere near finding any wreckage anyway.
WALDOCK: Right now, they're not going to be able to with the weather conditions as they are, you really can't search (inaudible) but one of the things we have to be mindful of is the risks that we're putting our search crews into plus the possibilities you're seeing anything meaningful. Right now, we do have a slight narrowing of the search area that the analysis by MR SAT in the British have allowed us to narrow it down at least the area of possibility from half an ocean down to maybe a few hundred square miles depending on that last ping.
When the airplane would have gone down after that when it exhausted its fuel, we narrow the search area down. We know that was the last known position now. So, we widen out around that and it allows us at least to focus our efforts, but unfortunately, with the weather conditions, we can't.
MORGAN: Bill Waldock, thank you very much indeed for joining. I'll going to let you. I'm going to keep Jim Hall and David Soucie.
When we come back, we'll demonstrate this a high piece -- piece of high-tech equipment. Something that may just help searches locate the Flight 370.
MORGAN: Other breaking news tonight, rescuers (inaudible) is searching for victims of a deadly landslide at Washington State this weekend. 14 people were killed. At least over 176 is now being revealed remain unaccounted for and numbers risen significantly in the past few minutes. I'm going to dip in now to the news conferences ongoing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was about midday, I don't have the exact time, but probably, noonish, oneish, and we got back on. We told the rescue crews to back away until we could get a chopper in the air and get some boots on the ground to checkout the slide. We have team of three geologists, hydrologist teams out there. And it just turned out to be some slopping off the edge of the slides. Some trees were falling, nothing deep, nothing to worry about. And so, we released -- gave a green light to let the rescue commence. Probably around 2:30, 3:00 something like that.
So, there was a couple of hours during the day while we were dispatching the experts out to asses the slide. Right now it's stable, in good shape, and good news is at the -- continue, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We go now to CNN's George Howell. He's been down there covering the story. George, the number of people who's unaccounted for has -- we've lost the connection with George, I'm sorry about that. But just to repeat -- I'm sorry. We do have -- George Howell's on the phone with me now.
George, just to clarify what is happening here, the number of people unaccounted for, since it risen dramatically in the last few minutes to 176, do they believe that that number of people may have been killed as well or are these people they simply can't find?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN REPORTER: No. And they're being very certain to say that this is not a number of people who are dead. This is a number of people that they are looking for. And we're talking about a variety of different reports here. So, a variety of things from specific names of people to report that these investigators found on the internet, the websites, the family might have put up, social media, Twitter post, and also vague description, Piers. So, for instance neighbor who says, "Hey, I know that Neil (ph) lives in that home. He should have been there." That becomes a report that they're looking into.
So now, the number has risen. Investigators said that they wanted to be, you know, very methodical. And home, you know, looking for as many of these reports possible. The hope was that that number would decline but we are seeing that the number has now risen from 108 to 176.
MORGAN: We have set and we'll keep an eye on that obviously tonight and indeed tomorrow morning. George Howell, thank you very much indeed. And we'll be right back.
MORGAN: Search for Flight 370 may will hinge us some high-tech robotics. Joining me now to demonstrate, Captain Tim Taylor, accomplished ocean explorer, President of Tiburon Subsea Services and back with me, David Soucie. Very quickly Captain Taylor, just tell me what this is and why this could be so vital.
CAPTAIN TIM TAYLOR, PRESIDENT, TIBURON SUBSEA SERVICES: This is the next generation, the future or underwater sonar. It's an autonomous underwater vehicle or drone. And this is a miniature version. It's a shallow water version, 200 meters, 660 feet. They will be deploying in the next stages of this search for the wreckage of the flight. They will be deploying bigger and larger versions of this.
MORGAN: And would you be confident if they got it now to an area of say, 200 square miles ...
MORGAN: They -- looks like they may have done. Would you be confident that this will be able to find the plane?
TAYLOR: Yes, yes. I actually lead an expedition mapping 1800 square miles of ocean. I am confident if they have it to 200 square miles. Even if it's five times that big, they can find it. It's just going to be a matter of weather and time, maybe year in launching recovery. So, yes it's a -- they can cover a 10 square miles a day.
MORGAN: David Soucie, finally, you've been working at a Trojan for CNN on this ever since it happened, we're 18 days in. Is the secret now lying with the wreckage if they find it? Will we get the answers to the questions that we keep asking that we don't know the answers of this?
SOUCIE: Well, at this point, if I were running the investigation, I would look for of course (inaudible) voice recorder, the flight data recorder. But -- and this is really great technology, I've never used -- had been in an accident to use this before, that's really -- I admire you for that. But, the things that I'll be looking for is the center section, the E and E compartment. These are critical pieces of an airplane that will give us clues.
MORGAN: David Soucie, thank you very much indeed and Captain Tim Taylor thank you for bringing in this remarkable device.
That's all for us tonight. We'll be following the story of the deadly landslide at Washington State throughout another course. CNN special report though "The Mystery of Flight 370" with Don Lemon starts right now.