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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Investigators Zero In On Pilot, Co-Pilot; Search Planes Headed To Suspected Crash Site
Aired March 26, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next breaking news, investigators focusing on the pilot and co-pilot tonight. What exactly happened in the cockpit of MH-370. A "USA Today" report says the pilot was to blame.
Plus new satellite images shows 122 objects floating in the water. It could be debris. One official calls this the most credible lead yet.
And breaking news from the Pentagon tonight, new intelligence just coming in showing Russia close to invading. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. We begin OUTFRONT with the breaking news, the focus of the investigation into missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is now on the pilot and co-pilot of the plane. The U.S. official tells CNN that the FBI is now assessed the pilot and co-pilot's hard drive including the drive from the captain's flight simulator. Results are expected to be handed over to Malaysian officials in a day or two.
Now an official involved in the investigation tonight tells "USA Today" that the pilot is in the paper's words, quote, "believed to be solely responsible for the flight being taken hundreds of miles off course." The official says it was not an accident.
Also at this hour, it is now daybreak in Australia and the search in the Southern Indian Ocean is resuming. New satellite images provided by a French defense firm show 122 objects floating frankly not far from other satellite sightings of possible debris. This is the biggest debris field, the highest number we've heard about so far.
These objects range from about 3 feet in size to 75 feet in length. They are scattered over an area the size of Denver. The images were taken Sunday on a search of the area though just hours ago nothing was found. Unrelated to the satellite images, three objects were spotted today by two aircrafts, but then as they passed over they were unable to relocate those objects. Just showing you how things move, how things sink, how difficult this is.
Pamela brown has been following the developments today. Pamela, your sources are telling you there's focus on the pilot and co-pilot, but I guess, the big question would be is there any kind of a smoking gun?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now sources are telling me no, that there is no smoking gun and they are really going over everything. I've been speaking with sources that said after the FBI's preliminary review that hard drive data there hasn't been anything that jumps out at them that would suggest a premeditated act by the pilots.
At this point, at this stage, Erin, there's no clear cut evidence of a motive or that the pilots were planning the plane's disappearance. This is an ongoing investigation. We learned from a source in Malaysia telling CNN that after a search of the pilot's home there wasn't anything that was turned up such as a suicide note that, again, would suggest a motive or anything like that.
We heard from the FBI Director James Comey earlier today speaking to a congressional committee. He said that the hard drive that's been at the lab in Quantico will be handed over to Malaysians in the next day or two and teams are still working around the clock, Erin. This is a large volume of data they are going through. Their hope is that even though we haven't found the smoking gun from that hard drive according to sources that it will give clues, leads perhaps to follow up on regarding the pilot's background such as finances, communications, with others. Their emotional state.
But again, nothing to suggest a clear cut motive. However, I want to make it clear though, that nothing is being ruled out, Erin, and sources are still looking at the two men in the cockpit as one of my sources said that's still a top priority.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Pamela. Joining me now is William Dermody, world news editor for "USA Today" along with our Richard Quest, our CNN aviation analyst, Miles O'Brien and John Nance, aviation analyst for ABC World News. OK, great to have all of you with us.
William, let me start with you, with this new report out of "USA Today." So what exactly is your reporting at this hour on the pilots?
WILLIAM DERMODY, WORLD NEWS EDITOR, "USA TODAY": Well, we have a senior law enforcement official who has been involved with the investigation since day one who says that they believe that the pilot was the one who was solely responsible for what happened to the plane. They believe the act was deliberate. Based on not only how the plane was diverted and what had to be done to do that but also through process elimination where they checked into the backgrounds of the passengers.
They don't believe anybody on board was capable of doing such a thing. They also looked into the co-pilot, relatively young although has had experience not a lot on a 777. So it's their conclusion for now that they believe that it was the pilot who did something here.
BURNETT: The pilot not the co-pilot. Now anything in terms of motive? You know, as you just heard Pamela saying U.S. officials also focusing on pilot and co-pilot, but they have not yet found, at least according to her reporting, any kind of a smoking gun or any motive.
DERMODY: Well, that's right. Our Kevin Johnson at "USA Today" has talked to federal official who said they have looked at the hard drive and they found absolutely nothing in there that would indicate a plan to reroute the plane. The Malaysian police themselves and it's a very professional force that they have at Kuala Lumpur, has looked into his finances, of the pilot that is. Also looked into whether he's had any ties to militancy in any way and they found nothing so far.
BURNETT: So let me just ask you, William, your paper source as you said high ranking officer attached to special investigative branch, the Malaysian police force and they are saying it was the pilot. Are there any concerns that you have as an editor that the Malaysian government could be forcing blame on the pilot, he was a known support of the opposition party as an example to say look this guy did it without really knowing. Do you have any concern about that possibility?
DARMODY: Well, there's always a possibility with the ruling party in Malaysia, but this is dealing with law enforcement. The law enforcement people and the person we spoke to in particular has a long record in the agency. He's with a special branch, it's their version of the FBI. He's worked on many investigations in the past. So, we're not aware of any plot to tie the pilot in such a way.
BURNETT: John, based on what we know and what you just heard William talking about with the "USA Today" reporting, does it sound like a logical conclusion to you that the pilot may have been responsible?
JOHN NANCE, AVIATION ANALYST, ABC'S "WORLD NEWS": I think both Pamela and William said the same thing it's a process elimination and that's correct. I can't see at this point that we have any evidence that has come to the public at least that says that it is the captain versus the first officer. I agree the first officer was very inexperienced, but we do know that a pilot had to do this. We do know there was a lot of sophistication required. If they are telling us there were no other pilots on board by process elimination it comes down the captain and the first officer.
BURNETT: Now, Richard Quest, I know you were saying, obviously, we don't know at this point, but you were making the point that if it were to go in this direction, the co-pilot's experience on a simulator would have been excellent given how new he was.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Yes. Look, we are now well and truly into deeply unpleasant territory. And, you know, with all due respect to William and "USA Today" article is basically judge and jury from the source in Malaysia of an unnamed police officer who has basically decided he's now going to convict almost the captain on the grounds of method and elimination of anybody else. Basically that's what they've done. They basically said looking at what they did, and could it be anybody else.
Therefore, it must be him. And in doing so we basically just -- now, you know, the first officer he was new. He was inexperienced on the 777. He had a few hours, many hours, 2,,000 hours on a 773. He would have just come from the simulator. So he would have known the system backwards and forwards and new captains like flying with new FOs because they know the technology backwards. But as to just deciding to run up the flagpole, an allegation against a captain on the basis of method and elimination, we have to make our own judgments.
BURNETT: So William, let me give you a chance to respond to that because obviously you went through the vetting process in terms of this source. What made you feel comfortable with this?
DERMODY: The source that's been involved in many investigations in Kuala Lumpur, specifically some anti-terrorism investigations, the country has a good record on that. And no one is saying that he's absolutely the one right now. But what they are saying is they are to discussion on him, they believe he's the one who there's no one else on that plane who was capable of doing the manipulations that we know occurred. So they are, indeed focusing on him.
They believe that -- there are people around him, relatives who may know more about this than they are saying. So they are trying to press them to come up with more details about his activities to see if there's anything that could have possibly given an indication that this was going to happen.
BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to all of you. Obviously our panel will be with us through the hour. I have a question I want to get to Miles there, but we're going to be talking more about this later on in the hour.
OUTFRONT next, new satellite images, this shows more than 100 objects scattered across the water. Why is it so hard to find then when the ship comes in or a plane flies over and they are suddenly gone.
Plus, the final partial ping you heard so much about. It came from the plane, but it was what they called sort of a half ping. We're going to explain exactly what that is and why it could be a game changer in the search.
And it is a race against time. A construction worker trapped in a burning building about to collapse. This video, someone standing there, she was on her way back from lunch, she was there and filmed this. We have that coming up.
BURNETT: Breaking news in the hunt for Flight 370. Search planes right now en route 1500 miles from the coast of Australia to a site in the Southern Indian Ocean. What they are looking for is the debris from new satellite images. These satellite images taken a couple of days ago. New debris, 122 objects scattered across the water ranging in size from 3 feet to 75 feet. This possible debris field covers an area the size of Denver.
As I mentioned, it's a rapidly moving target though when they then send planes to look. It hasn't been there. Ships to look it hasn't been there. Today planes saw something. Flew over it again themselves and it was gone. Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
Tom, I mean, the conditions in this part of the ocean affect this search. One plane see something today, flies back over and it's gone. That's a pretty incredible statement about the weather and currents.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is very, very tough out there, Erin, there is no question about that. They are excited about these images for a couple of reasons. One, because honestly this looks like the debris field from an airplane crash. It may not be, but it has the signature look it and because it has that look, even as they try to get closer to it, it allows them to focus their search area and that's something they desperately need.
Let me explain what I'm talking about here. Remember when you have a big, big area like this and the overall southern area is 621,000 square miles you have to path grid over it and decide which sections you're going search. They are not going to be of all the same value. Some are considered more likely to produce results. We made them sort of red here and others not so much.
So if you thought the plane went in early and didn't glide much you might push your search zone to one area, to the north. This evidence though makes the opposite happen. It makes the focus look way down at the far end. It makes them push down towards the end and push that big search zone down there.
Now, bear in mind, we made the plane big here so you can see it. In reality, in this kind of search, this plane would be just a speck up here, very, very small. That search zone down there is still too, too big. This kind of debris can help them narrow it down so something much more manageable and then they can start calculating the drift patterns to see if it came from hundreds or maybe even a thousand miles away, Erin.
BURNETT: I mean, so, the currents, let's talk how extreme they can be. Again, because when I heard about the plane flying over the space today and then coming back in doing a swoop through and the object is was gone. Obviously, it could have been, you know, a very small object or something. But it does seem to indicate things move very quickly.
FOREMAN: Yes, they certainly can. This is the collision points between the Indian Ocean and the Arctic sea, the sea that goes around Antarctica. So, if we bring in this global view from the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, there are time lapses of current flows around the world. With the red passed Australia here and this is taking us into the very area that we're talking about here. That's where the search zone is.
Look at all these conflicting currents in that area and I'll guarantee you they are not all the same on the surface and below. So generally, though everything is sort of moving to the east, you may notice the band up above where it moves the opposite direction this makes it very hard to predict, Erin, where this stuff is at any given moment, let alone where it might have come from -- Erin. BURNETT: That's amazing. And as they say, a part of the world so remote in terms of the sea floor, everyone, that they haven't even map to all of it. The debris and the blurry satellite images that we have been showing you could be wreckage, of course. But investigators acknowledge that they could be something else, garbage.
Charles Moore is merchant marine captain and founder of the marine research institute. He spent an incredible amount of time researching garbage is in the oceans.
Charles, I remember once off the coast of Panama is sort beautiful blue water and then just the most incredible amount of trash I've ever seen. It was the first time I realized how filthy the ocean can be.
How much garbage is out there in the Indian Ocean where these crews are searching?
CAPTAIN CHARLES MOORE, MERCHANT MARINE: I think a conservative estimate might be a tenth of the world ocean's plastic load. And that if you use a figure pulled from the air of 200 million tons which is bandied about you might come up with 20 million tons of debris just in the Indian Ocean alone.
BURNETT: I mean that's pretty impossible to fathom. I mean, what kind of garbage could be showing up in the satellite images if that is indeed a possibility.
MOORE: Well, you could certainly have a broken -- one of the millions of plastic chairs that we see around us everywhere. You know, these chairs are lightweight, they break, they become refuse and the ocean is downhill from everywhere. So debris like that can make its way into the ocean. You might be looking -- this may look pretty suggestive from the air or a series of pieces like this could definitely fool an investigator into think they really found something significant.
BURNETT: And when you look at that shape, absolutely. I mean, Miles O'Brien is with us also.
Miles, you do think this is a credible lead the objects on the satellite images, though, when you put this together in your role as an aviation expert.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, you know, when you look at the size and shape of what was discovered, some of it on the order of 70 feet we're told, and then the shape meaning, you know, it has the swoop of a wing, you know, maybe we're trying to find an airplane in what is a pile of garbage. The fact that there's that much in that particular area leads us to believe we found something given all the other things we've been thinking about.
BURNETT: Right. And I know Charles, you know, you think that's certainly reasonable. But what about how quickly this debris, let's just use that word right now, debris may move?
MOORE: Well, it not only moves spatially which you're thinking along the surface, it also moves vertically in the water calm. So a breaking wave can drive this stuff down below the surface where it's no longer visible from the air. You know, the surface of the ocean has little wavelength that's reflective. So it -- makes it extremely difficult if you ever try to look into the water with the sun at a low angle. You know, it is impossible to see below the surface.
Now, if you threw a net through the ocean as my colleagues have done, you come up with a lot different bits of plastic like in this jar. This is a sample of the Indian Ocean jars, broken bits of plastic. These larger bits turned into fragments. So, actually, by the time this stuff disintegrates due to photo degradation it becomes chips and that's really what we're finding throughout the ocean, maybe an average of 100,000 to a million of these chips per square kilometer. They washed up on beaches in a way. They wash up on beaches in Australia. The ocean is a kind of a plastic soup. And the larger objects could be from container ships, they could be from docks, boats, all those things could be part of this confounding litter in the ocean.
BURNETT: Well, thank you very much. Certainly, a real wake up call.
Still to come, the final partial ping from the plane. Why it's the key to the investigation. And was it a suicide mission? That is the big question for investigators tonight.
BURNETT: More of the breaking news tonight involving the disappearance of Malaysia airlines flight 370. U.S. officials say the FBI now has the captain and first officer's hard drives including the drive from the captain's flight simulator. Results are expected to be handed over to Malaysian officials in a day or two.
This comes as we're learning more about this crucial moment, the final perhaps minute or less of flight for this flight 370. There was a partial ping, all right? This was picked up by a satellite. It was the last communication from the missing jet. We use the word partial because it what started but didn't finish. So, could this be the clue that tells us where this plane landed into the water?
Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT with 777 simulator with more details in this final clue.
And Martin, you know, we use this word ping. You know, it is a pretty complicated thing what we're talking about. But this could be incredibly significant, this use of the word partial ping.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Yes, because, you know, as we know there were at least six pings that came from the aircraft during its flight that have been analyzed by the folks at Immarsat that came up with the idea that this plane went on that southern trajectory and eventually how they were able to discern that they believe this plane went into the Southern Indian Ocean.
So if you find that last ping, it's believed to have been transmitted very close to the end of the life of the aircraft. Find where that ping is in theory then you would be in the neighborhood, I won't say right on top but in the neighborhood of where that plane went down. Not where the debris is that you're finding, but maybe where that plane went into the water and of course it's the plane that has the black boxes that has the information that could be key to solving what happened.
BURNETT: So kit, tell you where it went into the water. But you're implying due to time, currents, everything else it wouldn't thereabout but give you a point it started here and now the debris field would be somewhere out from there?
SAVIDGE: Well the debris field does not have the black boxes. The black boxes we believe, of course, are still attached to the airplane, the aircraft itself. It would have gone down in the water, but it is because of the depth, it would have drifted with currents under water. It wouldn't go straight down. That requires a certain amount of mathematical calculations. But it would be easier to locate that air frame on the ocean floor instead of trying to back track debris that's been blown hundreds of miles and all sorts of different trajectories and eddies by the currents. So this really could be very beneficial to finding the physical plane wreckage under the water.
The other question is why that partial ping? You know a lot of mystery about that and the belief is because it came so quickly after a full ping that somehow half a ping is associated with the final event of that airplane. What it was, we don't know.
One theory is, you know, that the engines that generate electricity could have run out of fuel, as we believe they did, and once they did the power in this airplane stopped. It was interrupted, at least for a moment.
But then there's something called a RAT, ram air turbine, a little propeller that pops up in the air frame and the wind of the motion from the airplane starts spinning and it would generate power again.
Think of your cell phone, it shuts down from the moment you power back up it begins searching to make a connection. And maybe that half ping was trying to make that connection but before it could fully do it, the plane stops.
BURNETT: All right. Martin Savidge, thank you very much. He made that very, very clear. I know a lot of people had questions not just about the partial ping, but about why it's so important to finds that and suppose to the debris thing in terms of triangular and the location of the body of the jet.
Still to come, the latest developments in the investigation. What we're learning now about the two pilots, as the investigation into those two men intensifies. Want to go through what we know about them and their past.
And a firefighter tries in desperation to get to a construction worker hanging off the side of a building. It was all caught on video.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Tonight the breaking news, investigation into the missing Malaysian Airline Flight 370. There's a new report tonight out of "USA Today" which quotes a high ranking Malaysian police source saying investigators narrowed their suspicions to the captain and that they believe he, quote, "deliberately redirected" the plane.
Senior U.S. government officials, though, tell CNN investigators are still looking at both the captain and the co-pilot and don't yet see a motive.
Here's what we know so far about two men who are in the cockpit on that ill-fated night. The captain's name was Zaharie Ahmad Shah. He was a veteran pilot.
He's been with Malaysian Airlines since 1981, 18,365 flying hours on the 777. He was so trained that he even supervised new pilot training for the entire airline.
Shah was married with three children and a grandchild. Reports, though, say that his wife routinely stayed at another smaller house with her relative.
We know the captain was a public supporter of the opposition leader in Malaysia. He attended his pro-democracy rallies and meetings. He even wore a "democracy is dead" t-shirt, as you can see there, denouncing the ruling party in Malaysia.
Now, the FBI is investigating a home made flight simulator they seized from the captain's house. But again, so far, they have access to the hard drive and have not yet found a smoking gun on motive.
Now, the pilot did make a phone call eight minutes before take off. A 777 pilot tells us this likely took place after the plane left the gate. The door was shut. That would go against flight protocol, but we don't know yet, again, know the motive or the reason for this phone call.
And now the co-pilot. His name was Fariq Hamid. He was young. Only 27 years old. He joined Malaysian airlines back in 2007. And he flew the 737.
He lived with his parents. He was engaged to marry a woman he met at flight school. And the airline said Hamid had flown the 777 five other times before this flight. They confirm this was in fact his first flight, his first flight without a checked co-pilot supervising him. Perhaps they felt comfortable he was with a pilot so seasoned, he oversaw pilot training for Malaysia airlines.
Joining me now, world news editor for "USA Today", William Dermody, aviation analyst for "ABC World News", John Nance, "The Wall Street Journal's" John Ostrower, and aviation analyst Miles O'Brien and Jeff Wise for us here at CNN.
William, let me start with you again with your reporting that investigators are looking into the captain. You talk about how they are looking into relatives of the captain, trying to get information about his behavior, his state of mind. What are they looking for? I'm also curious about what your sources say why there had been such a delay in terms of interviewing, for example, the pilot's wife.
WILLIAM DERMODY, WORLD NEWS EDITOR, USA TODAY: They are trying to get more information out of relatives to determine if there's something there that other people have overlooked that may indicate why this event occurred. As far as the wife goes, we're told that they would like to interview her more, but at this time, they haven't told us why it is that they are having a problem with that. But they do believe that there are people that may be able to shed more light on things that happened leading up to this event that may give us a clue as to perhaps why the pilot would have been responsible for an act like this.
BURNETT: I mean, Miles, it's almost impossible to imagine, right? I mean, you know, again, there's a lot of investigating still to be done. So all we can say is at this point, officials don't have a smoke gun really of the pilot or co-pilot, right?
So, if indeed it does end up they are involved and that's a big "if", but if that's how this goes, and there was no smoking gun, and nobody says anything was wrong, that is a truly terrifying prospect that someone could commit an act like this and nothing outwardly would have seemed wrong.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: The perfect crime, if you will. I would caution everybody, this is -- the pilot is the aviation equivalent of the butler. They are frequently blamed in these cases. It's frankly convenient for investigators to blame deceased pilots.
So, there's no evidence. There is no evidence. We can't rule it out. It's certainly high on the list of possibilities that the flight crew had something to do with this.
But there's some other explanations that fit here. And for a law enforcement official in Malaysia to claim the 27-year-old first officer was incapable of doing this, he has no expertise in this. He came -- just came out of his initial operating experience. He was probably as well-schooled and well-trained as anybody on that 777 at that time.
He -- so, that was certainly a maneuver that could have been done by the first officer. Put it that way.
BURNETT: All right. I mean, John Nance, what about -- you've been saying since the very beginning on this show that you think this was intentional, that you believe this was deliberate, that this was done by somebody who knew what they were doing.
At this point, given that the information as to all the passengers names on this plane, the flight manifest, all has been made available to investigating authorities in the U.S. and other countries, if it were not the pilots, if it was someone else on the plane, would we have a sense of this at this point?
JOHN NANCE, ABC WORLD NEWS: You would think you would. First of all, let me say that Miles said that exactly correctly. Just because we narrowed it down or the authorities narrowed it down to the captain and first officer doesn't mean that we've proven the point and no pilot wants that be the case. We certainly don't want to know that one of our brethren actually did this.
NANCE: Yet again after two other things.
But, I think that in terms of the passenger mode, I'm not totally satisfied that we've gotten the conclusion on anything here. I mean, anything including what the propensity of the passengers were. We could have a qualified pilot back there and nobody knew if that qualification as yet.
But we, as I say, I've been forthright about -- you're absolutely right. A pilot had to do this but it isn't necessarily the two guys up front.
BURNETT: Right. And, Jeff, that's interesting that he says that. John referenced two other times this happened. One of them was EgyptAir, which was flying from New York to Cairo. Flight 990 and SilkAir 195, which is an Asian regional carrier. Also both pilots suicide.
Both, though, crashed in the way you might expect a pilot suicide if one could use those words, nose dive. This is -- this is not that. This is something completely and utterly different and again very difficult comprehend when you couple it with at least at this point no outward signs of a problem. This would be a bizarre suicide.
JEFF WISE, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: There are so many things that have been bizarre about this case. You know, when it first happened and we first had a few tantalizing bits of information already, the pilot was the prime suspect. And just -- the intentionality of a turn and the way it was flown along well-known flight paths, it clearly indicated that someone knew what they were doing. It could have been a different pilot, but given the way the cockpit doors are locked these days, there's a huge barrier. I mean, physically and mentally to get from the passenger cabin into cockpit.
BURNETT: There would have been some sort of reporting on that. I realize that's possible. It's not the case.
But John Ostrower, as a reporter who has been covering this, what is the latest that you know?
JOHN OSTROWER, AEROSPACE REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, the latest we know is we still don't know a lot. That's the problem with this entire story. The mystery has continued to unravel in a way that's only presented more questions than it has answers. I think I've said it probably 10,000 times to both editors, to readers, and on your network, that the list of things that we don't know is still so much longer than the list of things we do know.
And looking at either the crew or a mechanical failure still is so up for grabs in so many different potential theories and scenarios that if you begin to establish one theory, you invariably will drive additional questions into that theory where it falls apart, whether it's -- again, mechanical or related to the crew.
There's no one set of information that we're all working from that is entirely clear. A lot of this has come out again, you know, in the way we've done our reporting through those who are briefed on the investigation, we're familiar with it and certain lei what we've tried do is be factual in terms of piecing together from what happened from the moment just before that airplane crossed the coast over to the Gulf of Thailand made its turn to the west and then what we now know has been this long path south to the Indian Ocean. So, again, so many more questions than we have answers.
BURNETT: Now, William, what were the other -- from your source again, which is in the, as you described it earlier in the program, the FBI equivalent of the Malaysian government, what is your source saying is the reason that they are settling on the pilot, as opposed to anyone else on the plane that could have had piloting experience as John Nance said, or as opposed to the 27-year-old co-pilot?
DERMODY: They just believe that the co-pilot wouldn't have been able to do several things they saw happen on that plane to manipulate it in such a way. At least that's their conclusion. And they also believe that no one in the cabin had that kind of skill as well. Now, we don't know how great their vetting process is for the passengers, but they have gone through one and they believe that there's no one there who would have done it.
BURNETT: Miles, is there any way that -- go ahead. Go ahead.
O'BRIEN: How do they know? I think that's -- I'm just not buying this at all. First of all, I do not believe that the first officer couldn't pull that off. He's a 2,700-hour pilot. It's not that complicated maneuver.
BURNETT: Even, Miles, though, evading the radar -- the Indonesian radar, the military radar, the most sophisticated --
O'BRIEN: Yes. He was new to the 777 but he was a reasonably seasoned young pilot who just came out of intensive training in that aircraft. So, I don't buy that for a moment.
And for a law enforcement official to say it, what does he know about aviation?
Now, this other idea they somehow systematically eliminated the entire group of people sitting behind the pilot and the first officer and the captain that they completely eliminated them and ruled them out, I don't buy that either. I mean, these days you can get a flight simulator and a learn a lot flying a 777 just sitting at home in your living room. Or -- you know, let's not forget the 9/11 hijackers were pretty competent in doing what they did with very limited experience in simulators as well.
BURNETT: That's a fair point. Able to make turns, not landing.
John, final word.
NANCE: Yes, I just want to endorse, first of all, what Miles said about the co-pilot. That's a real insult to all first officers, and right, this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. The first officer is perfectly capable of doing these things. We hope he didn't. But he's perfectly capable of doing it.
But I think it's time to remind ourselves and remind everyone out there, we still don't even have any wreckage from the airplane. We don't really know much of anything.
Everything is a possibility but there are shades of probability. That's why my probability has been on the side of pilot doing this, but everything has to remain open until we get hard evidence and we're just not there.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to all of you. We appreciate it.
And OUTFRONT next, the most dramatic video of the day. This is a construction worker trapped on a burning building. This building is about to collapse. You'll see it want does. That person, you'll see what happens to him.
And breaking news tonight out of the Pentagon. New intelligence on what Russia is doing tonight with Ukraine.
BURNETT: Terrifying new video of a Houston construction worker trying to escape from a building engulfed in flames.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMLE: Oh, my Jesus. Oh, my God. Yes. He was inside there. Do they see him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unbelievable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurry up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, my God.
Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh. Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep going. Keep going. The glass is melting, the window melting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They need to get him. Oh, Jesus. Oh, God. Oh, God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get closer to him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hell, he can jump there. Good grief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They need to move that truck up. Oh, my God. I think we probably should be going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jump for it, man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hell, yes. Oh, thank, Jesus. Thank you, God. Oh, my God. Oh, no, my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Karen Jones is the woman you hear in the video. She was filming this in her cellphone. She's with me now.
Karen, thank you. I mean, you were on your way back from lunch, right, going back to work. And all of a sudden, you saw this.
What was your first thought? I hear you there and I'm thinking, I hear you saying Jesus. You know, you're so scared. At the same time you seem calm too.
KAREN JONES, RECORDED CELL PHONE VIDEO OF FIRE RESCUE: Well, I was coming back from lunch and initially I was over near my desk which is at the front of the building and I could see the billowing of smoke and little bit of flame. So, I went to a different location on our floor, on the southeast corner where the building was just adjacent to, to get a better vantage point to see what was really going on.
And it was just terrifying. It really was. We were all there at the window and we didn't see the worker initially. We just saw the flames on the roof.
And I actually had started taping it and then I stopped my recording and then we looked around and saw this fellow on the ledge. And I put the video back up again.
It was -- it was just something that you don't expect to see, just having that happening right before your eyes. It was just -- it was amazing.
BURNETT: Did you think that there was there was any chance he would survive or was that sort of watching an out of body situation, where you thought, well, this is going to have a happy ending?
JONES: I wasn't sure. It was very frightening. I was fearful for him when we saw him going back and forth on the ledge initially. He was a lot more calm than I would have been, definitely. I had to say I would think he was surveying the area to see what out he had, because the fire truck -- I don't think they initially saw him on the ledge. He was waving his arms and trying to get their attention. And so once they did see him there they immediately began moving the ladder over to get to him.
But if you've noticed in the video behind him, the fire spread very quickly through that entire floor and out the side of the building.
So, if he had not moved down to the level below him, he would have been engulfed in flames.
BURNETT: You see the glass coming down and obviously right as he's rescued there within seconds an entire floor of that building utterly collapses.
BURNETT: My question, Karen, how were you able to stay so calm? I mean, I must say your hand is incredibly steady.
JONES: I wasn't as calm as I appeared to be, I think. But I really wanted to be able to capture this moment, so that however I could get it out to the public for them to see, because I don't know that very many people saw him on the ledge there because there was two -- of course, two sides to the building. They were fighting fire on one side and then they had him on the other side and fighting the fire.
I just wanted people to see that there is a happy -- I was hoping it would be a happy ending. I wasn't sure. But I was hoping it would be. And just for folks to see that those firefighters are amazing workers. They do an amazing job. I don't think that they are recognized enough for what they do.
BURNETT: All right.
JONES: It was just -- it was a surreal moment.
BURNETT: Well, thank you very much, Karen. And thanks to Karen's video, I mean, now the story is out there to see the heroism of that firefighter.
Let's check in with Anderson with a look at what's coming up on "AC360", because I think, Anderson, that's the side of the story you're going to have, to talk that man.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we're actually going to talk to the firefighter who was on that ladder encouraging that construction worker to jump onto the ladder saving his life.
Much more also on the breaking news ahead on Flight 370. A "360" exclusive, are searchers closing in on the wreck? I'm joined by Commander Allison Norris (ph), the lead search vessel on the scene, HMAS Success. That's an Australian vessel.
I'll ask her about the 122 objects spotted at sea on a French satellite. She's on scene now.
Also, conflicting controversial report whether the pilots at the controls of Flight 370 intentionally took it into the Indian Ocean. We'll speak with our panel about that and give you the conflicting information and tell you where it's been reported from.
We'll also go to Washington state where search and recovery operations continue in the devastating landslide that wiped out an entire town. Incredible survivor story ahead.
A woman who survived as her home was ripped off its foundation, essentially rode the wave of mud. She was buried in the mud in her own home. It's an incredible story of survival.
As I said, we'll talk to the captain who was out on that ladder trying to save the life of that construction worker in Houston.
All that top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, we'll see you in just a few minutes.
And OUTFRONT next, we have breaking news with new intelligence about Russia and what it's doing right now on that Ukraine border.
BURNETT: Breaking news now. New intelligence tonight showing Russia appears more likely to invade Ukraine. Sources telling CNN at this hour officials are concerned about Russian troops on the border, the number of troops, their capabilities both surging.
Barbara Starr broke the story. She's at the Pentagon tonight.
And, Barbara, what's the latest that you know?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Erin.
Well, U.S. officials are telling me there is now a more likely probability that Russia might go into Ukraine than they thought several days ago. Why are they saying this? There were 30,000 troops, Russian troops on the border. That number is going up.
There are other troops on alert, mobilized further back in Russia, giving the Russians the capability to move very quickly on a very robust spectrum of military capabilities, armor, artillery, air transports, special forces, airborne forces.
They now could go into eastern Ukraine officials say on literally no notice. There was a briefing for Congress today, Congress expressing alarm. And members of Congress saying that they are hearing now thought might even be more than Ukraine, that Russia might be looking to make some land grabs. Their words in the Baltics and even try for a breakaway republic in Moldova, bringing all of this on a much wider scale, much more into the heart of Europe.
So, there is very much growing concern about it.
The Russians, Erin, had always said these troops were on that border for military exercises. A senior U.S. military official tonight tells me they have no evidence that Russia even conducted military exercises, which tells you also the U.S. has all of this under very close surveillance -- Erin.
BURNETT: Pretty incredible. I wonder what the U.S. can do beyond surveillance. But as Barbara says, significant not just for Ukraine but for Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and the breakaway province of Moldova.
Tomorrow, much more on Flight 370. We're going to take you onboard the Navy's P-8 Poseidon, searching for wreckage of flight in the Indian Ocean. We took you on board and showed you how it works. This might be what finds that wreckage. We have that exclusive report coming up tomorrow.
Right now, Anderson starts.